Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New Camera and Some Wild Stuff

Believe it or not, it was six years ago when I got my Canon PowerShot SX10 IS point-and-shoot, which is the camera I used to take the majority of my blog photos with.  It now has a small crack in the lens and has difficulty focusing with close-up macro shots, so I felt it was time to replace it.  I had been using it as my back up camera for my professional Nikon D300s.

I narrowed down my choices to the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Nikon Coolpix P600.  Both had excellent reviews, but the Canon had 12.1 MP while the Nikon had 16.1 MP, and the Canon had 50x zoom while the Nikon has 60x zoom.  I decided to take my chances on the Nikon, despite having a nightmare that I couldn't get it to focus on the macro settings, which is essentially the problem I'm having with my old Canon.

One thing I love about Amazon.com is that because we have an Amazon fulfillment center so close to us, I can order the free shipping and still get it in 2 to 3 days.  My first impression of the camera was amazement over how light it is.  It's like holding a can of soda.  I had picked the Nikon in part because it had a good thumb grip on the back, and I figured I would need it with that long telephoto lens, but with how light the entire camera is, shaking from fatigue will probably never be a problem.

Yes, I ordered it in the red color.

One of my first test subjects was a Gila Monster that P.S. found crawling around my hay barn.

Later I tried taking pictures of flowers on some cactus in my front yard, and much to my surprise a family of quail ran out from their hiding spot.

You may have to click on the photo to blow it up to see the babies.  They are tiny.  I snapped this shot in a hurry as they were running past me, so the vibration reduction works well.  All of these photos were straight out of the camera on the default settings.

Unfortunately, I did find that there was some truth to my nightmare, which stemmed from a negative review I read about the camera.  I did have to work at it to get the lens to focus on the macro shots.  It can be done, but you need a little time to adjust the lens length and your proximity to the object, which is okay with flower shots, but not okay with wildlife shots.  The camera just doesn't seem to know where to focus if there isn't much contrast, so filling up the frame with the inside of a flower is a job I will have to leave for my professional DSLR.  I also had the camera lock up on me once.  I couldn't turn it on or off, but the light was indicating that it was on, so I removed the battery and stuck it back in to reset it, and that did the trick.

I've only had it one day, and will need more time to play with it to come to a decision on whether I like it better than my old Canon.  I got something in my viewfinder eye while practicing on it, and the scratch left behind on my eye will need to heal before I head out for another photo shoot.  The camera has a really large LCD screen that swivels and swings, but it is hard to see in the sun's glare, so I just use the viewfinder to frame my shots.

In other news, the horse trainer did it again and made magic happen with Gabbrielle this time.  He rode her at the lope, and it actually looked like a lope as opposed to her crazy, spastic gallop.  She was way more relaxed and seemed to understand what he was asking of her this time.  I expected him to get her to that level after several weeks, but he did it in two sessions.

P.S. and I were watching him when he suddenly announced, "Well, I think it's time I stand up on her," and proceeded to climb up onto his knees on her back.  P.S. and I were like, "Whaaaaaaat?" and we both started laughing.  Here we were hiring this horse trainer to just help our horse get into a collected lope, and he was already trying to do tricks on her, like this was the Wild Mustang Challenge or something.  I noted that the trainer was not wearing a helmet and Gabbrielle looked very worried and nervous.  P.S. had the same visceral reaction as I did, and we both basically pleaded with the horse trainer not to do it.  We didn't want him to get hurt.  My horse has already dumped two people, and I didn't want her to be the cause of him not being able to do his job and support his family because he's laid up from an injury.

I'm sure that our nervousness just added to Gabbrielle's anxiousness, so he did back down.  But I was impressed that he got up on his knees in the saddle and she didn't move.  I think of all the years I've been super cautious around the horses, surveying their moods and whatnot before riding them, and then I meet this guy who is doing tricks with horses he barely knows within a matter of minutes after mounting them.  It seems so absurd.  All I can figure out is that either he is so in tune with the body language and minds of horses that he knows when it is safe to push the envelope, or he knows how to land softly on his feet.


Cheryl Ann said...

Oh, yes...I saw the baby quail! They are so tiny! I use my old Nikon D40 as my backup camera, but for some things, it out performs my Canon EOS 7. It takes much better sunrise and sunset photos. However, I like the macro lens with my Canon better than the Nikon.
Cheryl Ann

aurora said...

That Gila Monster looks harmless (?) but I don't particularly enjoy finding unexpected creatures lurking, however they do make for a great photo opportunities!

Your trainer is likely tuned in, and apparently enjoys the challenge/show of tricks. They make me nervous too. As you know some of being tuned in is learned from the sheer hours spent & variety of horses, and some is just natural. Wish I had more of both...

Brenda said...

Congrats on the new camera. I need another p&s to back up my Canon 40d. I'm surprised my 40d has lasted as long as it has, which is 6 years next month.

Apparently I live in the wrong area of the valley. We get lots of quail but no Gila monsters. I want Gila Monsters!

fernvalley01 said...

I like the photos, you will have some fun getting to know the new camera. As for the trainer, sounds like he knows his stuff and his limits, cool

achieve1dream said...

Aurora, Gila monsters are very poisonous but not likely to bite if you don't mess with it.

Those pictures are awesome!! I'll have to add it to the list for my next camera. Let us know what you think of it after you've had it a while please.

That's crazy about your trainer! Confidence is contagious I have learned!