Samsung EX-1 Review

I’ve been using the Samsung EX-1 since June and here’s a quick review, starting with the “bad” things and ending up with what I really like. Much of the review compares this camera with the Canon G-10, my previous advanced point-and-shoot.

No Stitch Assist

I do a lot of stitching in my photos, meaning that I take several shots and then combine them on my laptop. The Canon cameras have a function that lets me line up a series of two or more shots very easily, plus it automatically locks the exposure and focus. The Samsung doesn’t have this, and I really miss it for the grand vistas of Yellowstone National Park.

I can mostly replicate this by shooting in manual mode, but it’s a hassle. The Samsung has manual focus, but I don’t see how anyone could actually use it.

White Balance

It’s not as consistent as the G-10, and sometimes flips around trying to decide what to do. But there is more to this, so continue reading.


This camera seems to take more time writing photos to the memory card than the G10. A bit of a pain, but I can deal with it.


It seems minor, but the Canon let me program how many self-timer shots to take, but the Samsung does not. It was a nice feature to have on the Canon.

So those were the faults of this little camera. Mainly, the programming side doesn’t seem as refined as the Canon. But don’t let that distract you.

The Intangible Part That Makes Up For The Above

I met someone once who said all art is self-expression. Samsung’s combination of lens and computer chip definitely connects with me, letting me come closer to what I want to express. I’m talking about capturing the mood of a place, or perhaps expressing my mood when I see the place.

Flower in front of Mt. Haynes Overlook in Yellowstone National Park. I like how the Samsung captured the purples and greens, along with the steam rising from the Madison River.


It’s a 24 mm lens, compared to 28 mm with the Canons. The 24mm is significantly more usable for outdoor shots. I’m in Yellowstone with the mountain ranges and canyons and rivers, and that’s what you want.

More importantly, there is a mysterious, ethereal quality to the lens. I can’t put it into words, and I’m not sure if anyone else can notice it, but it captures detail and lighting in wonderful way.

White Balance (again)

The Samsung emphasizes subtle greens and purples. Combined with the lens, it lets you create beautiful early morning shots emphasizing forests and flowers. So while it’s not 100% “accurate”, the result is an expressive photograph.


Would I recommend it? Depends on what you want. The Canon G12 is the safe recommendation, and it’s more technically refined than Samsung. For family shots and capturing things like little kids running around, it’s probably superior. But if you tend toward the artistic side of photography, then yes, this is a gem of a camera.

Read Darwin Wiggett’s review here.


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Morning Moon Over the Madison River

Morning moon over the Madison River

Early morning picture of the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park. Click for larger image.

Got up at 5 a.m. this morning and the park, beautiful as ever, is filled with wildflowers. People downstream aren’t going to appreciate the wet spring weather because the rivers are full and will start spilling over, but around here it means lots of blue, yellow and white flowers sprinkled throughout thick green grass.

This is a shot taken a few miles from the West Yellowstone entrance. It’s two pictures stitched together, and that’s the actual moon in the upper left.

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Seeking Mushrooms

Early in the morning I was driving through a Yellowstone thunderstorm, looking at newly bloomed wildflowers pounded into the ground, listening to a certain Sammy Hagar song on a constant loop, when a call came in from West Yellowstone, reeling me back.

My friend was on the line: “[Name withheld] said the mushrooms are out.”

I had tried hunting for them, but ended with nothing.  “Where are they at?”

“I don’t know,” my friend said.

Long silence.

“Well let’s go find them,” I said.

The next day was a classic Montana morning. Green and moist and sunny with the darkness washed away, we drove into the forest and saw a raven land with a mushroom in its mouth.

“That’s a good sign,” my friend said.

It sure seemed like it, so we got out to search, but were fooled again.

We kept driving, stopping, searching. And the next thing you know, in the midst of glistening pine trees, the odds changed. Morels.

While “dividing up the cake”, each taking home half, 10 a.m. showed up, and it was time to open the store. Morel hunting had to end, as it was time to get on with life.

A pretty good day. They are out there, and with a little luck, I’ll find morels again.

Montana morel mushroom

Montana morel mushroom


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Yellowstone Wildflowers Are Out

Yellowstone Wildflowers Are Blooming

A quick photo from yesterday morning in Yellowstone park. I wouldn't say the park is known for wildflowers, but right now they are blooming and it's exciting to come across them. Click for larger image.

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Opening Day 2011 For Yellowstone National Park


Yellowstone Canyon - opening day, 2011
Yellowstone Canyon – opening day, 2011. Click for larger view.

