Swimming holes and exploration

Red shoes at Jellybean pool - Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro

Summer is here, and with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Centigrade (that’s 104 Fahrenheit for our American cousins) some days, we wanted to explore the Blue Mountains National Park. With shade from its trees and the prospect of taking our son paddling in the swimming holes, we headed out for Jellybean pool on a Saturday morning.

To our joy, no-one else was there, and we had a couple of hours to ourselves, exploring and splashing around, and I had some time to try out the Fujinon XF60mmF2.4 Macro on my new X-E1. While most people seem to go for the XF35, the XF60 is a fantastic lens to have in my camera bag. The focal length meant I could stay far enough away from my son while he played that I didn’t distract him (although the photo of him digging in the sand ended up in a major engineering project for us – I think he was trying to tunnel back to the UK). At wide apertures, the XF60 is able to separate the subject and background really nicely, and has almost Zeiss-like micro-contrast. It’s also extremely sharp. I can see this doubling up as a nice portrait lens. As a macro lens, it performs very well, although it only does 1:2 magnification, rather than the 1:1 of most macro lenses. I was able to hand-hold these shots (and remember, there is no image stabilisation) perfectly well. So, this lens inevitably makes compromises to achieve all these things at the size and weight Fuji have managed to get this down to, but for the extra usability (and the ease with which I can carry it around), it trumps my Canon 100mm macro lens, hands down.

Something else I learned – calling something Jellybean pool can lead to confectionary-related disappointment for a 4 year-old!

Jellybean pool - Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Jellybean pool – Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Jellybean pool - Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Jellybean pool – Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Reflections at Jellybean pool - Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Reflections at Jellybean pool – Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Campfire remains at Jellybean pool - Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Campfire remains at Jellybean pool – Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Lichen at Jellybean pool - Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Lichen at Jellybean pool – Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Digging in the sand at Jellybean pool - Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Digging in the sand at Jellybean pool – Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Exploring at Jellybean pool -  - Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Exploring at Jellybean pool – – Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Red shoes at Jellybean pool - Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro
Red shoes at Jellybean pool – Fujifilm X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 Macro

Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach 1

South of Gerringong is a nature reserve called Seven Mile Beach. It won’t surprise you that it’s a beach that’s seven miles long.

What did surprise, and delight me, was that there was only one other person there, and they were walking away.

I was able to walk along freshly washed sand, with no sound other than the waves.

Beach Colours in Winter

Beach Colours 3

I love beaches.

Not for lying on, covered in tanning lotion, frying with others, packed in on sun loungers.

Deserted beaches.

Winter beaches.

With a cold wind whipping up a spray, the sand not yet imprinted with human feet, the battle at the edge of the land rages on every second of every day.

A little bit taken away here, a little bit deposited there.

And the colours. Oh, the colours.