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J R's S90 Journal

This is the first page of the journal, in which I learn many things.

 
Part One

July 30

One-tenth @ f/4.9 - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lorraine Tady - Yellow/Black 3020 - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pinky Diablo - Pig's Foot

NorthPark diSuervo - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mark di Suervo   Ad Astra   2005   painted steel   48 x 25.5 x 25.5 feet

Ah! Found something while exiting a movie. Had to photograph it. Again. [below] Always a thrill to see it coming up out of the escalator pit called downstairs at NorthPark Shopping Center in North Dallas, although I remember when it was a ranch on the outskirts of town.

Minus the sculpture, of course, and all the people.

Oh Frabjus Day! My s90 works wonderfully and WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) works again.

Bird Wing - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bird Wing

"Your product has been examined and it was found that the optical assembly did not operate properly causing black spots. The optical assembly was replaced and product functions were confirmed. Other electrical adjustments, inspection and cleaning and parts replacements were carried out."

Looking forward to stumbling upon something a little more worthy of photographing than a bird wing I found in my front yard. Still, it's nice. Great subject for close-up. I'd forgot; so nice to have the spots gone, and to have replaced the optical assembly really seems to have helped.

July 14

A Small Package of Great Value Will Come to You Shortly - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Small Package Of Value Will Come To You, Shortly   SD780

That's the title for the talking goof lead-in to a song by Jefferson Airplane (full title: A Small Package Of Value Will Come To You, Shortly / Young Girl Sunday Blues, and it came true for me today. I got my s90 back from Canon, and it works good as new.

This photo of the s90 still in its Canon packaging (better than how they shipped back my SD780 a couple weeks ago) was shot with my SD780, but I'll be posting s90 shots soon. Or maybe in a paragraph or two.

Light Splatters on my Wood Floor from my Front Window - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Light Splatters from my Front Window on my Wood Floor   s90

Kinda an obtuse subject. Light splattered from my already-too-photographed front window full of translucent objects. But the tenth shot on my newly repaired and returned to Factory Specifications S90. For awhile, I thought I saw slants of light all through the image, then I realized it was wood grain in the floor.

So glad to have my camera back. Kinda wish I had a underwater housing for it, since I'm swimming so often these days, and I keep seeing vivid colored objects around that pool the s90 would render exquisitely, but I don't want to get it wet.

Canon or somebody was offering an email coupon for 10% off at Amazon this week — bringing the price down to $160 or so, and I seriously considered it. But the camera I'd really want a water housing for would have a much longer zoom. For photographing birds from a borrowed or bought small portable kayak, or so the dream goes. A water housing for my Nikon with my 150~500mm lens would cost as much as my D300.

DPR tested Super-Zoom Compacts recently, and I kept wishing something as good as my s90 had a loooong zoom.

July 12

Yo Accepts the New Office - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yo Tentatively Accepts the New Office

I've just read another Digital Photography Review review of a MicroFourThirds camera with five times the sensor size as my S90 (that's still in the shop). Five times, and guess which camera got the higher score in DPR's newish number review rating. (See several on the bottom of the right-most column.

The s90 is, of course, at least a two percent better camera than the Panasonic G-2 — or any other camera I've seen reviewed there — except Sony's new Alpha 850 that's $2,000 body only; that got the same score as our little wonder. With a 75% rating, and it only costs half what the G-2 goes for and a fifth what the Sony costs, and has built-in image stabilization, although no articulating LCD.

Interesting. Food for thought.

July 9

Two Pocket Cameras - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Pocket Canons   s90

Me in my bathroom mirror (whose own splotches look like they belong to both cameras but don't.) attempting to show the size differences between my Canon SD780 (just back from Canon repair) and my Canon S90 (now in repair; they say it'll be fixed in and returned back to me within approximately 7 business days from July 10. I still love my 780, but I miss the s90. I'm hoping they can return it to Factory Specifications, and it will once again take pictures that look like they did while I was twiddling the dial.

The 780 just takes pictures. The s90 allows me to make images. Directly comparing the resulting images from the two cameras belies my thesis presented ad nauseam in Cameras & Lenses Useful for Photographing Art: An Introduction to Digital Cameras & Lenses and a little more forcibly in immensely unpopular Great Camera Shootout, in which I directly (pixel peepin' time) compare images of art from my Nikon D300, Canon S5-IS, Canon SD 780 and my currently missing in action Canon S90.

Which, of course, the Nikon wins handily, but in a strong second-place showing is the SD780. Or the s90, depending upon how you look at it. I should warn you, the painting I photographed is offensive to some people, like gallery owners who liked Tom Moody's paintings, style and sense of humor, but who were — almost universally — scared to show this image. But it's not an overtly mean visual image. More subtle. I always think it's just plain funny how some people react to it.

On my J R's Collection suite of pages on DallasArtsRevue, which I edit and publish, I give the squeamish an opportunity to opt out of seeing it. You have that right, also, of course. It was just the first interesting painting in my pile when I needed to shoot actual art, although that page is much more than about photographing art now.

The s90 is substantially larger than the sd780, and that's not as obvious in this photograph as I'd hoped, but once they are both in one of my pants pockets, it becomes overt. (The big diff is thickness, which doesn't show in my bathroom shot above.)

I forget the 780 is in there, often, as I've been wearing it this last week since I sent off the s90. The s90 is a great camera but only barely pocketable. The 780 is a good pocket camera, when it works — although I was hoping when I sent it back to Canon to fix, that they'd fix it, instead of simply returning it to Factory Specs. Its Factory Specs are not nearly good enough.

If they revive my s90 back to Factory Specs, however, I'll rejoice. Stay tuned.
 

July 6

Golden Leaves Among the Green - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Golden Leaves Among the Green   S90

Finally sent off my s90 today. Maybe Canon will fix it better than the SD780 I got back this week doing the same exact things by the second day and the LCD all scratched up. It's still a wonderful camera that gets lost in my pocket, so I'm never obnoxiously aware I've a camera stuffed in there like s90, and it works. Sometimes.

It's just possible they can fix the 90. I do hope, and I wouldn't mind terribly paying for its fix, since although I did not drop it, I did drop onto it. I have hope now, but as a cynical optimist I'm required to.

June 21

Pixel-peeper 100% Crop - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Un-Post-Processed Pixel-Peeper 100% Crop of Yo from the s90 at ISO 800

I have a 50mm f/1.8 non-VR, a 17~55 non-VR, and a 150~500 for my Nikon D300, leaving a pretty substantial gap, both in focal length and carry-ability, and today, on the first morning of spring 2010, I had to borrow Anna's 18~55mm zoom so I could get some wide shots of the spectacular Solstice sunrise, since my Rocket Launcher doesn't have any of those.

So I did a little research on comparable Nikon lenses, and even after all that, could not decide. I like my huge, clunking, f/2.8 at all focal lengths lens, but I'd hate to have to carry it around while using my Rocket Launcher (Sigma 150~500mm zoom AF APO DG OS HSM f/5.6~6.3 super tele zoom).

Usually what I do is keep my S90 or SD780 in my pocket, it case I need to take a wide shot. The SD is all wrapped up ready to get sent back to Canon Fixit — again. And the s90 is next in that same line. And I didn't bring it with me.

In the 1970s, I used my Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 lens for a whole year, never using any other lens, just because it seemed like an interesting thing to do. That was film and manual focus, back when cameras had split-image rangefinder focusing built into the viewing screens. I shot everything from news shots to portraits with that one lens — in fact, I often wish I had as fast a 24mm DX lens (35mm equivalent) lens now.

I still have the old one, but I'm not willing to struggle against the impossible odds of focusing it on a digicam without split-image focusing. The s90 is not quick enough to shoot impromptu photographs along with the careful, enthusiast shots and art documents I love to make. And my big, fat, heavy, clunky 17~55mm f/2.8 lens is neither fast (bright) enough nor light enough to want to carry around with me, and it has no VR.

Five Nikon VR Lenses to fill my gap for wide to mild tele

mm
equiv
f/stops
nomenclature
focus
cost
zoom
Wt.
 
18~200
27~300
3.5~5.6
ED VR II DX
20
774
11.11x
19.2

Ø4, strong barrel wide, 0@24, pin long, non-linear curvature, CU w attach, CA at long, sharp wide, not-so long, 18~24 sharp 4~5.6 wide; 11 long, soft at 135 Bj DPR barely rec, Pz2.5-3-4, KRr

24~120
36~180
3.5~5.6
VR ED G
   
5x
  less-than optical at 24 - VG at 120; CA only in corners except 24; sharp 11, VG 8~16; Ø3~4.5;
18~105
27~156
3.5~5.6
ED VR II DX
18
360
5.8x
14.8
silent focus, good bokeh, little CA, Pz3-2-4
16~85
24~127
3.5~5.6
ED VR DX
15.6

640

5.3x
17.8
Ø4-4.5, barrel and vignetting wide, sharp 5.6 wide 11 tele; 1:4 closest, needs lens hood, good focus speed, bokeh harsh at 50mm f/5; lower distortion than 18~200, Bj Pz4-3-4 KRr compares with 18~200,
18~55
27~83
3.5~5.6
VR DX
11
270
3x
9.3
Ø4+ for non-VR, plastic, slow focus, pronounced barrel distortion close, blue CA, sharp 8 wide 11 tele, VG macro, flares in back-light, Bj DPR rec, KRr
17~55
25.5~83
2.8
ED DX
15
1,500
3.24x
27
Ø5 close, Ø4 distant; low CA, mild barrel wide - mild pin long; serious ghosting backlighted; can be used of FX w vignetting under 35mm; Pz3.5-5-2.5 very fast AF, center sharpness stellar, edges mediocre at 24mm 2.8 and 55mm. KRr

Ø= Bjørn Rørslett rating for Nikon D200; Pz = Photozone ratings for Optical, Mechanical and Price/Performance; Sharp with f/stops show at what apertures lens is sharpest or at wide or tele; KRr - Ken Rockwell review; bolds indicate extremes, barrel = barrel distortion and pin = pincushion distortion; focus = closest focus; CA = chromatic aberrations ...

In the end, even after all the research, I decided my Nikon 17~55 was the best possible lens I didn't have to afford, since I already bought it five years ago, and f/2.8 would just have to do.

June 16

Couch Prize - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Small Package of Value May Come to You Shortly   shot with Canon SD780

I've just filled out the return camera for repair information for my s90. It has to be repaired. They didn't ask any questions except when I bought it, which was last March, so it was clearly still in warranties. I'm also sending back my SD780, which I want even less to send back, although it's much more clearly in need of fixing. That one's already been back for repairs once, and now it's even worse in need of fixing.

No doubts about the SD780. It's a damaged camera. I suspect it came damaged, which is why Canon replaced it after only six months from its debut. Kinda wish they'd told Ken Rockwell, who is still calling it 'The Best Pocket Camera," even though he has since been calling the s90 The Best Pocket Camera.

After this long as an owner of an s90, I know it's not really a pocket camera. Not at all. But it certainly qualifies big time as an enthusiast's camera.

I read reviews, but I mostly went on his recommendation when I bought my SD780, which I still love, despite its many and obvious failings. Worst among those is that it often refuses to turn on. Big failing for a camera that's supposed to be used, and not just stuck off in a corner looking cute. When it works, it's pretty terrific. Very small. Very pocketable. When it doesn't work, it's just a cute little brick.

Takes good pictures. I still use it to photograph art, and those pix are just fine for web work, which is where I post most of my photographs of art (See my 1,300+ page DallasArtsRevue site, where most of the photographs of art are by me). It even takes pix at 1 per second, which is pretty amazing for driving down the street photographing something(s).

But I really hold it against it that it often refuses to turn on.

Yellow Bird Mit Schmutz - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yellow Egret Mit Schmutz   shot with s90

I'm sending the s90 back to Canon for repairs in the same box. Either showing I'm a sucker for Canon's reputed quality or I'm a glutton for punishment.

It's problems are more complex. I assume most — if not all — its current issues stem from being fallen on (I did not drop it) by me from the height of approximately 15 inches. I would much rather not have fallen on it, since that sturdy little camera broke three of my ribs on my left side. Excruciating.

Since then, almost every frame out of that wonderful little camera that may truly be The Best Enthusiast's Compact Digital, comes with some sort of splotches, in exactly the same places precisely approximated in the above, only very slightly cropped image. See the dark spots on the upper central rightish and bottom right corners?

Calatrama Bridge in the Making - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

 Dallas, Texas' New Calatrava Bridge in the Making — sans schmutz   s90
 

That's my schmutz. It doesn't show in every shot. Sometimes there's similarly toned or colored image areas there, so the black doesn't show so obviously, and so far, I've been able to have Photoshop Heal it every time, but I cannot really depend upon the stains to always come out.

Besides, the most egregious issue is that what changing the aperture, shutter speed or EV does not show in the LCD. I.e., the LCD lies. I assume a lot of LCDs lie. But for a careful enthusiast's camera where such adjustments are very important, I'd rather have it work correctly than to try to outguess it.

I hope Canon will fix it. I wouldn't mind terribly having to pay some of the cost of them fixing it, but I do so hope they will be able to fix it. It's a great little (though only barely pocketable) camera that is much better than the SD780. I hope to be an s90 enthusiast for a much longer time.

Although I've had my eyes peeled for a replacement. The Panasonic LX3, that Canon closely copied to create the s90 may have an upcoming replacement at long last. If se, I might get one if my s90 is unfixable. I've also done a great deal of research (See my Cameras & Lenses page that started out as Cameras & Lenses Useful for Photographing Art.) in MicroFourThirds and other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and especially in cameras with articulating LCDs and Cameras with Manual Exposure Options.

June 7

That Chair Again - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

That Chair Again   s90 shot

I may have to change the name of this journal. I still love the capabilities that are left of my s90 after it broke three of my ribs when I fell a foot and a half onto it, thus rendering it prematurely senile, with schmutz-like dust spots on images, and destroying the LCDs image-preview capabilities, and I'm on to the next camera possibility

I want a good cam with an articulating LCD. I held and fired a Nikon D5000 today. It felt a lot like a D40 (a very good thing). It's light, focused fast in regular mode, so I tried it in Live View (focused a lot slower) and made one exposure. What came of it was nothing like what I saw on the LCD. When my Canon S5-IS was in manual mode (as was the D5000 today) what I saw on the LCD prior to shooting is what I got.

Not, apparently what I can expect with the D5000, however, so I need to do more research. Would sure be nice to have a camera I already had lenses for.

Now I'm reading a story in Mother Jones (of all places) by Kevin Drum about articulating LCDs in October 2009, called "Autofocus Blues." In which the writer calls attention to the fast normal mode focusing of the Nikon D5000 and the extraordinarily slow AF of it in Live View, which is probably what I'd use if I used the D5000 for "light studio" work like at Joel's and other times I get to shoot sculpture (my favorite form to contemplate and photograph).

Maybe I should use Live View (LV) for setting composition, then switch back to autofocus regular mode for shooting. Or does it even matter that LV is slow — even painfully slow to focus, if the cam's on a tripod?

And now I'm reading the online comments to the MJ story, which seem to be leading me in an intriguing direction.

