Back to the Big Boy Camera

A funny thing happened to me last week when I visited the Volcano National Park . . . I discovered I am vain. Yup! Me, vain. 

I know what’s you’re thinking . . . 

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“What’s he got to be vain about?”

No, not that kind of vain, although if truth be . . . ah . . . never mind; that’s not important right now. 

Here’s the scene: I’m walking around with my Nikon CoolPix P900 — not a small camera, but obviously a “consumer” camera because it has a “fixed” lens and only a few buttons and dials — and I see a lady snapping away with a Nikon DSLR, complete with nice lens and hood. A proper prosumer camera and lens outfit. 

For them not familiar with the term . . . 

Prosumer: a person who fancies himself a step above “consumer” and someone who thinks they could turn “Pro” if they wanted to . . . or could afford “Pro-level” equipment. 

All the big-name camera manufacturers market to that large segment. Basically, a large group of photographers who — by virtue of owning and using expensive equipment — fancy themselves a hair’s breath away from being as good as . . . well, shoot! . . . I don’t know the names of any professional photographer . . . wait! . . . Adams! Ansel Adams.

Really. Many photographers think that if they could just afford that “professional” camera, why, their work would be hanging in museums. They settle, instead, for “prosumer” equipment with all sorts of settings, dials, switches, and buttons they will likely never fully use, and accompanying fancy lenses, all at the cost roughly half of that of professional rigs. 

Before my readers get pissed off at me, of course I don’t mean you! I mean the other guys (guys used as a catch-all placeholder inclusive of various types of humanoids of all available sexes and sexual orientations, and not confining itself to just males of the species), the guys not reading this blog. 

Here; let me add a photo to break up the tension . . . 

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Also, read THIS interesting article.

Where was I? Oh, yeah . . . there I am, walking around with my P900 and I see a lady shooting with a prosumer camera. Do you know what happened next? 

Well, I’ll tell you . . . I had this overwhelming urge to walk over and let her know I too had a prosumer camera and even pro lenses and that I was only trying out the P900. Good thing I didn’t because later I heard a park ranger speak in a Nordic language to the small group she was a part of. 

Anyway, I froze on the spot and, as I am wont to do, examined this feeling, all Spock-like.

I did not like what I concluded: that I was camera vain. Wait . . . maybe vain is the wrong word — I fancy myself a writer, you see — maybe the word is camera elitist.

No; these days, that has negative connotations. Snob . . . camera snob; that has the right amount of self-deprecation while still holding to a measure of superiority. 

Well, whatever I was, I am no more. 

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One of the reasons I never put a lot of emphasis on my looks is because I am not good-looking . . . no, wait; I mean because I know who I am and I like who I am. 

It’s the same with my photography. It’s not the camera that I’m proud of, how I look with the camera in my hand that gives me value, but what I can do with it, and I know what I can do with a camera. 

That, by the way, was also a revelation regarding my hesitation with the P900. A small part of my hesitation with shooting that camera is that it makes me look like every other tourist out on their twice-a-year shooting spree. Now that I identified that subconscious hang-up, I am free of it. I don’t care anymore and that facilitated my decision to keep the camera. 

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There are many variables to getting a good photo, and the camera does not rank high up there. 

That said, all of these photos were taken with my prosumer camera and lenses. You can compare them to the photos in the last post and you will find some are better than the P900 photos and some are not as good. 

This is my first attempt at catching up with prosumer photos I’ve left languishing on my computer. There will be more posts like this one because I’ve been lax in my duty; my duty to bore the crap out of my readers. 

Let’s go on, shall we?

The above are Nenes shot on the same golf course as those captured and shown in the previous post, only the photos are about five months apart. I’ll show you one more before continuing, but there are more in the gallery at the bottom of this post. Also at the end of this post, a link to the SmugMug album.

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Driving on Hwy. 11 on the way to Volcano National Park, a short distance from Naalehu, one passes Whittington Beach Park. On this one particular occasion, I stopped to photograph the remnants of a warf destroyed by a 1946 tsunami. 

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A bit farther, one hits the Punalu’u black sand beach.

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Those are the waves on the bay, and the beach is to the left (shown in the previous post).

