As I have made my way to work over the last few days, a spell of icy weather has given us some cold frosty mornings, as the weekend approached, I was hoping that there may be a chance for me to capture the beauty that winter provides all too rarely these days.
As my alarm went off at a leisurely six forty five, I was still somewhat reluctant to remove myself from the warmth of my cosy bed but the forecast was good and I would not be happy to miss out on the chance of some wintry images.
It was clear that just a few minutes in that today was to be one of those fabulous photographic days where there is something at every turn, the early glow of the sun, the dusting of hoar frost coating anything it touches with its icy sprinkles, the sheer joy of seeing the day come to life.
I managed a ten mile hike on today’s walk and offer a selection of today’s offerings, there may well be a second post from this wonderful winter walk.
A sunny Friday in November, the perfect recipe for a seaside photo walk in the East Devon town of Sidmouth.
If ambling around the coast in the off season months is a pleasure, that pleasure is twofold when it is before the weekend, almost as though it’s an exclusive members only club.
With my Canon S95 taking a day off, I use the Lumix LX5 for many of today’s shots, I love using this camera with its multi aspect ratio switch, where I choose to shoot a good few 1:1 square images alongside the usual 4:3.
The more I use these compact cameras, the more I am amazed at how good they are and just how much enjoyment I get in using them, they have become the latest chapter in my photographic journey.
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?
October has always been one of my favourite months for photography, the colours of Autumn are always something I look forward to, a kind of photographic pilgrimage if you like.
This year has been particularly rich in its annual harvest, maybe because I am now in the habit of carrying a compact camera at all times, I am able to take more photos instead of waiting for the weekend, coupled with the unseasonably mild weather conditions, it has been ‘the perfect storm’.
My love of this time of year is always tinged with that bittersweet thought that winter is not far away, bringing with it, longer hours of darkness like an unwelcome guest at a wedding or birthday bash but for as long as I can, I will continue to enjoy this all too brief festival of colour that nature provides.
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.
For a good few years I had hoped that I would eventually get my hands on a Leica camera, the Rolls Royce of the photography world with legendary German precision engineering, the price for which has remained firmly out of my reach in terms of a new purchase but the second hand market offers a more realistic entry into the red dot ownership.
With a recent purchase of the Leica / panasonic badged Dlux-6, I was not expecting to purchase another camera any time soon but a search on a well known auction site turned up trumps with a 13 year old Leica X1!
I convinced myself to purchase on the basis that it fits well into my ongoing ‘older’ camera project and that the fixed 24mm lens equates to my favourite 35mm focal length in full frame terms.
Reviews suggested it was slow to auto focus and the LCD screen was lacking resolution but 13 years ago it was the technology of the day and I was happy to take a chance in giving this little beauty a new forever home.
Just as a child at Christmas, I was eager to get out with my new toy, so I packed the camera into my rucksack to hopefully grab a few shots on the way home from work over the last couple of days, just to get a feel for the controls before a ‘proper’ shoot or two a the weekend.
In the past, the lack of a built in viewfinder may have been a deal breaker but I have become more accustomed to using a rear screen with the LX5 and Canon G11, I am even starting to think that I am seeing more opportunities by shooting this way but it is not to everyone’s taste.
With less than an hour’s shooting time so far, I am still very much on a learning curve with the X1 but I am more than pleased with the initial results.
I had not intended to purchase any more older cameras for a while but sometimes a bargain is too good to pass up, in my case, the chance to dip my toe into Leica waters, the Panasonic / Leica collaboration, D-Lux 6.
There is some debate in photographic circles about this being a ‘true’ Leica, arguments aside, for me, it is an affordable way of getting my foot in the door. Yes, I would love a ‘Q’ or ‘Q2’ but I wonder if the price would force me to over protect the camera and not use it as it should be used.
To all intents and purposes it is a Lumix LX7 minus the grip and a slight difference in the internal software, costing a few hundreds pounds more in its day than the ‘7’.
I had made a decision just a few days before to sell my LX10/15 on, it simply was not getting the use it deserved, so I was potentially in the market for something else.
The purchase was made and the new kid on the block was waiting for me on my return from a few days away near Cheltenham, I could not wait to try out my latest recruit.
The controls are not much different from my LX5, just exposure compensation being controlled from the rear dial rather than the D-pad and the addition of the dedicated ND filter button and aperture controlled from the lens barrel, a feature I really like.
I have had a couple of outings already, one around Dartmoor where I took just a few shots in between rain showers and a longer amble around my home town of Exeter earlier today.
I think the colours are slightly more muted than the LX5 but the lens sharpness is as good if not better, the camera is just a joy to use, true Leica or not.
It has been a busy few days, my move is complete and a semblance of order is taking shape in my new abode, thankfully the final box is unpacked and consigned to the queue awaiting a journey to the recycling centre.
With my belongings pretty much in place, there will be a little fine tuning as I become more settled but with my photography gear now out of its brief cardboard incarceration, it is time to head out for my weekly jaunt along the riverside and into town.
It has become a familiar habit to reach for my G11 and LX5 cameras of late, it appears that my enjoyment of retro compacts is not about to fade any time soon, such is the enjoyment I am getting from using them.
Today’s jaunt would be brief, believe it or not, I am packing my bags again, or at least one, in preparation for a few days away, a welcome break from a busy summer at work and the tribulations of moving.
The hardest decision I will have to make here, is whether the bigger gear gets packed or if I prefer to travel light, suggestions are welcome!
I am due to be moving house at the end of the month so I should really be getting my head around packing more boxes to make my life a little easier and what better way to start, by deciding to go out for another local camera walk!
In my defence, it was just after six thirty AM, my customary first brew of the day was already history and I am sure my neighbours would not be happy with too much disturbance at that hour on a Sunday morning anyway.
As I was so pleased with the new (but old) LX5’s images from yesterday’s outing, I decided to take just this camera and a spare battery, this diminutive little camera easily fits into a pocket, so for the first time in a very long time I, I did not even take a camera bag with me.
A few of the reviews on the LX5 had suggested that the in camera dynamic black and white picture profile was very good, so I have set one of the camera’s custom presets to shoot with this profile in JPEG only, I decided also, to make full use of the ‘5’s ability to shoot in the square format at the flick of a switch.
An additional post will be made in the coming days of the colour images from today’s sneaky outing but I was keen to share the images from the black and white perspective, before I begin the onerous task of sorting and packing for my impending move.
I had not intended to begin a new project so soon after my last one but typically my enthusiasm got the better of me and here I am, jumping feet first into my next, where I shoot with older cameras bought at bargain prices.
The last week or so has been like Christmas come early, where two packages awaited my return from work on consecutive days, my canon G11 and Canon S95. Spare batteries for both were to follow but I had to wait until Saturday morning before their first proper shoot, a walk around Exeter city centre and quayside.
With the S95 having such a small form factor, it’s potential for street photography is evident, nobody worries about a small point and shoot looking camera, the S95 is however very capable with manual controls easily to hand.
The G11 is bulkier but not hugely so, the longer zoom of 28-140mm will be something different after being so used to just 50mm.
The colours from both are very pleasing, canon’s colour science is legendary and with some beautiful light already present, getting some decent images was not difficult.
To say that I am happy with what these aging cameras turned out is an understatement, my previous shunning of small sensor cameras left in tatters as I have three candidates for my favourite photos of 2022 among this set of images.
With a Lumix GF2 and 20mm F1.7 lens waiting in the wings and a potentially successful bid on a Lumix LX5, both may have to wait a while for their turn on my weekend outings, needless to say I shall be looking forward to this Saturday and Sunday.