Back to the Panasonic G2 — and silly historic prejudices against using EVFs instead of fresnel / ground glass / optical VFs. I've talked about some of these old prejudices on my Cameras & Lenses page, and I am fascinated by their various permutations. Here's a responder talking about the D5000, "which has excellent shutter lag and AF acquisition specs when live-view is off, apparently turns into a horrible focusing slug when live-view is activated. It not only uses contrast detection, but evidently uses a really slow, crappy version of contrast detection that makes the camera almost useless."

Hmmm... Here's nice. On a D5000, one can move the autofocus square around to focus at a specific place — just like on my D300 (but not on the D40). That's grande. Wish the s90 had that. The more I read about it, the more the D5000 and its articulating LCD seems made for what I want it to do: photograph inanimate art objects from too high, too low or otherwise inaccessible. And its kit lens would be a great little image-stabilized wide-to-slight tele zoom for the Nikon lenses I've been gathering all my life, it seems.

I keep finding positives to outweigh the negatives, then more negatives to outweigh the positives. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have achieved stasis. The facts have once again backed me into a corner. To complicate matters, the guy at Wolf today told me the Nikon D90 might have an articulated LCD. La la.

The reviews of the 5k keep iterating the same possibilities, never once mentioning using an LCD to photograph art or other objects, at which it might just be quite good. And all for only about $30 more than the Canon G11, compared with which even in slow old LV, the D5000 renders spectacularly better IQ (Image Quality).

June 2

 guitar

Guitar Head: accidentally shot at iso 3200, then softened in dFine

I photographed more tribal art today at Joel Cooner Gallery, using the s90, but it was not easy. The fact that I fell on it enough to break three ribs is really beginning to show on the camera, which does not behave like it did when new or before it broke my ribs. For one thing, the preview in the LCD is way off and getting offer. Then there's the dust or oil spots in the same place on most of the images.

Twirling the little wheel that everybody says turns too loosely alters the apparent exposure, but it does not stay that way and what it shows is rarely what I get. I get that it's damaged, and that Canon probably won't fix it for free, since it was mishandled. I miss what it used to be, but even at its best condition ever, it's not what I need to shoot art, especially in make-shift studio conditions.

At home, at other people homes and studios and other times I photograph art, I generally use my Nikon D300, which I've learned to think with. Everything's quick and what I see on the LCD is dead accurate to what I'll get — especially when I enlarge it eight clicks. But it's too big a camera to use on Joel's puny tripod, and even if it weren't, it doesn't have an articulating LCD.

I sorely missed the Canon S5-IS' articulating LCD, but the colors that come from that lame, old camera just aren't vivid enough anymore. I cranked my own tripod up higher than I am, and then I had the devil of a time sighting through the stuck-on-the-back tripod of the s90 just like the one on my Nikon.

I really do need an articulating LCD to shoot 3-D work well from a tripod. It might be different if I had a dedicated studio or a tabletop I could rack up and down for the wide variety of very tall to very short objects. But I don't, and I cannot.

I need a more adjustable camera that I can always wee what it's pointed at, and the s90 is not it. What would be, however, is a huge question with many competing answers, all of which involve serious compromises in one direction or several, and none of which yet seem right enough to go ahead and buy into a new system.

There is, of course, the Canon G11, which is a good camera with an articulating LCD and awfully good IQ (image quality) considering its tiny sensor. But I'd rather have a bigger sensor — at least microFourThirds (m43) size up to APS-C/DX size like on my Nikon. As good as the G11 is, it's big and clunky, does not fit into a pocket, and does not have a long enough zoom to photograph birds.

I can't afford a different outstanding camera for each of my photographic uses, but getting it down to three — pocket camera for whatever arises when I'm not planning on anything arising; the big Nikon for real professional shooting; and a little studio camera for Joel's and other places — might almost be sensible.

I want an easily carry-able camera (which the s90 never really was) with either a very versatile, very wide-angle to long-tele zoom or interchangeable lenses. Preferably interchangeable lenses I don't have to buy all new ones of, and which have bright maximum apertures. I like the m43 Olympus E-P2's built-in image stabilization (IS) and comparatively small size, but want the Panasonic G2's articulating LCD. But that m43 sensor is too small. I need an APS-C = DX sensor like the one on my Nikon.

Like the one on the new Sony NEX-5, which offers great IQ but doesn't have a fully articulating LCD or built-in IS. I want an electronic viewfinder (EVF) like the one that Olympus adds onto its E-P2, or is built-into the the Panasonic G2. The Nikon D5000 has enough of those and a somewhat movable, though not entirely articulating LCD and, unlike all these other choices, will use lenses I already own.

I want a smaller, more versatile camera I can use at Joel's or just out wandering around. One that's got a good, longer zoom, smallish body, built-in IS, manual controls and that doesn't cost and arm and a leg. That all seems to imply a little Point+Shoot like Canon's, but I've had those, and didn't entirely appreciate the experience.

I'm thinking either the Panasonic G2 is the best of the bunch for what I want, but I'd sure miss the IS on every zoom level the s90 and most other compact cameras have. So maybe I should stick with my Nikon lenses I already have and love and add the Nikon D5000's articulating LCD, even though it's basically an amateur's camera with amateur slowness and amateur gimmicks.

Then I could afford a new s90.

May 30

 David Hickman - The Juggler - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission. n

David Hickman   Duet   Male/Female   steel

Busy, busy day today, birding at the beginning, then all day excitement, social, art and food. Yum. Chronologically, I could have started this page out with the turtle or the grasshopper, but it really seemed like a juggling kind of acrobatic day. I had my s90 with me all along, only took a spare few shots with it while birding, but lots more at the parties.

Probably seemed strange for some to have me wandering around with a little camera taking pictures of everything in sight at both, hugely attended parties this Sunday before Memorial Day but it's who I am, what I do. Besides, what better opportunity to take colorful, fun, interesting shots with that camera I keep testing.

The David Hickman sculpture is instructive in this context, because the first half dozen attempts to photograph it resulted only in bright blurs. The s90 would not focus on its textures, bright metallic as they were. Until I seriously darkened (EV–2 — the max) the image and aimed the focus box just right. This frame is not full full frame but close, and it one worked for the sculpture, but rendered the background of trees and green too dark, of course.

From one direction it's a man, I'm told, and from the other it appears female. I think this side is male.
 

Turtle Up Close - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Turtle Up Close, Pulled In

This was my first of two important turtles today. This guy was at the Fort Worth Solid Waste Drying Beds in Arlington, Texas this early morning as we hoped for — and got — lots of interesting birds to photograph. I'd brought both my big Nikon with my big Sigma "Rocket Launcher" lens, and my s90, just in case. The other was a turtle traveling we thought too slow across the middle of a busy road in Dallas on our way to parties.

I picked it up and carried it across the road to a a pond. Soon as I put it down it speeded into the water, making a big splash and landing upside down. All the way across it had thrashed and attempted to make me drop it. I grabbed in what I thought would be the safest hand placements along its side toward the back. I didn't want to get big. I don't think it appreciated my helping it across, and I never had a chance to photograph it I was so busy do gooding for it. It was dark green, all over angular and very strong and thrashy.

In this case, it was a large turtle who needed photographing and on his level. So I stood over him, leaned way over to put the camera on the ground aimed in at him, and fired. That's mostly my shadow all around it. This is the second try. The first was way off, since seeing into a sun-lighted s90 LCD is still almost impossible. Very pleased with the shot.

I brought a Hoodman LCD Loupe that I used to check composition and exposure on both the s90 and the Nikon.
 

Grasshopper - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Grasshopper on a Dirt Road

Didn't think I'd got this one. Thought I didn't manage to capture any details. The first time I tried, I did not succeed. This time, apparently, it worked pretty well, rendering the dirt road and plants and trees all around nicely defocused. Remarkable, since I didn't put a lot of effort into the endeavor and needed to do it quickly before our little green friend decided to hop elsewhere, which it did almost immediately after this shot.

The windshield was too far forward for me to site through the LCD, so placement here was just a wild guess that turned out okay. I cropped it only a little, to make it look bigger in the frame. I had set focus to Macro just before I stuck it out there.
 

Three Faces of TJ - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Faces of TJ
 

This was at the second of our two big parties of Sunday. TJ Mabrey is an amazing friend and a world-acclaimed sculptor, although you might not deduce that from these faces she greeted me with. That's the real her in the middle. She likes to clown for cameras. She had a very similar-sized but very differently configured, rounded edged long zoom camera with her that we've talked about and compared over email before.

When we go to her rural Central Texas home again, we'll trade and play with each others' cameras. I've been wanting to try something with more telephoto, perhaps long enough to capture hawks flying over or perched atop telephone poles.

What's pretty amazing about this short series is that I got all three shots in as rapid a succession as it took TJ to express her inner selves, in sharp focus the first time I shot them, which was the only time it happened. I often write how slow this camera is on the uptake, but here, we can see that, when the photographer is inspired and paying close, enthusiast's attention, speed can happen. TJ was leaving as we were arriving, so she was the first friend in, whom I had time to talk with. Brief remarks, hugs, kisses and goodbye.
 

TJ's Bean - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

TJ Mabrey   Okra   David and Linda Hickman Collection
Two African Hats on the sides, with Billy L. Keen's Becoming Human, behind
 

This is skipping ahead in the chronology that you mostly won't see in the unfolding of the day's art, but T J Mabrey has been sculpting soft, organic shapes out of hard organic materials for many years now. Some are on her DallasArtsRevue Supporting Member's page as elsewhere on these sites. Do a quick search of my sites to see three pages of mentions of her name and her art. She and I used to travel far in Texas to see art, and we visited Stanley Marsh in Amarillo and other art in Houston and San Antonio, too. Grand fun, those long rides talking about art and artists and seeing more of it.
 

Star Streaks - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David Hickman   Delicate Balance   (detail)   about ecology
 

I love this piece of this piece and felt need to capture its essence in that colorful room/gallery. The s90 obliged my whim wonderfully, having something solid and colorful to hang its focus on — and, despite the darkness around, plenty of light in the glass.
 

Yellow Fireplace Chair - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Becky Johnson   Cinderella
David and Linda Hickman Collection
 

In another end of that same room, off to the right from the star streaks was this stained glass beauty in a vivid yellow dress. Work by many artists were scattered around the grounds and through the house and everywhere all around all around, although it was almost all there anyway, part of their private collection. It was a party to promote local sculpture, a party to have fun and probably about six other reasons, if that few. Good music, great art, fun architecture, very visual day just aching to be captured in silicone.
 

Red and White in Blue - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David Hickman   Red & White Maquette in Blue Cubicle Maybe a foot and a half high

Realized and unrealized sculpture models in a blue cabinet open and closed to the outside. This one was realized twice. Once at Trammell Crow's Alexan Design Center and once in David's studio yard as the gear in a gate, which I think I photographed.
 

Tongue Couch - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tongue Chaise 

Interesting red couch in the middle of that marvelous gallery/rec room, showing both the blue cabinet of cubby holes at the top left and the stripe-tiled fireplace on the right.
 

Multicolored Umbrella - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Multicolored Umbrella

Sometimes an umbrella is just an umbrella to keep off the sun and rain.
 

Dark Flowers Out Front - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bright Flowers Out Front

And a bunch of flowers, even against a black-painted wall of garages, is just a bunch of flowers. Not so much art exactly, but there for their beauty, which I thought a gently astonishing sight, though I wondered whether those garages are extra hot on bright Texas sunshiny days. Then I remembered almost going in there accidentally, while wandering around. But I didn't, so I don't know its temperature.
 

Colorful Chairs at Casa Azul - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Colorful Chairs at Casa Azul

Lots of color and lots of white on white and dark on dark art scattered around the extensive garden area in our second garden party of the day at friends.
 

Fish Head - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David Hickmn   Arrow Fish   (detail)  

David likes his sculpture to move, and many of them turn on bases, tilt, swing and circle. Huge butterflies flapped slowly above and this fish and other colorful objects swung and swayed below.
 

 Bromiliad - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bromeliad, or something like that

This was in the blue greenhouse named Casa Azul, near where were the colorful chairs and stools above.

 Eliseo Garcia - Bench

Eliseo Garcia   Eliseo's Bench

Eliseo Garcia - Loving Hands

Eliseo Garcia   Loving Hands   White Marble

And where there wasn't glorious color, there was glorious white. I remember identifying a long series of Eliseo's work by those big hands.
 

Music in Grids - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Diana and Stoney Savage with Roger Aberg

I sat close and up front to hear my friend Diana whom I'd met in a reading group many years ago sing the first time I'd heard her do that, and in such an amazing art environment, full of angles, shapes, textures and dimensionalities, to hardly even mention the colors.

Origami Leaf - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Origami Leaf in an Origami Tree

The other party was more personal, less promotional but just as happy and musical — mostly drums that anybody could pick up and bang along. I'm sure after we left the drumming went into the night. We love it when it happens and missed it as we left for the other place. Plenty, too, of art, but of a more personal style and presentation.
 

Holding the World - title & artist unknown - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Artist & Title Unknown

Both parties showed off extensive backyard gardens of differing complexities involving nature and art.

Herb Garden - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Moonlady's Herb Garden

Plenty of light just outside the kitchen on the way to outside's green gardens and flowing waters. Everything lovely and natural. So nice it almost felt cool.

Herb Garden Annex - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Herb Garden Annex

Except as noted above, when I grabbed the camera and shot it quickly to capture a moment or an animal or object, most of these shots from this busy and pleasant day, were enthusiast's moments of careful consideration about what I wanted to capture, and fiddling with dials · that one that annoyed me so very much in the earliest days of my ownership of the Canon S90, doesn't at all anymore.

I can't remember the last time that dial got in my way, except after dealing with other cameras, I have to switch gears and remember how this one operates. Then, I've noticed that it doesn't move easily enough, so the problem, if that's what it was, of it moving too freely, never has a chance to bother me anymore, and I wonder at all the fuss it seems to cause other S90 users.

Except for all of today's blurred pet shots and pets with humans, none of which are usable, the camera acquitted itself well in several hundred occasions.

all today's shots exposed at ISO 400, usually with EV – .67 or more.

More Art Below.

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May 29

Yo and My Foot - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yo and My Foot

Yesterday was a rather ambiguous and way too complicated (as it turned out; I just parked the camera in my pocket before we left.) experiment involving the wrong camera on one of those occasions when we needed to go somewhere but didn't know where and didn't find out till we'd gone and done it. Pleasant but unplanned, except for the pleasant part, like the experiment.

Setting myself assignments often feels odd. I don't have cameras to do assignments. I have cameras to take photographs. Sometimes I know ahead of time what the deal is. Often I discover them as I'm going about whatever other business or pleasure I'm on. Thursday, that was to photograph the latest works by Kathy Boortz, who is a friend and a client. I like it when those coincide. Most of my clients are friends, but not all and not always. The communications is always more effective and succinct when they are friends. Not, perhaps, deep, close friends, but people I know and like for who they are, not just what they do. And versa vice.

I like to be direct and point most of my actions toward showing their work in the best possible light, angle, view. Over the years, I know what they like and need and want. Joel likes differing angles and important details. He wants front, side, quarter and three quarter views, backs, important details, historic aspects. He likes his better, more important and more expensive work to look dramatic. I almost always shoot his stuff with one light and one flat foam board reflector to give it plenty of shape.

