Distractions

What do you do when you’re totally distracted by domestic things over which you’ve no control?  When you have no option but to sit and wait and see what happens? If you’re like me you pick up the nearest camera and pop out for a walk. Which is what I did at the end of last week whilst number two daughter was in hospital for the birth of her second child.

My “rule” for impromptu wanders is to grab the nearest camera and on that day it was the Fuji X-Pro1 with a 35mm lens. However, sitting on the table next to it was a GoPro Fusion 360 degree camera that I was charging in order to make sure it was still working before my (fingers crossed) short break at the end of this month.  I don’t use it very often but it’s a fun camera that I like to take with me when I go away. I slipped it in my bag too.

Walking along the canal

I promised the wife I’d be back within the hour and drove down to the local canal, parking a ten minute walk from a small patch of woodland that I often wander through with a camera. Approaching through the trees the first thing I noticed was the bluebells.  Not as many as in previous years but a pleasant surprise; what with the pandemic and everything I’d forgotten it was bluebell time.

I took a few images with the X-Pro1 but wasn’t really “feeling” it, I was probably too distracted by other things.  So, I pulled the GoPro from the bag and carefully placed it amongst the bluebells being careful not to trample any of the delicate flowers. The camera is controlled via a smartphone and seeing the live feed quickly absorbed me as it always does.  This isn’t a first choice camera but when I do use it I never fail to get fully immersed in what I’m doing.  

Half a dozen compositions with the GoPro and it was time for me to start walking back to the car if I was to keep my promise to be back within the hour.  I couldn’t resist a couple more though and placed the camera in the branches of a tree and did something I very rarely do … a selfie!

Not one …
… but two!

I’ve used several 360 cameras over the last couple of years and without exception have found the post-processing part every bit as much fun as taking the images in the first place.  Which is very unlike me.  This can be done on the computer and in my view this gives the highest quality files BUT playing with the images on my phone or tablet seems to me to be very much in keeping with the ethos of the camera and how its used.

Down the hobbit hole

So there you have it. Photography doesn’t always have to be a “serious” pursuit, and in fact having a bit of fun with it can help distract you from other matters when needed.

Oh, nearly forget, we have our first granddaughter – mother and baby both doing well.

Oldie360

I’ve said before that there’s a restless quality in some of us that keeps us constantly looking and learning, trying new things and experimenting with new ways to do things. For me it is my photography that  provides this platform for experimentation and as I’ve said before I often take on new challenges before the previous one has been fully mastered. Restless you see.

© Dave Whenham

I hit 60 last month (I know, you all thought I was about 12) and wanting to buy me something a little different my wife plumped for the INSTA360 One camera. The clue is in the name – it shoots 360 video and stills. Now, we are not taking DSLR image quality here and at a point when I’ve just upgraded the little Fuji X-T20 for the X-T3 (more of which another day) it seems counterintuitive to be buying a camera with some serious limitations in respect of image quality. But, and this is important, the purpose of buying such a camera, for me, was not to produce 20×16 inch exhibition prints, but to have a bit of fun. At present the biggest audience for 360 images is to be found on social media.  The tiny 24mb/4K sensor in the One is more than adequate for the purpose and indeed obsessing about image quality is to miss the point of owning this camera.

One of the side tracks I sometimes take with the drone, especially when the conditions aren’t exactly what I’m looking for in respect of landscape photography, is shooting 360 degree, spherical panoramas and then turning these into “tiny planets”.  It’s a niche interest but for a “twelve-at-heart” sixty year old it has proven irresistible.  Now, not all of my photographer contacts think so highly of this pastime as I do but I’m not doing this for them, I’m doing it for my inner child. That said, I have now set up a separate Instagram account (Oldie360) to share my 360 images. 

© Dave Whenham
Serious? Or seriously confused?

The small 360 camera therefore gives me access to another outlet for my photographic exploits. Up until now I’ve not been using is “seriously” as I’m enjoying the fun of creating little selfie-worlds but whilst playing I’m learning. I’ve already realised that using my phone as a Bluetooth trigger is a little limiting so have ordered the small, but relatively pricey (as it currently has to be bought from abroad) INSTA360 remote trigger. This can be used discretely in the hand or if using the selfie stick it can be attached to the stick itself.

I shall write more about this new photographic offshoot over time as I get to grips with its idiosyncrasies but in the meantime enjoy the couple of 360-Selfies I’ve included here. 

Me.        Selfies.       Who’d have thought it!