The Gear that I Use: The Fujifilm XT10 review

Cattail (Fujifilm XT 10, XF 18-55mm f2.8)

There are times, when something or someone looks unattractive on first glance, but becomes much more attractive upon making your acquaintance. I think of my wife’s first impressions of me when we were in college. Apparently over time, I kinda’ grew on her.

Thus it was with me, and the new Fujifilm XT10.

I remember seeing the announcement on Dpreview back last May as “a smaller and lighter version of the X-T1”. Now having handled and shot an XT1, I knew that camera was already quite modest in size and frankly could not figure out why Fujifilm would’ve developed what looked to me like a watered-down version.

XT10XT10 back

Then I began to notice the reviews. Inexplicably there were multiple photographers were absolutely smitten by this particular product. I remained unimpressed and uninterested.
Then while in Seattle, I  had the opportunity to shoot multiple products with movable LCD screens. Particularly for “street shooting”, I found the feature very useful in obtaining unusual angles, and viewpoints. I began to think that it it might be nice to have a Fujifilm body with this feature.

I thought first of the XT 1. I then however began to compare it to the newer XT 10. I got to handle both cameras at PIX 2015 in Seattle. I was impressed particularly with the smaller body. Still I weighed the options.

Obviously the XT 1 is weather sealed, the Xt-10 not. But my lens collection includes no weather sealed lenses, and I have no burning desire to update my current lenses, as they are excellent. Also the fact that the XT 10 is not weather-proofed allows it to have a threaded shutter button so that I may use a mechanical remote release rather than purchasing an electronic one.

Three Birches in Lehigh Gorge (Fujifilm XT 10, XF 18-55mm f2.8)

The XT 1 has a larger buffer. With my style of shooting however, this is not a problem to me. Plus if I shoot sports, I’m using a different camera system anyway. Plus the XT 10 has the best auto focus Fuji film offers, something the XT 1 will get in a firmware upgrade.
Both cameras offer a tilting LCD screen. The view finder is larger and brighter in the XT 1, but the actual LCD including the refresh rate are the same. I like the idea that the XT 10 is smaller, given that I often use the Fuji cameras while hiking and backpacking.
And given my penurious ways, I could not help to notice that the XT 10 significantly cheaper ($699 vs. $999US on Amazon as I write this).

So predictably, I placed an order for the XT 10.

It arrived in typical Fujifilm packaging (I do miss the premium packaging of the original X100 and X Pro 1). It came with the usual stuff, including the little plastic thingy that helps you put the metal loops on the strap lugs. I ignored the included neck strap and purchased an inexpensive one from Amazon that converts into a wrist strap if needed.

I mounted a lens, and was again impressed with the workmanship and apparent heft. For a   supposed “budget” camera body, it feels extremely dense, with a very rigid body, beautifully assembled .There is a small soft rubber handgrip on the front, with a clever rubber thumb grip in the rear. All the materials seem first-rate.

Ruins at Ricketts (Fujifilm XT 10, XF 18-55mm f2.8)


















The LCD screen tilts roughly 90° upward, and perhaps 45° downward. The mechanisms feels quite sturdy.

This camera body is small. It is significantly smaller than my XE2, and certainly the X Pro 1. In fact has roughly the dimensions of the X100 series (though it will usually have a larger lens attached).

Button placement on the back is slightly different from previous Fujis, given that the movable screen precludes having buttons on the left side of the back of the camera. Instead they are scattered about the camera back. The drive functions move from a button on the range finder style cameras to a dial on the top of the camera. It lacks the XT1’s dial to control ISO, but this function is easily controllable through the “Q” menu, available with a press of the button on the camera back.

There is now a rotating dial on the front of the camera, with a programmable push-to-click function. The dial on the back is also push-to-click, which is defaulted to ”image magnification” for manual focusing. Many of the buttons  can be “purposed” with a long press which brings up an appropriate menu on the back screen.

