Wednesday, May 28, 2008


About three weeks ago, I posted here with a few turtle pictures and a few pictures of some attractive small red sprouts. Yesterday, I went back to Golden Gardens and took new pictures with my new camera, to try it's longer zoom and enhanced macro capabilities, both without having to resort to the accessory lenses necessary on the previous visit with the old camera.

My sister had suggested that the sprouts in that post were stonecrop (sedum), and she was indeed right, as could be confirmed by the blooms on the more mature plants I found yesterday (top). I was surprised to find the blooms purple, rather than the yellow of most varieties. There were other things catching my eye as well (left).

In the evening, I spent quite a while shooting around the yard. Mostly just trying to habituate myself to a variety of camera modes. It will take me a while to sort through all the shots up into the branches of trees, but here's a lichen.

It is a very fine camera.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Richmond Beach

Not quite my first train picture with my new camera, but only because it is the second picture I took of this train.

Taken about a half hour ago at Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, cropped & tweaked online with Picnik at the Richmond Beach library, and posted here. All in a little over a half hour. Could have been less, but I did some email in between.

More pictures at foograf.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Early beach

I wandered down toward the beach at about 5:30 this morning, took a few pictures along the railroad tracks while giving the park time to open at 6:oo.

Early mornings are good.

Seems like they must open the gates a bit before six though - when I drove in at 6:03 there were about 30 cars already in the main lot, with a Yoga class under way.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Plug line

After a week or two of reading an Olympus digital camera forum, I decided it might be okay to participate. I've had head problems trying to participate in online groups in the past, so I am being cautious.

The other day a "challenge" contest was posted, which provides a theme and a deadline and a bunch of rules. I thought it would be interesting to see how I could do trying to meet the theme, which was "centered composition."

My result is above.

I kind of liked it. So even though the image quality from a nine-year-old 1.3 Mp point & shoot wasn't likely to stand up against what can be done with modern DSLRs, I decided it might do my head some good to submit it.

One of the rules is "member of the forum prior to start of challenge," but didn't define "member" -- I had registered prior to the cutoff, but hadn't posted yet -- but I decided the best way to find out was to send my submission in. If turned out not to be eligible, that would still give me the head benefit anyway, and practice in submitting for when I did become eligible. So off it went.

Along with the contest entries, there is also an exhibition page, for contributed images that fit the theme but fail to meet the other rules, or are beyond the single allowed entry. That is where my image ended up, since it turned out that "posting" is what was meant.

I don't think mine looks half bad among the other images, in thumbnail at least.

Dr S and I talked about photography and my camera choice a little bit yesterday, and he was very supportive and enthusiastic. Adult Supervision is necessary for that kind of purchase, so yesterday evening Jo and I talked it over and it looks like I will be getting an Olympus SP-570UZ soon.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Small & long

My exercise for today was twofold: to test stretching the limits of my D450, and to get closeups of the red plant I took area shots of Friday, partly so I could try to identify it (anyone help?), partly just for the exercise & entertainment. These are so small -- about 5/8" high -- that I couldn't have gotten these shots without adding a closeup lens to the camera, and I didn't have it with me. Besides, I was testing my new folding stool Friday, not exploring what I can see lying on my tummy.

To mount filters or closeup lenses on the D450, one must clip an adapter onto the front of the camera, and screw the accessory into the adapter. With the adapter in place, one must rely entirely on the LCD, which of course if totally washed out by the sun. By shading with hat or hand, almost enough can be seen to guess that the camera is pointed the right direction. I took seven shots and was pleasantly surprised that parts of two images were actually usable. I missed the tiny white flower that was in amongst in a couple of shots -- can't even tell which shots it was supposed to be in.

Not quite the process of "photography" as I understand it, but I brought back pictures that are fun, attractive, and possibly useful, at least after cropping, so it counts as something.

Before I took the closeups, I wanted to try out my 2x telephoto adapter on the turtles. It screws into the same adapter as the closeup lens, so involves the same kind of juggling of parts & pieces and camera. Except for snapping on the adapter, it is much like changing lenses on a interchangeable lens SLR. No profit for the SLR, since there one has the lens (or body cap) that one is removing, as well as the new lens and its front & rear caps -which go in the pocket in this case, but onto whatever you take off in the case of the SLR. Whuff.

The turtles were fun. The process wasn't quite as bad as the closeups, since it was easier to shade the LCD and focus wasn't as critical. Again, this is an enhancement to what I managed to get on Friday. Better detail, but the chromatic aberration is rather severe.

So if the objective is picture, I pretty much got the pictures I went for & missed the additional opportunities I would have liked to have gotten. Image quality is pretty much right on the edge of what I can accept, with some of the chromatic aberration rather bothersome.

If the objective is process, then this doesn't work. I'm not sure I could do it spontaneously at all (I didn't have any more success when I got the stuff, and then I had less understanding of the head problems) and I doubt I could do it often on a planned basis.

The head stuff was mixed. The greatest benefit probably came from getting me down to look at the plants closely, with a secondary benefit from coming home with pictures I am glad to have. But there was a penalty involved in the process, sufficient to cut my beach time short and have me leaving in a mildly unstable condition.

I may have done better shooting lichen in the back yard yesterday -- I think there are at least five different kinds.

Good learning experiences overall, and I will continue the experimentation. I will also continue looking at cameras. Along with the Olympus SP-570UZ, I have looked at several cameras of similar or lower cost. To get a better idea of what might be missing by sticking to that price point, I have also looked at some more expensive cameras, including the Fuji S100fs (which almost displaced the 570 as my leading choice) and Nikon D300.