Sailing the Coho
November 28, 2013
Juan de Fuca St
The sky was almost as blue as the sea last Tuesday when I walked onto the ferry that was docked in Victoria harbor. Ninety minutes later I arrived in Port Angeles. After waiting for border control, I walked ten minutes to the post office where I found my box half-full of nothing of interest. I stuffed the mail in my pack, walked back to the ferry, then returned to Victoria.
I spent the ninety-minute ride in each direction standing on the ferry's upper deck, camera in hand. Today I had my telephoto, a 70-300vr, as the strait crossing calls for a long focal length to photograph the vessels sharing the sea with us: the Clipper catamaran, container ships, military and fishing boats, a Westcoast Air sea plane taking off to the mainland, and many kayaks hugging the shore. The 70-300vr isn't fast, but in good light and kept below 300 it is sharp and the vr helps keep it stable.
I used the short trip to test two recent purchases: an REI Overnighter backpack and a Nikon D800E. I bought the pack at the REI in Seattle and the D800E in Victoria. The D800E purchase was the product of a long period of rationalization as I am long past the point of being over-camera-ed.
In the bright, harsh light I focused on color. I'm happy with the D800e’s performance but these aren’t technically demanding shots. A steady hand is all that is needed. I shot them at a larger aperture (smaller F-stop) than what I'd typically use on a bright sunlit day because of recommendations to keep the Nikon's aperture below 11 to minimize diffraction This will require further testing as I need small apertures for times when I want depth of field.
The backpack purchase was another in a seemingly- endless quest for the perfect pack. My dream is Tardis-like in size, light of weight, and stylishly unassuming. The REI pack comes close: it is light and unassuming, with looks that are more luggage than back pack. The Overnighter drew me in with padding that reinforces an easy-to-fill rectangular shape. When zipped open, the pack's carrying capacity is easily visualized, unlike a typical load-from-the-top backpack. The pack will play double duty: carry-on and day pack. Cargo will be a DSLR, a few primes (10, 20, 35, 85), and accessories such as charger, storage, a 62mm polarizer, blower, and wipes. In the space left I'll stash toiletries (when flying) or jacket and lunch (for walking around town).
Victoria Clipper heading into harbour
Taking off from Victoria harbour