The LCD features the new “transparent” display style, first seen on the X100T. Also like that camera, the view finder information rotates so that it can be read when shooting either portrait or landscape. It has the same excellent implementation of Wi-Fi, and controls nicely through my Android phone. I especially like the touch screen focusing which I wish Fujifilm had implemented for the camera’s own LCD. It’s a bit time-consuming to connect the camera and the phone however, which limits the utility of this otherwise excellent smartphone app.

The Jamison Road (Fujifilm XT 10, XF 18-55mm f2.8)





















I also notice that on the displays, when shooting, there is displayed a bank of yellow crosspoints in the middle of the frame. I these apparently signify the cross-point focus receptors on the imager. I have not seen this on any of my other Fuji cameras.

For the first time on a Fujifilm body in my collection, the viewfinder sits behind a faux pentaprism that also contains the flash, classically located in the top center of the body. I had a surprising amount of trouble adapting to this which is odd, especially as I also shoot DSLRs with the finder in the same place. I kept putting my eye to the upper left corner of the camera, as though it was my XE2 or my X Pro 1. I’ve since adjusted.

Auto focusing is absolutely the quickest and most reliable of any Fujifilm body I have. In good light, it feels as fast as the Sony “A” bodies I shot in Seattle. I can also now lock focus on dark, low-contrast scenes where my XE 2 and my X100T fail. I understand this autofocus upgrade is coming for the XE2 later this year. One hopes the X100t will also receive it, as it shares technology with the newer camera.

Oak and Wagon (Fujifilm XT 10, XF 18-55mm f2.8)

Image quality remains the same as the other X-Trans-sensored cameras, which is to say extremely good. Like the other recent Fuji X cameras, the raw files are 14 bit, giving one a bit more latitude in manipulation without posterization. It is also reputed to have slightly better JPEGs than earlier cameras particularly in regards to low light images. As I don’t shoot JPEGs, this is largely immaterial to me.

So what is it about the XT 10 that is attracting all of the rave reviews? Certainly all of the improvements are appreciated, particularly the autofocus, and the rapid response viewfinder, but I think it is the intangibles that are driving the appeal of this camera. The camera is light,  yet there is a feeling of solidity and quality, that along with the operating speed, really make it truly enjoyable to use.

Stone Walls at Frances Slocum (Fujifilm XT 10, XF 18-55mm f2.8)

















I have been using it both on and off a tripod. I love having a Fujifilm camera with a movable view screen which means that I can shoot from unusual viewpoints without straining to see the LCD (though with the camera supported, the smartphone app is another way to do this). Also the camera’s small size, even compared to the XT 1, makes it less intimidating to use in crowds.

Quite honestly, I don’t need any more cameras than this. If on a rare occasion I have to shoot in the rain I will throw a camera cover on it. If I want to shoot a football game I’ll take one of my Nikons. But I suspect that along with my X100T, this will be my most utilized camera going forward…

… At least until the upcoming X 2 Pro is released.



As usual, these images and more can be viewed on my Smugmug site

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Seattle part II

Obligatory Seattle shot (Sony RX 100 Mark III)




















“In Seattle we live among the trees and the waterways, and we feel we are rocked gently in the cradle of life. Our winters are not cold and our summers are not hot and we congratulate ourselves for choosing such a spectacular place to rest our heads.”

 -Garth Stein


On my trip to Seattle, I learned 3 very important things.

#1 Always upgrade your airline seat whenever possible.

#2 it is possible for a city to have too many brewpubs.

#3 it is apparently possible for working age people, to spend hours during weekdays talking to each other in coffee shops, despite living in a city with a very high cost of living (I admit that I have noticed this in New York City also).

Allow me to explain:

I think statement 1 is a function of my age.  I am no longer the wiry 28-year-old, who flew from ski destination to ski destination with no issues.  I would also point out, that while I have expanded somewhat, the average coach seat, has been contracting.  The third issue has to do with the burgeoning obesity epidemic, and the airlines unwillingness to adapt.  Trapped in the middle seat during boarding, already next to a good-sized gentleman on the window, I desperately hoped for a slender aisle seat passenger.  I watched with envy as three young, athletic-looking women, occupied the 3 seats across the aisle.

