So what to do with gear? My hope was to capture the Grand Haven lighthouse at night. Knowing this I was ready to grab my Olympus OMD EM-1, tripod and big bag. Instead I had a thought, or a moment of laziness, not sure. But anyway I was up for a personal challenge. Could I capture the lighthouse at night with a small sensor camera like the Sony RX100M3? So the challenge was on.
As you can see in the picture below. Equipment storage was about as small and light as can be. I had the RX100M3 in its Sony case. The Tenba case held two extra batteries and a card. Last was the tripod. I did not even bring my laptop or battery chargers. It was pleasant traveling this light.
|Road Trip! Why throw all your camera gear in the trunk, when it fits in the glove box?|
Road trips are always nice in a new car. This one was also uneventful, making it even better. We arrived just as the bride and her father were about to start down the aisle. I had just enough time to turn the RX100 on and snap this in aperture priority without checking any of the camera settings. I think it came out well. Post processing was a slight crop and change to B&W all done in Capture One.
As I become more familiar with the camera the fear of ISO noise on a small sensor is fading. I can comfortably get usable images upwards of 3600.
|The quick capture as the bride and father walk down the aisle. 1/80s - F2.8 ISO 5000|
This wedding had one professional photographer and two videographers covering the event all day. I think weddings are some of the hardest events to work. The professionals did a great job all day. I politely stayed out of the way and just watched good hard work from a distance.
|Sony RX100M3 with on camera flash.|
I popped out this little flash not expecting much and was pleasantly surprised by the results. The above image is straight out of camera. This was a dark corner of the room having several different light sources around the area. The camera did a good job with the white balance. TTL metering was also spot on. The wedding photographer came in with two studio lights and lit the cake with the strobes. I chimped over his shoulder to see. The newlyweds will be happy with his work.
So the main part of this weekend challenge was to get the Grand Haven lighthouse at night. I was really looking forward to this. Yes I took pictures of the family and got all the relatives pictured with my wife, but my goal was the lighthouse. I was on a mission. So onward to the picture of the lighthouse below.
Oh where is the night shot of the lighthouse you ask????? WELL two things.
First the weather. Upon exiting the Family Center it was starting to drizzle. By the time we drove over to the lakefront it was raining, hard. On top of that the sand was blowing, sideways. Great! This camera is not weather sealed. For the price of these Sony cameras I was not going to risk getting water and sand inside the workings of the camera.
Second, I have discovered why there are no night shots of the Grand Haven lighthouse. Well the lighthouse does not LIGHT! Yes thanks to modern technology, there is now a radio/gps beacon flashing red on top of the lighthouse. The lighthouse is not even lit. You can not see the thing. There where a few choice words out of my mouth at the moment of discovery. You would think the city would at least light the building since it would be beautiful at night along the beach and walkway.So now what to do. Well we went back to the hotel since the weather was really turning bad at this point. The challenge failed, or so I thought......
The next morning after breakfast my wife wanted to see the beach and lighthouse during the day. The weather had passed and the morning was calm and crisp. She was driving, so off we went. Glad we did make the final stop. Because out of the river at the opening to the lake exits this very big ship. I have taken pictures of the lighthouse in the past but never with a ship along as part of the subject matter.
This ship was being towed from the stern into the lake. Not sure what type of great lake ship this is, thought it was an ore ship to begin with but not sure. Anyhow it gave me opportunity to photo something unexpected.
This first image is tightly cropped to compose just the ship and lighthouse. Otherwise no post processing was done in Capture One. This shot was camera in hand leaning over a guard rail to capture the two in subject.
|1/400s- F9.0 ISO500|
The last image is my favorite as the ship was just being pulled out of the river and crosses the lighthouse. The reflection in the sand is a bonus. This image was processed in Capture One. I worked the exposure, pushed the colors and did a slight white balance change.
|1/650s - F9.0 ISO 500|
In conclusion, it was a pleasant trip to see family and have good food. I was glad that I did not lug my bigger gear up with me. With the way events were progressing I would have hardly touched it. And this is where these smaller RX100 cameras come into being. They are the perfect carry around camera. If you demand more from your images than a cell phone can deliver then you need to look at these Sony cameras. The quality is there.
So did I meet my challenge? Well my goal was to capture a unique picture of the lighthouse at dark. This did not happen. However I did get a second chance. And although it was captured during the day, I think the image is still unique. So in that regard a success. Take care and safe travels.