In autumn last year I posted a blog about always carrying a compact camera of some description while travelling to and from work during the week.
Through the autumn months, I took plenty of images of the changing colours as I walked through local parks and public gardens, from mid November the Christmas markets, were easy fodder, food stalls, vibrant displays of Christmas decorations adorning the many and varied stalls.
January will always be more of a challenge, often grey wet days do their best to deter my short impromptu photography walks but today I was determined to buck the trend and attempt to keep the habit going.
My bus journey from work takes me to St, David’s station, from there my walk home takes around 15 minutes, it is this area of my home city that I decide to capture a few frames of what to me is familiar ground but trying to capture the grey bleakness of a January afternoon.
The images were taken with my Canon s95, one of my bargain purchases last year but a camera I often reach for on my daily commute and a camera that is just fun to use.
This time last year I would have never imagined that some of my favourite images would come from using a small digicam but my foray into the world of older photography gear has been an absolute joy.
Today’s favourite image comes from a trip to the Seaside town of Sidmouth in East Devon, as I was walking along the beach, there are a number of shelters along the sea front. Glancing up, I immediately saw the potential of the candid nature of this shot, using a compact camera would not draw that much attention.
It was when I looked back at the shot later that I noticed a rare phenomenon, there was not a mobile phone in sight, this was a good old fashioned face to face chat between a group of people who may or may not have known one another, social media old style!
Since delving into the world of almost forgotten camera gear, I am pleasantly surprised at how much fun I am having using small sensor compact cameras, so much so that my Canon S95 has found a spot on a regular basis in my take to work rucksack.
Knowing I have a camera with me at all times on my travels, means that I have developed a habit of walking a more circuitous route back home from work, in the hope of taking a few shots on an almost daily basis,keeping the photographic eye and mind in good shape for my lengthier weekend outings.
My preference for early morning sunrises have become my comfort zone, to the extent that I rarely seem to shoot later in the day but it is time to shed that skin and develop new habits, however short these more spontaneous photo outings are.
I managed about twenty or so shots on my way back home today, I have picked six that show the everyday things that catch my eye.
My foray into older digital compact cameras began a few weeks ago after the purchase of a box of camera gear, my last few posts with the Canon G11 and Canon S95 were part of this collection but there are two more that have hardly seen the light of day, a more modern Lumix LX15 (LX10 in the USA) and a Lumix GF2.
Today, was the turn of the LX10, a camera with a 1” sensor, much larger in comparison to the aforementioned Canon cameras and a focal range of 24-72mm in full frame terms.
Heading into town later than normal on my Sunday walk meant it would be a little busier, it would be a good chance to get a little more used to the camera’s controls and an indicator as to how I might customize the user programmable function buttons.
There is a school of thought within the street photography genre, that there a two types of photographer, the hunter, who will keep on the move searching for those decisive story telling images, or the fisherman, who will pick their spot and wait for the scene to unfold.
I fell into the ‘hunter’ category today, finding a couple of favourite spots and waiting patiently for a potential image to present itself.
I did not have long to wait, as a young lad decides to play ‘spiderman’ in one of the shopping precincts, mum with increasing degrees of exasperation asking him to get off, as they have things to do!
I am make full use of the upwardly tilting screen, the camera has no viewfinder but this works to my advantage, with the camera not blatantly to my face to take the image, the lower perspective adding a little more to the image to my mind.
Since shooting with these compact cameras, I have begun to appreciate how unobtrusive they are, as well as their obvious difference in weight to my bigger gear. In the past I have been guilty of what I call ‘sensor snobbery’, falling into the trap of ‘needing’ full frame gear for my photography needs while not giving these versatile pocket rockets a second glance.
Full frame of course, has its place but I am not a professional photographer with demanding clients and tight deadlines, photography for me, is my release from my full time work and as long as I have some sort of a camera in my hand to record images from my weekend outings, I will always have fun in doing so.
When I first acquired the Canon S95 camera as part of my ‘older camera’ theme, I never thought that it would be the first camera that went into my bag on my weekend outings, neither did I think for one moment that It would find its way into my everyday rucksack on my commute to and from work, for those ‘just in case scenarios’ that always seem to happen when you never have a camera with you.
Yes, I have a mobile phone but this dinosaur likes the right tool for the job, to me using a mobile phone for photography is like using a screwdriver for tightening a nut!
Saturday’s trip finds me at Budleigh Salterton, a seaside town in East Devon, where finally we may just see a little welcome rain, after what has been a fabulous summer.
A strong breeze is giving an autumnal edge to the temperature today, as I watch the grey skies beginning to darken with more menacing clouds, perfect for some monochrome edits later in the day.
Just as I am taking a minimalist shot of the clouds rolling in, a pair of herring gulls enter the frame, courtesy of a particularly strong gust of wind as they quickly regain control and hold a steady height in the wind.
Would I have had this shot with my bigger camera? perhaps, but the smaller camera is always in my hand as it has so little weight and the fact that I enjoy using it so much.
It’s the Sunday of the August bank holiday weekend, the last throes of the summer holidays for many, for me, a time to secretly look forward to those cheeky Friday’s off and three day weekends as the food industry gets a little quieter.
Normally on a bank holiday, I would stay closer to home, allowing the madding crowds to descend upon their chosen destinations but an invitation to visit Dartmoor will rarely be turned down, especially as it will be one of my favourite parts of Dartmoor – Foggintor.
I decide today to bring the Canon G11, it will be the perfect way to get more used to this latest of my ‘old gear’ purchases but a camera I am finding a joy to use.
The last time I travelled this light with camera gear was when I shot an entire year with a Fuji X100F, even then, I would sometimes bring a tripod and filters, not so this time. Of course with the G11, I have the luxury of a zoom lens, something that is taking a little used to after using fixed primes for so long.
Just a couple of brief trips with the G11, has brought a real sense of fun to my photography, with a bigger full fame camera, there is a subconscious demand on myself to produce the best images I can, where the G11 just makes me want to walk further, see more and take more images.
While I say that the G11 is for fun, it takes some seriously good photos, in fact it is this very camera that has produced one of my favourite images of the year so far…
Of course, this is just one of many images on today’s walk and while I am praising the image quality of the G11, it does have a couple of small annoyances, one being that it is easy to alter settings by pressing buttons accidentally when carrying the camera in hand but all in all a small gripe in the grand scheme.
Enough about the camera’s faults, and more from its strengths, taking images:
Given the number of images in the gallery, it is fair to say that I really enjoy using this 12 year old camera, needless to say it will be heading out with me on a few more walks in the coming weeks.