What’s The Best Camera-The One You Have With You-Podcast Episode 6

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The Best Camera-A Definition

Any time photographers get together there is almost always a discussion/debate on  ”what’s the best camera”. People will go back and forth, for days on end, discussing all the technical details that supposedly make one camera or lens better than another.

While this is great fun, I’m going to suggest that picking the best camera is very easy and involves no debate. The best camera is always:

THE CAMERA YOU HAVE WITH YOU

It that easy, no arguments. I say this for the simple reason that no matter the resolution or features of the latest and greatest camera, if you don’t have a camera with you and a great image opportunity presents itself, the camera is useless to you unless you have it with you.

Over the last couple of years, starting in 2012 with my Project 365, I got in the habit of having a camera (usually the Canon Powershot S95 or Canon PowerShot S100) with me almost all of the time. In addition to helping me complete the project 365 the “always available” camera helped me think more photographically and allowed me to capture some images that I might not have if I was obsessing about always having “The Best Camera”.

Here are 4 representative shots from my project 365. None of them will win any awards but they are unique slices of life that I wouldn’t have captured if I left my camera at home.

A Little Off Course

This 1st image is from very early in my project 365, day 6 or so, and shows a bewildered driver (on the left) watching the Police as they come up with a plan to extricate his car from the woods. I captured this while walking to the store during lunch:

A Little Off Course- The best camera is the one you have with you

The driver of this car went off the road…just a little

 

Street Sign Wisdom

Here’s an image that says a lot about the Metric System in the US. Once again this was taken while I was out on a walk at work. I had my S95 in my pocket, ready to use at a moments notice, when I saw this interesting/ironic sign combination:

Street Sign Wisdom

This street sign says a lot about the state of the Metric System in the US

 

Sunset Reflections

I got this image of the setting sun reflecting off of some office buildings in Atlanta as I was headed to a business dinner. Once again, nothing award winning but I like the colors and composition of it. Also, at the time I originally posted it, several people said it reminded them of a scene from The Walking Dead and asked if I saw any Zombies. I always love it when an image spurs a variety of different thoughts and recollections. That just shows how powerful an even basic image can be.

Sunset reflections

The setting sun casts some nice reflections on an office building

Mid Life Crisis

As many of you know, I love cars of all types and I try to get as many quality photos of them as I can. Well, one day as I was stopping by my local Costco to do some shopping I saw this beautiful, pristine Ferrari in the parking lot. Luckily I had my “best camera” with me at the time (the S95) and was able to get the car photographed before the owner showed up with multiple packs of toilet paper that they just purchased in Costco :-)

Midlife Crisis

I found this pristine Ferrari while shopping at my local Costco

Now that I’ve defined the term “best camera” and shown you some fun images I captured by having a camera with me I hope I’ve inspired you to start carrying a camera (any camera) with you on a daily basis. Remember, the best camera isn’t the newest or most expensive one, it’s the one you have with you when you want/need to capture an image.

Until next time….Happy Shooting!

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I Lost My Powershot S95-Time To Upgrade The Point and Shoot Camera

The bad news: I lost my beloved Canon Powershot S95 point and shoot camera :-(

The good news: I was forced to upgrade :-)

I guess it was bound to happen at some point. At least it wasn’t my DSLR!

A couple weeks ago we met some friends in Asheville for a long weekend. Being the photography geek that I am I took up all my cameras both digital and film (you just never know when you might need a particular camera). One of those was my beloved Canon PowerShot S95. I’ve had the camera for just over 2 years and have used it a lot. It was the camera that got me through most of my Project 365 because of its small size and good image quality. I really depended on the S95 for go anywhere, high quality images. Like this:

Day 285-Red Maple Leaves On Grass

Day 285-Red Maple Leaves On Grass

Or this:

The three chrome carb covers on this car's engine give off a triple reflection.

Triple Reflective Engine

Needless to say, I was severely bummed when I discovered late last week that I most likely left the camera on the kitchen counter of the house we were renting. I contacted to owner but no luck, my S95 was gone!

After a couple hours of moping around, angry at myself for losing the camera, I came to my senses and realized that I could now “justify” getting a new camera. But which one? The choices are almost overwhelming.