The park is looking as good as ever on this first day of the 2011 summer season. The main road from West Yellowstone to Canyon is clear of snow, though most of the turn-0ffs are still blocked.

The buffalo are looking mighty skinny after the long, snowy winter. Their coats are in excellent shape with thick, full hair and I’m sure they are staying warm.

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Walking Into The Old West: Montana Buffalo Coat Available Now

The Montana Buffalo Coat

The Montana Buffalo Coat hanging next to the Madison River, just outside of Yellowstone. Click image for larger view.

Imagine yourself walking into the swirling Montana snow,  negative 40 degrees, and you can’t see past the nearest lodgepole pines because of the white-out conditions. A calf was about to be born and it’s vital you get outside to check on it. But how do you stay warm?

A hundred years ago they knew what to do – pull on a full-length coat made from a buffalo hide. The interlocking hair traps your body warmth and the leather blocks the fierce winds.

This classic western coat is now available to be custom made just for you.

It takes about eight weeks to create one of these beautiful coats – the tailoring doesn’t start until I get all of your measurements, meaning this is made just for your size. Why all this work? Remember, people are going to admire this coat, it will stir distant memories of cowboys and ranchers and trappers, and they will come up to admire it. You want to look good, so the custom-tailoring is key.

Here’s the other important factor: I let you pick out the buffalo hide, meaning I’m not using left-over pieces that wouldn’t sell otherwise. That’s right – what I’m offering is that you get to choose from my premium selection of thick-haired, colorful, prime winter hides that I personally pick out each year.

Don’t delay in ordering your coat. Here is a page on the main web site with additional photos. It’s easiest to do this work over the phone, so call me, David Barnes, at (314) 322-3299 and we can get started right away.




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Buffalo Hide in new True Grit

Did you notice what Jeff Bridges was wrapping himself with while sleeping in the new True Grit movie? A great, big buffalo hide.

The buffalo hide makes a great bed cover. They are warm, of course, but you don’t get sweaty in one because of how they breathe. This is a natural product, and better than whatever synthetic things that have been dreamed up since the frontier days.

So, did I like True Grit? It was OK, but it needed the charisma of John Wayne.

Order your buffalo hide here or give me a call at (406) 646-6717.

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Tonight’s West Yellowstone Sunset

Tonight's West Yellowstone Sunset

Tonight's stunning sunset in West Yellowstone, Montana. Click for larger view.

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Winter Vista View From Refuge Point

Winter Vista View from Refuge Point near Hebgen Lake, Montana

Winter vista view from Refuge Point near Hebgen Lake, Montana. Click for larger image.

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Snowshoe Trip To Refuge Point

Madison River on Refuge Point Snowshoe Trail

Madison River on Refuge Point Snowshoe Trail. Click for larger version.

There’s definitely not a shortage of snow in West Yellowstone this winter and that means some beautiful snowshoe trips are possible. These are some shots from a recent trek on the Refuge Point snowshoe trail a few miles outside of West Yellowstone near Beaver Creek.

Some quick tips if you do this:

Wear Warm Gloves

Bison Fiber Gloves on a Montana snowshoe trip

Bison Fiber Gloves on a Montana snowshoe trip.

I wore my my bison fiber gloves and they were ideal in the 20 degree weather. I do think if it were around 0 or below, I’d need to put an outer glove on and use these as an insert. The gloves got wet from the snow, but the nice thing about buffalo fiber is you can wring it out and put them back on.

Bring A Camera That Lets You Stitch Photos
There are wide vistas on this trip and one picture isn’t enough to capture it all. Most of the newer digital cameras now have “stitch” mode where you can take two or more shots and then combine them into one picture. Be sure to do this. All of the wide shots in this post are two or three photos stitched together.

Snow Pants Are Vital
When I did this last year I wore jeans that immediately became wet, and then very cold. Snow pants keep you dry and warm – the North Face ones I got from REI are probably the best purchase I’ve made recently.

Snow Shoes
I know there are better ones, but if you are an occasional snowshoer, the ones from Costco are at a good price and work just fine.

David Barnes snowshoeing on the Refuge Point trail.

David Barnes snowshoeing on the Refuge Point trail.

Refuge Point Snowshoe Trail near West Yellowstone, Montana.

Refuge Point Snowshoe Trail near West Yellowstone, Montana. Click for larger version.

Snowshoe Tracks and view of the Gallatin National Forest in winter.

Snowshoe Tracks and view of the Gallatin National Forest in winter. Click for larger version.

Snowshoe Trekkers on the Refuge Point Trail.

Snowshoe Trekkers on the Refuge Point Trail. Click for larger version.

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