I recently picked up the WCL-X100 19mm conversion lens for my Fuji X100. Here, I’m looking up from inside Dancehall Cave at Maquoketa Caves State Park in Maquoketa, Iowa.
I deliberately intended to not use any dynamic range techniques to capture more information. The idea was to make the light outside seem intense from down inside a dark cave. However, an overcast sky actually gave me a bit more detail than I was expecting.
I received my 3D-printed focus ring. The fit on the X100 seems to be good. Apparently, the diameter of the X100S’ focus ring is a slightly smaller diameter. If you’re interested in this focus ring for your X100S, a couple strips of gaffer tape should tighten the fit.
The ring really does make manual focusing with the X100 more pleasant. The extra torque you get from using the finger trap makes the ring turn much easier. It is also much easier to identify the focus ring by feel when your eye is behind the camera.
In the above photo, I have the WCL-X100 lens converter attached. With the WCL-X100, there is a small gap between the lens and the ring as the ring is quite wide and extends over the barrel of the lens. Without the WCL-X100, this gap does not exist.
You can order the ring for yourself [here].
[Schnickerbocker] over at the [Fuji-X Forum] has created a focus ring sleeve for the X100 using ABS plastic and a 3D printer. The plastic ring slides over the lens assembly and fits over the grooves of the stock focus ring.
He’s [sent the schematics to Shapeways] so anyone can order one. If you’re in the U.S., it will run you about $13. Total order with shipping is $19.71.
Without receiving the first batch from Shapeways, no one can say the material will fit perfectly or be particularly durable. I’ve ordered one anyway, and I should know by October 11th.
I took another trip to Maquoketa Caves State Park this weekend. I retook a couple of shots I missed and tried to get a few new ones. The above photograph is from inside Dancehall Cave. The upper entrance to the cave is in the background. A cement path runs through the cave, keeping your feet above the sometimes dry Booth Creek. The cave is also illuminated with ambient lighting. Splinter caves can be traversed, but you’ll be crawling and without light.
Yesterday I visited what is easily the most unique terrain in Iowa, Maquoketa Caves State Park. The above picture is of the natural land bridge next to the upper entrance to the Dancehall Cave. Raccoon Creek runs beneath the bridge and seeps into the rock off frame, continuing to carve out the 1,100-foot long, 30-foot wide Dancehall Cave, the park’s main attraction.
Let’s hear more of those cornfield jokes!
It’s very difficult to shoot at the park for several reasons. For one, it is very, very humid, especially in the caves. Near their entrances, where hotter air meets the cool, damp air of the cave, your lens fogs up immediately. The second challenge is the extreme differences in light. The caves are very dark, and any light leaking into the scene is very bright. Even outdoors, you’re under the canopy. Everything is in the shade. Some areas, like the underside of the land bridge, are very dark. All of this contrasts greatly with the sky leaking through the top. HDR is mandatory, and this was trip was my first effort at the HDR technique.
Have a look at my [Maquoketa Caves State Park set] for more photos of the park.
Today I took a day trip to Maquoketa Caves State Park. It’s a very cool area of Iowa which escaped glaciation during the last ice age and has eroded independent of the surrounding region. Raccoon Creek runs through the main cave, Dancehall, and several of its branches, taking material with it as it continues to carve out the cave.
I’ll post some images of the caves and terrain tomorrow.
Around 7:30 pm, I looked out of the window and saw the best light and sky I’ve seen in a very long time. I knew right away I wouldn’t get anywhere in time to use it, but I became intent on photographing something.
I’ve been wanting to photograph the Center Street pedestrian bridge for a while, so I dropped by and took a night shot.
Highest point of Independence Pass where it intersects the Continental Divide.
This is a popular stop in Colorado. There is a scenic overlook with Mount Elbert (not pictured), the highest peak in Colorado and the second highest peak in the contiguous United States, in the distance.
Independence Monument located in the Colorado National Monument.
You can get up close and personal with Independence Monument via the Monument Canyon Trail. Experienced climbers can actually climb the structure via Otto’s Route.
This is the view from one of the many tiers you’ll ascend on the way to Booth Lake. It’s a very interesting hike. Each tier is a different landscape. The trail is a bit over 6 miles (9.5km) and +3,000 feet (915m) in elevation.
Depending on your physical condition, the hike will take between 3 and 4 hours. Storms usually pound the top in the early afternoon, so I highly recommend starting before 8 am. Also, while the hike to Booth Lake is not attempted by many, the shorter hike to Booth Falls is very popular. Leaving early will help you beat the crowd which is often climbing all over the falls by the afternoon.
Avoid side trails prior to reaching the falls. They all lead to humdrum views and cost you time. Eat breakfast before beginning and bring protein bars to replenish you energy at the top. Bring twice as much water as you think you’ll need.