A year with the Mk-Z

A year with the #Mk-Z

This was the first US-built four-door car that attracted me from the get-go and I ordered mine early on. The design still gets compliments from both young and old wherever I park. The dash is well laid-out and everything is in easy reach.

Overall Quality:

After some initial frustrating issues, the car has performed extremely well. Knowledgeable techs and very capable support team managed all service appointments within the promised timeframe and there was always a loaner car available. I have averaged 36.1MPG, quite a bit less than #Ford had stated in their documentation, but they did send a check to “make good” on that mistake.

After a year with the car, there are some issues that reinforce the perception that an American car is made with subpar components and it will likely stay in the stable for a few more months before it is relegated to the “it was fun while it lasted”.

The three main issues that will very likely get me in another brand for the next car are:


Ford never was, and apparently still is not, capable of designing a very comfortable seat. Jaguar, GM, Toyota, and VW all have been able to come up with a design that is comfortable on long haul trips. Why Ford never adapted some of these designs from Jaguar into their other products is beyond me, but I guess it has a lot to do with “if it wasn’t designed here then….” attitude. It is one of the reasons I stay away from Hertz too!

Leather Interior:

The biggest difference between all European luxury cars I have owned (or still own) and the Lincoln is the quality of the leather. After just 20,000 miles – less than half of those are with a passenger in the car – both front seats are already showing significant wear in the leather. I have cars that are 30 years old with 100,000+ miles on the odometer where the leather is in better shape. I certainly expected the leather on the Lincoln to last a bit longer that this. The seat A/C works well, but there is a distinct dark dust deposited on the seats each time it is turned on. Even my Chevy Silverado leather still looked better at 250,000 miles!

Navigation System:

In two words….. IT SUCKS!

First of all, the $300 map that comes with the car is (was) at least a year old. I know this for sure since major highways in the area that had been open for at least 14 months are not part of the map system.

Navigation in quickest route is always wrong. On a recent road trip (I have been heading there for at least seven years and the route is well known to me), the car decided to want to take me on 732 miles, 10:50 hours ride that according to Google and my trusted Garmin was only 634 miles and 8:48 long. Why it routed me some hundred miles out of my way is beyond me, but Ford must have logic to their madness.

The SYNC voice command system performs poorly at best. If the car is in motion, that is the only way you can enter an address since the panel is locked out. So, you will need to pull over and enter an address.

But, lastly, the most annoying part would be the flashing white circle surrounding the triangle that represents the vehicle. N one has figured out how to eliminate this blinking light.

So, I keep my Garmin with lifetime map updates in the car and use it 90% of the time.

In a nutshell, I must rate the attempt at luxury and comfort a complete fiasco.


Cambo Actus and the Fuji X-T1

This afternoon I got to do some preliminary testing with the Cambo Actus fixed to the Fuji X-T1.

This, I believe, will be a great addition to the landscape photo kit I travel with. I tested the Nikkor 75mm and Schneider 90mm and discovered that the Schneider 47mm would not focus to infinity, but as a macro or even close portrait lens, this lens will work superbly.

There was not much difference between coverage of the 75 and 90mm lenses, and I liked the results with the latter quite a bit better.

The images (on the linked page below) with the proprietary Fuji and Zeiss fixed focus lenses at 12mm, 23mm, and 35mm.

The 90mm Schneider comes close to the coverage area of the 35mm lens. Although not very wide for landscapes, the Cambo Actus will provide for some incredibly sharp images in many instances.

Tomorrow morning I will go to one of the few scenic spots in town and see how it does in the field. This way I can test the system including a Lee polarizer and some graduated filters.

Here is the link to the test images shot.



When photographing landscapes or cityscapes our brain tends to quickly eliminate any repeating patterns after a quick glance of  patterns.

A hedge, a hay field, a row Aspens, windows in a skyscraper.  As long as this pattern is of the same color and goes in the same direction, the brain stores the information and allows you to focus on the main subject – usually something that contrasts the “pattern”.

One way to keep the viewer’s attention on the image is by throwing off the brain by having a repeating pattern that does not make sense. My favorite way of doing this is to photograph reflections of the pattern or to pan the camera in the direction of the energy in the image.

Here, Aspens and a clear blue sky are being reflected off a lake.  It was a windy day, so I added a 4-stop ND filter to allow for longer exposure that would neutralize the waves into a “flat” surface.

Although these are “normal” patterns, the eye stops for a moment because the “upside-down” trees. This is not a normal occurrence so the brain needs to process the photo.  You have now captured your audience!

Reflections on North Lake, CA

Reflections of Aspens


In this image, I used a small aperture to allow for a 1/30 exposure.  The waves were coming from left to right, and I began by panning in the same direction. While turning at the hip at the moment I had a steady motion, I clicked the shutter.

Try something different!  Sometimes the results will surprise you!