Joshua Tree With One Lens
Joshua Tree National Park has been on my to do list for the last 5 years. Finally this February I made it there with my wife and two friends form the Jersey Shore. I was able to spend a good part of one day driving from the north entrance to the south entrance of Cottonwood. My travel mates were good sports and allowed me to spend the time I needed to shoot the landscapes we came across. Taking a few of shots of them added to the good will of the day. Fortunately, we had great weather, temperatures starting out in the low 50's and ending by the time we got out of the park close to 70. It was a gorgeous sunny California day with some beautifully textured clouds filtering in throughout the day. Joshua Tree suprisingly is a very young National Park. It was created in 1994, the year my son was born. It may explain the U2 Joshua Tree album cover, and no, we did not come across U2 while visiting Joshua Tree. The park offers a variety of camping sites, which to my surprise were all booked, and quite a few opportunities for climbing the rock formations found within the park. While there I primarily shot with the Pentax 645Z and the 55mm 2.8 FA digital lens for this camera. The more I use the 55mm, which seems to be like 90% of the time these days, the more I have come to appreciate that lens. The overall sharpness and IQ are just near enough perfect for my tastes. Auto focus is quick, and when I use it manually, it's got a smooth pull and it's one of those lenses you don't have to turn very far for a quick focus. The lens is weather proof and sealed, so shooting in rainy conditions is not an issue. The lens is well built, and fairly light weight when you take the overall weight of the Pentax 645Z system into account. It's also one of the least expensive lenses in the Pentax medium format world you can find. Speaking of least expensive, Pentax is having a sale on the 645Z camera. They've dropped the price by $2000, which now makes the camera na bsolute steel. It probably is foreshadowing the release of a new camera from Pentax, and I'm hoping it's a 100 mega pixel one to replace the current 50 mega pixel 645Z. Ever since Hasselblad and Fuji have released their mirroless medium format cameras, Pentax has taken a back seat. Though to be honest this is my fourth year of shooting with this camera, and the other two comapnies have just gotten into the game with their 50 mega pixel cameras.