Kathy displays her work on her back deck, where light is diffuse, usually against a light background. Joel has a signature green the gallery is painted and he's adopted as "his." We put pieces against that color wall whenever possible. Most others have their paintings wherever it is. If possible, I have them hold it facing me and the sun. I have hundreds of shots of chins and hands, shoulders and arms around paintings

All that gets cropped out. What's important is the piece, and the color.

Other times, besides birds, I photograph what happens to me or what I happen on. Impossible to plan ahead for that. For those, a pocket camera is often best. Why I bought the Canon SD780, which often does not work, so I carry it less, though it is tiny and inconspicuous enough I'm willing to hassle with its inconsistencies sometimes. Then the s90, which is a larger, more noticeable presence. I rarely have it without remembering it constantly. It's banging against my knee as I walk, or crowding my pockets.

Neither a small DX sensor camera or a microFourThirds cam is going to be small and inconspicuous. I've been thinking for any situation when I might be faced with the possibility of having the opportunity to make an Art photograph — not a photo of art, but one that qualifies for that status itself, I should go ahead and carry my big, chunky, ol' Nikon D300. It's quick, and I'm quick with it. I point, shoot and get, unlike when I aim and fire any Point+Shoot camera.

Most shots are at least in focus, which tends not to happen with the s90 — unless I'm being very careful. I may have confused the function of a carry-around camera with the function of an enthusiast's camera. The s90 is great as an enthusiast's camera, but it does not carry-around well. Except sometimes.

This is one of those times. My s90 was on the edge of the desk in front of me as I searched the net for information about an Olympus Pen EP-2 with its marvelous, high-res Electronic Viewfinder I'm so keen on trying. That I miss all these years since my main cam was the Sony F707 and its built-in EVF. Most of what it was was not quite good enough, although way ahead of everybody else back then. But having direct visual feedback every time I shot a pic, was wonderful. And I miss it.

Absent-mindedly, I was rubbing something under my desk with my bare foot. I assumed it was the edge of my cat's bed, but it turned out to be Yo, himself. I didn't recognize it immediately, because he did not scratch or bite me while I worked my foot up and down along what turned out to be his chin. Yo had a rough early childhood, and he's always wary of someone doing him dirty, even though we don't do that here, ever. He just remembers, or has a fragment of a memory lodged in his unconsciousness somewhere buried deep.

When I recognized the furry hardness of his face as cat, I looked down and wondered what kind of photograph that would make. The s90 was in easy reach, so I picked it up, held it carefully against my knee, focused very carefully on his right whiskers, so they'd stand out. Click, check the LCD, blurred. Click again, holding it with two hands.

Three more shots. The image in the LCD was dark, perfectly matching what I saw against my recently fractured right foot. This photo is my first image of it not swollen. With veins showing. I either did not manage to wake Yo up, or he chose to keep his eyes closed and his face against my foot.

I had turned off the bright red focus lamp when light is dark weeks ago, because it always upsets Yo, who is the most annimate and interesting object here. It probably hurts his eyes. Because it had to work at optical focusing, the s90 focused slowly, as I aimed here, then there, then back to the whiskers. Gradually, eventually, the camera figured out what I was trying to focus it on, and it let me.

I got two shots that I mostly like, and I like this one better. Nose, whiskers, jowls, even Yo's forehead is sharp. My foot is sharp. f/4.9 at full telephoto, 22.5mm, whatever 35mm equivalence that might be. ISO 400 like I usually shoot except at Joel's. One second, I think that 1 must mean. Kinda hard to believe.

May 28

Blankee - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Blankie

Today's plan was to start shooting soon as I woke up. And when I did, I reached over, found my S90, and started taking pictures. Pretty proud of myself till about the dozenth shot, when the camera finally bothered to tell me that there was no memory card installed. It truly took my pictures. So I found a card, stuck it in, and started taking the same pix again. This was the first one of those.

Just the sort of shot the S90 is good for. Nothing's moving. I got the White Balanced, I composed, I shot. It is hardly wonderful, but it more or less worked. Nyahhh.

It took a long time to get these several hundred shots from the card to the computer. Usually, I just drag them over from a Card Reader to the working space on my iMac, but today it refused until I downloaded just a few at a time over with Canon's Image Browser, which I'd always been unsettled about having uploaded till today. It automatically gets in the way every time I load a card, Canon or Nikon or whatever, but now I see that there may actually be some use in it.

Apparently this image and a couple others of this mornings initial shots had got disrupted enough that the lower parts of the image never made it to the card. More damage, no doubt, from me falling on this camera and breaking some ribs. I'm still not sure I want to replace it, when it's so slow and has such a short zoom. Maybe a 4/3rds camera or that new Sony NEX will work better for me. I like the s90, but it's just not fast enough for anything but meticulous work.
 

Yacht Club - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yacht Club with Dallas Skyline

Later, Anna came by and we decided to go somewhere. Where we usually go on those whims is the lake. I knew that if I wanted serious bird photographs I should take my Nikon and the Rocket Launcher, but I was still in the mode of using the s90, so I brought it instead. It's good enough for scenics, if this is scenic.
 

Pylon - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pylon

What it's really good for is getting out of the car, walking up to an object, and carefully considering everything, then clicking a couple of times, which is what I did here. And it's an adequate shot of this pylon in the slime of a boat dock that's very rarely used. Nice contrasting colors. Lots of texture. Pretty, in a limited way.

The Bed - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Bed

We're not sure who dragged this bed out of where and stowed it right there, but I was once again happy to get up out of the car, walk around to find the right angle of view, fire off a bunch of shots. Even composed tightly as this, it looks like it's in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that's just right. Nice to have caught that big bug at top right.

Grackle - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Grackle

This was as close as we got to a bird using this camera with it's vague resemblance of a telephoto lens. Not much feather detail, and there's lots going on in grackle feathers, and it's an adequate photograph of a bird that's close. No biggie.

Weeping Willow - ish - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Weeper

Nice of this tree to stand there without moving much more than a few leaves while I stuck the cam out the window and went click.

Fisher Persons - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fisher Persons

I liked the composition.

Bomb Bug - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bomb Bug

This guy was crawling around on my seat belt while the window was open, and it took awhile to get it to hold still enough to focus way up close on it, but eventually I did. Then I dulled the sharpness on the belt itself, and I still have no idea what bug that is.

Composition - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Composition

Barn Swallows on electric lines. When I tried to brighten them up with the flash, the camera overexposed them and the sky behind them, rendering the whole shot useless.

No Parking Mocker - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

No Parking Mockingbird

The trick in much of my bird photography is using a camera whose IQ (image quality) is so good that the image can be enlarged enough to make the image look okay even when the bird in question is proportionally large enough to take over the composition. It usually works with my Nikon. This camera doesn't.

Baby Something - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Baby Grackle

More proof of that failure. We think it's a grackle juvenile. It certainly seemed uneven on its feet and just learning how to use them, but it was not smoothed out or particularly well served by greatly enlarging it from the s90 original shot.

Stork - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stork

This bird stood perfectly still while I composed, shot, recomposed and reshot.

Bobby's Feathers - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bobby's Feathers

I originally made this for Bobby's Birthday, but it kept getting bigger and bigger, and all he said he wanted was something to hang on the tree — it being near Christmas — and since it no longer had any chance of hanging on anything but maybe the National Christmas Tree or the one in Times Square, I gave him something else that would fit, and I still have this crinkled tin-foiled object.

Bird Patrol - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bird Patrol

The guy in it said it was really Critter Control, and this was one of the old trucks that still had the old name on it. We liked the pattern of little feet across the side of it.

Martinsville - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Martinsville

My Rocket Launcher is way too telephoto to back off and get a shot like this. My s90 is not fast enough to capture birds flying like this in sharp focus, so this is a major compromise that doesn't really, but only sorta does work.

The Slow Kid - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Slow Kid

It was raining here, so I didn't get out of the car and walk over there and get better composition, but I still like the colors, although the S90 didn't deal well with them.

I spend more and more time considering and reconsidering Olympus' m43 cameras, and their EP-2 with their new f/4~5.6 14~150mm (28~300 35mm equivalent) zoom would have been very nice for a day of shooting like today. I could have zoomed in on all those little birds and wided out for other scenes. And since my S90 seems to be getting worse after it broke three of my ribs ...

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May 25

S90

Canon S90 at 100% crop via screenshot

D300

Nikon D300 at 100% crop via screenshot

Yeah, the Nikon image is too dark. But Compare Everything Esle

Today, I spent way too much time attempting, then finally nearly succeeding in testing all my cameras under nearly the identical circumstances. The results were skewed by something — focus, camera movement (all were shot with a tripod, but not all employed a self-timer), something.

My startling results were that my Canon S90 (even in its post rib-breaking condition) makes the second sharpest and/or contrasty (I cannot yet differenciate between those two qualities) images of them all — Nikon D300 with 50mm 1.8 and the 17~55 2.8 zoom; S5; SD780 and S90.

All the details I could stand are on my Great Camera Shootout page.

May 24

African Hat - Copyright 2010 Joel Cooner Gallery

Fon Fetish Hat, Benin

It's not Canon's fault if my S90 is behaving strangely. Today, shooting at Joel Cooner Gallery — mostly African Hats, my S90 did spectacularly well. Rendered images so beautifully and clean I hardly had to do any adjustments in Photoshop, when with the S5 I had to do twenty minutes or more for every shot. Amazing quality images shot with one badly-bent lamp and a styrofoam board reflector to fill in some of the shadows.

I have them since I shot them on my personal S90, and I just didn't have time to get to this one — which was slimy-moist to the touch — at the gallery today. This was not what showed on the LCD before and after setting exposure today, but I may be learning to read its mind. Although maybe second-guessing comes natural to serious photographers.

The LCD view was also different from how they turned out, but what turned out was just short of spectacular. Not what many photogs would expect out of a Compact Point+Shoot. Certainly not what I expected out of a camera this small and this tough before I became so enamoured of it I just had to buy one.

I say "tough," because when I recently broke my ribs in a short fall, this camera was under and directly adjacent to the three ribs I broke when I fell on it. I had earlier believed nothing was wrong with the camera after our collective fall, but today I saw what I recognize from my interchangeable-lens Nikon dSLR as "dust" spots on the sensor.

Most closed-box compact cameras never have the opportunity to show splotches on their sensors, because there'd be no way of getting the substance into the camera. Apparently, falling on one provided the opportunity. I now believe my S90 got jarred loose of whatever — lubricant, dust or small pieces of something — when my ribs compressed it into the dirt downhill from the Winfrey Building overlooking White Rock Lake about a month ago.

Schmutz on the Sensor

Pende - Democratic Republic of Congo

Schmutz on the Sensor — note the dark areas to the right of the top of this hat and in the lower right corner

For those who have never had the opportunity to see schmutz on their images, this is what it looked like before I photoshopped the offending areas into the background. At first I didn't notice the dark areas. Once I did, I kept seeing them. And they stayed in the same places on the screen, even if I moved the camera or changed subjects.

I've had to deal with uneven walls before, and I really hoped the dark areas were on the wall, not on my sensor, but now I know. When they're always in the same place in the frame, it's schmutz, which Dictionary dot com defines as "dirt; filth; garbage" from "smudge, smut, bismotered or bespattered, soiled."

My SD780 has already cleared initial gate keeping to get sent back to Canon to fix its errant on/off-ism. But that whole camera was Canon's fault, and the fact that they replaced it six months into is lifespan, which usually extend to two or three years, proves it. This really isn't. I'll try to send it in for fixing, but I doubt they'll cover this sort of damage on warranty. I might be willing to pay to have my sweet S90 back in good health again, but I suspect I need a new one, though I'll struggle on valiantly until Photoshop can't fix it anymore.

Dead Baby Egret at the Rookery - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dead Egret Chick at the Dallas Medical Center Rookery Today

It's not a fast camera. It's not worth much for shooting birds that are still alive and kicking or anything else that moves, but for art or for all those myriad other things I like to photograph, including still lifes and deads, it's pretty spectacular. And if I have to buy another one?

I just don't know. I've been following the progress of micro Four-Thirds cameras and other small-sensor interchangeable-lens cameras, but maybe they'll just fix mine and charge me for it. That seems fair.

Meanwhile the price of a new S90 is about forty bucks cheaper than when I bought mine in March. Down to $364 at Amazon. I hope it doesn't come to that. But this is a fine, fine little camera.

More Art Just Below

May 17

Remote, Watermelon, Plate, Table - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Remote, Table, Plate, Watermelon, Fork   May 17   s90

You know how it goes. At first I was crazy in love with this camera. Then the camera's deficiencies began to creep into my consideration. Then the deficiencies turned into real problems. Now I am not at all happy with having spent $400 for this stupid camera.

My chief complaint is that when I point it at something and dial up or down the EV compensation, I expect the finished shot to look a lot like the preview in the LCD. But if I've got my finger on the shutter — like I would if I wanted to photograph whatever it was focused on, that's not what I would get if i pushed the shutter the rest of the way.

It would be darker or lighter or something than that. NEVER WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE IN THE VIWFINDER. And that's a big disappointment. I can work around it. I can keep my finger off the trigger and lose any decisive moments. Or I can just hope and shoot anyway, and see what I got by chimping the LCD — which I'd probably have to do anyway.

It's big enough a disappointment, I usually grab my smaller, rounder, much more easily pocketable Canon SD 780 before I go out when I don't know what to expect, just feel need to have a camera with me, in case a picture presents itself. The 780 is all automatic, albeit with that same nice exposure compensation — except what it looks like in the LCD is what it will look like when I shoot it. No second-guessing or futzing around. Always.

I probably should have waited for the latest wave of micro 4/3rds cameras or the new Sony with the same size sensor as my Nikon D300, only it's oodles lighter. Or settled for a small dSLR. Or something. Something else. I am very very very disappointed with this camera.

It's not a terrible camera, it's just not as good as I thought, hoped, expected it to be when I put my money down. It still takes good enough pictures of things that don't move or move quickly. But there's still that overt shutter lag like the Point+Shoot that it truly is.
 

Mark di Suervo - Ad Astra

Mark di Suervo   Ad Astra   2005
painted steel   48 x 25.5 x 25.5 feet

 

It is a decent camera for slow and methodical photographs of objects that don't move. It's almost worthless for photographing cats or dogs or kids or cars or anything else that does move. For that you need a fast-focusing dSLR that focuses sure (the s90 wavers sometimes, unsure of itself, and I am often disappointed with focus I thought was right on when I shot it, because after focusing sharp, it reverted to unfocusing blurry) and fires fast. I like the f/2 lens at widest zoom that some distance puts everything in focus, or gets a whole lot more depth of field with a couple clicks slower aperture.

I stalked this sculpture in the late Ray Nasher's personal collection now at NorthPark shopping center in Dallas. I shot it from several angles, at mostly the same exposure. I set that early in the game, because I didn't want the stupid camera dithering me out of the right exposure.

