7.25.2020

Random stuff that I shot while playing with my small camera. I love the flexibility of it. The Canon G16. If you find a mint condition one for $250 or less.....

If you are living life well there is always a "Fall Risk." 
The passion is in the risk. Still, it's odd to come across such a literal reminder. 

 Birds. Version one. Getting close. 
Birds. Version two. Medium shot. 

Birds. Version Three. The establishing shot. 

The Tiniest Bar in Texas. Just across the street from the Whole Foods H.Q.
(Killer prices right now on Prime Rib Eye Steaks. I know what I'm' cooking up 
on my turn this Wednesday...). 

Yes. At times stuff just floats in front of me. 

Bridge. Version one. Establishing shot.

Bridge. Version Two. Medium close up shot. 

Near the bridge. Version three. Detail B-roll. 



there's a building frenzy going on downtown. 
Usually happens just before the "big bust." 

Another afternoon misspent with tiny cameras. But it was a nice and exciting walk. The Canon G16(s) were incredibly well behaved.

My current, favorite walking camera is the Canon G16. It's an older unit that was introduced back in 2013 but the sensor, though small, is really good and the camera is so transparent to operate. I liked my first one so much that I rushed back a day later and bought a second one. It's a camera that is one of the last of a venerable line of compact digital cameras and it's a very mature and well constructed example. 

It's good to remember that compact, zoom lens cameras were really our first serious introduction to digital imaging. Most people only moved on to DSLRs and, later, mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, after compacts help prove that digital images were usable, and even good enough for work. They were the niche of cameras that helped millions of people feel comfortable making the transition from film to the extremely popular DSLR. 

The Canon G16 is a small but dense camera that sports a fairly fast 28-140mm equivalent, f1.8 to f2.8 zoom lens that also does a good job imitating a macro lens. It features a very good implementation of image stabilization and the menu is pretty quick and easy to manage. If the camera falls down anywhere it's in the design of the optical image finder which is more like a tunnel finder than anything particularly "optical." 

While the G16 is no resolution monster the 12.1 megapixels that it provides are more than adequate for most photo needs and the lens helps by being very sharp and nearly (in my experience) flare free. It does have an awkwardly high amount of distortion at the widest angles of view; these are automatically corrected in Jpegs but you certainly see the effects of extreme barrel distortion if you shoot in Raw and don't have auto lens correction enabled in your Raw processor. Easy enough to fix in anything Adobe and also, manually, in Luminar 4.3. 

So why does this camera float to the top of the stack when I'm choosing a camera to walk with? Well, if I lived in upstate New York and I started breaking a sweat once the mercury crested 68° in the Summer I might choose a different camera but in Texas when the average daytime temperature is around 100° and the humidity hits you in the face it's really much nicer to carry around a minimal camera load. I can put the G16 on a strap around my neck and never really know it's there. I can shoot for hundreds and hundreds of frames and not wear down a solo battery. And if I'm shooting in raw and setting the top plate exposure compensation control to minus 1/3 or 2/3 I find I can recover shadows very nicely and do a great job managing dynamic range even in the brightest scenes.

When I walk for fun I'm not shooting for money. There are no clients attached and no shot list to manage. I could bring along any camera I like. But there's something amicable about the G16s that make them good companions. Mostly I think it's that they require no special treatment and no babysitting. There's no lens to change so I never head down the rabbit hole of looking into the drawer of cameras and lenses wondering which ones to bring. I know the sensor is small compared to what I usually shoot with so I'm predisposed to set the ISO to 80 and leave it there. That formalist boundary predicates a shooting modality that removes a few choices and leaves me freer to concentrate on the photo at hand. I know I want to be a f4.5 because that's the sharpest aperture on the whole machine. 

Knowing that I'll be locked in at ISO 80 and f4.5 means that I keep eliminating variables. I used to think I'd spend my time with the camera shooting in aperture priority but once I've eliminated two variables I understand that shooting in full sun means I really have no other choice but to shoot at 1/640 or 1/800 to match up the exposure triangle. Easy as pie. Tasty as cherry pie. 

At a certain point the only two things I need to think about are: the focal length that makes the shot for me, and the right composition. What to leave in and what to leave out. Probably the most important two things!

But the best thing about small and simple (but elegant and capable) cameras is that they don't push me to shoot too much. With bigger cameras I take everything more seriously and shoot too many frames while I wind myself up and try to break down the images in front of me. With my smaller cameras I see one shot, line it up, comp it and shoot it. We're just dancing instead of mapping out the dance steps. 

I'm always trying to convince myself that my work with big, high resolution, full frame cameras is going to eventually end up being used large and will really push against the edges of whatever envelope I'm working in. With the G16s I'm honest with myself and understand that the final target is the blog, or Instagram or the website.

That takes any self imposed pressure off me and let's me relax into shooting. It's nice and smooth. 

Here's some stuff I I shot this afternoon:
front window of a bar on West 6th St. 





A perenial for  photographers. The Littlefield Building stands out in a wide field of boxy rectangle buildings in downtown. 




As I approached the far end of my walk I was near I-35 and watched huge, dark grey clouds come rolling in, riding on 50 mile per hour wind gusts. I could smell the rain coming. I pulled a u-turn and headed West on Second St. hoping to get back to my starting point before the rain came slashing down. 
No such luck. The wind gusts were shortly joined by on and off torrent so of rain. I pulled a plastic bag out of my super small utility bag and dropped my (not waterproof) G16 into it. 

In ten minutes or so I was pretty well soaked but still walking briskly back towards my car. That's okay, it was still nearly 90° outside. I got back to the M-Series Subaru Forester AMG LeMans just as the rain stop pelting me. After patting myself on the back for my attentive years in the pre-modern Boy Scouts of America I popped open the rear hatch on the photo/tactical vehicle and grabbed one of the two big beach towels and wiped myself off. Then I pulled off my drenched shirt and pulled on one of the scrub shirts I keep in the trunk just for occasions like this. I also pulled off my water saturated shoes and socks and pulled on the old pair of Crocs I keep for times like this. Then I draped the towel over the seat, climbed in and headed home. 

The camera was fine. My iPhone stood at the ready for aqueous duty in the interim. 

Between Belinda and I we have two G15s and two G16s, all of which take the same batteries. I'd say we already have our vacation cameras pre-selected. 


ten minutes before the storm onslaught. 


Currently making a little "swim" movie with the G16s. 
No 4K but nice 1080p. 
Very little control but that can work too.