Getting up to speed. Practice makes less awkward. New cameras need to be taken out for test drives.

I got a new camera to play with. I'm taking it to Berlin on Monday. I'm very excited about the whole process. But at the core I am a very anxious person who likes to leave little, if any, to chance. So there's no way I'll go anywhere with brand new gear unless I've had time to take it our for a spin and figure out how things work and how to work around the things I don't like...

It was a lovely, clear day in Austin. The temperature was scheduled to do a long peak at 104 degrees for three or four hours this afternoon. What does a photographer with a new camera do? Well, I went to swim practice and knocked through about 4500 yards and then I went out to lunch, got a prescription filled, bought some batteries at Costco and then, when the temperature had climbed into the triple digits I headed down town with a camera and one lens and got started breaking in the newbie.

I decided to take a counter-intuitive lens. I grabbed the Samsung 18-200mm lens. It's got built in optical image stabilization and a monster zoom range. It's a fatty but it seems really sound. Maybe not quite as sharp as the primes but a good performer one stop down from wide open. 

I'm on a new diet. I'm trying my best to cut out all sugars, sweetners and refined foods from my regular repertoire but that doesn't mean I don't want them. I settled by stopping by the Whole Foods bakery to photograph my abandoned friends before hitting the scorching sidewalks in search of scintillating scenes and vignettes. The camera and lens handled the cupcakes and truffles well. They hit the white balance nearly perfectly even though the Whole Foods HQ is a Jackson Pollack hodge-podge of mixed lighting.

Out of caloric imaging guilt I decided I should also represent some healthier foods to subconsciously persuade my readers to indulge in fresh, whole food choices....

I personally think the combination of the 18-200mm lens and the 20+ megapixel sensor of the Samsung Galaxy NX did an incredibly nice job on the little cherry tomatoes...

And the melons....

Can you hear the soles of my sandals hissing in the pavement?

Give a photographer a long zoom and he'll shoot long every time. 
Wide angles. Those are for people who can't back up.
Or for people who can't make up their minds about what they want in a scene... (kidding, don't write the nasty rebuttal...).

I walked through downtown from three until six p.m. Though my iPhone told me it was consistently 104 degrees (f) it sure didn't feel that hot. Must have been lower humidity than we've gotten used to. I spent an afternoon with the new camera (Samsung Galaxy NX Android) and I came away with a bunch of images that I'm  happy with, technically. The camera is set up a lot like the NX300 and that's a good thing. There's stuff I'll have to get used to but most of it is on the Android side and not on the shooting/camera side.

The files are crisp and clean and full of neutral colors. 

Tomorrow I'll spend a lot of time packing for my trip. I'm trying to be a minimalist in every sense. A couple shirts, a couple pairs of jeans.  Only one tuxedo (black, as it will be after Labor Day). I'm going light on electronics. I'm taking an iPad, a phone and the Samsung Galaxy NX camera. No laptop this time.

I'm still trying to decide on lenses but right now I'm thinking 16mm, 30mm, the 18-55mm kit lens, and the 60mm macro. The juggling part is between the 60mm macro and the 85mm 1.4. The 85 is the sexy choice but the 60 is the practical choice. We'll see which part of my brain wins out tomorrow.

I'm taking the new camera and I'm backing it up with the NX 300. Same mount, same mentality.

My goal is to hit the ground in Berlin on Tues. morning and to have the maximum amount of fun possible shooting and exploring the city with a bunch of like-minded photographers from around the world. It's good to have goals, especially when they are all about having fun.

I'll keep writing missives for the blog during the week but you'll have to forgive me if they are long on photos and short on type. I'll be using the virtual keyboard on the camera or the (interesting) keyboard on the iPad and neither is conducive to writing novel length blogs quickly.....

If you are a client with a thick wad of big cash to drop on me please be patient and we'll meet on Monday the 9th. 

That's all for today.....

Studio Portrait Lighting

I'm a Craftsy Instructor


  1. You should be able to type faster on Android if you get the SwiftKey predictive keyboard. It is always guessing what word you want to type next, before you even start to type it. If you are not used to Android, you may not know that you can switch out all of the default apps with ones that may suit you better, such as the keyboard--unlike iOS.

    You can also add dynamic, interactive widgets to your home screens. These are very useful too. You can see updated info and control many things, without ever opening an app.

    I use iOS and Android every day and I really enjoy Android's flexibility. Enjoy the trip; thanks for posting about it.

  2. just started trying for whole foods as well! i just spent like 6 hours researching blenders as well.. lol! and LOL @ the whole foods crazy lightning.. i think they have every type of lightbulb and fixture imaginable in that store!

  3. Have a safe trip, enjoy Berlin and have fun. I'm looking forward to your reports and musings.

  4. It will be interesting to watch your progress with this camera over the week. My bet is there will be an obvious contrast, just like those with the NX300, as familiarity sets in.

    I notice the skin tones in this round of street shots appear most realistic -- just don't know whether that's good or bad. My bias is in favor of the enriched JPG imaging of the Olympus cameras. The difference is even more evident in the Whole Foods examples.

    Working from a neutral starting point undoubtedly gives you more range of control in finessing the final result. Perhaps you'll decide to modify the JPG settings and get the final result straight out of camera. If so, your Samsung readers would benefit by having access to the formula.

  5. I like the overall look of these jpegs. I suspect with a higher quality lens they'd have a touch more bite and contrast, but these have a pleasant natural look.

  6. Have a safe and pleasant trip, Kirk! Looking forward to your experiences.

  7. Love to read your blog. It seems we live parallel lives, you in TX and me in WA. Same age and isn't it funny that I have to do the exact same new diet. I laughed as I see you too go to the Whole Foods bakery (just to look though!!!). We love small cameras and photo walking the streets of our respective cities (Seattle). I'm trying to stick to this diet but I do so miss my bakery friends. Oh well, as my doctor and wife say..."What do you prefer...a pastry now and being unhealthy later or eating healthy and still being able to do photo walks when you get 80+?" Well, I love the photo walks much more than the donuts so an apple it is.

  8. nice - I do find the 18-200 eats battery though. I would recommend you give the 45mm a try if they sent that as well - sharp and very fast focusing and for me perfect for indoor/bar type portraits. Many nx users seem to favour that once they try it. I do think the 18-200 though is a great walkabout/touristing lens


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