Morecambe At Sunrise

Posted by Stuart Herbert on January 31st, 2010 in Photos, Shoot.

Towards The Midland Hotel

I’ve just come back from Technique|NorthWest, a digital training camp where I ran the PHP workshop. (You can read more about that over on my PHP blog). Staying at the captivating Midland Hotel, I was able to get out at sunrise on the Saturday to explore the seafront with my new Canon IXUS 200 IS.

Thoughts On The Day

I hadn’t actually planned on doing any photography, but one look out of my hotel window at the snow-capped mountains on the other side of the bay convinced me otherwise. But brrrr, it was cold outside!

It must be almost 30 years since I was last up here, and other than playing cricket on the beach at Grange-over-Sands, I don’t remember anything at all about the place. I had about an hour before it was time to get my game face on for the day’s training event, which gave me just long enough to wander out from the Midland Hotel to the lighthouse at the end of the pier, and then south along the promenade for a short distance.

I didn’t have my Nikon D200 with me, but thankfully the Canon IXUS 200 IS I recently got for my birthday was in my pocket.

Btw, the Midland Hotel where we stayed for Technique|NorthWest is an amazing art deco construction from the 1930’s. I hope to go back in the summer with my Nikon to do it justice.

Favourite Photo From The Shoot

LR66

I just love this shot of the boat sat on the mud flats of Morecambe Bay, with the snow-capped mountains of the Lake District opposite. The rising winter sun really brought out the yellow of the boat, and it contrasts nicely with the watery blue reflecting the sky above.

I think it’s a great example of what the Canon IXUS 200 IS is capable of.

The Photos

Here are the best photos from the shoot. Click each photo to see it up on Flickr.

The View From My Hotel Room

Three Cormorants

The Boat

Bird Sculpture

North Along Morecambe Bay

Snow-Capped Mountains

The End Of The Pier

The Channel In The Mud

The Lighthouse

Danger!

LR66

The Lighthouse

Towards The Midland Hotel

Post Production

Grrr. More photos from the Canon IXUS 200 IS that are out of focus. Still needs more investigation, but I’m coming to the conclusion that this particular model (or maybe just my particular camera) simply can’t focus on anything beyond the middle distance. Even setting the camera to focus on infinity doesn’t seem to help.

But I am very impressed with the colours captured by this camera. All I’ve had to do in post is sharpen and crop to taste. No colour editing at all.

Closing Thoughts

This is exactly one of the scenarios I have a pocket camera for – to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity. I’m still learning how to get the best out of my new Canon IXUS 200 IS, but focusing problems aside, it’s proving to be a great camera to take everywhere with me.

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New Camera: Canon IXUS 200 IS

Posted by Stuart Herbert on January 24th, 2010 in Equipment.

I’ve been without a pocket camera since my Panasonic FX-33 died on holiday in September 2007 … until today 🙂

The Observatory, Swansea

For my birthday, my wife has bought me a Canon IXUS 200 IS. This 12MP camera features a wider-angled lens than the IXUS 110 and also a longer zoom too, but the main reason I picked this IXUS over its slimmer sibling is the touch screen. In the past, one of the deep frustrations of pocket cameras has been that I couldn’t choose where the camera focused. But, with its 3 inch touch screen, the IXUS 200 allows me to quickly and easily choose where the camera focuses with each and every shot.

And, after an afternoon’s walk around Swansea’s redeveloped waterfront, I think the potential of this camera speaks for itself.

Spike On His Throne Keep The Lights Burning Wideangle In The Pocket A Most Unusual ... Er, What Is It? The Observatory, Swansea The Observatory, Swansea The Observatory, Swansea The Roof Of The Observatory, Swansea Two Masks Seafront Sign The Pumphouse, Swansea The Dylan Thomas Theatre, Swansea The Floodlight Dylan Thomas Statue Dinner Is Served On The Bridge Marking The Lanes Lamp, Apartments, and the Moon

Favourite Shot

Two shots in particular stood out for me, and they were both looking up at objects that most people probably ignore most days:

Keep The Lights Burning

The Floodlight

Thoughts On The Camera

I’ve read in several reviews that the IXUS 200’s touchscreen seems a bit of a gimmick, and if you’re used to an iPhone and its marvellous touch screen, you’d be forgiven for thinking the same. But I chose this camera specifically because I could use the touchscreen to quickly and accurately pick the focus point for each photo, and for the most part it worked very well indeed.

There are a few shots (including two of the photos I’ve published in this set) where the final image wasn’t sharp. At first, I thought the camera had a softness problem at maximum zoom … but not every soft image was zoomed in to the max. I’m going to have to investigate this a bit more to try and figure it out.

There are also a few shots where the colours came out … not washed out exactly, but certainly looking odd. I’m guessing that this was something to do with the camera’s automatic dynamic contrast feature, and will be trying to figure that one out too to help minimise the number of disappointing photos in the future.

Other than that, the IXUS 200 and I have become firm friends already, and I’m looking forward to getting out with it again soon.

Final Thoughts

The Canon IXUS 40 was my first pocket digital camera, and it was my faithful companion for several years, taking plenty of interesting photos before it was finally retired. The two Panasonics I’ve had since then were excellent cameras too, with the FX-33 winning in a head-to-head against the IXUS 40. When it died, I replaced it with the LX3, but despite the excellent quality of its images, its limited focal length and non-recessed lens meant that it could never be a go-everywhere pocket camera.

The IXUS 200 IS has none of the limitations of the LX3, and has become my pocket camera of choice for the moment. However, it’s logical to assume that this is at the cost of image quality. I’ll be putting both cameras head to head in February to find out.

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