I wanted to show its size, so I let a human wander in towards it on the lower floor and more upstairs. And I wanted some depth, so I let that hallway drift off toward infinity. I didn't want that white arc of the flower planter at the lower left corner, so I darkened it in Photoshop (and noticed extreme chromatic aberration when I was down there working pixel by pixel.

But I loved the light and dark, mostly rectangular areas, the sky lights and store fronts and acres and acres of shiny flooring. I even like the bristling green of the cactus at the bottom middle.
 

Gatherin Snakes - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gathering Snakes
 

I used both it (this shot) and the 780 (others I won't show here) to photograph the workers who stretched these hoses all through my house last week to blow insulation into my ceiling. They ended up using batts instead of blown loose fiberglass (good thing; that stuff blows around and comes out where it's not wanted) and had to gather up the hoses and take them back out to their truck after they'd spent so much time stretching them all though the house.
 

Yo The Hairy Cat
 

The s90 seemed to be working well enough then. Even got this fairly quick-moving can holding still that brief moment. Although he did not hold near as still the other dozen times I tried shooting him on that orange cat hairy blanket.

But when I used it to shoot artwork by a good friend last week, just to see if the luck I'd generally had photographing art in galleries with the s90 would hold out if I shot that artist's work in her studio. It didn't. I was very disappointed. Disappointed enough to use my Nikon D300 for each of the other art shoots I had that next week.

It might have been okay in sunlight (my favorite light source for shooting art) or if the camera were on a tripod. But the Image Stabilization was not stabilizing enough for such a critical shoot. I treasure my reputation as a good art photographer too much to ever use the s90 on a quality-critical shoot again.

And that's a major disappointment.

May 7

After struggling with the differences between what shows in the LCD and what shows up on it later in Playback Mode and even later on my monitor, I've come to understand that the preview value of the LCD only happens until I partially depress the shutter button. Then, the LCD reverts to focus mode, which entirely ignores any semblance of the camera previewing the exposure — light and dark values. Even if I twirl the wheel.

If I twirl the wheel, the LCD immediately reassumes the exposure preview mode. So I can still tell what's going on there, if I don't get so excited I rest my finger on the shutter. This has been very confusing, and I'm glad I don't have any illustration for this bit of learning.

May 5

 What I Saw on the LCD - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

What I Saw on the s90 LCD
 

I've been exploring the differences between what the s90's LCD shows and what the image looks like either on the camera's LCD or on my computer monitor later. The bigger difference is between what the s90's LCD shows before exposure in record mode and what the camera's LCD shows in playback mode after.

Of course, this test is not exacting science. To get what I saw on the LCD before I shot it, and what I got on silicon after I shot it, I had to juggle exposure and outcome files. These two images are good enough for showing, not much else.

And of course, they involve a difficult light situation with bright sunlight pouring in through the uncovered window, while darned little of the stuff bounced around the Apricot Beige walls of the room in my house a seven-year-old dubbed "the truck stop" many years ago.
 

What I got on the s90 - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

What I Got
 

I haven't set up some kind of exacting testing method. No, I've just been using the camera with the knowledge that what I see is not what I'm going to get, which is a big disappointment, albeit one that could be corrected with either a firmware update or an updated CHDK. I don't care how it is fixed, but I sure hope they do.

Then again, maybe I just need to learn more about it.

One thing I have learned is that the best way to determine correct exposure on a digital camera is to take a picture, then look at it in Playback mode. Assuming what you see in the LCD is what you are going to get in the final image file is beyond useless and all the way to absurd.

The upshot of this major disparity is that I can not trust what the LCD shows me before or as I am taking a photograph with the Canon s90. Previewing the photograph is what the LCD is all about. So where does that leave me? Nowhere, and it's dark and stupid in there.
 

First Attempt - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

First Attempt — Subject Placed in Center of Viewfinder, but no focus.
 

Another image issue that is bothering me is that in Macro Mode, it is sometimes very difficult to get the s90 to focus close.
 

Second Attempt: Closer - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Second Attempt — Closer but Still No Focus
 

Maybe too close. I don't know how close is too close. I might have to read the manual. I tried to nearly fill the central — focus — area of the LCD with this shot, hoping it would focus. But no.
 

Final Attempt - Focus Accesptable

Final Attempt — Acceptable Subject Focus

But this worked. Maybe it's because it's farther away. Maybe the fact that the object is translucent messed with the s90's sense of focus. I don't know that, either.

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April 28

Cryspian Beginning to Float - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cryspian Beginning to Float   photographed with the Canon sd780
 

For snapshots during a visit by my dear friend, Cryspian, today, I took my Canon SD780 instead of the s90. Partially, because I felt guilty for not using it much lately, and partially because I didn't want anything hanging from my neck — I usually carry the s90 on a strap around my neck — while my ribs still hurt so excruciatingly.

If I had my 780 when I leaned over to pet Ziggy Sunday, I wouldn't hurt nearly as much as I do now. It may be a little late to right that wrong, but it feels more secure and out of the way. Besides, the 780 is smaller and fits more easily into a pocket without filling it up. And other excuses.
 

April 27

Darkness - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

This is my first attempt at using the s90 in semi-darkness
 

I saw the picture before I got my camera out to make it happen. I decided to use my s90, because I'd never used it in dark light before, and wondered how to go about that trick. It took some menu spelunking and deep thought, but eventually I got close to what I wanted. My first seven shots in various other modes were way too dark, then I switched to Manual mode and hit pay dirt. This shot finally captured my friend's room as illuminated by the light on on the ceiling of the porch outside the window with closed blinds.

The only other light was the power indicator on the boom box on the bureau, although there seems to be little, unknown reflections here and there around the room. I especially liked the stripes on the drawer front with the reverse plaid in the laundry basket and faint blue window on the left. Good thing I also liked the confusing jumble of shapes in the middle and utter darkness of deep shadow on the right.

I'll have to attempt other available darkness shots, so I'll have the confidence I'd know what to do with this camera. This exposure was 15 seconds long, and yes, the s90 was parked securely on a fairly decent tripod (good for the s90; lousy for my dSLR).
 

Measure - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Measure
 

I was thinking about Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruve Luc Viatour when I shot this with my right hand inside the Bath House Cultural Center, my favorite Dallas gallery. I like the light and darkness, and I neutralized the bright spot of daylight blue coming in on the left, but still am not certain I should have.
 

Bath House Culture Center Back Porch - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bath House Cultural Center on White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas, USA  Back Porch
 

I love the abstraction of all these handrail shadows along the bottom of the concrete back porch that looks out over grass, a couple of trees, then White Rock Lake itself. 90-degrees to the right is a big, blue lake with downtown Dallas almost straight across the lake.
 

The Bath House - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Bath House from almost the Lake
 

I didn't initially plan on the glint of reflected sunlight in one of the windows along the outside edge of the back of the Bath House, but I noticed it on earlier shots that did not include this much of the big tree in the middle. I tried to make the glint darker or lighter or something, but there wasn't much I could do at f/16. I liked it; I just wanted to further accentuate it, but it turned out I didn't need to.

All of today's shots were made with the Hoodman Kludge, and I enjoyed being able to see what I was doing in each, quite different setup, sunshine and deep, deep shadow.

April 25

Picnic Table Flower - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Picnic Table Flower on Concrete
 

Today, painfully, I learned how strong my s90 is. Anna and I were sitting in camping chairs on a hill looking down on White Rock Lake and facing the sun. Soon, the sun seemed too bright, so we turned our chairs about 80 degrees away from the sun, putting my chair at an unbalanced angle to the hill. I was being careful to keep it balanced and talking with Anna and Mary, who had come upon us with her cute little dog, .

Around my neck, I had my make-shift gray-cards strap attached to my s90. I leaned over to pet Ziggy, greatly unbalancing my chair, tumbling me to the ground. As I tumbled forward, I impacted the ground just below my left nipple. Only I did not hit the ground. I hit my s90 against the ground against my ribs. Both women laughed uproariously, until they figured out I was in excruciating pain. If I'd had the camera in my cargo pocket instead, I would like have been uninjured.
 

Death Embrace - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Death Embrace — close enought o focus the couch, but not the bugs
 

I keep thinking of cartoon characters hit by an anvil or some heavy object that leaves an anvil-shaped imprint in their body. I could feel the precise parameters of my little camera into my flesh and breast bones. It hurt like the dickens, and it took awhile to catch my breath. The pain subsided only much later with one of my major pain pills, under whose influence I remain. I always thought those pills kept me from both writing intelligently and thinking straight. But I believe that only happens with prolonged exposure.

Having momentarily held my full weight, the camera was uninjured. Everything I've since tried has worked impeccably. I'm very pleased about that. I'm growing to greatly appreciate my s90. But I am also beginning to understand its serious weaknesses and drawbacks.
 

RC Model Airplane - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Radio-controlled Model Airplane Flying Past   ISO400   tiny portion of full frame
 

Today, at the lake, before my spill, we watched, and I attempted to photograph a very fast-moving radio-controlled model airplane. I shot at it six times, and I got it in the picture five of those attempts. Never very large in the frame, however. The s90 is not fast enough to capture fast-moving objects, especially in telephoto zoom.

Holding the camera still — like in the dead flower I found on the floor of a picnic table shelter — works fine. It is a slow and careful camera. But using the LCD does not allow me to follow fast-moving action worth a darn.
 

Wet Footprint - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wet Footprint
 

Story of the Hoodman Kludge

So I began to think how I could modify my s90, so I could. This is what I came up with so far. My Hoodman Pro for my Nikon with a 2.5-inch LCD, attached with rubber bands and wrapped with the plastic cord holding the Hoodman all held slightly more securely with tape grannied all over. I tried photographing the whole mess of it tonight, but there's not enough light in my office.

I'll take it out on my front porch tomorrow, if I can walk that far without further injuring my unfavorably impacted ribs. I learned almost immediately after I fell that I hadn't broken any ribs, because laughing didn't hurt. I have broken several ribs before, and that was always the telltale. So if I can still laugh out loud, I'll probably heal in a couple weeks instead of a couple months. This is the shot of my absurdist adaptation..

s90 - Hoodman Kludge - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Hoodman Kludge on S90
 

Last night we saw the Dallas Black Dance Theatre II dance amazingly. Before the program began, the emcee told the audience that if anyone wanted to photograph the dancers, that would be okay, but we should turn off our flashes. I thought that would be grand fun, until I remembered that I could not turn off the LCD. It would be blazing bright in the darkness of the audience, distracting everyone in sight.

> The s90 is rigged for silent running, but in darkness, it's bright. Even I would quietly loathe me for stirring up so much off-axis light. With my new Hooded s90, I might have been able to photograph the performance without annoying everyone. But I still need to darken the bright edges of the 3-inch LCD that glows around my old hood made for a 2.5-inch screen.

This kludge is an ugly start in an attractive direction. Taping a dark frame around the edges will delete the rim of light around the hood, and I'll have a camera that can actually be used in bright sunlight. Taking these pix with my untrustworthy SD780, all I could see in its LCD was a gray dark mass. I kept wishing I had a Hoodkludge on it, so I could photo this. Next time I'll clean the hood before I shoot.

Note that the rubber bands do not interfere with any of the buttons — or even the battery, memory card latch. That's a minor miracle. I keep thinking that an s90 with EVF would be great, but then I'd want it to have no lag time and continuously shoot at something higher than 1 fps.

April 24

Two Flycatchers on a No Parking Sign - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Eastern Kingbird (both Flycatchers)

So there I was saying when I wanted to photograph birds, I'd take my big Nikon with the huge long zoom lens I call the Rocket Launcher, then the next day while exiting an arts and crafts show at the Bath House Cultural Center on White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas, USA, I saw these two flycatchers on a sign, if I turned around and tilted my car down the road-side of the ditch, I could get fairly close and maybe not frighten them away.

They're scared of people — probably for good reasons — but they fear not the automobile, which is absurd. So I did that, and tried to wait till the Scissor-tail's tail was exhibited at its best, and click. Didn't figure out till much later that I was parking as close as I possibly could be to a No-Parking sign, and my proximity there would have been very difficult to explain to a police person.
 

April 22

Markhandforth - Texas Tom

Mark Handforth   Texas Tom   2007   steel, epoxy and enamel paint   EV –.67
 

When I need to photograph birds, I take my Nikon D300 with a long lens. When I need to shoot art, or buildings or people or don't know what I'll be photographing that day, I put my s90 in my pocket and go. So easy. I sometimes forget it's there.

At The Rachofsky House (See story on Art Here Lately #9. This link now. This other link later.) I discovered something that's been bothering me about the s90. I thought the camera was overcompensating. When I dialed in underexposure and set that, it seemed like the camera was backing off that setting and not giving me what I wanted.

But what I finally figured out sitting in The Rachofsky House library staring out all those windows, was that the LCD was lying to me when I held down the shutter button halfway. I'd take a picture, see that it was over-exposed, re-set it so I'd under-expose more, look at the LCD when it was correctly focused (shuuter halfway down), and the LCD would show it was still overexposed, so I'd underexpose some more and still the LCD was lying.

Set for another exposure the s90 shows less exposure variation than actually set.

I learned this by taking a long series of photographs of Texas Tom, a big red star with two points missing standing in the near back yard of The House. Click, underexpose by EV –.3, then again, and again and again till I got to the full bottom setting of EV –2, then back to normal and up to EV +2. On the LCD, there was little, if any difference, making it difficult to know just how to set the camera. Throwing me and my exposures off.

Blankety-blank camera needs an EVF (electronic view finder, which of course, the LCD is, so maybe we should call it an ELEVF Eye-lever Electronic Viewfinder.), which is highly unlikely, so I guess I'll have to wait for my Olympus Pen E P3 or 4. The s90 is not perfect.

But it's pretty darned good, and I'm learning it and its nefarious ways more and better every day.
 

Texas Tom - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mark Handforth   Texas Tom   2007   steel, epoxy and enamel paint   EV +1.67
 

Putting my red-star series up on my monitor, however, showed that each succeeding exposure was different. First darker, then lighter. Why would Canon build an "Enthusiast's Camera" with an LCD that lies? Good question. I don't have an answer. I'm happy to report that the camera doesn't lie, just the LCD. Of course the LCD's the only way we can see what the camera's done. Or didn't do. But we can't really see what the camera's done, till we've put the LCD aside.

The answer keeps being that we gotta learn our cameras. Gotta know what they're thinking and what they're doing, despite what they seem to be showing us that they are doing. Learn how it thinks, so we can stay one jump ahead. Learn what to ignore and what to pay attention to. Learning is.

All the jibberish above could have been distilled down to this terse phrase I found in Digital Photography Review's review of the Olympus EP2 m43 camera: "Preview image brightness doesn't always match the captured image brightness."
 

April 14
(plier monster) - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Nick Curtis   Pier Lobster
 

Today, I judged paintings, sculpture, ceramics, color and black & white photography and photography portfolios for The Winston High School Art Show on Royal Lane near the Tollway, where my friend Roddy Parkinson teaches. We hadn't seen each other since our Allen Street Gallery days in the early 90s, but he asked me to judge the photographs, and I suggested since I had been publishing art criticism longer than anyone else in Dallas, I could probably handle all three disciplines. They'd already got a woodturner to judge those.