Now being a sleep physician, I am pretty accurately able to judge one’s weight.  That’s why I knew that the roughly 6 foot 5 inch gentleman that plopped down next to me was approaching 400 pounds.  He could not help but to take up at least 20% of the space allotted to me.  This meant for a very uncomfortable four hours, which I spent with my shoulders hunched, praying for touchdown.

Seattle Graffiti (Fujifilm X100t)


In terms of the brewpubs, it seemed almost every tavern, I visited either brewed its own beer, or offered  on draft only the products of a local craft brewery.  Given that population of Seattle trends towards the young and hip, there is apparently a contest to see who can create the hoppiest concoction. Apparently there are a lot of enthusiastic but inexperienced brewers in town, and the result was not always particularly palatable. I learned that if all else failed, a Rainier long neck served cold was reasonably refreshing.

As to the coffee drinkers… doesn’t anyone have to work?

Me not working (Samsung Galaxy 5)

Not that I didn’t enjoy Seattle.  First and most important my daughter is blissfully happy here.  She loves her job at Amazon, and her very cool neighborhood, with upscale restaurants and cafés, olive oil bars, a Trader Joe’s, and numerous athletic facilities and yoga studios.  She lives in a nice townhouse with great roommates.

6:30AM Seattle (Fujifilm X100t)

It’s very reminiscent of the neighborhood in Philadelphia, where I resided at her age.  She has the youthful tolerance for urban inconveniences.  She was a wonderful guide to the region’s restaurants, and attractions.  It’s going to be hard to pry her out of there.

Last Patron (Sony RX 100 Mark III)

In fact Seattle feels similarly sized to Philadelphia. The big difference is for instance, when you drive an hour east from Philadelphia, you are in New Jersey.  If you do the same in Seattle, you end up in Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.  I traveled there on the third day of my trip, when I was becoming slightly weary of the city, and eager for some wilderness.

Bigleaf Maple (Sony RX 100 Mark III)

I drove my rental car out of the city, and encountered a problem, I have never seen elsewhere.  There are toll roads and bridges everywhere, and they apparently charge in both directions.  Problem is they don’t have toll booths, but cameras that photograph your license plate.  Since I was in a rental car, they charged the company $8 and change, to which the rental company added a $30 service charge on a bill came to me several weeks later.  The rental companies offer a roughly $25 package that covers the cost of the tolls.  If you’re visiting the city and plan to drive anywhere else, it may be worth the investment.


I did some hiking for exercise in a state park on my way up to the mountains.  There were trail maps available there, and I thought it might be a slightly safer place to solo hike than a random trail in the national forest.  A display at the trail head described a logging operation that it gone on between 1900 and 1920.

Old Cedar Stump (Fujifilm X100t)

It appeared that the major tree harvested were western red Cedars, which resist decomposition.  Indeed in the forest there were huge stumps 5–6 feet in diameter still standing, and it was interesting to imagine the majestic Forest that at one time stood there.

Later I traveled up to Snoqualmie Pass.  At higher elevations, the fall colors became more vibrant, and a somewhat quirky rural mountain culture reminded me of home.

Worlds Biggest (Fujifilm X 100t)


Driving through the national forest, I diverted down a side road.  Looking for something to photograph, I wandered into an interesting looking forest area, only to discover a growth of living trees with trunks every bit as large as the stumps I had seen earlier.

Really Big Trees (Fujifilm X100t)

These giants stood among smaller trees, their branches festooned with moss, truly a temperate rain forest.

On my way back to town, I was hungry and stopped for a burger and a non-microbrew in the town of Gold Bar, on the Skykomish River.  This is where I found Prospector’s Steak and Ale, which was full of friendly patrons, particularly John, who allowed me a portrait in the afternoon light.

John (Fujifilm X100t)

Speaking of photography, I brought essentially the same camera combination on this trip that I used in London, namely my X100(t), and my RX100 Mark III.  I did not bring a laptop, but my Asus transformer tablet and keyboard was a reasonable substitute.  All of this works well enough, though I sometimes wished for longer focal length, than the 70mm mm equivalent offered by the long end of the Sony’s zoom.

