Pemaquid lighthouse. Everyone comes with camera or iPhone to get a photograph of the lighthouse. I sit and watch them scramble all over the rocks up and down, every which way. They take their shots and move on. Only a few will see the reflection in the tidal pool. Virtually no one will point out this shot. One kind Englishman in all the times I have been here actually took the time to point (I already knew) down at the pool for me. And in all the others I have tried on occasion to point out the quintessential image to some passersby. Largely unnoticed is a gem at their feet. Move on, next attraction, , . look mom, see where I’ve been. Look down at your feet.
I got a new camera (last September)– Sony RX100VI. It’s touted as the best travel camera. It’s been raved over as a dive camera for years. I succumbed to the hype. I have buyer’s remorse. It’s good! But the Canon G7X is good too. And it cost a lot less. The Canon G7 Mark II is probably good too. I did need a new camera. Ha! I’ve got a case of camera envy. Actually, I justify the acquisition in the name of protecting and preserving the G7X. My dive housing is dedicated and if the G7X goes, then there will be a very expensive dive housing sitting without a place to go. Yeah! That does seal the argument?? The Sony is good. I’m just putting it through rigorous field tests. It’s good. I miss the G7X already. I’ll transition and everything will be okay. It happened with my Canon G12. That was a sweet camera until the G7X. And my Canon S100? What about the trusty Nikon D610? Ok, ok, don’t laugh. I’ve got cameras like… ladies have shoes (some not all). I have some test images. There are limitations in focusing and speed and … overall, the camera does well. It and I are still getting to know each other. There are advantages over an iPhone… and not. Mostly I’m a camera guy. I want to take a picture with a real camera and control certain elements that the iPhone doesn’t allow. Remember, I like to make the rules … not be ruled. Judge from the samples. I need a haircut.
Follow-up: Since there is considerable delay in my posts lately, it’s been two trips since I got the RX100. I have not shot a frame from the G7X. There are limitations. Focusing, touted as excellent, has been a problem with the RX100. Like anything else, you work with the limitations and adapt to the quirks. Looking back, the RX100 is easily an all in one travel camera for compact size and convenience. I still think and visualize faster than the camera can respond. And, I still see lots of pictures that the camera was not quick enough to respond to capture the image I saw.
This was a product of my newfound knowledge about bounce flash. You can easily read about the technique so I won’t extend this post to explain. The lighting is even. There are no shadows. We are used to light in all color. But this is more or less daylight balanced. The light is less blue than the snow light you can see thru the window. Flash is specular and harsh associated with sharp shadows. The overall result is pleasing with bounce flash. It works. I’ve done it. There are limitations to using the technique. When it works the result is great. It’s part of my knowledge. Use at your discretion. I add a dig against iPhone; you can’t bounce flash. As for me, I don’t use a big flash on my camera much any more. But you can be sure that professionals do.
In the days before digital it was darned hard to do night shots as an amateur. Flash won’t light the Eiffel Tower. You used the film that was in the camera. Lights are bright but will not be sufficient to light up everything in your picture. Digital makes hash of all of that worry. The mini computer can compensate on the fly. ISO adjusts automatically as the light changes. The processor will adapt to artificial light.
Then – You accept noise in your image. Basically, you are thankful for a shot. Now – The shots are so exceptionally better that you don’t realize how easy it all is today. I’m amazed. I take it in stride and even shot the stars (recently) in the night sky without a tripod. I’m not bragging. I can only say that you can push the envelope and it often will give you something better than expected.
The Tour de France is a bicycle race of 2000 miles in three weeks. I have no desire to photograph it. Some people wait/camp along the route for weeks before the bikers pass. Then 100 riders go by at 28 miles an hour and it’s over. Too little bang for your buck. A British royal wedding? I’m not related. So, I would be among millions lining a street for a glimpse. If I lived there overlooking the parade route… My good buddy, Charlie (Bell 47 helicopter), loves the whole picture. Get the whole thing (ship). But, if you include the whole ship (helicopter) with its rotors, you lose detail.
