A great weekend: I've fallen in love with my first high-end point and shoot digital camera, a Sony DSC-HX1 that I got last Friday (a three-month early birthday present from me to me, figuring that if I waited to give myself this gift, I'd miss a lot of summer photo opportunities).
And I got to try out the camera at Salem's 2009 World Beat Festival, where I always have a good time.
I went yesterday with Laurel, and returned today by myself -- wanting to apply some photo lessons that I'd learned my first time out and soak up more of the multi-cultural vibe.
I'll tell you what I like about the DSC-HX1, which has gotten quite a few laudatory Amazon reviews, in the course of showing some of the photos I snapped at the festival and Riverfront Park.
Yesterday I got some blurry shots of the Salem Carousel using the camera's Intelligent Auto Adjustment feature (point and shoot mode). Guess it's not intelligent enough to know that something is in motion.
Today I used the "S" mode (Shutter Speed Priority Shooting) to get a faster shutter speed and sharper photo.
Pretty cool -- you can set the shutter speed and aperture manually, either singly or together. Mostly I found that the point and shoot setting worked fine, but it's nice to be able to play around with some manual settings.
The camera has a 20x optical zoom, which was one of the key features I wanted in a new camera. My old Olympus Stylus just had a 3x zoom. More examples of the marvelous 20x zoom later (which can extend to 34x and more, if you shoot at a 4x6 or 5x7 resolution quality, or less).
I lucked out today, getting to the main stage while a Taiko group was still playing. So much energy, so much power. I felt it even through the camera's viewfinder as I played around with various settings.
Again, my new camera's zoom came in handy. I couldn't get super close to the stage, but with a 20x telephoto, that doesn't matter (the DSC-HX1 has image stabilization that works great on high power zooms with shaky hands).
This guy was another kind of Indian. He had a large crowd around him. The Sony has a swiveling view finder, so I could turn it almost upside down, raise the camera over my head a bit , and get an unobstructed shot while still using the view finder.
Returning to the main stage area, Darryl Thomas (who I believe is a dance instructor at Western Oregon University) had gotten the audience to do some hip-hop steps in unison (more or less). I demurred, being more interested in getting additional Sony shots.
This sort of situation is where the tilting view finder comes in handy. I don't like to look obtrusive when I'm taking a photo of regular (meaning non-performing) people. With the tilting view finder, I could sit on the grass, put the camera on my lap, and glance down to take a photo in a casual fashion.
And this is how it looked at the camera's maximum zoom, with the image stabilization at work. Taking the shot hand held, I could see the image trembling at the high zoom (probably about 34x). But the photo turned out pretty darn sharp.
I selected the panorama mode, held down the shutter release, and panned the camera from left to right. Somehow the Sony stiched everything together nicely (have no idea how I'd print this out, though).