Bridge over the Skykomish (Sony RX100 Mark III)


My last stay in town was a Saturday.  With my daughter off work, we explored Seattle Center and downtown.  I particularly enjoyed the aquarium, and the public market.

Feeding the Fish (Sony RX100 Mark III)

We did not venture up into the space needle (it’s fairly expensive). We had Thai for lunch, and particularly good sushi for dinner. I then hugged her and said goodbye, and began the process of returning the car, and meeting my 11PM flight.

Seattle is a lovely town, in a gorgeous region of the country. With Brigid residing  there I will undoubtedly return.

Hopefully in first class.


As always, these images and others from the trip can be viewed on my Smugmug site.


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Seattle, Part One : PIX 2015

PIX 2015 (Fujifilm X100t)

Say that the world’s most popular digital photography website decides to hold a photography event. And say that event is held in Seattle, where my daughter resides.  Suddenly I find myself on a flight to SEA/TAC airport in the great state of Washington, huddled in a middle coach seat between two very large people. What I experienced there will be the subject of 2 articles. This one will detail the event itself. The one to follow, will feature photography from my travels in the City and the surrounding mountains.


It was called PIX 2015, organized by,  one of the world’s truly comprehensive digital photography review sites. The event earlier this month was apparently the first of what hopefully will be many yearly events.

It was held in the convention center near City Center in Seattle, and featured booths and displays by a variety of corporate sponsors in the industry, along with a very informative set of presentations by well-known photographers.  There were also “photo walks” where rank-and-file photographers such as yours truly, could interact and shoot with what in medicine we would call “thought leaders”.

After the Photo Walk (Sony A7II, Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS)



I myself have never attended a large photography event, as typically I need the time for medical meetings (necessary for my medical licence). As however I have not seen my daughter since May, this seemed like the ideal opportunity to amuse myself during the day while she worked, and then interact with her in the evening.

I arrived in Seattle about noon on the first day of the conference. My hotel was about a block away, and after a brief lunch, I wandered down to the conference hall, and into the exhibits.

This is a fairly large facility. Towards the front of the hall, there were large corporate displays, from Sony, Nikon, and Samsung along with Dpreview’s own display .

Original Test Scene (Fujifilm X100t)


Dpreview had a desk where members of their writing and reviewing staff were available for questions. Of interest to photo-geeks such as myself, was the familiar sight of original light box containing the test scene they used for many years to compare cameras and imagers. I admit to many episodes of staring at the scene on my computer while researching new equipment.

Also fascinating was a display of vintage digital cameras, many which I have owned over the past years.

Old Cameras (Fujifilm X100t)


Sony probably had the largest booth, and provided equipment forced many of the interactive displays at the conference. There were opportunities to shoot the new A7 line as well as most of their current cameras and lenses. They’re clearly  building a very formidable, yet compact, photographic system.

I would have to say that Samsung probably had the second most impressive display at the Expo. They had all of their current cameras up for evaluation, and I met a number of their photo loggers and sponsored speakers. Their NX-1 mirror-less body is as well-specified as anything it competes with. They also had a variety of photographic subjects for demonstration and trial images.  Also offered were sessions using their immersive reality goggles which can utilize several of their current smart phones as both the imager, and for the WiFi connection.  The experience was impressive.

Samsung Cameras (Fujifilm X100t)


They announced that they would give away a new interchangeable lens camera to 300 people willing to trade in an old SLR.  They build a clear plastic box to display the traded cameras.  I understand some people waited outside the hall overnight to take advantage of the offer.

Waiting to Trade (Fujifilm X100t)


Nikon had an interesting display, with their photographic subject being an artist creating in image in oils. They had a display of most of their digital SLRs, and current lenses, with the D810 conspicuous by its absence.

At the Nikon Booth (Fujifilm X100t)


Completely absent was Canon, despite their US introduction of a number of new cameras and bodies a week later. Not sure what was going on there.

