Champlain Valley Fair 2014 Pictures

I'm not one for going on rides so I always bring my camera because you'll just never know what you'll see. Fairgrounds are not the most easiest of subjects to shoot because all of the ever changing artificial lighting really screws up your exposure and throws off your camera's meter. Its best to shoot in manual and adjust accordingly.  

This year I brought my D610 and 50 1.8G because at the time I just bought the D610 and really wanted to test out the high ISO and wow, I am impressed of the noise performance.  Well this isn't a review or a how-to so here are the best shots I've taken at the fair this year. 

Last few years I've always brought either a 35mm or 50mm prime, so I think next year I might bring a wide angle or maybe even a video! I hope you enjoyed these photos and you can always find more of my pictures on my Flickr page

Abandoned: Woodbury Country Store

I've been really getting into photographing abandoned & forgotten man made structures and learning about the history.   I came across this abandoned country store in Woodbury, Vermont which was a booming market back in the day and had the last gas station in town then.  Sadly the store closed (don't know when, I'd say in the early 90s) and later in 2011, hurricane Irene flooded the area and caused some further damage to the already run down building.  Some would like to see the store renovated into a proper market.  There isn't much information on this country store online and the town is pretty quiet.  

I hope you enjoyed looking at these photos.  If you have any questions or know of any information on why the store closed, please let me know by using the contact form or sending me a tweet on Twitter @nerwin.  Also, don't forget to check out some more of my pictures on Flickr

The Remains of the Milton Speedway

I'll be honest, there isn't much information on this ghost track, but I'll tell you what I do know.  This was a dedicated dragstrip located in Milton, Vermont and operated from the 1960s to early 1980s. This was and has been the only known dragstrip in the entire state of Vermont and had seen many many cars.  The track is a half mile long and was sanctioned by NASCAR.  The Milton Speedway was no doubt a hit back then with the famous NHRA Shirley Muldowney raced her first husband Jack with a super stock car a few times, but can't confirm if she has ever raced her dragster or not. 

The track has a lot of history and I had the opportunity to walk down the old track or at least what is left of it and captured some pictures of the old but not forgotten, Milton Speedway. 

Lets start out with some pictures of what the track originally looked like. 

The Milton Speedway, photo probably wasn't taken long before the track closed. 

The strip from an aerial shot.  By the looks of it, photo probably wasn't taken very long before the track closed. 


A picture probably taken in late 1960s of a drag car launching for a run down the 1/2 mile track. 

Two drag cars competing at the Milton Speedway sometime in the late 1960s

What remains today

You can easily make out the old track cutting through the vegetation where nature is reclaiming. 

I tried to match up the old black & white aerial photograph to give you an idea of how much has changed over the years.  Its still amazing how much still actually remains. 

Check out some of the pictures I took today (8/16/2014) of the old Milton Speedway.  I was even able to find some original paint markings on the track that were probably preserved from trees protecting it from the rain. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about the old Milton Speedway dragstrip, if you have any questions or comments, please contact me through the contact page or tweet to me on Twitter @nerwin.

My Experiences with RytherCamera

I know this store has a quite a few negative reviews and I have to say, I had zero problems with RytherCamera. Though I ordered through their eBay store, Deal's All Year, so I had protection from eBay.  I purchased a Nikon D610 not knowing it was a direct import model without NikonUSA warranty (It was on their eBay page, I'm just blind)...But it was too late at the time of known to cancel the order, so I went with it.  I ordered the camera on Thursday, August 7th and the following day (Friday) I got a phone call from I think Kyle and he just wanted to confirm that I ordered the camera and yes, he did try to sell me additional accessories and warranties. But I declined them and he wasn't one bit rude at all and he understood that I just wanted the camera and that was it. 

On Monday the 11th, Kyle called me again letting me know that the camera was shipped and should have it by the end of the week, cool.  Got the tracking number a few hours later and it said it was going to be delivered tomorrow by UPS (Tuesday, the 12th) and sure enough I got the camera in a Nikon gold D610 box with all original accessories, no missing pieces. Came with an English manual and the camera was set to English.  Battery was sealed in plastic...never been used. Everything about the camera was brand new like it came from the factory. 

After doing my research about import models, they are no different from US models. They just don't have the NikonUSA warranty.  The version I got was packed for Japan, heck that was fine with me as Nikon’s headquarters is in Japan anyways.  The camera came with all USA compliant cables and charger.  I think what they did was removed the Japanese white accessories box and put in a USA version box and added the USA manual and software CD. 