When I told Anna about it, she wanted to go, too, so we did, and it was an interesting experience playing our opinions off each other, back and forth. Plus, since the work was scattered in several rooms and hallway on two floors — and because I probably would have anyway — I photographed some of the work on my s90, making it a lot easier to remember favorite pieces (even though they weren't all in sharp focus), so Anna and I could sit down and quickly assign first, second, third and honorable mention places for each group.

Although I must say, placement — first, second and third places and honorable mentions — were largely interchangeable. If I had it to do over I'd probably change several of the placements now and again tomorrow and the next day. I'm pretty sure we chose the best work, however. Mostly. 

unknown title - unknown artist - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sarah Hammond   Indian

 

This is a piece I failed by not giving it the credit I believe it was due. It didn't help that it was awkwardly placed in front of a plaque of names (which I've freed it from in this reproduction).

Yes, it seems noticeably contrived with the crying cloud and rainbow body, headband and feather, and confused in all that mixed symbolism is a meaning I can't grasp. But deep down I understand.

There's a direct simplicity to it that I admire. It's not mawkish, it just is. I can't go back and change its placement, but I do hereby give it my Special Juror's Award.
 

cosmic flower - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Linda Flores   Flower Power
 

I think we finally placed this one second in photography, but it could as easily have been first. I saw three different prints of it in various places up halls, down stairs and upstairs. This version was the cleanest, had the most density in the flower petals and reflected less.

I don't know why there were three different versions — or why all the work in each genre couldn't have been in one place, so we could make direct comparisons, but like the other one we did place first in photography — a straight shot with no wild digital elements, but probably digitally enhanced in other ways, I think of this as the best and most original. But we just never know how original any piece really is.

The other shot that stayed neck and neck in our evaluation all through our deliberations was — as this one would be also — very difficult to explain. We know it was shot from a boat, yet it was in near perfect focus, although that might have been due to digital sharpening, and its composition was superb.

It was the sort of architectural planar interchange those of us who photograph such things dream of. Lots going on in a vertical frame. If I'd photographed it, I'd show it here. But I didn't, and dearly wish I had. Not motion, but a lot going on in that single frame involving many other frames formed by the building. An architectural landscape of great beauty and subtlety.

In the end that shot won out, but it was and still is a close race in my mind. Both exquisite photographs.
 

sculpture - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Hunter Cobb   Totem
 

I have not yet figured out why I like this one so much, although at first I definitely did not. It feels unified by that purple. It is what it is, and it doesn't go to any lengths to be anything else. I like the colors and the shapes. A lot.

They engage something in me I cannot fathom. I like it. It works.
 

Roddy asked me for a statement about how I judge art. He wanted to know whether I valued execution most or innovation. But mine is an experiential valuation. I look at a work, and if it engages me, and thoughts come forth, I pay attention to it. If it doesn't do anything to or for me, I pass it up. Usually at an art show, I photo the ones that engage me somehow — either positively or negatively.

Often it is the negative engagements that turn out best, most interesting. Not necessarily that those works are the ones I like least initially — although it often works out that way, but because they ask more questions than I can easily answer, they turn out to be the pieces I like most, have been engaged by, and have learned something from the engagement.

I still believe that I can judge (as a critic, not necessarily as a juror) a show in as long as it takes me to see every piece, and sometimes I do that at a quick-paced walk or slow run. But assigning numerical order and keeping multiple categories separate takes a lot more time and mapping.

Anna did that bureaucracy today, kept up with the elevator key that let us go up and down and up and down so many times trying to put this show all together in our minds. Keeping track of placing the cards on the pieces we liked or were engaged by till we could arbitrarily decide on number placements.
 

Victim of Tomorrow - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Hannah Hammond   Victim of Tomorrow
 

I never read that script at the far right of this shot. Only saw it as texture until I had it up on my monitor. I'm still not sure what's going on in the frame. The motionalism — so much going on, so much of what we see in motion, trailing, blurring, static zigzagging across or through the image — lends a sense of emotionalism.

That giant face, partially obscured, other persons blurring through. What could be other figures in the fore- and backgrounds. Mysterious actions. Faces obscured. Even the script mirrored and distorted. All this stuff I never once considered while choosing it. Only now, with time, with distance, with my snapshot of this photograph, do I even care to parse it out.

I still don't like this image, but I still believe it to one of the best photographs there, and the best black and white photo, probably better than several pretty colored objects we put low numbers on in other categories.
 

I've often wondered how anyone could judge from slides of work, or more recently, from digital representations when originals are about, but any of those would have been preferable to up- and down-ing stairways and transversing halls for two frantic hours this afternoon. One set of photographs — I never figured out which — was represented by thumb-sized black and white versions upstairs while their originals were somewhere downstairs.

I doubt we ever got all the peices together in our minds. And thanks to all the running back and forth, up and down, my broken foot hurt so much when I finally got it home that I had to take one of my big pain pills and nap out several hours before I could attempt to write this.
 

shaddow patterns - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kin Sinclair   Light + Shadow
 

Exquisite interplay of shadow patterns playing off interconnecting planes and curved shapes. Beautiful. Took a sharp mind to see this and capture it so well.
 

Meanwhile, black & white photography, oddly outnumbered by every other medium, shone star-like, even if it was often desaturated color imagery to begin with, which may not be the ideal to make grayscale from color. Having so few, scattered so far, made choosing among them a special challenge, but once we thought it through, the champs were almost obvious.
 

essence of an expression - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Anthony Hatcher   Squint

Essence of an expression. I'm not convinced that color would have harmed this shot much. But it certainly works well in black and white, if that is strict black and white. I sense redness here. I pulled all the color out of my image of it, and it was different, so I put them back in. Very nice photograph. I believe Anthony's original was sharper than my reproduction here.
 

I hate not knowing the artists and titles and other caption information for these pieces — and being able to post them under each piece (yet), but I almost understand not telling us stuff like that, lest we play favorites. Except we don't know anybody there but Roddy. So if anybody knows the titles and artists/photographers' names and titles of these works, I'd be very grateful.

Our usual form for captions is name  title  year date  medium  size in inches.
 

cosmic hair brush - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rachel Rover   Hair Brush
 

It was easy to judge all the sculpture in one room and all the paintings on one wall downstairs somewhere. There were a dozen times as many photographs as paintings, and probably even more sculpture than paintings, but the painted winners stood out to our practiced eyes. I loved the cosmic hairbrush as soon as my eyes rested on it. The seaside scene took longer to settle past the cliché, which the cosmic hair brush neatly missed.
 

Amy B - canyon waterfall - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Amy Braunstein   Antelope Canyon
 

The Grand Canyon waterfall was much less obvious. Not as a winner. It was a winner. Just it was so much less obvious a painting. Not at all hackneyed. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it except in photographs, and this is not a copy of a photo, whatever its source material might have been.
 

beach scene - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Price Eagan   Sailboats
 

I've seen nearly this same seascape a couple times already, but lovely placements and composition, all the details gathered nearer the edges of that soothing blue, green, brown, white, YELLOW beach somewhere in our collective imagination. A sense of depth and a strong sense of color. Nice. Soothing. The empty blue of sky has more detail than the ocean washing the shore. I just wish the black frame didn't darken the details at the top of the painting, but there were black frames on all the paintings.


Last night when I was trying to sleep up for the big event today, I kept worrying that this trip would involve as lousy a quality of art as the time I judged another school show — at East Texas State University decades ago, although I'm not sure that's what they called that school then. There, I had teachers "guiding" me to prioritize certain student's work. And very little of that work, by college students, in a college known for its artists, was anywhere near the quality of the work at the Winston High School today.

And if anyone has better, more accurate copies of the two-dimensional pieces shown in this story, I'd be happy to replace my less-than copies with the originals. Send to my e address on the Contact Me link at the top of this page.

I'm so very pleased to have had my expectations raised by High School students this good.

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April 13

Cat Stool at Joel Cooner Gallery

Cat Stool at Joel Cooner Gallery
 

Today was the first real problem I've had with this camera since the beginning, and of course, it was all my fault. I was hoping to fill my 16-gig SDH card with pictures before I had to reformat — even though everyone recommends reformatting after every time one unloads images, but in the last couple of days, it's been flashing "Memory Card Error" at me and refusing to take pictures. Push the button all I wanted. Nothing happened.

At first I thought it really was a memory card error. I poofed it with my turkey-baster-style Giotto Rocket air blower, and that seemed to help. I was able to take pictures for awhile. The next day — today — it wouldn't again. It finally let me take one more shot — mostly useless, then it refused again.
 

Cat Tail Detail - Photograph by J R Compton

Cat Stool showing Tail Detail at Joel Cooner Gallery
 

I copied off the dozen or so recent images (including these recent shots from the gallery) from the several thousand shots I had on the card, then did a low-level reformat, and everything works fine now. I'm sorry I couldn't take any shots at the VA hospital today, but it's illegal there. I've seen a woman accosted by a kindly guy in medical white and told in no uncertain terms that she could not take pictures of something on the wall — Obama's photo? An award? Hard to tell what. I'd seen the sign out front, knew better than to even get my pocket camera (now the s90, used to be my SD780) out.

I don't even take my once-trusty but now tending toward rusty Canon S5 to the gallery anymore. Its zoom was kinda helpful, but its disappearing LCD colors and battery run-through times were becoming annoying, although I greatly miss that articulating LCD. Since I've switched to the s90 for shots at the gallery, I work much faster. I'm not exactly sure why, but apparently I do a lot less image fixing.


more art below
 

April 8

Blue, Floating - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Blue, Floating
 

Guess where I spent much of today? Waiting for Blue to come down off his high horse. Looked so small up there, till I got close to put something in or take something out. Lived there awhile, till the co-owner drove me home. I've spent hours there before they didn't take me anywhere, must be my ortho boot that won me the prize drive home, then a while later, back.
 

Shoeless Blue in Red - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Shoeless Blue with Red and White
 

Blue was up there a long time waiting for a brake line that wouldn't let the fluid keep leaking. Sure been a good car for me these past ten years. It'll be 20 next year, if I don't trade it in. Cost a thou ten years ago, probably no more than an ave of $300 per since. Lousy mileage, but lots of them. I figure it's almost free now.
 

Self-Portrait with Blue Flying - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Self-Portrait with Blue Flying in the Background
 

I'm hoping there's a Prius in my future, but Blue will do till then. 22 MPG, 28 on the road probably won't inch another year, but 19.5's pretty good for a Japanese car. Transmission leaks every summer; oil leaks all the time; at least the brake fluid will stay in for awhile. Note the peculiar way of holding this camera to take a picture. Maybe eventually I'll learn to hold it in just one hand.
 

Lighthouse in the Bathroom - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lighthouse in the Bathroom
 

I've been going to Kwik-Kar for about a decade for little things. The one near White Rock seems honest enough. Always felt like I wasn't getting hoodwinked. Not all fixits are like that. Never got took home before. Maybe I should wear my ortho boot a little longer to more service centers. I think they even put air in my low tire.
 

Wheel Well - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wheel Well
 

There were four of these to choose from. Two in brilliant light and nice colors. At first I was reticent to photograph in their shop, snuck around, stood where large objects were between them and me. After awhile, I just shot. The car is definitely mine, and I didn't mind.
 

Wheel - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wheel
 

Liked all the colors and sculptural shapes. They might have stopped me if I'd wielded one of my big Nikons and were amazed later when I pulled the Rocket Launcher (Sigma 15-500mm [35mm equivalent of 750mm] lens I use for birding) from the front seat. Wasn't thinking sculpture when I shot this. That just happened. But then it just happens a lot.
 

Lube & Tune with Blue - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lube & Tune with Blue Floating with His Hood Up
 

Have been working at motivating me to photograph what was going on in my life, but some things are just so mundane — until the photographer is nearly bored out of his mind waiting for a brake line to be installed in a small blue car that looks like it's swimming in air.

The next day driving down Stemmons, it felt like all four wheels were loose and might fall off at any moment. Checked the nuts. Every one of them was lose. The rat bastard "mechanic" at Kwik Kar By The Lake put my car on the ground without tightening the lug nuts. What an idiot. Trying to kill me.

I and my ortho boot tightened every nut and drove home. The lady had been nice, but the mechanic was inept. Stupidity trumps nice any day. Not going back there.
 

Dirty Yellow Flower - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dirty Yellow Flower on the "Front Porch"
 

I'd seen a color photograph in Lakewood Advocate (yeah, I know there used to be a gay newspaper by that name, and it probably still confuses everybody but all those real estate types who fill the new advocate up with tiny ugly ads) with the couple who owns this Kwik-Kar sitting on their front porch — some comfy chairs arrayed outside the waiting room, so we can enjoy sunshine and all the cars racing by. Birds, too.
 

Dirty Yellow and Lush Green - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dirty Yellow and Lush Green
 

And there's an empty lot next door and big trees all around. Flowers on the porch. And a lake down the residential hill across the street. I didn't think I had time nor energy to walk down there this time, but I have before and may again. Today I walked around the first apartment building, clicking along the way.
 

Stairs - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stairs (Very little Post-Processing)
 

Green trees and a stairway halo back-lighted. I don't even remember seeing the couch with pillows and art in frames or pattern on the cushion back. Or the big wall on the right, that my chosen exposure somehow saved the brick pattern in, while neatly missing the farther-away lines behind the stairway. The s90 has a mode called "i contrast" that supposedly includes a wider range of exposure — lights and darks. I don't know if it was on or off when I shot this.

It was off just now when I checked it in P mode. No telling what mode I was using then. I keep changing them, trying to find order in the fact that each mode has its own menu settings. Maddeningly.
 

Laundry - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Laundry

My friend Debora Hunter used to shoot laundry wherever she went on vacations, and soon as I saw her shots, I started shooting laundry — those bright elements in human landscapes — wherever I go. I've learned to love the dense, brilliant colors, even in white and lilac.

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Day 22

Cop Tower - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cop Tower in Oak Cliff
 

Okay now, this is finally a blog. Newest entries on top. No more digging to find the bottom, because now it's on the top. And yes, I keep taking pictures with the S90. And yes, I get angry with it, though it's hardly the camera's fault. Gigo. Garbage In, Garbage Out, goes the old computer saw. What humans enter into machines is nearly always just about as good as what we get out of them.
 

Garbage Man - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Garbage Man
 

I've previously complained that this is not a quick camera, so I guess what today's exercise is all about it speeding up the photographer, so I can capture what needs capturing at 30-40 MPH through urban streets. The Garbage Man was my second try. The first time I only got a stripe of the side of the truck. Luckily, we passed it, then it passed us, then we caught up with it again, when I shot this.
 

MBA - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

MBA
 

I'd hoped for a little more in the picture, but this is everything that's important. I was flailing to catch up with reality in these shots, but I got better at it, and the camera must have sped up. Nice of it. Sometimes, like here in patriotic colors, we were in synch, and I got darned close to what little I had in mind.
 

Pizza - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Pizza - The Yellow Sign says "$50 Warranty Tickets Lifted"
 

Figuring out the interface is most of the ball of wax. I'm still struggling with the notion that every single mode on this camera requires its own set of settings, and that expecting a prosumer camera to show me what I've just shot in any but AUTO and C modes is tuff biscuits.
 