After some research last weekend I decided that I wanted to keep the same basic form factor and features with the new camera that I had with the S95. That meant I was looking for something extremely portable with good image quality and the ability to shoot RAW files. And since I was upgrading there were a couple of things I had wished the S95 had, like zoom and continual auto-focus while shooting video. I also decided that I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on the new camera. Those criteria quickly narrowed the list of potential candidates down to a few contenders and one outlier:

  1. The Nikon COOLPIX P330
  2. Canon’s latest iteration of the S95, the Canon PowerShot S110
  3. The camera that came between the S95 and S110, the Canon PowerShot S100
  4. And finally, a “stretch” candidate, the Sony DSC-RX100

All four of these cameras could serve as a great replacement for the S95. The improvements in features, like true HD video and GPS/wireless, as well as image quality made them all very strong candidates. I was especially intrigued by the Sony, which is getting rave reviews for its image quality (from a much larger sensor). I almost blew my budget to buy the Sony because it seems to be a bit of a game changer. But the price on it was more than I could justify given that I have a nice DSLR.

In the end, I decided to go with the PowerShot S100 for these reasons:

  1. The camera has a lot of positive reviews from people who upgraded to it from the S95.
  2. I like the idea of having direct GPS tagging of images if I want.
  3. I like the form-factor of the camera. One of the best things about my dearly departed S95 was the fact that it was truly “pocketable” which made it the perfect go anywhere complement to my much larger Canon EOS Rebel T3i
    DSLR (which I highly recommend!).
  4. And finally, the price on the S100 was right. At under $300 it should meet my needs without breaking the bank.

I should have the camera within the week and will do an unboxing/review of it once I get the time.

Losing a camera you like really, really sucks. I sincerely hope none of you have to go through the experience. But, if the unthinkable happens you can always try to “make Lemonade from Lemons” and find a new camera that works for you. I think the secret is to define what you are really wanting/needing from the camera, set a realistic budget and then do the research. If you do all of that, finding a new camera should be easy.

Happy Shooting!

Ivy Leaf and Pine Cone

If you live in the South there are two things you will see a lot of, Ivy and Pine Cones:

Ivy Leaf and Pinecone

The perimeter of our yard is covered with Ivy and many of the trees in the yard are Pine. So, the combination of the two is inevitable. I spend a lot of time trimming the ivy from the edges of the yard and peeling it off the trees. It’s a never ending battle. I took this with the Canon S95 as I got out of the car, just before sunset.

Day 23-Taco Salad

Here’s Dinner for us on many Monday nights:

Day 23-Taco Salad

Day 23-Taco Salad

On most weeks we have a regular Monday dinner of what we call Taco Salad. We used to eat a lot of burritos on Monday’s but since we have cut way back on processed foods. beans and grains, this is a perfect substitute. Here’s the “recipe” if you can call it that:

  • 1 lb 80/20 ground beef cooked and seasoned with chili powder and/or cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1-2 hearts of Romaine washed and chopped
  • tomato chopped
  • a handful of shredded Mexican cheese
  • Salsa of your choice (we usually use a Mango salsa we get from Costco)
  • a dollop of full-fat sour cream
Sometimes we have Avocado with this as well.
The end result is a filling dinner that takes all of 10 minutes to make. Highly recommended!

Friday Photo Share for October 28, 2011

For this week’s Friday Photo Share I’d like to share an image of a small animal that we encountered while on our trip out West. This little guy was waiting for us in the bathroom when both of us got up in the dark to use the facilities while at the hotel in Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley:

img_0192_deathvalleyscorpion_lowres

Our Pet Scorpion

Yup, it was a Scorpion. He was sitting (do scorpions sit?) right on the threshold between the room and the bathroom. I was the first to get up and I walked into the bathroom barefooted, used the toilet, and stumbled back to bed, all in the dark and without noticing it. Pam got up after me and she was smart enough to turn on the light, at which point she said “hey, look at what’s sitting on the floor!”

When I saw it I realized that I was very lucky because it was sitting very close to where I walked. If I would have stepped on it I’m sure I would have gotten stung by it. As far as I know I’m not allergic to Scorpions but I’ve never been stung by one. I guess the Scorpions that inhabit Death Valley are not deadly, so that was comforting :-).After I took this picture with our Canon PowerShot S95 I grabbed the ice bucket and scooped him into it. It was only about 1-1.5 inches long and he (I don’t know if it was male or female) was kind of sluggish. It was very easy to get him in the bucket. I took the bucket outside and dumped him in the desert about 50 feet from the door.

That was my first mistaken encounter with a Scorpion and I don’t want another. They are kind of cool animals though and Pam was quick to remind me that her high school  mascot was the Scorpions (she grew up in New Mexico).

I’m hard at work going through all the images I took while out there and I hope to recount our trip over a few posts in the coming week or so. I promise that there are no more Scorpion pictures. Stay tuned…

Happy shooting!