Checked out the D610 USA version at Best Buy here in Vermont and they were EXACTLY the same the only biggest difference I could find is the secondary language being Japanese instead of Spanish so I thought the firmware might be different from other D610s, Nope, exactly the same as US version as Nikon doesn't have any firmware updates yet for this camera. 

So far, the camera has been working flawless...Nikon only provides warranty for a year for camera bodies anyways and RytherCamera (Deals All Year) matches the warranty coverage or I could ship to Japan and get it serviced (too costly)..At the end of the day I would ship it Kurt’s Camera in California. They been doing camera repairs forever and are quite reasonably priced.

I really love it and I'm happy with my purchase.  Would I buy another import camera?  No, I would stay with US version just for peace of mind, but I saved nearly $500 by getting this imported version over the US version and that right there is another lens. I would have preferred buying from a local camera store here or at least from reputable dealers like B&H Photo or Adorama for example.  Unfortunately I was tight on money and therefore eBay was my best option and thankfully RytherCamera came through without a hitch.  

As a reminder when buying a lens is to buy local because Nikon’s warranty will cover the lens for 5 years if you buy the lens from an authorized dealer in your country.  It’s worth the extra money. 

Overall, I'm a satisfied customer.

Accessories for your Fuji X100/s

My personal Fuji X100 with Gordy Strap

My personal Fuji X100 with Gordy Strap

If you just bought a new or used Fuji X100/s, then you should totally look into pimping out your camera.  I have a few things that you might just like. 

1. Gordy Strap

When I had the Fuji X20 camera, I bought a wrist strap from Gordy Camera Straps and I really like the quality and workmanship that he puts into these straps. The straps are made in USA and made out of genuine leather. When I bought my Fuji X100 I had Gordy make me a custom 48" horizontal dark brown leather strap with grey wrapping cord and I had it in less than 2 weeks for under $30. I wear the strap as a sling, goes across my chest and under my right arm and the camera sits just above my waist.  Its very comfortable, camera is secure, doesn't bounce around much.  Really beautiful camera straps, check them out at Gordy Camera Straps

2. Soft Shutter Button

Some people might think these soft shutter buttons don't serve a functional purpose, but they really do.  Adding one of these buttons makes it far more easier and comfortable pressing the shutter button.  Back in the old film days, they didn't have a wireless remote to trigger their camera so they put a threaded screw hole in the shutter button so you can screw in a shutter release cable for long exposures.  However, this made the camera's shutter button less comfortable, so when you didn't use the cable release, you added one of these soft shutter buttons to make it more comfortable.  But it really does make it look good though, doesn't it? 

MatchTechnical makes some of the best soft shutter buttons around and while they are quite expensive, they are high quality.  I, however couldn't justify spending $30 on a soft shutter button that could potentially get lost so went with the cheaper route and spent $8 on a red soft shutter button from Neewer on Amazon and I've been really happy with it. 

3. Half Case

I didn't know if I really wanted a half case for my X100 until I put it on the camera and realized how much more grip it added to the camera without adding much weight.  One of the benefits of these cases is the bottom is partially open  to allow access to the battery and memory card compartment.  It also offsets the tripod mount so when you have a quick release plate attached, you can also access the bottom compartment.  Very handy! 

Does the half case add any protection?  No, not really..maybe only to the bottom of the camera.  I only got it for the added grip.  If you want better protection, you might to look at the full cases. 

I personally use Gariz black leather half case, they make excellent genuine leather cases.  There are many companies that make these type of cases for the X100/s.  Just do a Google search and you'll find them.  Luigi, Gariz and Fuji seem to be the top makers of these cases that the majority of the people love. 

4. Lens Hood

One of the best things about the lens hood for the X100/s is the added standard 52mm filter thread. So for fun, you could add a 3 stop ND filter and turn on the X100's built in 3 stop ND filter for a total of 6 stops to play with!  As always, the lens hood offers flare protection and also protects the lens from bumps here and there.  You should definitely use a lens hood on your X100/s.  

Mine came with the Fuji hood, but if it didn't, I'd probably get the JJC LH-X100 for $15 instead of the Fuji's $70 hood.  

5. Spare Battery!

Okay, this isn't a style element whatsoever, but I think it should be added on this list because the X100/s is known to have terrible battery life, you get roughly 300 shots per charge and even less if you shoot any video.  So I picked up a genuine Fuji NP-95 battery for $30 on Amazon. There are a TON of third party NP-95 batteries available, but I just couldn't risk using a third party battery. I've read a lot of horror stories of these batteries exploding or leaking.  Please do your research before buying a third party battery. 

If you have any questions or comments, please shoot me a tweet on Twitter @nerwin and I'll be glad to answer them!