Friday, October 12, 2012

GF3 does Parliament Hill

I’ve had occasion to be downtown in the evenings several times this week with a friend (hi MG :-) and am trying to carry the fairly compact GF3 and its wonderful 14-42 X power OIS zoom lens with me as often as possible now. I also carry a really small travel tripod that expands out like an old car’s antenna and can (barely) hold this rig up quite high. At least 3 feet off the ground.

This allows me to set up night shots that would be otherwise impossible when just puttering around somewhere without carrying anything heavy. Of course, I think I need a more stable platform, but as you will see, these shots are tack sharp, so I really have nothing to complain about.

A few nights ago, the hill and Peace Tower were lit in a fairly standard yellow light. Nice, and it goes well with the Centennial Flame in the foreground.

GF3 + 14-42 X  @14mm (28mm EFL)  160iso  f/7.1  3.2s

I stopped down pretty far in order to maximize sharpness and to use longer shutter speeds. The risk of using a long shutter speed on a barely stable platform like this tiny tripod is counter balanced by the risk of shooting faster exposures that are potentially blurred by “shutter shock” … an issue with many mirrorless cameras because of their fairly clunky mechanical shutters. Kind of ironic that they managed to have problems like mirror slap without a mirror.

The image darkens considerably when you try to include a close up of the flame itself. Four young people are enjoying a visit to the flame. It was fairly warm this night, so I enjoyed standing there and shooting a lot of images.

GF3 + 14-42 X @14mm  160iso  f/7.1  1/2

Moving in closer, we’re getting some nice detail on the provincial coats of arms in the flame’s pool.

GF3 + 14-42 X @14mm 160iso f/7.1 1/13

I then turned my attention to the Ontario coat of arms. Very nice light by the flame. I shot it several times and decided to show you them all, since the changes every second with a large flame like this.

GF3 + 14-42 X @14mm 160iso f/7.1 1/3

GF3 + 14-42 X @14mm 160iso f/7.1 1/3

GF3 + 14-42 X @14mm 160iso f/7.1 1/3

GF3 + 14-42 X @14mm 160iso f/7.1 1/6

Dropping the shutter now to get more definition in the flame for the next few shots.

GF3 + 14-42 X @14mm 160iso f/7.1 1/30

GF3 + 14-42 X @14mm 160iso f/7.1 1/30

If that series does not convince you to shoot several images of the same static scene, then I don’t know what will.

Next, I turn to face east and capture the huge scaffolding tent that presumably covers some façade work in progress. Greta lighting on the building I think …

GF3 + 14-42 X @14mm 160iso f/7.1 1/6

So tonight I stopped in again and was really surprised to see that the color scheme has completely changed. I was hoping to shoot the wet pavement tonight, but this was a major bonus.

I noticed another photographer standing near the road, so I set up beside him to avoid blocking his line of sight. In fact, he finished his shooting and then invited me to take his spot, which I gladly did.

GF3 + 14-42 X @14mm 160iso f/11 2.5s

I really like this shot. The colors and sharpness are very pleasing. What a change from the very warm tones above!

It was windy, though, so I did not shoot too many images. Here, I am at the long end of the zoom and the camera is being buffeted by wind, as is the flame. So I choose to stand on the windward side of the camera to block the wind from wrecking the shot with blur and again the result works.

GF3 + 14-42 X @14mm 160iso f/11 2.5s

I only shot about 5 or 6 images before the biting cold sent me packing. I really liked seeing the building in cool colors. I hope they keep these around for a while.

So how did the Panasonic GF3 shoot at night? Very well I think. The darkest sections (sky) were tough to handle, but a noise reduction and the judicious use of sharpening allow the images to appear sharp, yet reasonably smooth.