White Building - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White Building
 

Pristine. I just love buildings that lean. I remember a Country Wstern album called "Prone to Lean."
 

Gnarly Trees - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gnarly Trees
 

Some of the modes are set for vivid color — unless, of course, all the modes join in on this setting, about which I am not yet convinced, but I am beginning to understand why Digital Photography Review, the grand-daddy of all digital camera review sites — not sure they were here first, just that they grew well and fast and were bought out by Amazon, and generally have the most trusted reviews on the Internet — has not yet reviewed this semi-amateur camera.
 

The Fence - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Fence
 

I want it to be a professional camera, but it just isn't. But since it fits into most pockets, and it's amazing good, I keep it around and photograph out windows sometimes when someone else is driving (usually). I have long admired the silver fence above. I'd love to have one like it in my neighborhood, to keep my neighbors from cutting down my trees (course with that much semi-solid metal keeping sun from my yard, they wouldn't grow anyway) and best of all, I'd never have to see them or their yapping little dog. To my understanding of fences here in Dig B, this one's illegal.
 

Loaded with Tradition - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Loaded with Tradition
 

Dig B, little a, double L A S.
 

Cat Birding - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Table Reflections
 

Nope, not a time exposure, these are actual reflections in the glass top of a Mexican restaurant that used to be our favorite in my neighborhood, but we don't go there as often anymore, and I'm not really sure why, but it's not for its lack of color.
 

Cat Birding - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cat Birding
 

And I keep shooting the catbird pair in differing light and aspects and whatever else can change these two subjects that hang out on my porch.


Day 20

Halleluja Sky - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Hallelujah Sky – the only shot today at the lake with no humans in it.
 

Nothing much good today. The s90 has become another tool. Much less exciting for its newness. Just a really good tool. I'm putting this journal on hold for awhile. Meanwhile, I've been working on the S90 Accessories & Techniques page instead. Targeted, when I get it in good working order, for fellow S90 owners and future owners. By mid-week, I'll have posted it on one or another of the Canon forums that deal with the S90. Then I gotta do my taxes, and get totally lost in IRS world.

I need to take it to an art show to see how well it works there, although it works very well [above] at the gallery I work at. I think we got an art show planned soon.

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Day 17

How Early This Morning Were You Awake, J R? - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Just How Early This Ayem Were You Awake, J R?
 

Way too early. Not that I got up then, just I stayed up past then. Then crashed for a couple weeks, woke up again, did too many errands, drove to the rookery, got some nice egret shots. But while I was on the front porch waiting for the garbage truck to come back — missed it on the other side of the street, but that hardly matters, since those are the people across the street, not us on this side — I shot some porch shots, including the dreaded catbird seat.
 

 Petals on a Paper Plate - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Petals on a Paper Plate
 

Watching the remains of a dead tulip is a lot like living my life.
 

Catbirds Making It - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Catbirds Making It
 

After awhile, I had to separate them. I think I am, at long last, settling in with this new camera. I take it with me even when I have no reason to believe I might use it. Even when I have my other camera with me.
 

Day 16

Yo Lookin' Sharp - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yo Lookin' Sharp
 

Most of my s90 time today was spent tracking down accessories and documenting tips (below) and running errands and taking naps. When I realized how close to dark it was out, I meandered through the house looking for something, anything to photograph.
 

Yo The Cute - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yo the Cute
 

I'd photographed Yo wanting to be picked up into my lap just after midnight last night. Yesterday and today I keep messing with the settings on the s90, and finally learned that setting them once for one mode, doesn't have anything to do with all the other modes, and other bafflements only hinted at in the silly manual, not altogether accurately translated from the Japanese.

One of those settings allows continuing shooting as long as I hold down the shutter, during which time the camera will quickly refocus every shot. Most of my Yo shots were not sharp, because he doesn't understand that he needs to stand still and look up, but these two are.
 

Small New Mexican Bowl - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Small New Mexican Bowl
 

Cheap trinket. I couldn't see buying a big, expensive one. I like this one just fine. Couple bucks. Art.
 

Mantis in the Window - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Diana Chase   Preying Mantis   in my Window

Back to the mantis again. Better exposure. Setting the settings seems help. From now on, I'll only add to this journal when I've actually learned something, although the Tips & Accessories sure involved a lot of research.

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Day 15

Holding Alice - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Holding Alice on the Rail on My Front Porch
 

Seems odd that I've had this camera almost two weeks and I am still baffled by its settings. I've depended on Ken Rockwell's guides to my Nikons as others have probably depended on his guides to Canon SLR cameras, but his chief story about the S90 is missing most of the setting details built into those other camera guides.

The most helpful page I've yet found is on Digital Photography Review's Canon forum replying to the question, "
1. Has somebody done a good online guide to s90 learnings and experiences?
2. What are your 5 best experiences in terms of s90 settings and best practice?"
The answers are online here.

 

Alice and Anna - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Alice and Anna

Using several recommendations on that comparatively short forum page, I might have avoided some of the issues I created for myself this morning. That much activity here on the home front is unusual, but I think I've set them all to either my SCN mode or my C (for Custom) mode. I am wandering in the foggy darkness of the mind here, so I'll just have to play along till I figure out all this stuff.

There is a book about the s90, but forum regulars don't give it much credence for anybody but rank amateurs, and I think I got beyond that abut 40 years ago.
 

Right-side-up and Upside-down - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Right-side-up and Up-side-down
 

I dutifully shot a catbird-seat shot, but it's so boring I won't even show it. Instead, here are a few family photos, even though Alice and I are not related. It was nice to have an intelligent three-year old around for awhile.

Day 14

Catbird Back - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Catbird Back
 

Mostly today I learned other stuff, grocery shopped and slept. After I learned that other stuff, I rested on the couch on my front porch and fooled with the flash on my new camera while taking telephoto (above) and wide-angle (below) shots of the white plastic chairs on my front porch. I thought about napping out there, but eventually wandered back into the house and did it up right.
 

Catbirds without flash - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Catbird Shadows without Flash
 

Flash is one of the two issues I'm still having with my newish camera. The other is that I thought I used to get a 2-second review of each shot I shot every time I shot a shot, but now that choice in the menu is grayed out in all but the Auto modes. I almost never shoot in Auto mode, because I bought this camera to shoot it in Manual mode. But when I shoot it in Manual mode, I don't get a two- or three-second review of what I just shot.

I like that review when I'm not in a hurry. It offers a bit of comfort to see that the shot I just shot worked out. I always wonder when I don't see it. For several days last week I wondered where it went. Now that I've found it I'm equally baffled.
 

Catbirds with Flash - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Catbird Shadows with Flash
 

I'm still struggling with setting the flash to slightly underexpose. These chairs are not rendered as pure white, so perhaps whatever setting I used worked, but I was hoping for more shadows on the chairs and expecting less of them under the chairs. As it is, it is not obvious that I used a flash, unless we compare this image with the one above it. And that's nice, too.

Eventually, I'll want to flash some people doing something, and protrusions like arms, fingers, noses, elbows, etc. might protrude and get un-comely shadows added to them. I still don't think I've got this flash settings thing done right, but I'll keep working at it. Learn some more.

So, no art today, unless you count this, but I am keeping up the daily catbird seat shot series.
 

Two Lips from My Tulip - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Lips from My Tulip
 

Then this happened. First, two petals fell, then four more in rapid succession. Sad, but tulips never last long.
 

After The Petals Fell - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

After The Petals Fell
 

Hand-held using the close-up mode, under fluorescent ceiling lights, with a green pillow leaned in behind what was left of the flower, so I wouldn't have to clean up my office.

Even later I attempted to do a close-up of the pistils that had meanwhile dropped to my mouse table with my S90, which did not wish to focus that close. So I tried my now nearly abandoned Canon SD780, which happily got down so much closer, and I felt sort of defeated, but then again, successful.

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Day 13

U. S. Peace Initiative - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

I thought I needed something new here, so I looked around the house for some art or flower or something that I hadn't shot sixteen times already, and found this. Trouble was it was surrounded by clutter, so I set out to tan that out, and ended up with this. The art was designed by a seven-year-old and executed by his father. More info on its own page.
 

Did the gallery thing again today. Learned, among other things, that this camera makes it easier for me to finish work fast. There's not nearly as much Post Production time wasted on upping the contrast or lowering the light or all those other things I had to do to correct or improve shots from my trusty Canon S5, which I took to work again today, but never even used it once.

I do miss the articulating LCD. A lot. But this camera is so much better in the non-studio (the gallery has no studio. I shoot where I think the background is good, haul my one light on a stand in, and prop up a white foam board somewhere to bounce light back into the shadows. A studio with several lights, including one to rim light (halo) the object from the back, would be lovely, but we don't got one.) that it actually saves me time. Lots of time.

The S5 has 8 megapixels; the S90 has 10, so that's not the deal-breaker. The big deal is that the S90's sensor size is significantly larger. And that what I see on the non-articulating, high-resolution LCD is pretty close to what I get.

Learned from capturing the U.S. Peace Initiative above with a flash that I didn't know anything about using the flash on this camera. So I learned enough to shoot this shot, and enough to have some notion of using it the next time, too. Maybe. I try to avoid using flashes on cameras, but sometimes ya just gotta. Worst thing about using on-camera flash is that nasty dark outline that flashes force around objects shot with them.

That's probably what took the longest to wipe out of the image above. I just watched a video showing a new feature in the next Photoshop that would let me do most of that out-wiping in a few seconds, and since I only buy every other whole number version of Pshop, I'll probably getting that one.
 

Tulip Day 2 - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tulip Day Two
 

Just before that, I shot my tulip in this federal disaster area I call an office. Without wiping out any of the background. Sort of a Beauty & The Beast kinda thing.
 

Today's Catbird Shot - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Today's Catbird — I liked the stripes on the floor
 

And, of course, I had to shoot the catbird seats. This is the only shot today that took less than ten seconds to PP.
 

Glow Pot - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Glow Pot
 

Oh, and this one. Just after I shot it at the gallery today, and looked at it all blurred and fuzzy on the LCD, I figured oh, well. Now I kinda like it. Fooled with it in Pshop some, contrasted it up a little, vividified it some, sharpened the middle, all those tricks, I forget exactly. But I like the result. Also shot with the S90, of course. I might play with this some more, if I have another few seconds to spare some when this week. I think I moved the camera before the exposure had finished.

 

Day 12

Little Girl Leapfrogging - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Girl Leapfrogging Posts at White Rock Lake
 

I took my my birding camera with its humongous lens, and mostly shot birds with that (which will turn up probably soon in my Amateur Birder's Journal) but I captured a little Local Color with the S90, too. We drove slowly by these girls leapfrogging posts. Anna suggested I captured one. I got it on the first try. The second try was a big miss. And I didn't try it again after that. Then the girls stopped leapfrogging posts. The S90 is not a fast camera unless its operator is in top form or just lucky. I think this was a combination of those circumstances.
 

Little Girls in the Wind - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Girls in the Wind
 

This is the fifth version of this shot. The first several were too contrasty, especially in the colors. The fanciful leapfrog shot is probably too colorful, but for this real moment, I wanted real colors. I love the way their hair is bright and blowing in the wind. They'd stopped leap frogging for a moment and were just very much there as we slowly drove by.

Probably they did not want to face some old guy hanging out the passenger side of a car with his dinky black camera pointed at them. Who could blame them, but the pose is pretty amazing. The first four tries with this shot were way too contrasty. I'm learning how to tone that down using the Recover scale in Photoshop.
 

Signs of Spring - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Front Yard Signs of Spring
 

I've been wondering which weed trees in my front yard to keep and which to have removed. Any tree that can do this, needs keeping. Even if those pink bud only last a day or so every year. I sat in my catbird seat earlier this afternoon looking for something to photograph and found this.
 

Tulip Day Two - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tulip Day 2
 

That is, the tulip had been mine for two days at the time of this photograph. I've been experimenting with the S90's close-focus (macro, micro, whatever) abilities lately. There's much else to explore, but this turned out rather spectacularly, I thought. I will likely chronicle the tulip's glory and decline, as I often do. Feng Shui teaches that dead flowers are bad, but I believe they continue to be sources of amazement long after they die. As you will probably see here.
 

Catbird Seats - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Catbird Seats
 

I knew where another one was, and the one one I had seemed in need of a companion, so I fetched it yesterday, and today I cleaned it back to its glorious white on white on my dirty green-floored front porch, perfect for watching spring in. Nice that they're not identical.

Day 11

Pegasus - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pegasus

The rest of today's S90 shots are on DallasArtsRevue's new Art Here Lately page that this page spawned. I did not take the Nikon to photograph art. The S90 sufficed nicely, and those art shots turned out great. These are the best of the shots I didn't take of art.

Shiny Stairs - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Shiny Stairs
 

I still collect photographs of stairs for my long-running (probably about thirty years now, maybe longer) Stairs, Chairs and Fences series. Love them repeating patterns.
 

Full Moon and Lone Star - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Full Moon and Lone Star
 

These are more or less random shots — I aimed, they just didn't seem all that consequential when I shot them. Or now, either.
 

Yo inOrange - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yo in Orange
 

Poor beleaguered cat. Does not like to have his eyes open when I click. This journal has lately spawned a sleeker, more illustrated, less written Art Here Lately for all the art pix I've been taking the last couple weeks with my new camera, that I am still learning, which is the premise of this page. Although I'm certainly not above photographing my favorite cat. Someday, I'll get this focus and eyes open, too. But I'll have to be quick.

The Catbird Chair - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Today's Catbird Chair Shot

And the obligatory shot of a chair standing there.

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          Day 10

Mark di Suervo - Ad Astra - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mark di Suervo   Ad Astra   2005
 

Big art day with Anna and Susan. First, we went to the new Alice in Wonderland at NorthPark, where the late Ray Nasher keeps some immense and wonderful sculpture, including this and the next one, the Nasher Sculpture Center, The Crow Collection of Asian Art and the sculpture in the Henderson Avenue Project, again.
 

Joel Shapiro - 20 Elements   2005  - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Joel Shapiro   20 Elements   2005
 

The art we saw at NorthPark was more or less accidental. It was just there, as it has been for decades, although new pieces are added from time to time. And we were wandering through the building to movie and eat. I dawdled behind taking pictures, because I am still learning this camera and needed to try it out under a variety of conditions. Besides, it was fun.
 

Umbrelas and Lights at the restaurant - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Umbrella and Light in the Ceiling at Kona Grill
 

I didn't want to be overt about it, but I wanted this photo for some strange reason, so I held the camera to the table pointed up, although I couldn't see what the cam was seeing. I shot several times and got pretty good composition and varying degrees of focus in those shots. It was a little brighter than this, but since I couldn't see what I was shooting, I couldn't adjust.
 

Jaume Plensa - downstairs - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Jaume Piensa  
 

Jaume Piensa - Genus and Species was at the Nasher Sculpture Center, and while we weren't entirely overjoyed by it, it was fun looking. This was floating above us downstairs. I wasn't sure photography was allowed, so I was being surreptitious for this one, holding the camera in front of my middle pointed up. That may be early today's sub theme — taking photographs I couldn't see. Pretty different experience from mos of my experience with the S90, where adjusting the image on the large LCD makes all the difference.
 

