Point and shoot

My Nikon DSLR camera got to become a little cumbersome to lug around when travelling. It’s fine when all I’m doing is observing and taking pictures, but you need something smaller and lighter, especially when participating in certain outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking etcetera, when it can easily be slipped into a pocket.

I recently purchased a Canon point-and-shoot camera which fits the bill for portability perfectly, has all the usual compact camera features and more, and does allow for quite a bit of manual control. It also has a nifty GPS built-in which allows you to track exactly where the photos were taken. It has a 12-Megapixel sensor and an effective 25-500mm optical zoom lens.

I tried it out while fishing, on a trip last week to the coastal city of Durban. Here are some results in the fully automatic mode. I have yet to experiment further with the manual settings.

I reckon I could take some pretty good photos with this little baby once I get the hang of using it. It’s therefore going with me everywhere from now on.

Photo #15: Two beautiful birds

I took another one of those little breaks last week to visit the family in Durban. It was also nice to actually be around for Mother’s Day after many, many years.

While taking some shots of my niece [brother’s teenage daughter] and her new pet bird, I accidentally managed to capture this one below. There’s probably more than a few things WRONG with this photograph, but I’m quite chuffed with it, and you’ll see why.

First, I was using a speedlight [flash] for the shots indoors, and for some reason it did not go off when I captured this one – probably wasn’t charged up right. But I did manage to hold the camera relatively steady for all of three seconds while the shutter was open. I had also forgotten to change the white balance from my last photo shoot, and it was still set to CLOUDY.

But off course I’m really chuffed at what a beautiful bubbly little bird my niece is.

Shooting Data:

Camera: Nikon D40

Lens: Nikon VR 55-200mm F/4-5.6 G

Focal Length: 66mm

Exposure: 3 sec – F/4.5

White Balance: Cloudy

Photo #11: Consumed by fire

Fire on the mountain

Date and time taken: 24 August 2009 @ approximately 20H04

Nikon D40, 150mm focal length, 30 sec exposure F/16, ISO 200

Cape Town is famous for its spectacular views, natural beauty and warm friendly people. It is therefore a photographers dream destination. However, sometimes photographers must of necessity capture the ugly side of life too, and this fire on the mountain behind the beautiful town of Noordhoek, an unappealing sight around winter in Cape Town, was probably caused by a careless, unthinking idiot discarding a cigarette butt, or perhaps more disgustingly, by an arsonist.

I used my trusty gorillapod to secure my camera to the wooden banisters of a sun-deck, to steady it for the 30 second exposure. Some time later after viewing the shot, I castigated myself for not using the Bulb Mode on my camera and a tripod.

Photo #10: Where the nectar of the gods are grown

The entrance to wine heaven

Date and time taken: 30 August 2009 @ approximately 14H16

Nikon D40, 55mm focal length, 1/250 sec exposure F/10, ISO 200

It’s pretty hard to not visit a winery when in the Cape, even if you don’t drink wine. The scenery is amazingly beautiful and the Constantia Valley is no exception. This area is the oldest wine growing region in the Cape Peninsula and produces some of the best wines in the world. I chose this shot because it is a taste of what to expect once you pass through the gates of the wine estate.

Photo #9: Straying off the path

Little boy in the park

Date and time taken: 30 August 2009 @approximately 18H24

Nikon D40, 80mm focal length, 1/20 sec exposure F/13, ISO 200

I always like that human element in my photography, so I do not take too many pictures of just objects or landscapes. Nature always provides stunning subjects for the photographer, but I kinda like people photography more. I took this shot of a little boy, my cousin’s son actually, in a Park not too far from the Newlands cricket ground in Cape Town.