Faulty lens and use of a snatch strap

Friday, March 11th, 2011 at 11:22pm

By driving straight through Balladonia yesterday to get to Esperance, we actually gained a day in our schedule. After consideration we decided that we would reinstate a rest day at Albany. This rest day had been previously eliminated so we could stay just north of the Stirling Ranges in order to walk to the top of Bluff Knoll (three hours return) before getting into Albany. We now have an entire day in Albany to do nothing but relax.

After booking accommodation we set off, first having a look around the town area of Esperance and up to the Rotary Lookout on Wireless Hill, to the supermarket for lunch supplies and then out on the Great Ocean Drive. We would have liked to have stopped at the Esperance Municipal Museum, but its opening times of 1:30pm to 4:30pm didn’t work at all with our schedule.

Southwest from the Rotary Lookout, Esperance

It was at this point that we headed back into town, so I could pick up a polarising filter for my 28mm lens. This is something I have been meaning to do for a while, but why now? Because my main (on the camera 99% of the time) lens (Canon 17-85mm IS) developed the Err 01 fault yesterday (from dust and sand I assume). Reading up last night I found out that it was likely to be a problem with the aperture and after testing, I found that it was fine wide open so I decide to keep using it. But while driving around the Great Ocean Drive I discovered another issue with the autofocus, so that lens is out of action. My other lenses are 70-200mm (too long), 50mm nifty fifty (not zoom and too constrained) and the 28mm. While not zoom, it does give a decent field of view.

So, for the time being at least, the 28mm with a circular polariser is the lens I am using, but I am considering options. Could I post it to a Canon service centre in Perth for them to fix by the time we get to Perth? Could I find a secondhand 17-85mm to pickup in Perth? Could I buy a different/better lens? A different lens would be the 24-70L, but I have found that range to be too limiting on a crop body, and as I have no plans to move to full frame in the near future I don’t consider that an option. Whatever I do, it will affect the remaining two thirds of this road trip, even if it is to continue using the 28mm.

Speaking of the road trip, we were leaving Esperance before I decided to detour back for the filter.

Heading west from Esperance we decided to leave the highway and head down closer to the coast, after a few false starts along roads to Margaret Cove that became 4×4 recommended, then turned into tracks, we made it to Munglinup Beach. The beach itself was nice, but problems arose when we detoured down a side sand track and got ourselves bogged. An hour with the folding shovel didn’t help so I walked back to the camping area at the beach where I found a nice couple from Queensland with a 4×4. Appropriate use of a snatch strap moved the car the 10 metres back to more solid ground and all was well, except for the time and effort.

Still digging away the sand

Now running out of time we headed straight for Hopetoun to have lunch in a park near the beach before intending to cut through the Fitzgerald River National Park. This didn’t happen, but this time it was becuase of all the signs indicating that the road was closed, so we returned to the highway at Ravensthorpe which we followed to where we are now, just north of the Stirling Range National Park.

We hope the weather tomorrow is good for the walk up Bluff Knoll in the morning, followed by the Stirling Range Drive in the afternoon and arrival into Albany.

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