The Outer Banks (and an update on the Oly 9-18mm)

Jockey's Ridge and Atlantic Ocean
Jockey's Ridge State Park and Atlantic Ocean, Nags Head, N.C. | Panasonic Lumix G1 and Lumix 45-200mm f/4-5.6 lens @ 56mm; exposed 1/400 sec. @ f/5.6, ISO 200.

Pictorials from Vacation

Tonight, after checking in at our hotel in Manteo, N.C. on Roanoke Island, site of the “lost colony” (the first English settlement in the New World disappeared with little trace), Elizabeth and I drove over to Bodie Island.  Part of the Outer Banks, Bodie Island has some pretty interesting attractions, including the site of the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., Jockey’s Ridge State Park, which is home to the largest sand dune in the eastern United States, and the Bodie Island Lighthouse, which would normally be pretty spectacular.  Unless, of course, you get there when it’s wrapped in tarps and scaffolding.  Damn.

Bodie Island Lighthouse
Bodie Island Lighthouse, Hatteras National Seashore, N.C. | Panasonic Lumix G1 and Lumix 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 lens @ 16mm; exposed 1/400 sec. @ f/5, ISO 100.

A Note about the Olympus 9-18mm

After the failure at the lighthouse, we drove back to Jockey’s Ridge State Park.  It’s a haven for people flying kites as well as hang-gliding.  Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the hang-gliding seemed to be over for the day.  However, it gave me another opportunity to experiment with the Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 lens for Micro Four-Thirds.  It is a sharp  and fun little lens.  I’m not thrilled with the collapsing barrel design, which makes the lens inoperable when collapsed until you zoom out.

I think that I understand why Olympus has approached zoom lens design this way, because it does give Micro Four-Thirds lenses the (admittedly, false) appearance of being smaller than they really are.  In essence, when not in use (collapsed), it makes a nice, tidy package with their PEN cameras.  But it also makes them a bit of a pain to use.

However, shortcomings aside, it is a handy and sharp lens to have in the kit.  And considerably less expensive than Panasonic’s lens, although I would like to test theirs for a comparison.  (Hey, Panasonic: hint, hint!)

Sand dunes at Jockey's Ridge State Park
Sand dunes at Jockey's Ridge State Park, Nags Head, N.C. | Panasonic G1 and Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 lens @ 9mm; exposed 1/125 sec. @ f/7.1, ISO 200.

Parting Shot

To our collective amusement, Elizabeth and I discovered, on our way back from the dunes, that the boardwalk perfectly framed a row of Pepsi vending machines to greet those who did not know how else to be welcomed back to civilization from their brief connection with nature but to drown themselves in carbonated sugar water:

A boardwalk through nature frames Pepsi Machines?
A boardwalk through nature frames Pepsi Machines? Jockey's Ridge State Park, Nags Head, N.C. | Panasonic Lumix G1 and Lumix 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 lens @ 45mm; exposed 1/20 sec. @ f/5.6, ISO 200.

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