Last week, we took a few days off and flew out to Washington State to visit our son. I brought along my new camera lens, purchased recently for taking product shots in my studio basement. This was my first time using it outside, and its lightweight size made it easy to carry, even on long hikes. The lens is a Nikon AF-S 35mm 1:1.8. It is a fixed lens, also known as a prime lens, which means that it does not have a zoom feature.
Because of the lack of a zoom, I must compose my photo by moving my body, not my camera lens. What I see through the viewfinder is exactly what I get. Which means contortions to get the right shot. But the big advantage to a fixed lens is all the light that pours in. Colors look great. Also note in the photo below of the law books how the background goes nice and blurry while the foreground stays incredibly crisp. At $200, it is very affordable, as far as lenses go. I feel good about this purchase.
Olympia, Washington Is a Nice Town If You Like Pretty Towns
Olympia is the state capitol, and sits on the Puget Sound surrounded by mountains and lush rain forests. The town is surprisingly small, and the people are an interesting mix of affluent hipsters, hippies, and people who may be homeless or may be through-hiking the Pacific Coast Trail -- it's a little hard to tell. The music scene is pretty happening, and one of my favorite artists, Lucinda Williams, was scheduled for a show the day we left. Kurt Cobain spent a few years in Olympia getting kicked out of a variety of grungy apartments while still managing to write most of the songs on the "Nevermind" album.
Mount Rainier National Park Is Beautiful Even in Drought Conditions
It took an hour to drive to Mount Rainier, and along the way, we passed logging sites and shipyards with stacks and stacks of harvested trees, waiting to be exported. It was a depressing sight. Once inside the park, we were equally shocked to see the vast and empty Nisqually River bed. (See black and white photo below.) Mount Rainier is a large active strato volcano which means that it is capable of explosive and effusive eruptions. While we gazed at its peak, we saw a jet plume of steam released. All the rest of the day, I plotted our escape. It is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.
Same Name Same National Park
Our son made friends with a few gray jays, also known as camp robbers. He fed them bits of his granola bar while I snapped away. We sent this photo to our parents. A few days later, my father-in-law sent me the photo of his father, above, from his last visit to the United States before he passed away. It was 1985 and they spent a day at Mount Rainier where the ancestor of our gray jay ate from the hand of my son's great-grandfather. The two bird lovers never met, though they share the same name -- Walter Ballesteros. Isn't that something?!
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy the photo log of my family's trip to Colombia last winter. Click on the photo below for more.
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