The Other Twin - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Jaume Piensa   Twins I or II   148.5 inches high
 

ISO 200  f/5  1/160  EV–.33  I was entranced with both these twins, one inside, one outside on the porch, although I didn't put them together as twins till much later. And I love the great depth apparent by showing only one very large piece in this huge space. Hadn't been to the Nasher in a long time. Really enjoyed seeing it again here.
 

Jaume Piensa Twins - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Jaume Plensa   Twins I or II   148.5 inches high
 

With so many artists using words in their work, it was a relief to find a jumble of letters in these. F/5.6 @ 1/800 ISO 200. First time I placed its image here it was too contrasty, because it was too small. Now it's full width (777 pixels), its contrast is much more normal. ISO 200 in bright sunlight is plenty. The original image is spectacularly beautiful. Here, this smaller version, is very nice.
 

Richard Deacon - Like A Bird - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Richard Deacon   Like a Bird   1984   laminated wood
 

This is the part of this piece I liked most, and it's the only shot I got without humans in it. The tree-hugger behind the middle of it is another Jaume Plensa piece. Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to be learning stuff here. ISO 400 f/8 @ 1/640. F/8 so I'd get the maximum depth of field while still not backing up for the whole piece. I shot the full piece, but the curves of it got so lost in a nearby tree that it was difficult to see where one ended and the other started. I had to change the scale.
 

Richard Serra - My Curves Are Not Mad - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Richard Serra   My Curves Are Not Mad


ISO 400  f.7.1  1/200  Seeing this entrance was like seeing an old friend. I'd walked through it every time I visited the museum when this piece was just outside the front door. It sucked me into it and insisted I walk inside it again.

Richard Serra - My Curves Are Not Mad - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Richard Serra   My Curves Are Not Mad   1987   168 inches high x 539 inches long
 

ISO 400 f/7.1 1/25th  EV–1. I probably didn't need that high ISO for this, but that's what it was set at when I decided I needed to walk through this piece again. Obviously, I wasn't paying much attention to the shutter speed (too slow, except for the fine Image Stabilization) or aperture (too small, except it worked fine).
 

Richard Serra - My Curves Are Not Mad

Richard Serra   My Curves Are Not Mad
 

ISO 400 f/5  1/1,600 EV–1. Another of six I shot walking through the tunnel of art again. My experimentation here not so much of apertures and ISOs and shutter speeds but where to point the camera for the most eloquent shot. Not sure I got anywhere close, but I kept trying. Took a long time to pick these three shots.
 

Richard Serra  - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Richard Serra   My Curves Are Not Ma
 

ISO 400 f/5  1/320  EV–1  What I like best about this last of the shots I'll show here is the subtle, almost not-there line curving in from the wall on the left, down to the right third of the bottom darkness in this image. I can see it on my monitor. You may not be able to see it on yours. But it's there, separating the two dark walls, looking up at a building. Then the equally opposite dark subtle white against blue sky line at the top left — none of which I thought about when I was shooting.
 

Richard Serra†† My Curves Are Not Mad - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Richard Serra   My Curves Are Not Ma   Exterior View
with Jaume Plensa   The Heart of Trees   2007   bronze figures and trees
 

ISO 400  f/8  1/400  EV–.67  Here, just so anyone who doesn't know and walk through this sculpture every once in awhile can see what it looks like from the outside, is Richard Serra's piece standing in the garden at the Nasher Sculpture Center.
 

Jaume Piensa - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Jaume Plensa  installation

Y AM TYSRYHDR . . .

Jaume Plensa  installation - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Jaume Plensa  installation

I saw this installation as a curtain of jumble. Anna, the inveterate crosswords worker, saw words in all these letters. I saw text and texture.
 

Dragon Overhead - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dragon Overhead
 

ISO 200  f/8  1/50  EV–.33  Anna was right on when she pointed me at this. When I walked into that hallway, she pointed up. I was delighted, and took a minute or so trying to get as much of this fantasy creature in the picture and in focus as possible. I could have stood more toward the tail, but I really wanted that wonderful head close to the optical center of the image — I never think about such stuff, I've just been pointing cameras long enough to do it semi-automatically. I've only just now figured out that this dragon has a pink, white and blue beard.
 

Crow Collection Building - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Crow Collection Building   Looking up from the Central Fountain Area (I think)
 

ISO 200  f/8  1/80  EV–1.67  By this point in my ownership of this camera, I've begun to take a lot of what it can do for granted. I don't think through every step. I'm sure there's info in the manual I still haven't crossed paths with, but the camera has become more of a tool to translate my seeing than something to fight or argue with. Not once today did my fingers stumble across the many controls arrayed across the back of it. That had been my nemesis till today.

Now, it's becoming part of my photographic flow. Though it's slower and more specific. I either take the time needed to render each image as well as I can, or I switch to Auto mode and go click, hoping I can at least get a decent composition.

A Dallas artist whose work I shot at Hecho en Dallas [on the Art Here Lately page] show early this month told me my photo was better than one shot by a book publisher. I wasn't surprised. Having the light shine through these web images is a major advantage over light bouncing off of dead tree matter. These are greatly advantaged, but comparing them to a high resolution image on slick paper (I assume) in a book is hardly fair.

That shot was taken with my fully automatic, more pocketable Canon 780, that I still have. And now I find I have one more pocket camera than I know what to do with. I carried the 780 around in my right pocket one day last week, with the S90 in the other, and I never once pulled the 780 out, so compelling is this new camera with its larger and higher resolution LCD and completely maliable controls.
 

Sunny Side - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Architectural Fountain - Sunny Side
 

ISO 100  f/8  1/400  I didn't think much about this pair of shots. I stood on one side and clicked, then I walked around and clicked the other side and clicked. Anna and Susan were leaving. I hurried. It didn't matter to me, but I liked the glisten of the water. I figured one side might be better than the other. I had no idea which would win.

Dark Side - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Architectural Fountain - Dark Side
 

ISO 100  f/8  1/250  I don't know about these shots. Too contrasty? Nosy or is that pebbles embedded in the stone? Sometimes I really like these shots. Often I don't care for either one. Just click an experiment.

DMA As Tunnel - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

DMA as Tunnel
 

ISO200  f/4.9  1/100  EV–1  If I'd been paying attention, I might have adjusted the exposure to fill in some of those deep dark shadows, but what I was going for was the color storm at the end of the tunnel. I didn't even think about anything else but getting it in focus and exposed somewhere near right.
 

Past the Performance District - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Past The Performance District
 

Next Stop: The Henderson Art Project. I'd seen it already [above], even wrote about is from the art critic point of view [on the Art Here Lately page] and didn't mind seeing them again with a crowd. Nice to know what other people whose aesthetic judgments I like think of stuff. While they were looking at the sculpture, which I'd almost memorized, ...
 

Tail Light - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tail Light
 

I photographed other stuff I found to look at. Sculptural stuff, to be sure, but not what some might consider that. Just what I would. Look around. It's all over the place. I used to do slides series of images called "But Is It Art?" and, of course, it is.
 

Emeralds & Coconuts - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Emeralds & Coconuts Porch
 

I was intrigued by the pose and the swim suit on a pole and the dark female form in the window. I didn't even notice the two cars. Well, I saw the one on the left but knew there wasn't anything I could do about it. It belonged in the conversation. Lucky, it was dark. Either only vaguely saw the white car or didn't care with all that vivid color to be had so easily.

I'd got out of the car and arrived first at the scene of the purple bench. I sat on it. Nothing happened. Later, I put my ear to the flat top of the bench. Still nothing. Maybe the audio is in being there along that busy street. I didn't care.
 

Churches - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Churches
 

This journal has begun a turn from stating camera education to being camera experimentation. I like the direction. Like most of my best ones of those, it was unplanned and never even considered. I'm willing to let go of control, if I ever had hold of it. This vacation from DallasArtsRevue is leading into intriguing directions.
 

Two Close In Two a Two Lip - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Too Close into a Tulip
 

Like photographing too far down into a tulip and discovering strange violet and white tones in there.
 

Catbird Chair - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Catbird Chair

And of course.

more art below

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Day 9

Y Pool No Water - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lake Highland Y — No Water

Too busy for a change to take many pictures. Drove to Plano for business, wasn't inspired to take any photos there. Stopped at the Lake Highlands Y to quit, since I still haven't figure out how to get out of the pool. Just as well, they didn't have any water in the lap side. Contrast's low, because it was cloudy dark outside the translucent plastic roof.

Yellow Breakfast - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yellow Breakfast

Had been inspired by breakfast eggs poured. Both shots a tad noisy, since I've gone back to ISO 400. Sometimes it seems I can get away with that. Other times not. Have to tune into that. Maybe shoot differing contrast scenes at different ISOs.

Purple Shirt and Lei - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Purple Jacket and Lei

Nobody seems to like this light jacket but me. The lei was from Joyce's wedding. The jacket was a gift from Steve & TJ. My mother switched the button sides, so I could button up. Love the color. It's hung there on my door for years.

Yo Winking - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yo Looking Up

I finally hat to turn off the focus light that shines and scares kitty-cats away every time in shines to provide enough light in any situation. It's a reddish stab of light, very annoying to critters and photographers. This is the first time I've been able to shoot the Yo cat without him turning away from that light (since I turned it off). Focus not bad for a cat.

The apparent spot of light on his right eye is just the way it was down there on the floor under my desk. The lamp's down there, so I can see what I'm doing when I attach the ortho boot after giving my foot rest from it awhile.

Day 8

Catbird Seat - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Catbird Seat Again
 

I've decided to photograph this chair on this porch with this camera every time I can remember to. Especially if the weather's different from the last time. That should be easy. This is Texas. The weather changes a lot. There must be places on the globe where the weather stays pretty much the same all the time, but everyone I've ever known who's mentioned their hometown weather says that it's always changing. Maybe everybody's always changes.
 

Purples - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Purples I
 

Anna in blue jeans and purple sox on the purple and white rail that want so very badly to become a purple, white and pink and blue and orange rail. Here the purple on the rail below, looks almost dark enough.
 

Purples II - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Purples II
 

And here it looks a little too soft. Not quite dark enough, except in the shadow of the middle strut.
 

In From The Porch - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

In From the Porch
 

But here's the zinger of the day. Some of those colors are real. The purple around the door is real enough, and the neighbor's house is definitely yellow with white trim. I suppose the sky could have been that blue. It shows there in the other shots of this same setup — not that we set anything up; I just noticed the composition playing out in the reflection of the front door as well as the light coming through it to us.

The stained glass window is inside the living room looking out on the other neighbor's house not seen here. A bit of chrome on my walker is just inside the front door, most of the rest of the details here are either on the front porch or out in the world. I like this shot a lot. Just happenstance. I should photograph from my porch more often.

That's all the photographs for today. I photographed mostly little birds at the lake today — using my Nikon D300 and the Rocket Launcher, too good effect, and didn't need to do any more photographing than this.


Day 7

Heist Building - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Potential Heist Building
 

Little different fare today. If I'm gonna test this camera — not like if I decide I don't like it, there's much I can do about it — I should try it in a lot of differing aspects, subject matters, lighting variety, etc. Doing that help me stay on vacation from DallasArtsRevue.com. Anna wanted to see this building that might be the site of a future EASL Heist.

Tilting up the wide angle lens leaned the building back, but I brought it back in Photoshop, although it's still a little curved on the right end. This camera does all the usual lens distortion tricks, but for JPG image files, the camera makes all the necessary corrections. Or most of them. For RAW files, which I have not yet started using — I avoided it for years with my Nikons, the camera does not make any corrections, although a Canon program that's still resting comfortably on the CD that came in the box, supposedly does a good job with raw.
 

Heist Far End - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Heist Far End
 

I fell for the place immediately, based more on its brilliant white exterior and trees and tree shadows that anything else, though I like its site, too. Largish parking area. Large patio area — don't know what's in there. Could hear workers grunting over the wall, but couldn't see anything interior.
 

Truck Yard - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Truck Yard
 

It's over a short fence from a colorful truck yard.
 

Gihad City - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gihad City
 

On our first date, Anna and I drove through this odd extension of Downtown Dallas where that idiot movie about the great heroine of the Iraq war, Jessica somebody who wasn't really being a heroine at all, just moving from one place to another when she got shot. This is the enemy territory some movie company put up to film in and around, believing this looks like Iraq somewhere.
 

Corner Texture - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Texture Corner
 

It was in better shape when we first visited more than five years ago. I loved the texture and snatches of color and quirky details. Now the quickly slapped on stone textures are peeling off.
 

Texture End - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Texture End
 

I was busy capturing this end of a long building, when Anna sighted ...
 

Psy Pipes - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Psy Pipes
 

... this bizarre presentation, which of course, I had to photograph. Trouble was, with bright sunlight coming over my shoulder, it was nearly impossible to see the LCD, the only way I can see what I was photographing with this camera (making me miss the m43 camera I will eventually get — the one with the fantastic hi-res electronic viewfinder). I squinted and tried to shade the LCD with my hand, but nothing worked.
 

Blue Stairs - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Blue Stairs
 

Wondering why no artists lived in Gihad City yet, we came across a place where artists apparently do live. Anna liked the chicken painting on the far wall. I'm a long-time Chairs, Stairs and Fences man, myself.
 

Barbed Wire - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Barbed Wire
 

I was convinced that, because I could not see anything in this image on the LCD, it couldn't possibly have been in focus, but it was, and I love the strong, contrasting, black, white and silver all through this mostly monochromatic image of straight and curved lines. All I could see was a dark and gray blob, but I could see the real thing, and I knew it was pointed in the general direction, although I had to correct the verticals on the left.
 

Fence and Tree - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fence and Tree
 

I was trying to photograph a scene we were driving by, but every time I tried to do that, I got something forty or so feet past them instead. Ken Rockwell and others claim the lag time for this camera is only 1/10th second, but that does not match my experience today from a speeding car — when the S90 takes longer than that to focus and shoot. I really like this shot, however. Wherever it came from. Dig the floating chromed object at far left.
 

Catbird Crossfire - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Catbird Crossfire
 

Back home I saw the catbird seat on my front porch in brilliant, high-contrast sunlight and had to shoot it and the green and purple and white world of shadows and light all around it.

Day 6

Was gonna compare the S90 to the S5, if I had time, at the gallery today, but soon as I tried the S90, I put the S5 away. You can see three or four of the best shots below and one of these on top of the Oceanic Art page on Joel Cooner Gallery's website.
 

Three Oceanic Clubs - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Clubs
 

It looked a lot like this. I worked that one up at the gallery in a lot less time than I worked this one up here. I'd have to see them both together to know which time I did it better. When I get the info, I'll identify them in the caption. Can you imagine getting hit with any of these ugly sticks?
 

Long Cabinet - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Long Cabinet
 

My other version of The Three Clubs is at the gallery. I don't remember what it looked like. I played several more games in Photoshop on both these first two images. I have more time here. There, I generally stay in a big rush of busy all afternoon. I'm only showing you a small part of what all I did there today. The best.

