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.
Some dancers, using a mild zoom.
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.
I sat close to the stage. Still, without the powerful zoom I wouldn't have been able to capture the shots that I did.
Quite a few acrobatic and athletic moves in Taiko.
I got chills up my spine from the emotion of the drumming. The rhythms are addictive. I wanted more, as soon as the group stopped.
Then I headed to a demonstration of Indian dancing. Beautiful colors on the beautiful women.
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).
No way am I getting this shot with my dinky 3x Olympus zoom, unless I clamber up on stage and shove a camera in this woman's face. With the Sony, no problem.
I loved the shapes of the dancers -- meaning, how they used their female contours to form such interesting vignettes.
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.
Here's some first-day World Beat Festival photos. This guy was standing in deep shadow under an awning. I figured the point and shoot setting wouldn't handle that very well. Actually, it did fine.
A girl grooving to some bluegrass music.
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.
Here's my best "maxi-zoom is great" example. Standing on the riverfront, this is how a boat appeared without any zoom.
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.
Lastly, here's an example of the panorama feature, taken on our deck.
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).
I also owe the Sony DSC HX1 and I absolutely love it. It takes high quality pictures. Here are some of the pictures I took with this lovely camera.
Posted by: Brazilianbloke | November 20, 2009 at 06:59 PM
I just ordered mine due to your wonderful images. Did you post process these (even sharpen unmask in camera) or are they straight from the camera. They are some of the best I have seen, great job.
Posted by: Paul | December 11, 2009 at 08:01 PM
Paul, the images are straight from the camera. I just plug a card reader into my MacBook USB slot and transfer photos to iPhoto. I may have used the one-touch image adjustment in iPhoto, but I don't think so.
I've found that the color straight from the Sony usually looks better than what iPhoto comes up with (photos taken with my iPhone are another matter).
You'll enjoy the camera. I've also used it for video and found it worked great. Here's a You Tube video taken with the Sony of swifts going down a Portland chimney. The zoom works as well with video as with still shots:
Posted by: Blogger Brian | December 11, 2009 at 08:16 PM
Thanks for the info :)
Posted by: Paul | December 14, 2009 at 11:00 AM
I'm looking at getting this camera and it is great to see such brilliant pictures that have been taken with it.
I think this may have persuaded me to go ahead and buy it!
Posted by: Jon | January 23, 2010 at 03:05 AM