Twenty twenty started out much like previous years, in Montreal; and I kicked off the fourth year of my photo challenge with a squinty selfie because why not.
The following day, back in Ottawa, I went out to buy a new, real camera: specifically, a Sony α-7iii, which reviews tell me is the best all-around camera for my budget. And also to reminisce… It’s true, time does move on, and I guess some memories will never get a permanent monument. And, realistically, I’m sure Ottawa’s LGBTQ community is better served a quarter-century later. But still…
More reminiscing, more touristing: Parliament Hill, wandering into the Market, then a bit north, then hey why not walk to Hull? Didn’t walk the whole way but I did get a nice view of both sides of the bridge.
And look: my first picture with the new camera. Not too bad, right? Softer contrast (which is one thing that annoys me about my OnePlus’s camera) + a proper optical zoom (70mm, baby) + highest possible resolution = a great shot of a squirrel in our backyard.
Mind you, that’s when I started running into problems. Problem #1 being how to get photos from the camera to my phone so I can post to IG. It is possible to do it through the magic of wireless—that was one of my requirements—but the connection is… finicky. I’ve got the hang of it now, though, you just have to know the trick.
More generally, I haven’t used a real camera in over ten years, and I’d forgotten how many settings the damn things have—this model more than most, apparently. The reviews all said there would be a learning curve, but also that it would be worth it. They were right, but it took me a while! My first real foray with the new toy was disappointing in some ways. Some pics were kind of overexposed, some with slightly wrong focus (and a bit too dark). I was able to put the zoom to good use, though! And at least the blue / golden hours were white-balanced correctly.
The learning process is letting me do cool things, though. Like this shot of geese on the water, that I didn’t mean to expose and saturate like that; like the m-fing Moon (a few more times, actually); like this closeup of a pretty seagull; and other shots that I’ve always wanted to be able to do, like the lights of downtown from Granville Bridge or the foot of Davie Street from Cambie Bridge. The 70mm lens lets me get much closer to the local wildlife than ever before, too: sparrows, robins, crows, cormorants, ducks. Maybe that’s going to be my thing?
Or at least a thing. I haven’t forgotten architecture! After a PuSh Festival show and before stumbling on the moon rising above the cranes I wandered around for a bit and found these words on this old hotel. Awesome. It is super cool to uncover a bit of Vancouver’s architecture history.
Haven’t forgotten my phone, either. My camera doesn’t do macros nearly as well, and it’s more awkward to handle, so you get little experimental photos like this one or this one.
I’m still exploring, still sort of tooling around with it, going through the online manual. It’s pretty frustrating sometimes, because I feel like I’m doing the same stuff I’ve done over the last three years when I should be taking advantage of this new hardware and doing completely new things. I just don’t know what they could be. That’s okay, though! Everything is a learning process. Now that I’ve got a feel for this thing I’ll probably want to get some more versatile lenses to supplement by basic one before my Paris trip. That’ll get my creative juices going