Telling stories

Up to just a few months ago, my photography was limited to my weekends off, an unintended barrier between work and play but since diving both feet first into the world of old digital compact cameras, I carry one with me most days, including work days.

Today was no exception, my Lumix LX5 takes little space in my daily rucksack,however I did not hold out much hope of getting many photos this morning at 4am, as the heavens were at their widest aperture, allowing a deluge of heavy rain to soak anything it touched within a few seconds.

Reaching my bus stop in a record time, I had more time than I anticipated and immediately saw the raindrops on the shelter windows and the street lamp reflections on the wet ground, snap!


It had to be black and white, no other edit would convey the sense of atmosphere these wet, dark mornings have at this time of year.

I was hoping for kinder weather on the way home after work, back at St David’s station bus stop, it was groundhog day as the skies opened up once more with another deluge.
I could play the waiting game this time, no place to be anytime soon, the LX5 came out as I sheltered under the station awning, what stories could I tell while the rain fell?

Just outside the station, some have a sense of urgency, while others increase their screen time statistics, waiting patiently for the rain to ease.

A quick dash to the station but the brolly offers little or no protection.


This deluge could last for a while, it’s barely 3pm but it looks like daylight has been stolen!


It could be brightening up a little ….


Five more minutes and I will leg it home.


Definitely not the best composition but the orange against the grey sky was striking, the workman by the fence carrying on as though nothing had happened.

The more I shoot with these tiny cameras, the more I am enjoying what they are capable of, their limitations are also improving my photographic skills on a daily basis, what’s not to like about that?

Saving the best until last?

My recent 50mm for fifty days project saw me using a 50mm lens on an older camera body (canon 5d MKII), as I simply no longer wanted to participate in the race to keep up with all the latest gear, it was a chance to use camera gear that I would have liked when it was new but was simply financially out of reach, or in the case of the small point and shoots I now have, simply not even considered.

Those flagship cameras of a decade or more ago have long since been superceded by newer and more advanced versions, where they can be bought for a fraction of the price, this is where I acquired a collection of varied older cameras that had been left in a box and unused, until now.

I have posted a number of blogs of photos taken with a Canon G11, Canon s95 and the two more recent additions a Leica X1 and Dlux-6 but I had one more to try from my original box of goodies, a lumix GF2 which I paired with a Panasonic 20mm F1.7 that I had retained from my dalliance with the Micro four thirds system.

Wanting to take a smaller camera with me on a seaside walk last weekend, I finally packed the GF2 and 20mm into my bag and rarely used the 5dII as I was enjoying the smaller combo so much.

The 20mm lens is spoken in high regard with many of the Micro four thirds fraternity, it is not hard to see why, this unobtrusive lens is sharp even at the widest aperture, what’s not to like?

A few years ago, a camera without a viewfinder would not have found its way into my camera bag, since then, I have come to love how not having a viewfinder helps me see shots I may not have seen with the camera at my eye.

Enough about the gear, the images of my walk around Teignmouth were a very enjoyable way of spending a couple of hours by the coast.



Playing the fisherman with the LX15

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 said GET OFF!

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.





A walk with the LX5

As my dalliance with older digital cameras continues apace, today was the turn of my Lumix LX5, for its first ‘proper’ shoot.

A trip to Dartmoor would give the latest recruit a challenge with the changing light but I would not be disappointed.

My enjoyment of shooting in the square format was soon put to the test as the ‘5’ has the ability to shoot 1:1 aspect ratio in RAW, a stroll around the footpath of Venford reservoir gave me plenty of chances to find some early autumn compositions.

Using the square format with the cameras macro mode worked very well, the level of detail was very pleasing to say the least.

When I started shooting with these almost forgotten cameras, I had envisaged the occasional day out with them, however, it would appear that they will find their way into my bag for some time to come as it feels as though I have rediscovered the hobby of photography all over again.

The new (but old) recruit.

The latest of my bargain retro cameras has finally joined the ranks of my other digital compacts, the Canon G11, Canon S95, Lumix LX3 and Lumix GF2, a warm welcome to the Lumix LX5.

Since I was not able to try it out yesterday afternoon, I ensured the battery was fully charged and packed it into my work rucksack, so I was able to go for a quick photoshoot after work today, in my usual test arena, Exeter city centre.

Being very similar to my LX3, it did not take long to get used to the button layout, just as well, as I was going to be shooting between heavy rain showers, So I was keen to get a few shots under my belt before the next downpour.

