Friday, March 20, 2009

An Encounter With Lions

I have just had a small knee op. That in itself is boring, but how it came about is not as it involves lions.

In January 2009 we were staying at Grootkolk near Union's End in the Northern Kgalagadi. The camp is unfenced and has a watering hole.It is known for its lions.

On the second day I was cleaning the filter on the car's aircon when Isak, the warden shouted 'Leeus!' There were three females and two cubs walking towards me. I sprinted to the gate of the hut we were staying in and myst have hurt the knee in the process.

Some pictures:

Union's End

Our hut at Grootkolk. The only protection is the gate and low wall

Isak at the water hole. Note the R1 rifle

Mother and cub

Cub trying to be grown-up

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My search for a quality compact

For some years I have been looking for a compact camera that takes great pictures. In the 90's I bought a Minolta Zoom 110 Mk II that handled perfectly as a mini SLR. The problem was that it used the 110 film and the image quality was poor.

Years later I bought a 35mm Pentax ESPIO 140 Zoom in Hong Kong for a trip into China. Took some great shots, but found it limiting creatively.

My first digital camera was an Olympus C-720UZ which was remarkably capable, but very slow.
In the mean time I had started using DSLRs like the D70 and D200, but I was still looking for something compact. A Pentax S4i was useful for parties and the like, but again the IQ was not up to it.

Back to film then with the purchase of some Leica stuff such as a IIIc, IIIf and M3. The quality was back, but the processing and scanning was a schelp. An M8 was on the cards, but the cards did not produce the money for it!

When the opportunity to get a Ricoh GX100 came up, I grabbed. Loved the feel and user interface to bits, but again the image quality and noise was not great. See samples here.

So now I have a used Sigma DP1. I took my first shots today. After using a manual Leica IIIf, the slowness does not worry me at all. This is the first image from the DP1.

Below are pictures of the cameras mentioned so far.

I have since tried the Canon G10 and loved the way it works and feels in the hand. The IQ was not what I was looking for so I sold it on to my sister-in-lay who is taking great shots with it.

I currently have the Leica D-Lux 4 which I use with the Sigma viewfider. It works well, but I need a bigger sensor.