Thursday, 1 May 2014

Camera Speed Settings Test

A walk along the South West Coastal Path with the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ72. I hope this post highlights its capabilities as a very useful bridge camera, perfect for blogging images and just a great all rounder. I can't say I love it as much as my Nikon, but then it's a completely different camera, so it's not a fair comparison.

A lovely Comma to start with and I had only just got onto the path.

A Bloody-nosed Beetle

So called because when in danger it produces a drop of red liquid from its mouth, which is a visual deterrent and foul tasting. These beetles cannot fly and so I often see them on the coastal path.

Fulmar flying across a glistening sea
Shutter priority f5.4 1/640
More nest squabbling from the almost hidden Fulmars, taken through more plants and shrubs that protect the cliffs.

Guillemots in the sea below the cliffs. This is a long way down and on full zoom, but I love how clear the water is and how you can see their feet. Berry Head has a large colony of Guillemots and a hide to watch them from.

A Cormorant preparing to take off
shutter priority 927mm focal length
Up up and away

A fairly good shot in sports mode of a Herring Gull
1/500 F5.6 ISO 125 Sports
Another Fulmar
1/500 f5.6 ISO 320 Sports
And another one using shutter priority
1/640 f5.5 ISO 320 Shutter Priority
As you can probably see I don't think there's much in it between shutter priority and sports mode using the Lumix, as they both produced reasonable images at zoom. Combined with my limited abilities with the camera I would probably go with sports mode when out on a walk because there is so much to photograph and you need to be able to change quickly between the multiple modes offered.

The one I don't like is IA intelligent auto, and much prefer P mode where I can make slight adjustments to exposure, depth of field etc and I'm still working on that, it drives me mad when I get it wrong!

The zoom is quite amazing for such a small and light camera. As shown by the images of guillemots, the cormorant, and the fulmars nesting. Even though the quality drops slightly at least I am able to capture the image from a huge distance.

Mike Langman did a sea watch at Berry Head on Wednesday 23rd April and this is what he recorded
Seawatch 0615-0745hrs: 1 Great Skua, 2 Puffin, 53 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Sandwich Tern, 61 Kittiwake, 400+ Guillemots (heading toward colony) but also good number of Razorbills 47, 1 Yellow Wagtail & 3 Swallows

I'm updating the Seagull Sagas page now and already had my first death of the really is too early for all this heartache.

I hope you all have a great bank holiday weekend. Torbay is busy with activities this year and in Brixham we have the Pirate Festival, which I will be popping along to at some point. 

In Paignton it's the BMAD Bike Festival. Last year alone these wonderful people raised over £31,000 for charities, take a look at their great website for more information on how BMAD started and what they do.

On Monday we have one of the most beautiful Tall Ships arriving in Brixham. She's called the Stavros S Niarchos. 

From the Falmouth Packet News-interesting facts - she carries enough fuel to drive a small car around the world ten times and has 50 times more computer power than the Apollo 10 space craft. She is also air conditioned and heated for worldwide operations and has her own water making plant. Her rigging is made up of almost nine miles of wire and rope.

If the weather is good I shall be off to photograph her arrival.
Happy Holidays


  1. Hello Suzie,

    We find cameras completely baffling, indeed, we have only owned one in the recent past. So, if we can point and shoot that is as technical as it gets for us. Sometimes we strike lucky and take a picture worthy of keeping!

    Your photographs look wonderful. You have captured such movement and sharp colour in them, it really does feel from our perspective that we are right there with you in the action.

    1. Thank you very much Jane and Lance, I have really become a 'happy snapper' since we moved to Brixham. There is so much to do that I seem to have gathered together (with perfect presents from my dear hubby) some new pieces of camera kit to suit every job. Long may it continue!

  2. Beautiful photos again That must have been a lovely walk!

    We have met bloody nosed beetles on the pathways of the Purbeck coast.

    1. Many thanks, you know it's always a lovely walk, even in winter with the wind trying to blow our hats off. I never knew about these beetles until I moved here and saw them on the Berry Head website.

  3. Hope you have a great weekend. We usually hole up here to avoid the tourists on the lanes. People quite often complain about how narrow they are as if something can be done about it! I'm not sure my camera has a sports mode but I find it takes so long to change anything on my camera that the subject has flown off by the time I'd ready, hence the usual use of automatic; I tend to fiddle with exposure etc. afterwards if I need to. Love the beetle particularly. I see you have the one with 60 x zoom which is what I'm getting for my birthday so great to see it actually works. I can't believe how fast they're coming on. My current camera has a 30 x zoom which I thought was amazing but clearly not! Enjoy the sun.....if we get any. xx

    1. Thanks Em, hope you had a great weekend and good weather too. It's been just beautiful here and the pirate festival and BMAD went really well for organisers and visitors alike.
      We tend to stay put on bank holidays for the same reason as you, although we went up to Ilminster to see the Rolling Clones on Friday evening and the roads were lovely and quiet.

