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A random collection of rants, reviews, and miscellaneous thoughts on everything from instructional technology to local restaurants.
Laura is out of town for awhile traveling with her mother. Saturday morning I dropped her off at GSP for an early flight, then headed out to try out the new camera. My plan was to head up into the North Carolina mountains for a bit and see what I could see. I have to confess, it was quite a bit of a learning curve.
Friday night I charged up the batteries and got familiar with the menu and controls. The temptation is to start with an absolutely perfect shot – something worthy of such a fine instrument. Didn’t happen. I shot one of the cats, and shot him poorly. So much for breaking the ice.
When the time came the next morning I felt ready for a cursory outing. From the airport I drove north on Highway 14, pausing in Landrum to get some shots of the sunrise through the fog. Here’s the shot I was after…
…or perhaps this…
Unfortunately, those shots wer taken with my Panasonic LX-5, and not the new D7000. Here’s one of the shots I got with the new camera…
Yuck! And it didn’t improve. Here’s a shot with the Panasonic…
…my old D50…
…and the same shot with the D7000…
I was getting very disheartened. Did I have a defective camera? I started looking through the menus and found that lots of the default settings had been changed. For example, the white balance had been set to Fluorescent, hence the purplish tones. (Of course, someone has already pointed out to me that if I had been shooting RAW instead of JPG, this wouldn’t have been a problem.)
Once I got that settled, I continued on my trek. I stopped briefly at Smiley’s Flea Market in Fletcher (more details on that in a later post.) I’ve learned that a big camera tends to be intimidated, and I was still a bit gun shy. I took only the Panasonic for my visit.
I decided to explore the French Broad River as it wound through Asheville. I stopped by French Broad Park, but wasn’t inspired by any of my shots. I drove through the River Arts District and continued following the river until I eventually reached Ledges Park. Here I found several paddlers playing in the rapids.
However, something was a bit odd…
These guys were using a new type of kayak made in Asheville called a “Bellyak.” Instead of sitting in it, you lie on your belly and “paddle” using webbed gloves.
I took a few photos of the Bellyaks playing in the rapids, and even tried shooting some video. The shots turned out much better than my earlier attempts. The video, however, was tricky. Autofocus couldn’t keep up with my zooming. Also, the noise from the noise reduction motor on my Sigma lens was loud enough to be picked up by the camera’s microphone. Obviously I still need to work on my video technique.
Bolstered by the D7000′s improved performance, I continued my trek. I stopped at Walnut Island Park, then continued until I reached the town of Marshall, NC. Apart from the bike race in town, I felt like I had stepped back in time several decades. The historic courthouse and town architecture was neat.
But there were also signs for an American Motors dealership. Was this the 1970′s??
Around the corner from this was a shop with an antique taxi, gas pump, and antique signs. Now I knew where the American Motors sign fit in.
I continued up Highway 25. Now I was in territory I had explored shortly after my Furman days. On occasion my buddies and I would bring a friend’s whitewater raft up here to run from Barnard Station to Hot Springs. I remember the shuttle being very long – over the mountain. That was born out as I drove up said mountain, then descended down to Hot Springs. I had lunch at a cafe while watching commercial outfitters disgorge their patrons from recent trips. I only took one photo in town.
The weather was getting worse, and I was tired. I drove pretty much straight on home without pause. It was an OK first outing, but when I got home I went through every camera menu setting, making sure it was set up the way I wanted. I’ll know better next time. I’m still wanting to really put this new camera through its paces. That will come.