But wait . . . going back a bit, still along Hwy. 11 and just before entering Naalehu, I’ve always admired a trio of dead trees. On a different occasion, I stopped to photograph them.

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It was unfortunate that fast-moving clouds screwed around with the exposure from one shot to the next, but I like all these shots. 

This next shot is an aggregate of 29-photos . . . 

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That’s the scaled down version for the blog . . . the original is roughly 10,000 x 11,000 pixels and just the JPG is 22MB. If you have a good enough Internet connection, you can download the original HERE and click around it to see the closeup of details. 

I did a B&W version . . . 

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. . . and the original of that is on SmugMug. 

The other photogenic tree is this one, also a composite, this time of only 18-photos.

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The original (7,500 x 6,600 pixels, 17MB) can be downloaded HERE

I did a version modified with Topaz Impressions, but that original is also only in SmugMug. Here’s the smaller version.

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I know what you’re thinking . . . “How long is this friggin post?”

Alas, there is more to it. If you haven’t already, and if you are easily bored, just start skimming, you know, like most readers do. 

Anyway, one eventually makes their way into the VNP and down the Chain of Craters road. 

We hardly ever go down to the coast anymore since there is not much to see once down there. But, halfway there gets you a view of a hill over which lava flowed on one of its many runs to the sea. 

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It must have been awesome seeing the red lava cresting the hill and rushing down . . . you know, before horribly burning in a sea of 2,000 Fº molten rocks. 

Here’s an 180º panorama (10,000 x 3,100 pixels, 10MB; click HERE for the original). 

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One of the reasons I like this road is the variety one can find in solidified lava. 

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I’m often accused of not providing a sense of scale for what people look at . . . here; how’s this?

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That ghost is a couple of inches tall. 

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Notice the coloring of the lava. It’s difficult to see, but some of the lava fields take on a golden patina . . . 

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In these next two shots, I provide a visual comparison between different colored lava as well as showing the stratification of colors through the lava.

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Here is another panorama . . . the apparent curvature of the Earth at the horizon is an artifact of the lens I was using, and not, in fact, the actual curvature. The horizon is pretty much flat to the naked eye. 

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The Original can be seen in the SmugMug Gallery. 

Let me show you a few interesting lava formations (more in the gallery below). 

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I could walk lava fields for days and I’d be content . . . except, you know, for dying of dehydration and heat stroke. 

Here is another panorama of the hill . . . 

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The Original (6,200 x 3,100 pixels, 8MB) can be downloaded and enjoyed HERE.

In previous posts, I’ve shown photos of lava with the saturation cranked up so that the colors jump out at you. Here are some more photos with just the cranked up version (the normal version can be seen in the gallery below). 

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It’s neat, I tell you. 

Hey, here’s one more of the ghost (as yet unnamed).

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Going back up the road and back toward the entrance, I stopped to get a photo of the plume of steam from where the current lava flow drops into the ocean. 

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These next two panoramas show the view looking Southwest . . .

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For them wanting to see the originals, go to SmugMug or click HERE and HERE (big files – about 13MB each).

The last photo I’ll show is the only decent photo I salvaged from a set of about twenty from an area of lava features I will eventually share . . . as soon as I get some good photos of it. 

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And, that’s about it for this post. Thought it was going to be longer, didn’t you? Ha!

Here be the gallery for them who don’t want to go to SmugMug HERE. These have a maximum dimension of 1280 pixels. SmugMug has the full-size versions. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, encouragement, or advice to better my life, know my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor is blowing right by you.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Hawaii, Hawaii, Musings Stuff, Photography, Photography Stuff, Scenery, The Big Island and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Back to the Big Boy Camera

  1. So does this “There are many variables to getting a good photo, and the camera does not rank high up there” sum it up?
    Warmest regards, Ed

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Yes, but then I don’t get to write for a few hours and post lots of photos.