Olympus featured there ad campaign “DSLR Arm” suggesting what happens when you carry around a heavy digital SLR and lens, rather than the much lighter and compact line of Olympus “OM” line, which was on full display.

DSLR ARM (Fujifilm X100t)



















Fujifilm had a display with their current cameras, and a lighting set  up for their speakers to demonstrate shooting a variety of dancers that were retained for the event. The folks at the booth were very friendly and helpful.

Dancer’s at Fujifilm (Fujifilm X100t)






Sigma’s display featured their  growing lens line, but not so much their cameras. They had a light box set up with subjects ranging from baby ducks, baby rabbits and lizards, all meant to be shot  with macro lenses.

Given the popularity of their new “Art” line of lenses not really aimed at macro, this emphasis confused me a bit.

Macro Lizard (Fujifilm X100t)


Among the other booths there, was one set up by the quadcopter people DJI; featuring an enclosed space in which to safely fly a variety of their photography drone offerings.

Drone Cage (Fujifilm X100t)


One of the “interactive” (the “I” in PIX) booths offered you the use of a 3 light studio set up, a Sony A7, the 42 megapixel R series II version, and the services of the lovely Hope, who was very engaging,  expressive, and great fun to shoot.

Hope (Sony A7rII, Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS)


As I mentioned earlier, there were two stages, and a variety of interesting presentations on both the business and art of photography.

Brian Smith Interview (Fujifilm X100t)

















I attended several of the photography walks organized by Dpreview’s own Dan Bracaglia and featuring a number of noted photographers.

First one was with photojournalist and celebrity shooter Brian Smith, where I was able to try out another Sony A7II, this time the 24 megapixel model. The camera was identical in controls to the “R” version, with its menus similar to those of my RX 100, and exposure compensation dial on the top plate, similar to my Fujifilm cameras. The raw files I shot were sharp in full detail, with good dynamic range.

Dan and Company (Sony A7II, Sony FE 28-70mm f3.5 OSS)

I got to spend time with 2 well-known Los Angeles street photographers: Ibarionex Perello and Rinzi Ruiz, on a walk through the neighborhood near Seattle Center. Both men were fascinating with unique approach to shooting on-the-fly.

As it had been raining,(surprise) there were puddles everywhere and Rinzi had a particular fascination with capturing reflections. He even shot me (with my half grown fall/winter beard, I apparently looked like a street person). That’s Ibarionex in the background.

Rinzi Shoots (Fujifilm X100t)

In short, I had a lot of fun, sampled some wonderful photography gear, and spent time with interesting, talented and accomplished photographers.


I have a feeling that I’ll be back .


As always, click on the images to see a larger version.

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The Upcoming Fujifilm X Pro 2: my wish list

September Reflections at Nescopeck (Fujifilm X Pro 1, XF 56mm f1.2)

One of my small pleasures in life , is the moment when the UPS driver pulls up to the house with a box from places like B&H photo, Adorama or  Amazon, heralding the delivery of some new piece of photographic equipment.  This has not been happening for me recently, at least in terms of cameras  from Fujifilm. My last purchase was this spring was my  X100t, but looking at the current lineup, there is really nothing that I desire.   I’m saving my money for the upcoming replacement for the X Pro 1, presumably called the  X Pro 2.

Now there are certainly places on the web where you can read about this upcoming model’s likely specifications. Fuji Rumors is a particularly good website for this.

X Pro 1 (Fujifilm)

Regarding that camera, it’s definitely time for Fujifilm to kick the game up a notch, especially with some of the newer Sony offerings such as the A7r II, a full frame 42(!) megapixel mirrorless compact which has class leading high ISO, and dynamic range capabilities. Quite honestly the only thing keeping me from purchasing one of these extraordinary little bodies is the need to invest in Sony lenses, which are quite expensive.

I humbly offer my little wish list for the X Pro 2:

#1. A new sensor. This is said to be likely. A 24-25 megapixel imager has been rumored. More resolution won’t hurt up to a point, but it is a low priority to me, compared to improvements such as better dynamic range, and high ISO capability. From a marketing standpoint, Fujifilm certainly has to cope with competitive offerings with higher resolution, but I suspect most of us that gravitate to the X cameras are pretty happy with the even the current resolution.