One of the reasons shooting with these compact cameras is so much fun, is that nobody is bothered with this innocuous little camera, so I go about my photography unnoticed.

Knowing how good the images from the LX3 were, I was looking forward to seeing what the ‘5’ could do, I was not disappointed.




Something newer

My last couple of blog posts have centred around a couple of older Canon cameras I recently acquired in a job lot of camera gear, today’s post will be about one of the other cameras from the same box and something a little newer, a Panasonic LX10.

This camera is around six years old, a digital compact design with a one inch sensor.

With a day of rain showers forecast, I decided to make the most of the break between the next cloudburst and take a quick stroll around the city and riverside for my now regular Sunday amble.

Much of my walk was spent getting used to the LX10, customising function buttons to my most used settings, while seeing just what this little camera was capable of.

For my landscape images it did well but where it shone was in my walk back through the city centre, where I took some candid shots as the world passed me by.

Nobody blinked an eyelid at the bloke on the bench with a point and shoot camera, seemingly looking at images with the camera’s tilt screen.

What next?

After eight months of shooting with a 50mm lens, this was the first weekend where I could select whatever gear I wanted from my photographic armoury, whatever I did select, would be in keeping with my other theme of 2022, shooting with older gear.

Alongside my Canon 5d Mk II, I also have a Canon 50d and a charity shop bargain in a Panasonoc LX3 digital compact camera.

It was the LX3 that found its way into my bag this Saturday and Sunday and I could not believe how much I enjoyed using this great little camera.

Now I have a confession to make, in that my previous obsession with uber sharp images and keeping up with the latest tech within my budget had made me a ‘sensor snob’, I followed the well trodden path to the holy grail of photography ‘full frame’ having fallen for all those articles online and watching those you tubers who would only review the latest offerings with the most expensive lenses.

My eureka moment, or epiphany was watching my all time favourite landscape photographer, Charlie Waite on a shoot with a digital compact camera, the Lumix LX5, the younger sibling to my LX3, if this type of camera is good enough for a photographer of Charlie Waite’s standing, it is more than good enough for me!

With such a small camera in hand, the freedom from a bulky DSLR is evident and with a decent macro mode, I was in my element.

The true revelation of this camera was seeing the images on a bigger screen, the lens on the LX3 is superb, the in camera dynamic black and white is very good!

Naturally noise is an issue with these tiny sensors, evident from iso 800, yet the grain is not unpleasant, for me, it adds more character to the black and white Jpeg’s, and dare I mention the ‘filmic’ look with the older CCD sensor.

While I am no longer in the market for the latest and best, I will be on the look out for more of these older cameras for sure.

In all weathers

In April this year, like many, I was furloughed for a number of weeks, time that I think I used fairly constructively in finally getting around to cataloguing and sorting through a few terabytes photos, a job that had been remained permanently rooted to the bottom of my ‘to do’ list for far too long.

Once the decluttering phase had begun with the photos, it became contagious, books, cd’s and dvd’s found their way into my ‘no longer required’ boxes, ready for when we may once more safely give to charity shops or to the local recycling facility.

Then came the crunch day, when I decided it was time to purge the camera gear that had lain unused for too long, ebay bargains I had intended to sell but used, liked and kept, older models of newer cameras, the classic case of gear acquisition.

I was given plenty of time to evaluate my decision, with only essential shops still open, it would not be until the beginning of August that I was able to trade in at my local camera shop and collect the Lumix G9 I had decided upon.

One of the deciding factors in deciding upon the G9 was the weather proofing, it would give an opportunity to still get out on those wet and windy days, as long as it was paired with a weather sealed lens of course.

It is only in the last couple of weeks that I have acquired the Olympus 17mm 1.2 Pro lens, great not just for being weather sealed but good for low light photography, of which there will be plenty of opportunities with the clocks going back an hour just a week ago.

Having a couple hours free this Saturday morning, rather than making a cup of tea and heading back to bed after hearing the rain against the window, I packed the G9 and headed into town to hopefully get a few moody wet day shots.



It was still a little early to capture people in numbers as they went about their day, however, I did manage to capture a good few reflections and ‘outside looking in’ shots as shops were preparing to open.

These shots have had very minimal editing, I really like the tones that the in camera ‘L monochromeD’ setting offers.

Now I have no more excuses not to go out wet days, as a whole new wet and windy world awaits to be captured.