Zoom Zoom-Canon SX1 IS
Let us play with the new camera, the Canon Powershot SX1 IS that was our recent birthday present from The Financier. He gets the word *the* capitalized for this astute gifting.Before this new camera, there was, and still is, the dear to our heart Canon Powershot A720 IS. Click here to read more about that camera. Even though it took several months to finally become one with the 720 (there must be abbreviated nicknames to refer to these cameras for the sake of brevity), finally reading the user guide online was the key, the 6x zoom limited the scope of photos we were able to take. Especially the bird shots, since we could not get close enough to use the superb macro function of the 720 without frightening our feathered friends.
The above two shots are Papaver orientalis, passalongs from our dear neighbors long ago. The second shot is to show a good pairing for this brilliant orange color, Spiraea bumaldi ‘Magic Carpet’.The 720 makes a distinct whirring sound on the macro setting when it has focused nicely with the camera held quite close to the subject. The SX1 does not, although there may be a setting to make that audible. There are many settings. The SX1 is also heavier, difficult to hold perfectly still with little weak arms. Enter the tripod. We do have a good quality tripod that was purchased with the very first video camera in 1984. That old gigantic camera is long gone, but the tripod condenses into a neat package, easily moved from state to state through the years. The photos on this post were all taken with the SX1 on said tripod.
Above is a native deciduous azalea, Rhododendron alabamense.There is no squatting with weight balanced on one knee to use the SX1, there is standing upright looking at the movable LCD screen that swings out and tilts. Aiming at Ferngully, click here to read his story, and the Lonicera sempervirens climbing his carcass, well above my height, let us try the different settings.The macro setting is not up to snuff. But Ferngully’s replacement can be seen clearly, oops, fuzzily to the left.Using the 20x zoom function brings the flowers to us, rather than we getting close to the flowers. If the lever is pushed all at once, the speed of the zoom literally takes your breath away. The very first time it was used, standing on the drive through the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina facing the mansion, more than 100 yards away, it took me right inside the front door. Better to ease it a little at a time to maintain sanity.Easing the zoom allows a whole new perspective of the garden views. I normally take shots of the landscape here from the paths or decks. Using the zoom will allow different angles and enable insertion of the lens into heretofore unseen avenues.
Above is R. ‘Arneson Gem’.It will take some practice to be comfortable with this method, and to feel in control of the shot.
Above is one of two no ID yellow deciduous azaleas that flank the steps to the knot garden. Longtime readers may remember the story of how offspring Chickenpoet’s puppy chewed both of these newly planted shrubs to the ground right after the house was purchased and planted, in 1996. When we, the parents, moved here and began renovation the shrubs had regrown and evidence remained of flowering. They were carefully dug and transplated to the slope where they now reside in 2000.The thought of seeing the garden through new eyes is stimulating to say the least. New horizons and the clear unjaded lens of the SX1 reveal things not noticed before, like the giant dandelion growing next to R. ‘Golden Lights’.The timing of the new camera could not have been better, since my signature plant, the deciduous azaleas are putting on their best performance. Click here to read more about them. From left: R. ‘Admiral Semmes’, past peak, R. ‘Mandarin Lights’, R. ‘Primrose’, R. ‘Crimson Tide’, R. ‘White Lights’, also past peak.For the very first time, the hedgerow of deciduous azaleas are all in one shot. Some are summer bloomers and some did not bloom this year for various reasons. There are more of these azaleas scattered about the garden as well. The evergreen conifers behind are all Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Gold Mops’. The redesigned heather bed is even shown below the path. This was not even taken using the wide angle setting. I am not much for fiddling with the settings, but will have to learn to optimize this new piece of equipment……For we are on a mission of the greatest importance, the holy grail of garden/nature photography, the clear closeup of the ruby throated hummingbird that regularly dines at the feeder made just down the road in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The tripod was set up on the upper deck, a chair was positioned for proper viewing of the LCD screen. The feeder was clean and filled with fresh sugar water. The lighting was overcast. The wind was still. I waited. And waited.