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Big Basin Skyline-to-Sea, SONY DSC-T1, Feeling Autumnal, Water Flow

I was back in Big Basin Park the last couple of days. I parked at the park headquarters, backpacked in to (near) Sunset trail camp where I spent a night, and backpacked out to Waddell Beach the next day, where my better half picked me up.

I say “near” because I couldn’t find the freaking Sunset trail camp (expected it too soon), and slept on a random outcropping near the trail. I learned that I’d brought the fly of my tent instead of the tent itself, so had to do a lean-to kind of thing. The Compleat Senile Camper.

I started out at the same little waterfall at Timms Creek where I was on June 15, 2005. I mistakenly called it Timkins Creek in the earlier entry.

By the way, one of my regular blog-readers, Mac Tonnies, asks what kind of camera I use. I have a 5 Meg SONY DSC-T1; It’s very small and fits in my pants pocket, which means that I can take a lot of pictures. I walk around blogging my life.

Of course there’s a newer model now, the DSC-T7, it’s even lighter, my wife just got one.

The camera has a Zeiss lens, which seems to take very nice pictures. I sometimes Photoshop them, doing a minimal CTRL+SHIFT+L for “Adjust All Levels” — although I don’t always accept that change, as it can wipe out subtle color tones as it would have in this lightly PhotoShopped picture of eucalyptus bark taken back in Los Gatos. I did end up adjusting brightness and contrast a bit on this one. Really, it would look better as a print.

A dendrogyph or tree-tiki on Sunset trail in Big Basin Park. Features burnt in by firebrands. Spooky in the lonely dusk. Slight fuzziness due to motion blur, even though I shot this six times.

The biggest problem with a tiny camera is blur due to hand tremor in low light. I wish the CCD was a bit more sensitive, as sometimes it indicates low light when I'd like to be able to shoot without flash. You can use the built-in Menu to set the “Film Speed” to 400 to get a bit more speed, but often that's not enough. I’m playing with the EV numbers now to see if I can gain anything that way, seems like a negative EV might use a shorter exposure.

I shoot in lower light without flash anyway many times, as flash tends to flatten out surfaces, and only works up to a few feet. I always laugh when I see people taking flash pictures of things like performers a hundred feet away, or mountains, or even fireworks.

The downside of shooting at low speeds with an ultralight camera is that the camera wiggles very easily — unlike a kilogram-mass “good” camera. IMHO, now that we have tiny CCDs functioning as miniature film, stabilizing mass is the sole advantage of big cameras — people are only still getting big clunkers out of inertia and fashion and a sense that it makes them look professional.

You could glue a brick to the SONY and have a more wiggle-resistant camera. I've seen tiny flexible tripods. Even better would be a a gecko-foot pad. But, lacking that, I squeeze imperceptibly between breaths, or use self-timer release so that I don’t even have to squeeze, or hold the camera pressed against a tree or rock or railing.

In this picture I held the camera against a rock. It shows a rock-filled creekbed in Waddell Creek near the sea, reminding me of the creeks in my boyhood home of Louisville, Kentucky — so many of the Kentucky streams are wide and flat and tiled with flagstones. In my memories it’s often autumn there.

Getting a self-timer picture of myself is always tricky.

There I am.

After sleeping at (near) Sunset trail camp I walked down to Berry Creek Falls, which was looking good. I had the place all to myself. That’s a real win with being retired, you can go places on off days.

I walked all the way to Waddell creek, leaves falling. I felt autumnal.

Hard to believe I’ll be sixty next March. I’m a persistent (so far) pattern, a standing wave.

There were some nice little butterflies. This picture uses a digital zoom, which breaks the highlights into pixelization.

I got a nice series of pictures of flow that first day at the little falls on Timms Creek.

Focusing on this one gnarly, ever-shifting pattern of flow. I used flash on the two close ones.

The real reason my pictures sometimes look good isn’t so much a matter of what kind of camera I have.

It’s because I’ve been continually taking pictures for nearly fifty years.

Photography’s been my hobby forever, something I do to express myself, and without worrying about making money off it.

It’s nice to have a blog to show them on. And then when I walk around taking pictures of things, I feel like I'm not alone.

6 Responses to “Big Basin Skyline-to-Sea, SONY DSC-T1, Feeling Autumnal, Water Flow”

  1. Elayne Riggs Says:

    I really enjoy your photoblogging – glad to hear you’ll be continuing! I don’t photoblog nearly as well, but then I have a fairly amateurish digital camera as far as these things go…

  2. Marshall Says:

    I do love your blog. Your text and photos stimulate. They are “of another world” though from this world. Rudy’s conflated world of equivalents. You seem to be always having fun and rudythoughts occur. NICE.

  3. PJ Says:

    It’s funny you mention tiny tripods today, as I just hit Gizmodo and they have an entry up about a portable tripod that looks like a glorified bean bag. Let’s see if this thing’ll take links…
    Bogen Camera Pod [Gizmodo]
    I’d also like to mention that your blog is the highlight of my morning surfing, always rife with great imagery and ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Mac Says:

    I bought my digital camera for $24.99. You get what you pay for, although I admit having fun seeing how good a picture I can take within the camera’s limitations, which are daunting.
    Oh, yeah — I was wondering if there were any plans on reissuing “The Hollow Earth”…

  5. gamma Says:

    i hope yu be well & thanx fer the great pix – so i assume that yu ain’t in Europe anymore – & i understand i think

  6. emilio Says:

    I continue to love your blog, its simplicity and elegance.
    It’s cool to know you in your capacity as teacher. I notice that it puts a different cadence in your written word.
    The quality of life you live is inspirational. Thanks
    Oh, I don’t care about my grade: – )

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