Using a Ricoh GRD III and a Nikon DSLR to photograph streets, people, architecture and anything else that catches my eye.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Bottom of the lake, and the Sony Cybershot W1

On a perfect summer day in 2004, I decided to take my dog for a leisurely stroll around a local lake.  It was always a nice place to sit and relax, read a book, and generally get away from the house.  On this particular day I thought it would be a great idea to take some pictures of my local countryside and beautiful lake.  I am sure I must have taken some nice photographs, although I will never know how they turned out, as the camera has been laying at the bottom of the lake for seven years now.  Hanging on to a tree on the edge of the lake whilst reaching out over the water, just to get a certain shot, is NOT a good idea.  The little Sony P9 Cybershot slipped from my hand too easily, and plopped into the black water with the minimum of splash.    Gone!

South Weald Park, Brentwood.  The Lake


It is a strange feeling after an immediate act of stupidity.  Nothing quite comes close to it.  I looked around me to see if any members of public saw me drop the camera like an idiot, only to see my dog staring at me with a wagging tail.

Spot of advice...  ALWAYS USE A WRIST STRAP.

After reaching down into the water and fingering around in mud for ten minutes, as if the camera would work after retrieval; I gave up and wandered home.  Luckily I was insured for acts of stupidity, so the very next week I rushed out and purchased another camera.  My insurance was a ‘like for like’ policy, therefore I was pushed into buying another Sony Cybershot.  I spent a while in a local Sony Centre and found a rather nice little model which was essentially the latest Cybershot.  I was drawn to the slightly traditional shape and black styling of the Sony W1 model.  Constructed from a very solid black metal case, with a much larger screen on the back, this camera felt great in the hand.  Yet again, it was another ‘point and shoot’, but this model did have quite a bit of flexibility. There was a lens ring for an optional wide angle lens, which I later purchased.  The resolution was now up to 5.1MP, with a 256MB card.  This was a rugged little beast and proved to be a faithful quality camera, which went everywhere with me for the next four years. Even though I bought some larger cameras since the Sony W1, it served well as a second pocket camera.  I still like to take two cameras with me, as a DSLR is often not very convenient. Also, I think this was the camera which slowly started to spark my interest in Street Photography, as I spent a lot of time in Japan, where it is often actually difficult to keep people out of the frame.

Sony Cybershot W1


During this period though, my main interest in photography was architecture. My employment is heavily connected with architectural design, which got me involved in some very interesting building projects in London.  In addition to taking many pictures of work which I was involved in, I also enjoyed walking around London photographing old and new architecture, and the surrounding city streets.  My trips to Japan also served as great places for city centre architecture and street scenes. Japan has an incredible mix of old and new; beautifully confusing and sometimes quite surreal. The Sony W1 proved to be a very trustworthy camera, even after dropping it on the floor on several occasions.   I still own it, and it collects dust in a drawer, but it still takes reasonable pictures.

I have looked through all the images taken with the W1 whilst in Japan.  They were all colour images at the time, but I have done some black & white post processing on a selection of them. In the next posts I shall display these with a few notes.  

So far, all my blog posts have been chronolgical in order, with the idea of eventually reaching my present day photography. From then on I will be able to ramble on in any old order, with new images as and when I take them.  So just a few cameras to go then!

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