Size Matters - out and about in the Gorgeous Gower with a GH3
It's not often I leave home without a bag full of Nikons. Sometimes it might be a Hasselblad. Occasionally both! If there's even the remotest chance I might take a photo, just for fun, then I'll take along at least a D700 or 800e and my "go to" lens, the 24-70mm f/2.8. This last week I've carried on the UK road trip theme, visiting the Avon (Bristol) and the Gower peninsular in South Wales, somewhere I haven't spent much time before. For the previous two weeks of travels I've taken a full compliment of Nikon gear, as I've been primarily travelling to shoot climbing photos at specific locations, this week however has been more about visiting friends and checking out a new sport climbing venue, Shipwreck Cove in the Gower. A friend, Adrian Berry had been developing it and had invited me down for an "official opening party" he was throwing to mark the end of a long process and the beginning of what I'm sure will become one of the Gower's most popular climbing destinations - so the Nikons stayed at home! However I couldn't go all that way to such a beautiful setting as the Gower, without a camera, could I? so, I borrowed a Panasonic Lumix GH3 and 5 lenses. You'd think 5 lenses (7-14mm f/4, 14mm f/2.5, 25mm f/1.4, 45mm f/2.8 Macro and the 14-140mm f/4-5.8 zoom) was a little excessive when your supposedly travelling light, but believe it or not the Camera body with vertical grip, lenses, 2 batteries, cable and charger all fitted into the same case as my Nikon body (without grip)
and 24-70mm f/2.8! Obviously the Lumix is a micro four thirds mirror-less camera, whereas the Nikon is a full frame camera with a good old "thunker" of a mirror, so its not quite fair to directly compare them, but hey! you know what people say "size matters" and it does, to me. Especially when I'm lugging a large bag of cameras, as well as climbing, rigging, camping, food and water up a mountain!
Like any new camera the GH3 takes a while to work out, but believe me, it ain't rocket science, if it was I wouldn't have worked it out and I quickly and easily found my way round the menus and controls. What I really love about this tiny camera is the fit of it. I like a camera that fits my hands. Something that I can get hold of and the GH3 instantly felt as secure as my Nikon, which is like an old friend. I'd used a previous incarnation from Panasonic, the GH, which unfortunately I'd been disappointed with, it didn't seem very good in less than perfect, bright conditions. So, it was with fingers crossed that I headed out on Saturday afternoon on a windy, damp and overcast afternoon.
The dark and moody conditions really lent themselves to Black and White, so into the "Record" menu i go, then "Photo Style" and finally set "Monochrome" I'm not usually a fan of shooting in pre-set modes, but I thought I'd give it a go and see what happens. The dark cliffs, big sky reflecting on the wet sand and choppy sea looked great, I deliberately underexposed the scene by about 2 stops to hold detail in the bright clouds, which subsequently turned the cliffs and beach foreground to virtual Black - brooding springs to mind! Right from the start I really liked how the image was looking on the touch sensitive screen. The Image I'm talking about is of the Worm's Head, historically Wurm means Dragon by the invading Vikings and is straight out of the camera, shot in RAW mode, converted to jpeg and re-sized for the web - I love it.
I literally turned round, walked about six feet and shot the two pools on the beach. Again, no editing in post was needed