Saturday, 15 April 2017

Adventures in Toyland

The thing with new toys is they take time to get used to. You often have to give up trying to make them play like your old toys and find new ways of setting them up. That has meant quite a bit of messing about and taking rubbish photos. But every now and then something pops up and despite the unfamiliarities of the gear it turns out OK.

For some reason colour pictures which are almost monochromatic are often appealing. When they include light and texture they can be even better. The picture above also alerted me to a use for a feature which I thought I didn't like. When shooting raw with the aspect ratio set to anything other than the native one the screen displays the picture at the set ratio. But when it's reviewed the image includes the bits which looked to have been cropped out, but with them greyed over. However, when loaded into Lightroom the picture appears as it did when taken. Here's the useful bit. When you click on the cropping tool in LR the missing bits reappear! Somehow the camera must tell the computer to automatically crop from the entire file. It also embeds a lens profile which means there is no real need to correct any distortion the lens has.  Fiendish.

Now this is only a benefit for me because I always have the camera set to shoot in either 3:2 or 1:1 aspect ratio. In the shot above that meant there were extra pixels above and below the frame I had made. But I had made it with the signs on the fencingcut off slightly. By sliding the image down a tad I was able to correct my mistake without having to alter the aspect ratio of the final picture. This feature can also be used to correct wonky horizons without losing as many pixels as would be the case from a 3:2 sensor.

Now there are some photographers out there who think you have to use every pixel you've paid for. But as I bought the toy camera in order to shoot square pictures I allowed for that in advance. And 12mp is plenty for me no matter what. So by shooting what amounts to a 16mp 3:2 sensor I can correct minor mistakes with no loss of resolution.

Having discovered this helpful foible I put it to good use once more when I fell into my bad habit of framing people too low. I couldn't rescue as much of the clasped hands as I would have liked, but I certainly balanced the frame better.

With all the fancy tricks for focusing and the silent shutter I thought I'd try some street photography. Every time I try shooting from the hip I wonder why I bother. Although I like the off-kilter angles the method produces, all too often the compositions fall flat. Then again, sometimes you include something unexpected like the message on the board below.

Ordinarily I always have my cameras set to take one photograph per press of the shutter. Today I thought I'd try using the silent burst mode to see if that made a difference. The one decent picture I got doing that was the first frame in a burst! I'll be going back to one at a time again! It's not perfect, but I like the strangeness of this picture. 

Today's wanderings have convinced me to go back to photographing the things I usually do in the way I usually do. Which may well mean putting the toy away. Or at least saving it for when I need to use it's special features - the silent shutter, the flippy screen or the square format. As it takes up next to no room it'll be no hardship to cart it around with me just in case.

One thing's for sure. I compose pictures much better with my eye to a viewfinder. And for an electronic one the new toy has a pretty good viewfinder.

Looking on the positive side, I might have made some progress on settling on a new project. If only by eliminating one idea! I think I have also managed to accept a lesson I had learned long ago. That I give up too quickly. I spend plenty of time at the poultry shows and auctions, but on local 'projects' I tend to run out of steam after a couple of hours. Some of this is because I often make a late start after getting work out of the way. There's rain forecast tomorrow. I'm going to try to use that as a day of work and make Monday a day of photography. It probably won't turn out that way though...

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