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Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania

Back in May I went hiking at Pine Creek Gorge, otherwise known as ”The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania”. It’s located in Tioga State Forest in North-Central Pennsylvania and spans 3 counties starting near Wellsboro, PA. The town is very quaint and is very much like other small towns in the center of the state. It’s about 3 hours from where I grew up, but I had never heard of it until a few years ago. 

We were only there for the weekend and the weather was good for hiking, but not great for shooting. I tried to travel light and only brought the Canon 5DmkII, 24-70 2.8L, a tripod, and some filters. 

We checked out Leonard Harrison State Park the first day and had plans to hit up Colton Point State Park on the west side of the canyon the next day. However, the weather had other plans. 

We hiked to the bottom of the canyon on the “Turkey Trot Path” which was pretty cool and a little more technical than I expected. Oh, and it downpoured for the last third of the descent, which made it a bit more treacherous. Maybe not that bad, but it was pretty slippery, though there was no galleon at the end.

The rain ended once we reached the floor of the canyon (of course), but the sun came out and since everyone behind us had (smartly) turned around, we had the place to ourselves. The clouds were still breaking and the sun was only peeking through in spots, so it was just dark enough get some longish exposures, using a small shutter and no need to dig out the ND filter.

The next day was a bit of a washout, but we did manage to get in some fishing and check out Wellsboro. If you make it up this way be sure to check out Wild Asaph Outfitters. Super cool place and knowledgeable people.

On our way home we drove a good portion of the canyon along route 414. It’s longer, depending on which direction you’re headed, but if you have time drive it slow and check out the small town and outposts along the way. Totally worth an extra hour or two to get home. 



A Walk Around The Bryn Athen Cathedral with the Panasonic GX9

Normally I shoot a Canon 5D MK II, but it is quite heavy to lug around and “looks” like a pro camera.  Not only does the size get you noticed, but it also makes it very hard to carry discreetly. Whenever I take it with me, I feel like I HAVE to take photos, if for no other reason than to have something to show for putting up with the hassle of bringing the beast along. After a few years of this, I ended up just leaving it at home when I went out.

I missed the days when I had a Ricoh GRD III that was perfect for slipping in your pocket and was a big reason why I was able to capture almost all of my street photography. I decided I needed something similar to that but a little more versatile. At first I thought about the Sony A6000 line of cameras, but even though they are mirrorless, their lenses are still pretty big and pretty expensive. I was looking for something small like a point and shoot, but still had some ability to take decent shots with advanced setting options. My needs were pretty much answered with the Micro Four Thirds system. 


I ended up going with the Panasonic Lumix GX9. It’s the perfect camera for what I need. It hasn’t been reviewed much or well, but that is mostly because of it’s video handicaps, the fact that it wasn’t weather sealed, and Panasonic’s weird naming convention. This led people to believe it was a successor to the GX8 rather then the GX85 with which it has more in common. The weather sealing issue is annoying, but then again, if that really is an issue,  I’d just take the 5D anyway. The EVF is pretty poor which was another sticking point for most reviewers, however, It doesn’t bother me as I’m old school and used to using a viewfinder that slides into the hot-shoe (previously mentioned GRD III & my old film rangefinder). 


The included kit lens is better than most kit lenses, but I added the Lumix 20mm F/1.7 II Pancake lens. This lens is the one I’ve used the most over the past month (also the lens used to take all the images in this post) and while it’s good, I’m not sure if I like this focal length. I like shooting wide and 40mm (35mm equivalent) is a bit tight for me, especially when shot in the 4:3 format.  The great thing about Micro Four Thirds is that their is a ton of lenses available, almost too many. I already have a few on a growing list over at B&H.  

Originally, this post was supposed to be about Bryn Athen Cathedral, where all of these photos were taken. However, the reason for taking these shots was to test out the new toy, which was possible because I can carry it with me all the time. I’ve wanted to shoot here for a while, since I drive by it a few times a week. Having the camera with me all the time allowed me to stop and take a few shots once the weather cooperated. 

Normally, I would include the settings of each shot, but as I’m still playing with the camera, these settings are not dialed in yet. For example, there is an auto-ISO feature that seemed like a good idea, since it could be limited to not exceed a certain speed, but in practice………it allowed me to take a shot at 1/4000 (cool) at ISO 1000 (not cool and totally unnecessary). At the time, checking in the EVF it showed an ISO of 200, so not entirely sure how it ended up switching to ISO 1000. I was shooting toward the sun so a 1/4000 at F/4 wasn’t a crazy setting. Of course, I could just be an idiot (which is most likely the case).


Anyway, here are some shots to show Micro Four Thirds isn’t dead. 



Philadelphia Street Photography

Rembrandt Street - Ricoh GRD III | 1/500 | F3.2 | ISO 200

Freedom | Ricoh GRD III | 1/500 | F1.9 | ISO 200

South Philly | Ricoh GRD III | 1/640 | F4 | ISO 100

Smoking Man | Ricoh GRD III | 1/1250 | F4 | ISO 200

Smoking Portrait | Ricoh GRD III | 1/500 | F2.8 | ISO 400

As I’ve been going through and cleaning up my Lightroom catalog, I ‘ve discovered images that I never published. I was trying to do a daily post of shots like I did back in 2010, but that has proved to not be as easy with my current schedule. So this post is five images that I rediscovered and posted for the first time this week on Instagram. 

@davidoakill