There are times when detail (close-up) is better. It means you were there. You saw the finer details. And the whole (ship) can be discerned from its part. It’s a fine point. And, it’s an opinion. When film was limited, I shot frugally. I did not shoot well. Now that digital is plentiful, I shoot lots. I still don’t always shoot well. More is not more. Nor is more less. I find that I shoot more. I shoot wide angle and telephoto. It takes a second. But, lately I find that zooming in I utilize the camera’s capability to fulfill my vision better. No, Photoshop will not save you if you are lazy. You can crop the hell out of a poor image and get something. How about getting it without thinking you have a ready crutch to fall upon. I like to mix metaphors. Get the point?
An image is two dimensional on the page. Telephoto perspective can crowd what you see by its depth of field. Perspective is something that has many meanings. It all depends on you. Technical or philosophical?
I used to hold the camera to my eye, look through the viewfinder, compose, adjust the settings, and shoot. Point and shoot has liberated me. Autofocus, auto exposure, and auto ISO have made it a virtual breeze. There are a high percentage of misses and out of focus shots. But, the payoff is good too. Forget straight horizons. The image is way more interesting if the picture is angled. Break the rules. You still have to know the rules to break them wisely. I do get some interesting shots. The good news is that I am not static and am still learning. Are you?
What was I thinking when I included this trio? Not much to see or admire. Useless shots abound. They don’t look good when I shoot them and rarely surprise me when I reject them. There’s no point of interest and the color is monotonous. It is a view of the back yard only a mother would love.
It’s not so much that you take pictures. I take the same ones. Not really. Confused? What I’m trying to say is that I take pictures that work for me. The subject may change. But, there are poses that work. I experiment. Digital allows me to do this relatively easily. Lately, what I realize is that I zoom a little closer. I pay attention to distracting backgrounds. Mostly, what I have posted of late are images that are straight from the camera without too much manipulation. That’s pretty good. I kind of plan it out that way. It’s been working.
Okay! So, read your manual. Or my manual. Duh! Don’t laugh. I neglected to do so. I was lazy and haven’t refreshed myself since I got the camera. Digital is like a computer. You can unlock a lot of secrets by reading the built-in tricks in the software. Geez! I did some hand wringing recently. My images were not in sharp focus. So, after some adjustment I think I’ve got the problem less worse. I shot a bunch of tests. There were still a high percentage of duds. But I was trying to test the camera. Nikon D610. It’s spiffy and I am supposed to be able to make it do what I want. To that degree, it does. I’ve been shooting way more with my point and shoot Canon G7 so I got out of the habit of looking in a viewfinder.
I have an array of cameras at hand. The iPhone is always in my pocket. A point and shoot G7 goes with me wherever. The big Nikon and it’s big glass is available. The happy medium? I don’t like the tiny iPhone lens. Yes, it’s good but not as much as my Canon point and shoot. I have a smaller Canon S100 too. And a Canon G12. But I prefer the larger lens and image size on the G7. Underwater photography convinced me of the merit of a point and shoot over the potential for heart breaking loss of a big rig DSLR. Bottom line: My point and shoot Canon G7 is about 90% of my shooting these days. TMI!
Change the lighting. High contrast. Focus. Whoa! It’s brilliant. What is the process of making an image? Lately, I have largely stopped doing much Photoshop. And, after much editing, I realize that “crop” is important. I do it in the camera before I get to Lightroom. I’m lazy. Sorry. A few tweaks. Not much more. Not bad. So many flowers, so little space to post. I hate to post more than one image. Sometimes, I just give up and post multiples.
Manhattan Beach does their annual firework display at Xmas. They don’t compete with the neighboring beach community that does it in July. It’s a very large beach. You have to get a good seat. And so we did. The traffic was horrible. But we were already parked. I guess that was the limiting factor.
We sat alone with no one nearby and had the best seats in the house. It was chilly! And I got fireworks! Next July I’ll look for fireworks images. For now we got some great ones. How do you know he’s going up? He was. I suggested it would be easier to pull than push. But the image? It could be more likely he’s going downhill with the stroller…except he’s not.
On the technical side: I shot the fireworks handheld. This meant I could not use an extended exposure. Ideally: Use a tripod. Set the shutter speed to 3-4 seconds. Adjust your ISO and aperture accordingly. You get sharp trails of light and even multiple bursts. Handheld? Hey, it works too if you set up correctly. It’s what I did when I started. It’s not what I’d do now. But one adapts to the conditions provided. No, it’s not worth buying a tripod special for this occasion. I’m not OCD. Ha!