      . . . never give them the obvious unless it’s wrapped in a lot of superfluous . . . (E. J. D’Alise – 17Feb2017)

      Like

  2. oneowner says:

    I like those lava shots. All these years I thought Lava was a hand soap. But seriously, folks, I’m here all week.
    Those folks that think having a nice camera means getting all great photos have never looked at my hard drive. Sure, you might find some nice ones. But you’ll find a lot of crap, too. A much higher percentage of crap. Maybe I should start another blog: outtakes. I could post several times a day. Everyday!
    I used to be an equipment snob but when I started looking at all the great photos other people were making with equipment I thought was amateurish, I changed my mind. It rocked my world. All the literature I had been reading telling me I had to have the best equipment to make great photos was dead wrong. I have a friend that has a prosumer Nikon and stepped up to a Leica at approximately 4 or 5 times the price. There is no doubt the Leica lens is sharper than the kit lens on the Nikon but when viewed on a monitor, I don’t think anyone can tell the difference. And my friend is a good photographer but the Leica didn’t make his photos better.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Lava is a soap . . . wait . . . I sense I missed something . . .

      I will have a comparison of early shots with the P900 and recent ones. I can easily see a difference in the quality of the photos as I learned the capabilities and limitations of the camera . . . but I cycled close to 2,000 photos through it, and I’m not done learning yet.

      Like

  3. Wow! I downloaded that photo of a tree with a rock wall. That’s a BIG file! What software did you use to stitch the 29 photos together?

    Like

  4. Is camera vain better than camera envy?! HA!

    Love the lava shots, always love your bird photos, and that ghost made me laugh! Your panoramas are always cool!

    Well, I think you have a great eye(s), are creative, and capture some unique things. To me, your photos are art!

    HUGS and Happy Whee-kend to you and Melisa! They say we are in for a weekend or rain and snow here, so please enjoy the sun for me there!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You a snob? Never! I’m a snob and wouldn’t be seen dead alongside you, I only stand beside handsome people like me, and by your own admission you’re ugly, or something along those lines.
    I like these photographs of the birds and the rolling seas but the other stuff did not excite me in the least.
    Keep trying you’ll get there one day! :)

    Like

  6. sandra getgood says:

    Love the geese, especially the one with his wings furled for a very fancy move! And the tree. And the lava. Your pictures always look interesting to me, especially but not exclusively the ones of wildlife.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Thanks, Sandra.

      Not much chance of wildlife here, not even birds. They seem more difficult to photograph than birds on the mainland. Strange that, and I cannot point to any particular reason. Doves and Common Myna birds galore, but not had good luck with any other.

      Goats . . . got a few goats, but no wild boar. I did get one hawk; unlike what I had read, there is at least one species of hawk here.

      Like

  7. PiedType says:

    Lava is fascinating stuff. But don’t go wandering out across those lava fields and get lost like that one guy did.

    I was a prosumer once, way back when I got a new Canon AE-1 was new (’80s?). That lasted through one vacation, after which I realized I would never be Ansel Adams. I was just a tourist who liked a camera with a macro zoom lens. Sure was a lot of fun, though.

    Like

  8. mvschulze says:

    Love the images, and would certainly like exploring the lava fields. Also, the hi res images are fun to explore. In one of the dead tree samples, I can just barely see dots in the JPG on my monitor, which readily become a few birds on the fly in the full res version. Always fun to navigate. For a moment I thought the “ghost” was really “BOB!” M :-)

    Like

  9. Camera vain, haha, that is a good one. I see that most people with the most expensive camera and lenses, and having a lot of them, are doing photography as a hobby. And they have a high income job. I tend to totaly agree with you: “There are many variables to getting a good photo, and the camera does not rank high up there.”

    Like

  10. Carissa says:

    What is it they say? The best camera is the one you have with you. Great photography can be done with a smart phone, for crying out loud. Knowing what makes a compelling photograph is the key.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Shhh! . . . spread that around and Nikon and Canon and Sony will all lose their profits.

      But, yes. During our move, all of the posts were done with photos from the phone. Not saying I know what I’m doing, but I do get lucky on occasion.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. AnnMarie says:

    Your third shot of the trees (in the post, not the gallery) is particularly beautiful . . . gray/brown against just the right hue of gray clouds. And your panoramic shots of the lava flows are very impressive. As you stated, it must have been a sight to see them live.

    Like

  12. GP Cox says:

    This post slipped my mind, my apologies.

    Like

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