By the way, given the improvement in moiré-filter-less Bayer layout sensors, I’m not sure that the complexities of raw conversion in the current trans-x sensor is worth it anymore.  At least make sure the sensor information is available to Adobe and the other raw converter software designers pre-launch so that raw support will be quickly available.

#2. SD card slots. 2 would be nice, preferably inserted from the side of the camera, so we don’t have to keep taking off the damn tripod mount to change cards (and maybe the battery?).

#3 A sturdier flash mount. Like a lot of people apparently, I broke the flash shoe on my X Pro 1. Because I never use flash with my X cameras, I have not coughed up the $250 that is apparently required to fix it.

#4. Continued improvements in auto focus. This would include increased performance, and the ability to move the focus point with the four-way controller, without pressing another button first.

#5. A cleverer optical viewfinder. Isn’t there a way to automatically increase the finder magnification, when mounting higher magnification lenses? At 60 mm, the frame lines are very tiny. This is why I almost always use the electronic view finder.

#6. Two button formatting of memory cards. I love how my Nikon bodies do this. With Fujifilm bodies, the format function is buried far into the menu. .

#7. Keep it the same size. There are already several smaller cameras in the lineup. Making the X Pro 2 smaller  will likely prevent implementation of improvement #2.

#8. Maintain the quality of the presentation. This is apparently the flagship camera of the X series. From the box it comes in, to the tactile experience of  operating the body, everything needs to be first class. It doesn’t have to be a like a Leica; most of us can’t afford that. Just continue, or improve upon the current high quality.

#9. Flash features. Even though I don’t personally use flash with this brand, Fuji is long overdue for a modern Nikon CLS-like flash system. There are just some venues, where  natural light is insufficient for good imaging. If I were a pro wedding shooter I suspect it would be the one feature that would keep me from converting from my Canon/ Nikon equipment. Obviously this functionality can be mimicked with radio triggers, and off brand flashes, but really, it’s time to come into the 21st Century.

#10. Programmable external buttons.  The X100 T has a large number of unlabeled programmable external buttons, which I initially thought would be good, except that I can’t remember which function, I assigned to which  button.  It sometimes seems easier, to remember that I programmed function “X” to the button originally labeled “Y”.  But may be that’s just me.

#11. Weather sealing. I’d bet its coming. Won’t really matter to me as none of my lenses are “WR”. But why not?

Now this isn’t the worlds busiest photo site. It’s possible that the people at Fujifilm won’t see this article. But they have tweeted articles from this site before and I am optimistic.

C’mon Fujifilm. Show us what you got.


As always you can view these images on my Smugmug site located here. They are located in the Summer 2015 Gallery. Clicking on the image will also display it in a larger format.

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The Wrong Trees: The 1675 Grove in the Adirondacks

Number 103 (Sony RX100 M III)

As faithful readers know, I have a deep interest (obsession?) with experiencing and photographing, eastern old growth forests. I have written about the topic several times in the recent past.

In March of this year, while spending time in Lake Placid NY, I became aware of a group of old growth trees called The 1675 Grove, near the town of Brighton approximately 30 minutes away.   Snow was deep this year, but still I was interested in visiting the somewhat remote site.  I found directions on the web, drove to the access point described in the article, strapped on my snowshoes, and trudged along the small packed track that lead into the forest.

There was a point in the directions, when I was expected to climb a moderately steep powerline.  Unfortunately there was no track there, and the snow was very deep.   A short way beyond the pipeline was the conifer forest within which the grove was said to be located. Between the trees the snow was not nearly so deep.  I decided to bushwhack into the site, dead reckoning its location from  the directions.

