Snap happy

First Published: Sun Oct 14 2018
Last Updated: Sun Nov 04 2018

If you've been following my instagram, twitter or facebook account then you would have noticed that I've been taking a lot more photos over the past few months.

I got the photography bug when I was a kid. My Dad was a passionate amatuer photographer, even to the point of having his own dark room. One of my fondest memories of Dad is working with him in that dark room, the red light glowing, the smell of the chemicals and watching the magic take a negative image and turn it into a crystal clear image on the paper.

In some ways this fed into my passion for working out HOW the media that I consume happens. Its driven me to investigate everything from writing plays (which I did incessently as a kid, forcing my long suffering family to take on roles and acting them out), online streaming, podcasting, video creation and distribution and so on.

Anyway, I figured I would document my current photography/videography tool set.

Lumix DMC-LZ40

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40

This is the first real camera I've owned in over twenty years. A gift from my eldest younger sister, this is a bridge camera (a sort of step between the standard point and shoot and the more complex DSLR cameras).

The Lumix is a great camera. The zoom on it is AMAZING. The optical zoom is one thing, but the digital zoom is something else, allowing for some great long distance shots like the one below

The above is looking west from Milsons Point.

The Lumix has two things that frustrate me though. First, its auto focus only. You can't take control and centre the focus exactly the way you want, the camera will select the focal point and you have to try and trick it into focusing on what you want, especially when doing macro work. The second thing that frustrates me is the lack of a view port. I'm probably old fashioned but it just doesn't feel right to use just a screen.

Apart from that though the Lumix is a good camera to get into photography with.

Canon 20D

Canon 20D

The Canon 20D is a loaner from my Grandfather. It has weight, it has a viewport and the shutter makes the right sound. To me it feels like a Real(tm) camera. It's also less forgiving than the Lumix. Where the Lumix will let you concentrate on things like composition and structure, the Canon requires another level of knowledge. You need to really work out what ISOs and shutter speeds are and what the relationship is between them. You need to find out what an F Stop is. It takes me back to the Minolta my Dad gave to me as a kid (sadly I no longer have it)

While the Canon has a smaller sensor than the Lumix (10MP vs 20MP) I've found it easier to work with in low light situations and it's taught me a lot about working in those sorts of conditions as well.

View towards Warrilla through scrub

I took the above shot on a photo walk up near Dapto.

Nexus 6P

Nexus 6P on a Gorilla Grip stand

When I got the Nexus I wanted two things. A phone that fit my hand (everything else is so small) and something I could record video with. For both of those purposes the Nexus is great. It fits my hands and can record up to 4K while also accepting a mic in so that I could do things like this:

This was recorded using the Nexus 6P with a lapel mic providing the audio. The cheap looking graphics were done by myself using Natron2 an Open Source VFX Compositing Platform.

The major downside of the Nexus though was the fact that the battery basically crapped out after about six to eight months. It went from having a very decent life under solid load to shutting down as soon as it hit something like 40% on the battery indicator. This means if I want to use the phone as a video camera I need to have it hooked up to an external battery or power source. Yay?

Well that's a very brief look at what I'm using to snap those pics. I am by far still a beginner at this, but there's just something about getting that perfect shot that keeps me going.