New Addition

New Addition

When I first started the blog and sharing my photos in November 2012, my Panasonic Lumix FZ200 was brand new to me and the rest of the photography community. It is a classified as a "Bridge Camera", meaning it does more than the pocket-sized, lightweight Point and Shoot cameras but not as much as a regular DSLR. Sort of an in between camera. One hallmark of a bridge camera is the lens is fixed; it does not have interchangeable lenses. The FZ200 has a great lens, from 25-600mm and that constant aperture of 2.8 gives it lots of capability, but the sensor is small. Still, it has made some great photos for me.

What I have learned this year is that my photos can be processed and edited and improved, but cannot be successfully cropped and retain the clarity and sharpness I want. In other words, if I take a photo of something and it is small in the frame, I can't enlarge that very much at all. If I do it will look like mush.

Enter my new camera, the Sony RX10. This is also brand new on the market and new to me. Funny, I never thought of myself as an early adopter, but ... there you are. This one is a wee bit heavier than my FZ200, and the fixed lens also has the 2.8 constant aperture; but, the camera has a much larger sensor.  The link will tell you way more than you ever wanted to know about sensors, but it is the part of the camera that gathers light to make the image. And a larger sensor can transmit more information. This one doesn't have the extended zoom of the FZ200; the zoom is 24-200mm but with the bigger sensor, the photos will be bigger.

At least that is the theory. It has a lot of other features and the design makes the controls and settings much easier to use. That is another part of my new plan; I want to learn to shoot manually instead of everything happening "automagically".

So here we go with some photos from the new camera. These were shot at the Texas City Dike on a cloudy, cool overcast day. And, all these were shot RAW and then processed with Adobe Camera Raw 8.3. And then a bit more with Photoshop.

Shipwrecked or scuttled? ISO 400 1/1250 at f/5.6, focal length 48.0mm. Cropped for composition

Shipwrecked or scuttled?

ISO 400 1/1250 at f/5.6, focal length 48.0mm. Cropped for composition

Last Sunday at Texas City Dike, I was aghast to see this shrimp boat on the beach. We have had a bit of rain lately, but no storms or high winds. But, there it was. On closer examination, note there are no nets, no equipment on the boat. It seems anything of value has been removed. It was very odd that there was a sticker on the window, some kind of registration, that didn't expire until 8/2014.

Mysterious...

Shrimper aground. ISO 400 1/400 at f/11.0, focal length 109.0mm. Post-processed with Photoshop Overlay and Oil Paint.

Shrimper aground.

ISO 400 1/400 at f/11.0, focal length 109.0mm. Post-processed with Photoshop Overlay and Oil Paint.

Somehow, this one got on the beach and that made me think of storms and hurricanes and even those awful ship breaking places in India and Bangladesh. You know about those? Where they drive decommissioned ships up on the beach and desperately poor people break them apart for salvage with hand tools? This is hardly a cheerful book for the upcoming holiday season, but put this one on your list to read someday: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi.

Stranger at the shore. ISO 1000 1/500 at f/11.0 focal length 200.0mm. Cropped for composition.

Stranger at the shore.

ISO 1000 1/500 at f/11.0 focal length 200.0mm. Cropped for composition.

I think I told you once I saw a giant black and white cat along the shore north of Texas City Dike. Evidently it was a day for surprises, because here is another one. The Texas City Dike is 5 miles long with nary a store nor house on its entire length. About a mile from this spot are several bait stores; but no residences until you get closer to town. Must be a wild feral cat; it was very wary of me and I didn't get too close. I missed my long zoom of the old camera on this, but there are all kinds of photos to take. The smallness of the lonely cat in the sea of grass is interesting.

Symmetry. ISO 1000 1/1250 at f/5.5, focal length 50.0mm

Symmetry.

ISO 1000 1/1250 at f/5.5, focal length 50.0mm

I am a sucker for symmetrical shots. And I would have taken this shot even if the splashy yellow flowers hadn't been there. This is next to the boat ramp at Texas City Dike. The gulls and pelicans hang out here and next to the tables where the fishermen clean their catch.

Well, what about the birds you say? How does this new camera do with birds?

Snowy and some friends

Snowy and some friends

The Snowy Egret was perched on a light standard just next to the boat ramp. Several gulls had staked out the far end of the pole, but none tried to crowd him.

And this is where the new camera and manual settings helped, I think. This is a white bird against a bright cloudy sky. You can see Bill and his 500mm lens framing the Snowy for his shot.  So, I moved in next to him and ...

Snowy Egret being all aloof and haughty. ISO 400 1/1600 f/2.8, focal length 200.0mm

Snowy Egret being all aloof and haughty.

ISO 400 1/1600 f/2.8, focal length 200.0mm

He wasn't as large in the frame as I wanted, but I was able to crop the photo and not lose so much detail. My old camera seemed to default to ISO 100, f/4.0 no matter what the circumstances and a lot of my photos were underexposed. And, at the extreme zoom distances, the quality started to fall off. This shot is at new camera's maximum zoom and the feather detail looks pretty good to me.

Bird in flight! ISO 1000 1/2000 f/4.0 focal length 200.0mm.

Bird in flight!

ISO 1000 1/2000 f/4.0 focal length 200.0mm.

Shooting manually at least lets me control the shutter speed and my BIF (Bird in Flight) skills are improving dramatically. Now, if you shoot birds, pelicans are almost a no-brainer since they fly slow and on a predictable path. Still, it is a challenge to have enough depth of field to have the body, wings, head and bill all in focus. And if the bird is flying overhead and toward you, the autofocus is trying to play catch up. So, I was pretty happy with this one.

And, then they dive. So far, I have several shots of the splash just after they hit the water, but I will keep trying!

Update: While I loved taking photos with the Sony RX10 - the camera is well laid out, easy to adjust, I was not pleased with the quality of the images. Everything looked just a bit soft; not crisp or tack sharp. Plus, the zoom was just not enough for birds. I had thought I could crop the larger photos and get a image that more filled the frame. But there just wasn't enough reach. I sent the camera back. It is a fine camera; I truly like the idea of bridge or "all in one" cameras, but this one wasn't for me.

Do you take photos? I know some of you do. Do you have the itch for a new camera? Do you shoot manually or automatic? Do you have lens envy? Let me know in the comments; click on that little balloon icon and sign in as a Guest with any name you like. Or use your FB or Google ID.

When the Weather Outside is Frightful

When the Weather Outside is Frightful

Small Stuff and Spiders

Small Stuff and Spiders