Wrong Trees ( Nikon D800E, Tokina 28-80 ATX f2.8)

The woods were tight with a lot of downed snags, and somewhat tricky to negotiate, particularly with a large camera bag and tripod.  I finally reached a site where there were multiple large white pines,somewhat congruent with the description I had .  The trees were not overly large, particularly compared to “old growth” in Pennsylvania. I wondered whether the shorter growing season in the Adirondacks might explain the discrepancy.  I photographed the trees and picked my way back to the trail, and ultimately to my truck.

Tangle (Fujifim X100t)

5 or 6 months ago, I acquired a fascinating book, called Reading the Forested Landscape  by Thomas Wessel.   The book’s author attempts to instruct the reader on how to read the history of a woodland, through visible signs in the vegetation, trees, and the land forms.  This has been a longtime interest of mine. I read both the book , and then a companion handbook meant to be stuffed in a backpack for use in the field.  I then picked up a variety of other publications on roughly the same topic.  At any rate, I felt that my studies had given me new insight into the forest and fields where I routinely recreate.


One subject covered is how to determine the age of a tree based on its appearance.  There is a lot more to this than size, as similar age trees grow much differently depending on the site, the available sunlight, etc.  A powerful indicator of age is the character of the bark which appears quite differently in large trees that are younger, versus those that are truly old.

Along the Trail (Sony RX 100 Mark III)

Several weeks ago, we were again in the Adirondacks, and I was looking through past photographs, when I came upon the photos I had captured of this “old growth”.  Based on my recent study of the subject, I could easily determine that these were not particularly old trees, at least not trees reportedly germinated in 1675.  I realized would need to visit the site again.

Thinking that I had probably already photographed the grove, I took only my Sony RX 100 Mark III, but with a tripod. It being summer, this time I followed the directions exactly as given.  Walking up the power line, I noted a foot path that had been worn into the soil.  At the point the directions suggested I should turn into the woods, the foot path turned, and I continued to follow it down slope through a young northern hardwood forest.

After a distance,  I noted several large and old looking hickory trees, and a few big pines.  There was a large erratic to my left which distracted me briefly as I walked, but when I turned my gaze forward, I saw a large shape among the smaller trees.  Approaching it, it became identifiable as a massive White Pine,, with deeply corrugated bark of an old growth tree. At about 7 feet off the ground, a small silver round tag was attached to the tree by a nail.  The tag read “101”.  Walking further I began to notice multiple huge forms among the smaller trunks.

16 75 Grove Vignette (Sony RX 100 Mark III)

From my reading, I knew that  number 103 was the largest of the trees.  At 13 feet in circumference, and 160 feet tall, it is somewhat shorter (160 vs. 189 feet), but broader of girth than the Longfellow Pine at Cook’s Forest.

This is a dramatic place, both because of the age disparity of the forest, and an almost  complete lack of any sign of human intrusion.  In fact, I understand that it was only discovered ( at least by someone with  knowledge of forestry) in the 1970s. There were however tree stands in the surrounding forest, suggesting to me, that locals have probably  been aware of the big trees for a long time.

Walking a little further into the grove, one encounters another massive tree, this one snapped off apparently by a micro-burst in 2012.  Both the huge standing “stump” and the massive downed trunk, bear witness to the incredible power of these weather events.

Blow down (Sony RX 100 Mark III)

Sadly if one looks closely, it appears that many of these trees have areas of peeling bark, or large basilar scars with rot of the interior wood.  This, plus the age disparity in the grove suggest that a fire may have occurred on the site 60-100 years ago, sparing only the larger, older trees.

At roughly 340 years old, the massive white pines may be nearing the end of their normal life span, and certainly within 50-100 years, few if any will be left alive.  All that will be left are huge gray standing “snags” among the new generation of much younger trees who will take centuries to reach the size of these ancient sentinels.

As I walked out, I lost  the faint footpath and drifted slightly to the north. There I  encountered  the grove of trees that I had mistakenly identified last winter
.  Given the characteristics of the bark as I understand it, these trees may be 150-200 years old.  Several seem to rise quite high into the Adirondacks sky.

Tall, but not Old (Nikon D800E, Tokina 28-80mm ATX f2.8)

Perhaps the giants will return sooner than I had anticipated.




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