  4. Terrific shots! I like the cormorant taking off.
    Have a great Bank Holiday weekend... weather looks good!

    1. Thanks Jessica, I was pleased with the take off shot, and delighted it came out so well as we are right on the top of the cliffs looking down a long way. The good thing about the cormorant is that it was slow enough on take off for me to capture!

  5. AnonymousMay 01, 2014

    More great shots from your new camera, as you say that zoom is very impressive indeed. I love the Fulmars, especially the one with the glistening sea, while the Bloody-nosed Beetle is really interesting, a species I'm afraid to say I am completely unfamiliar with.

    It was sad to read about the demise of one of your Herring Gulls, especially in such unfortunate circumstances, but as you say I suppose it is some consolation that the pair didn't have any chicks.

    Have a great weekend :-)

    1. Thank you David, I need a lot more practice as I've only started trying to capture these birds in flight, but I'm ever hopeful that I'll get better!
      I love all the new wildlife I've come across down here in Devon, it's very exciting, apart from the false black widow spiders who can give you a nasty bite and are all over the garden and greenhouse!
      I was glad I got to the bird so quickly after the accident, and I carried it about under my arm until my neighbour was ready with the car. I do love these beautiful birds and I noticed how lovely its smell was, a sort of earthy smell with a little fish but not overpowering, whereas the chicks smell a lot stronger.

  6. Sounds like a busy year for Torbay. Wonderful photos and love how you have the three splashes in the fast action shot, Up, Up and Away.

    1. Many thanks Denise, I forgot to mention the Torquay Food Festival as well
      We've just had great weather for this weekend so the festivals were a real success and that'll bring much needed money into the area. I think BMAD broke its record for fund raising this weekend which is great.

  7. Wonderful pictures as always, I think it is great that you are experimenting so much with your camera and what it can do. Hope that you get to see the tall ship coming in, that will be very exciting! xx

    1. Thank you Amy, although it's a pain it is worth a little bit of reading up and trying out the settings. I'm never going to be an expert but I enjoy having a go, at least with digital you can take as many photos as you want and it costs nothing if three quarters of them turn out to be rubbish!

  8. The new camera of yours takes some great images Suzie - the zoom is very impressive. I love the comma photo - the camera seems good in macro mode too :) Still trying here to justify the purchase of a bridge camera. To be able to carry something so light that does everything would be very helpful!!! When on holiday I take a bag of lens but for a day out just pick the one I think would be most useful (and its often the wrong one!!)

    So sorry to hear about the death of one of the gulls :(

    Have a lovely weekend - it sounds as though there are some great activities on in Brixham :)

    1. Many thanks, I love the way it can do all things and the butterfly is a great example, I think it's a really clear shot, and then you can walk on and capture sea birds in the water a long way down.
      Almost everyone I have spoken with, even the professionals have a bridge camera, which I thought was interesting.

  9. Lovely photos again, Suzie - especially the birds in flight. The Comma is wonderful, too. I hope you have a good weekend - there's certainly lots going on in your part of the world.

    1. Hi Wendy, many thanks, it's been really busy here and the weather was marvelous. All we saw over the weekend were pirates walking about and people on motorbikes-great fun.

  10. AnonymousJune 05, 2014

    I have just discovered your wonderful website and the piece about the sea gulls was very interesting because here in Hastings we have had gulls nesting on our roof and last year they produced three lovely chicks and it looks very much as if they have done it again! Only problem is our neighbours on this estate are not very happy about this....we love our gulls...they are quite tame with us now. And we back onto woodland so have the pleasure of watching the foxes in the garden, plus the badgers and loads of birds. But we think we should move on to a more isolated place where the wildlife is left in peace. Here in this town they are cutting down ancient woodland, destroying our wildlife and all in all I am sad that I moved here in 2006. I love the sea and we have a little beach hut but I cannot tolerate this ignorant attitude to wild life. Perhaps we should have chosen Brixham and not Hastings as our refuge from London.

    1. Hello, thanks for stopping by and replying. Gulls are beautiful creatures and it's such a shame people hate them. I cannot get over the hatred in humans for some animals, I feel these people must be very bitter and twisted to focus so much on an innocent animal. I'm afraid it's not all good here either, plenty of people here hate them. However plenty of people seem to love them too....and I'm proud to be a seagull hugger!!
      How lovely for you to have chicks, foxes and badgers as well as the birds to enjoy...just keep loving your wildlife and do as much as you can for them.
      When people tell me how much they hate seagulls...usually along the lines of "they are nasty and vicious, they attack children and carry disease..." I simply and calmly reply that they have just described humans so perfectly.
      I'm sorry you feel that way about Hastings after your move there. It's hard to live with that kind of
      attitude all around you and see destruction of habitats too. There are still plenty of wild places left in Cornwall and Scotland, although house building in Cornwall is planned on a massive scale to over 40,000....just crazy!


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