Thursday, December 17, 2009

Smoky Mountain Beauty

Waves on the Sea

North Georgia contains some beautiful country. I love getting up in the mountains and immersing myself in natures wonders. The skies cleared up from the heavy rains, and showed the wonder of the smoky mountains.

The sun shining brightly above
Sun Over the Smokey Mountains

The streams form into pleasing waterfalls

and run down to form beautiful lakes, reflecting under the blue skies

and you never know what you will find in the next mountain valley
Back Country Farm

The path glows with light, illuminating the floor of the dark forest

Trees lie in slow decay

and the sun sets early, casting its long shadow

Oh the beauty of Georgia.

I love the mountains, whether the Great Smokies or the Rockies, there is always something to photograph.


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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cold Times with the K-7

Having used the K20d in extremely cold weather, I have been waiting for a chance to use my K-7 and SMCP DA★ 60-250mm f/4 in similar. I lucked out today in that work was canceled due to 12" (30 cm) of snow, strong winds, and a temperature of 8 °F (-13 °C). What better time to break out the snowshoes and go for an hour hike in the woods?

The first picture of Luna trying to stay warm. I took this shot because the camera records to temperature inside the camera body in the EXIF data and I needed a baseline shot. Camera had been sitting inside.
Camera temperature: 70 °F (21 °C)

I drove to the park and unloaded my gear and put my snowshoes on. It took me a few minutes to get ready and I had my camera set on the cold ground while I was getting ready. I took a shot near the beginning to get the initial outdoor temperature of the camera. Ambient temperature started at about 12 °F (-11 °C)and ended at about 8 °F (-13 °C).
Camera temperature: 48 °F (9 °C), 3:40 pm (EXIF is off by 1 hour).

Then I walked around for a bit and took a picture of the stream,
Camera temperature: 37 °F (3 °C), 3:50 pm

Held up an electricity pylon to keep it from falling over,
Camera temperature: 28 °F (-2 °C), 4:05 pm

Walked through the forest,
Camera temperature: 27 °F (-3 °C), 4:13 pm

Waved my hands at another pylon,
Camera temperature: 25 °F (-4 °C), 4:17 pm

Left some tracks in the snow,
Camera temperature: 25 °F (-4 °C), 4:24 pm

and finally watched a tree try to blow away, but settled for being buried by snow,
Camera temperature: 23 °F (-5 °C), 4:28 pm

The camera had no hiccups in the extreme cold today, now I can't wait to try it in sub 0 °F conditions, but that will have to wait for a cold day. The zoom ring on the 60-250mm did get slightly stiff, but was still very usable. Focus was perfectly smooth, and I noticed no impact to focus performance. Battery is still showing full after 150 pictures or so in the cold.

I was surprised at how easy the K-7 was to use with ski gloves given the small button size. The worst part is actually the locking mode dial, which I find easy with no gloves (middle and thumb to turn, with index finger depressing the lock). T

Touching a metal camera body with your hands at sub zero temperatures is not so pleasant, but whatever finish the camera has helps a bit. Thankfully you should be wearing gloves if the temperature is below freezing.

What I notice is that this K-7 operates significantly cooler than the K20d, which maintained an internal temperature above freezing in much colder ambient temperatures (about -25 to -30 °F). When the weather gets extremely cold I might do a stress test to see how long the camera will run before shutting down.

Another great cold weather Pentax, but I do need to dress warmer next time as I thought I might freeze :)


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