Bluebells, Blogging Friends, and the Fuji X100T

Okay, can I just say how much fun I’ve been having meeting up with fellow bloggers lately? This time round, I got to enjoy the company of Robin Kent of PhotographybyKent on a morning hike to catch Virginia’s bluebells in full bloom along the banks of the Potomac River. (FYI, Robin and I are posting in tandem – look for his link at the end of this post!)

What a morning it was! Cool temperatures, blue skies filled with puffy white clouds, and the location all to ourselves. How did we score this private viewing? The spot is Black Pond on the grounds of The Madeira School in McLean, Virginia, and only those with campus passes (yours truly) have access. Classes were still an hour away from starting, so campus was quiet. And besides, no students would be hiking through the woods at that hour anyway.

I was doubly excited about the outing because it was the first day I was going to use my rented Fuji X100T, a mirrorless rangefinder-type camera that I had received via FedEx just the evening before. I didn’t even bring my Nikon D7100 with me – I didn’t want to be tempted to use it.

So off we went. Into the woods and down the trail. We walked alongside a bubbling stream and passed Madeira’s famous zipline (to which both Robin and I shook our heads and said “no way.”) Twenty minutes in, the trail turns left at the Potomac River … and we were surrounded by acres of beautiful bluebells.

Virginia bluebells along the banks of the Potomac River

Ten minutes further down, the trail ends at spring-fed Black Pond, surrounded by bedrock bluffs, and beech, hemlock, and oak trees. I was thrilled Robin found the sights to be as wonderful as I described to him.

Access to Black Pond on The Madeira School campus in McLean, Virginia.

Black Pond on The Madeira School campus in McLean, Virginia.

For the next hour, we shot pictures. I was amazed by the Fuji’s electronic viewfinder, showing me what my image would look like as I made adjustments to aperture and shutter speed. While it also has an optical and range-finder type viewfinder, because the real-time adjustments also appear on the LCD screen, I found myself composing and shooting all from the screen. Wonderful! No more smudged eyeglass lens from looking through the viewfinder! The size of the camera? 5x2x3 inches; in other words, next to nothing. Size of the sensor? The same as on my Nikon. And I got used to shooting with the 23 mm F2.0 fixed lens. As the saying goes, I zoomed with my feet, not my lens.

Virginia bluebells line a woodland trail.

Virginia bluebells line a trail alongside the banks of the Potomac River

This was the parting shot of the trail as we headed back to Madeira. The hike up was more strenuous than the hike down. It didn’t faze Robin; I, on the other hand, had to call “uncle” a few times to catch my breath (there likely would have been more stops had I been lugging my Nikon!). Once back on campus, I took Robin to the bluff at the western-most edge that overlooks the Potomac. I didn’t take any shots here, but Robin did, and I promised him I would bring him back in the fall, when the landscape around the river is ablaze with autumn reds, yellows, and oranges.

Okay, you’ve seen my pictures, but I bet you’re dying to see Robin’s (and you should be). So please go take a look at what he shot and read what he had to say about the experience. I know you’re going to love his photos (I’ve had a sneak preview and they’re gorgeous!) As for my take on the X100T? Keep an eye out for photos from my next three DC shoots – two sunset and one sunrise – where I learned even more about what this camera has to offer. I think — no, I know — I’m in love!

For two previous posts on Black Pond, visit Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections and Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring (2).

52 thoughts on “Bluebells, Blogging Friends, and the Fuji X100T

  1. I’m delighted you’ve had the chance to meet another blogger, and equally pleased to hear your spent some time together doing what you love. These are breathtaking vistas. How nice to work on campus and have these at your disposal.

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about the fancy camera. It sounds like you’re hooked.

    I’ll go take a look at Robin’s post next.


    • So much fun to have yet another blogger outing, Alys! And, yes, I seriously love this little camera. Sadly, my rental ended and I had to return it. I did rent it’s bigger brother, and I must say I’m not as enamored (despite all its wonderful reviews). It could be because I haven’t yet had the chance to really take it out and put it through its paces. I hope to change that this weekend 😀


      • Sounds like you have some fun in store. I’ve never even thought about renting a camera. What a great idea to learn new features and to figure out what you like. Everyone’s different, so even though reviews may be good, you’ll know what you are the most comfortable with.

        That said, whatever you’re doing with your current camera is pretty darn awesome. Enjoy the weekend.


    • Thanks so much, Fernan! My love affair with the camera continues 🙂 Stay tuned. I’ll be posting more photos from the 100T, and will also be trying out the XT1 (which has interchangeable lenses).


  2. How fun for you to not only get to take pictures of this beautiful area but get together with someone who also shares the same love~ Photography! The captures… are quite stunning!


    • Hi, Pauline! So many different vistas along this river, each one beautiful in its own right. I will never tire of the views, especially those looking from Virginia across the river to the DC monuments. No matter the season, the weather, or time of day or night, always gorgeous!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Stacy, beautiful work – really enjoyed your post and that of Robin’s . It great to see both your interpretations. Isn’t it fantastic to meet up with felooe phitographers … Great company and great learning!


    • Thanks, Patti! I had to return the rental today but am now renting the XT1, which comes in tomorrow. I have so many great shots from the 100T yet to post; the T1 has some big shoes to fill 🙂


  4. This looks like a great place and how wonderful to have met up with Robin, we’ll all be getting jealous over this side of the pond! You got some really great pictures, especially when you’ve only just got your camera. I’ve been out shooting bluebells today too, its a really beautiful sight at this time of year. Now I’ve seen your lovely pictures, I’ll have to go over and see Robin’s. 🙂


    • Thanks, Katie! It was such a fun morning! Wouldn’t it be fun if all the ABF crew were able to get together? I first heard about bluebells only a few years ago and couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about until I saw this beautiful place. So nice to hear you have them too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Stacy. Great post and thanks for the shout out. It was a great day to be out there and I really appreciate the opportunity. Your images turned out great. It’s hard to believe that you pulled off those shots with a camera that had been in your hands less than 12 hours. I’m looking forward to the upcoming posts from your miniature marvel.


    • Robin, I can’t believe I am just now responding to the comments on this post! Yikes …

      That I ended up with some great images is a testament to the ease of using the Fuji. Miniature marvel is an apt description. Thanks, again, for a great day!


  6. Lovely post, it is great meeting up with fellow enthusiasts. I have met up with several people I met through Flickr when I was posting regularly, always good fun.


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