Vitality - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission. On this pic of the cabinet — made so much easier because of the much wider angle this rather shorter zoom lens on the S90 than on the elder statesman S5, I calmed down (smoothed out) and darkened up the rug, darkened the blue pot on the right, and put Joel's signature green color on the wall behind the anteater. Some of the tricks I didn't have time for in the headlong rush of working today.

Looks scrumptious. I think the cabinet itself is just a little lighter in this version.
 

  Carved Stone Virility Fetish
 

When I got home, I was inspired by all that brilliant sunlight screaming in through my window. I looked for something I hadn't already shot to death. This was close enough at the moment.

Today in the not studio — there is no fancy studio there, I usually find a platform, table or something with a dark top and enough empty wall space behind it to clear however tall an object I've got to shoot. We used to have expensive lights on stands, but I broke half of them by tripping and them falling.

When I need more light, as I certainly did for the clubs, some kind of African game, a mean little male virility fetish, and an Asian altar piece, I use an ordinary household bulb in a reflector and a largish sheet of white, styrofoam packing material as a very versatile reflector.

Today, I noticed another imperfection of my new camera. The image in the LCD is sometimes not even close to the result that shines in pixels on my monitor later. Sometimes — and I haven't figured out yet what lighting circumstances cause it — what I am shooting and seeing on the LCD does not even closely approximate what I see a few seconds later when I bring it up on the LCD to check how it turned out.

Odd behavior for a perfect camera. But, of course, this is not a perfect camera. I'm getting over that portion of owning a new camera. Its interface — mostly buttons and dials — is still pretty fiddly for my. Very often when I hold it or move it from hand to hand or change my grip on it for some practical reason, I fudge one control or another. Maybe voice commands would be better. Ha!
 

Altar Piece - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Asian Altar Piece
 

I just love the craft of the sometimes ancient art Joel shows. What I really like are the magic and ritual pieces, although anything with primitive natural pigments rubbed into it always attracts my attention.

If, when I arrive at the gallery, Joel is on the phone with someone, I'll just wander through the space looking for objects that weren't there last time I looked. On today's ersatz tour, I entirely missed the cabinet — too big, I guess — caught the clubs and the altar piece, fondled the fetish item, and notice the Dice piece you won't see here, because I was never really happy with my pictures of it, although I've been working on another version here at home, and not getting paid for doing it.

I just think they deserve great photos taken of them, and I need to keep getting better at this.
 

Red Glob - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red Glob
 

Looks like a piece from a votive-like candle. I thought it fit right in with all the other translucents in my window. I thought eventually I'd start gluing pieces to the window glass, but my accumulation hasn't accumulated that quickly yet. Perhaps I should start looking for other, more interesting, at least newer to me, translucencies out there, although my second longest-ever series is Home Still Lifes.
 

Crisp Glass Hunks - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Crisp Glass Humps
 

This one has been Topazed near to death, but I like it. I've shot it at least a half dozen times since I got the S90. Either I've fuzzed it by moving the camera as I hold it out in front of my face waving it around in diminished light, or I just didn't care for the composition. This time, everything feels just about right, and I finally got those little plastic humps in the foreground sharp.

And so is the bug in the Royal bottle. Most of the more delicious old bottles are gifts from one Alex dig or another. Often, when he's digging for Dallas history or art or both, he find old bottles buried in there, and he gifts some of them to me, and I show them off, because I love them, and maybe even love photographing them more.

Added in among the Alex treasures are many that I find myself or friends give me. Anna keeps finding amber and red and white automobile glass, and I'll find other stuff on the street and down alleys when I can walk again. Foot's been hurting lately, so I'm staying off it. Doubt it's from working; that's always inciting, but I'm nearly too tired to see anymore. Good night.

Warning: This journal starts off all techy-tech photo, then settles into a free-flowing style
that becomes art criticism in a new for me, experiential format, with plenty other photos
along the way. All of it in Dallas; some of it from here, too. Without, since I'm on vacation
from Art, the gritty-nitty of formal art criticism. This is just art I experience in my life as
photographed on my new camera that I am learning how to use.


Got my new Canon S90 Thursday afternoon March 18 2010. I was joyed to have it. Ripped open the box, pulled stuff one by one out then threw everything in it back into the box down to the camera, pulled that out, wondered if it'd fit in one of the bags I'd bought for my Canon SD780, and it did. It's a little bulkier, but it did fit, and it does fit into a pants pocket, although there's less room left.

Next question, how do I attach it to a wrist strap or around my neck? No lugs. Looking at it doesn't seem to help. Probably going to have to read something. But I'm a Macintosh person. We don't read no stinkin' manuals. Hmmm.

Find the battery. Probably won't work till I charge it. Find the charger. Looks a lot like the one for the SD780. Nope, doesn't fit in that one. New one's too big. Two manuals, "PowerShot S90 Guia del usuario de la cámera," nope. Somewhat thinner "PowerShot S90 Camera User Guide." Yup. yup.

Canon S90 IS

Checking the Package Contents. Look at, the leave back into the box. "Read this first," including "Please take care when operating the camera for an extended period as the camera body may become warm. This is not a malfunction." Hope it don't melt.

Okay, there's a picture of a wrist strap. Probably should get one of those fancy ones of leather that tighten. Was always afraid I'd drop the SD780. Skip page. Skip page. Ah... Getting Started. Page 13 shows how to loop and where the wrist strap. No neck strap mentioned. Wonder if there's a case with a neck strap? Okay, it says to take some test shots on full automatic, so I set the top wheel dial to M for Manual, because that's why I bought it. Canons are good on automatic, but so what?

Ah, careful instructions how to charge the battery. They are already charging. Some review said I should buy a spare. Expensive at nearly $40. But not as expensive as a Nikon. Smaller too.

Check the SDHC card to see if it's locked. Never even looked close at one before, and I've been using them for years. Hmmm. Nope, not in locked position. Sure wish I'd thought to charge the extra battery that was in yesterday's mail. Slots for both memory and battery are as exposed as the 780, like a cheap minimally metal open box in the bottom of the camera. No likelihood of opening it when it's on a tripod or a tripod chunk.

Wonder how good it'd be for shooting art with such a short zoom. Gotta be better than the 780, and that hasn't been bad, at all.

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How'm I going to crimp the wrist strap, so I can just barely get my hand in it, so it won't even think about slipping off. Alligator clip, clothespin? Maybe I could sew it. Shouldn't take more than a couple stitches. That should be easy. Would a paper clip work? A wad of tape? Ah. Tape cures all ills. Where's my Gorilla tape. Blue tape should work good enough to see if it'd work. Always right within reach.

(The tape lasted a little less than three days. I let it fall slack for another four or five days, then it hit me that I could tie a knot in the band, did, and it's stayed there ever since. Cheaper and less messy.)

Offset both strands of flat strap (wider, flatter and a few inches longer than the SD780's), so there's tape on both sides of both straps. Granny it around. And keep messing with the strap and camera without intentionally pulling on the tape, and let's see.

Admire the clean, macho black, camera design, mess with the bigger buttons and the clicker around the lens. Notice the self-sealing no-cap lens capper. Think about what each set of buttons will be for. Most of them's positions are very familiar from the 780. Same zoom rocker front right, but the S90's is not chromed metal, it's cheap plastic.

The cylindrical extension of the mode dial on top, right that I thought was something to turn with my thumb is a nice place to hang onto the camera. There's four holes to its right for something. Microphone?

Don't know about the S with an arrow. Printer icon next to it. Labels are brighter, whiter and bigger than on the 780.

Looking for Canon images of this camera, I stumbled upon the FlipBac, a little mirror that attaches on the back, protecting the LCD and mirroring it, so I could look down into it as if it were an articulating LCD, except of course, it's inside-out and upside-down. Other than that, not bad for $20. There's one for the 90. Probably make it too big for my bag. Wonder if it would ever be helpful.

S90 IS Back

Couldn't wait for the battery to fully charge. Pulled the one that came with the camera (gray) out half or quarter-charged, and put the one I got yester (white) in the charger. Took my first shot. Very original, J R. A shot of the back of the S90 on a website somewhere. The dial on the back that everyone worries moves too easily, moves very easily. Must be default set to shutter speed, worked great.

There's still daylight. I'll rush into the front room for translucents in the windows.
 

First Test Shots

Okay, shot me some pix. Made some mistakes, so I learned from most of them. After awhile, the camera got warm to my touch. Not enough to keep them warm enough on a cold day, but a little worrisome. I don't know how to set it for RAW yet, so I didn't do that. Set the date and time, because it insisted. Easy. Tried Manual mode, and that was fine, except I don't know how to change the aperture. Shutter speed was obvious. So I tried AV mode. Aperture priority, I think. Then P, good old P, fallback always.

Usually what I needed was right at finger. The easily-movable dial on the back always seemed ready to give me the exposure variation I needed just then. Change exposure just how I wanted. Color on the LCD, at least, are brilliant.

Let's tour my shots:

Yo in a Basket - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yo in a Basket
 

Neither as vivid or brilliant on my monitor as it was on the 90's LCD, but very well exposed. I knew I'd blow out the window behind Yo, because that's bright sunlight out there. Camera acquitted itself very well under stressful circumstances. The colors are real. Probably, eventually, I'll set color to vivid, but these are natural, amazing.
 

Tail Lights - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tail Lights in the Window
 

First two stabs at this weren't in macro mode. There was a little orange exclamation mark next to the center box where it focuses, and it was right. I didn't immediately figure out what it was exclaiming about, but this time I switched to flower (macro) mode and nailed. I'll have to fiddle more with exposure and add Vivid, to get it like I'd want it, but this is lovely. Almost subtle.
 

Dino in the Corner - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dino in the Corner
 

It would look a little more fearsome if its teeth were molded a little sharper and if lint hadn't attached itself there, but for coming out of the dark shadows bright and rim-lighted, the 90 did superbly. I kept changing the moving dial, because it was so easily possible. I put a lot of time and brain power into figuring out just how I'd set that dial when the time came. Have not yet set it any way. Don't know how. Probably have to read the manual.

So far, it's just so very easy to alter exposure. I probably already said that. I'm amazed how well this camera works. It seems to know what I want and lets me do it, before I have any inkling how, and I move the dial, and it changes until I dial it in just right. Oof!

There's times in computing and other hands-on endeavor, when my hands or finger know just what to do, but I probably would take awhile to explain how I did it. I felt like that with this camera. I'd read about it enough to know what it's capable of, but now really how to do that, but because of its dials and possibilities, I was able to do pretty much what I wanted to do, almost as soon as I saw the problem.
 

The Smiling Republican - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dwayne Carter   The Smiling Republican    Crica 1984
 

This piece started out as a Laughing Reagan, but it looks more like the latest President Bush's father, so we call it The Smiling Republican. I don't know what it's made out of, but it's the same stuff as my U.S. Peace Initiative [above] sculpture is. The colors are not right here. The wall, is light green, and here it shows white, which is nice, actually, I should know better than to photograph anything against it. The wall used to be dark green, so the lighter color is an improvement, but not much use for photography in there. But that's where the art is, so why not.

His teeth are probably not pinkish, either. But he does look good this way. Amazing good. Steve Jobs might call it "wicked good." The colors are so much more muted than when the green walls took over in other pictures, before I dialed in to balance the light to the other fluorescent's color. How to lie with photography without even trying. This is the best photo I've taken of this piece in the 20 or more years I've had it.
 

Whitaker the Cockatoo - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kathy Boortz   Whitaker the Cockatoo
 

Usually I can't help but doctor these images. At least adjust the Levels in Photoshop a little. But for this image in this very difficult lighting situation, I didn't change anything but sharpness after I made it my usual 777 pixels wide. Getting tone in the fuzzy background through the dirty window even if there's sunshine out there and fluorescents inside, was simple with the movable dial — almost want to call it the movable feast.

Whitaker lost part of one ear spike in a fall, so he's not quite perfect either, but this shot is amazing. Did not use flash. Just pointed at Whitaker, dialed and manipulated the in-camera image as well as I know how so far, and got this. In focus and everything.

I'd already decided to standardize on ISO400, from looking at online review site test shots at 100% — and that's what I shot the 780 at, so I knew for my primary placement — on the internet, it would be pretty good. I am being blown away by this camera. Here's Whitaker under a much more normalized lighting, with his spikes still intact. And yes, he started out life as a pair of pliers.
 

REJOICE - reduce - reuse - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Terri & Robert   REJOICE! reduce reuse   cardboard and mixed media   4.25 x 5.5 inches
 

Probably because of the green walls in there, this is a tad too green. Not that I'd expect the camera to correct the colors, but these are very close to the original, especially in that room, surrounded by walls of a glowing light green. I didn't even distort the image to look rectangular. That just happened as I looked down on it on my coffee table leaned up against another little piece of art. I did not change anything except size after I clicked the shutter.

I did damper down the usual sharpening I apply to PP (post production) imaging. I got in the habit of sharpening shots from the 780, but this cam needs it much less. Much less.
 

Plastic Dragon Ship - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dragon Ship   plastic   7 inches long
 

If I had been paying more attention to the object than the camera, I might have used my usual white styrofoam reflector to put more light into the dark center of this exquisite little toy boat — there is some detail in there, just needs more. I'll probably reshoot it sometime soon. The sun's down now, so I can't reshoot now. A very difficult lighting setup, that I never paid any attention to.

Only shot this once. With that reflector in just the right place, it will be near perfect, but I was able to dial it in. Look at the live-view, non-articulating LCD, change this, change that, check the shutter speed. Click.
 

Table-top Clutter - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Table-top Clutter
 

I adjusted this one just enough to bring back the white in the sunlit portions of the folded paper center bottom. I darkened it too much in camera, because I didn't know the relationship of that high contrast LCD to reality yet. That would likely change if I employed Canon's Vivid coloration, so maybe I should stick to real colors. These are real colors.

The scene was lit by daylight coming in nearby windows. This is real clutter. I didn't move anything but the extension cord that runs across the bottom left corner. It looks better there than running across the bottom middle. Again, less sharpening needed. My usual starting point was too sharp. Had to tone that down. This is a tad too dark, but it's because I did not light it at all. In the full-res shot, I could read all the words on the pamphlets.

What a nice camera. Can't wait to learn it some more. Battery's probably charged up by now. Looking for how long it takes. Says a charged battery is good for 220 shots or 5 hours of playback. More tomorrow. I need to read me some manual.

 

PROs & CONs

Easily adjustable controls on the camera    Till you get used to it, some fiddly bits seem too easily adjustable.
 

LCD is big and hi-resolution.  LCD difficult to see in direct sunlight and impossible to miss in darkened theaters, and it often does not show the same exposure as the finished image.
 

Lots of controls to fiddle with.  Camera hard to hold without accidentally moving something, until I got the Franiec grip.
 

Wrist strap works pretty well.  I dislike hanging my s90 from my wrist. No lugs to connect to an around-the-neck camera strap

A cool camera  That gets warm to the touch when it's used awhile.

 

Sturdy little metal camera.  Don't fall on it. Its sharp edges broke three of my ribs when I hung it around my neck, then fell 14 inches out of a camp chair parked wrong on a downslope.


 

This is Part One; Part Two is here.

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 since March 18 2010