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

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Sony Cybershot P9 - Rome 2003

I thought this would be a good chance to actually show some photos that I have taken, instead of just pictures of cameras I have owned. I have not been able to find any images taken with the early Fuji Finepix from 1998. In those days the idea of storing and archiving did not occur to me. I do however, have quite a few images taken with the Sony Cybershot P9. They have been stored on CDs and various hard drives over the years, and they do provide memories of people and places of that time.

I have studied and been taught quite a bit about photography over recent years, and when I look at my earlier images from this period, I can only see flaws. I have been very critical of myself, and re-evaluating older images is good practice. It is interesting that at the time I thought these images were excellent. Well... some of them are passable maybe.

So, back in 2002, with my cool new Sony Cybershot in my hand, I visited Rome for a long weekend break with my then partner. This was the first chance that I had in a long time to actually get some decent photos from a holiday. The last time I had photos of myself on a holiday was when I was making sand-castles at the seaside, taken on my father's Kodak.

Rome is an amazing city, full of history and style. It is a great place for photography. I took well over a hundred photos in Rome, but I am posting just a handful of passable images.

There are several photographic errors which all these images have in common. These are things that I didn't think about at the time because I had not yet been shown a thing or two about basic photography.

The main subjects are nearly all positioned in the center of the image. This is quite typical for the everyday happy snapper... See something, get it in the middle of the frame, and click. I now understand the 'rule of thirds', which I try to apply to this kind of photography. Take a look at this wikipedia page for a good summary:

Another silly error is that every photo is taken at ISO 400. Even in the brightest Italian mid-day sun, I have digital noise all over these shots. The cybershot came with quite a lot of settings, with which I experimented quite often. Unfortunately, I didn't always change them back afterwards.

The next lesser error involves white balance. Now for some reason I used to set it to the 'cloudy' setting all the time, whatever the weather. I liked that 'warm' colour tone, even though it wasn't completely faithful. So for a long time, all my images were a little 'golden'. I now set white balance to 'auto' even on a DSLR, as it seems to get it right most times; and then it is very easy to correct the white balance in most software like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom.

Finally, my general composition has improved since these early images. I do spend more time framing a shot carefully, so that peoples' heads don't appear in corners etc. With cityscapes and landscapes, it is always worth thinking about the shot. Take time and wait for the fat kid in the bright red tee shirt to walk on by; or make sure that car isn't spoiling the overall picture.

Old photos should always be kept, and revisited. For happy memories as well as encouragement of improvement. I will some day look back at the images I take today with similar critique.

Is that a Canon I see in my ex-partners hands? I am sure I teased her about carrying a 35mm film SLR around with her all day. Funny how things change. She went out and bought a small Canon digital camera after that trip, and now I use a DSLR!

Here are a final few from Rome:

In this post, I have used image thumbnails, which are clickable, to open up the larger version of the image. I have looked at the various blogger 'gadgets' but have not been able to find something simple to give me this effect. Most of the gadgets, while extremely clever, seem to take over the whole blogger template. I wanted to write about photography while showing a few small groups of images, in the thumbnail fashion, which still fitted in with my simple template design.

In the end, I descided to use HTML to achieve this. I knew absolutely nothing about HTML, but with a little googling research I discovered a few good knowledge recourses. After a few hours of cutting and pasting, and quite a lot of trial and error, I now understand just enough HTML to use simple thumbnail galleries.

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