Playing In The Park

I had some time while waiting for a family member and, as usual, I had a camera with me. Since I was near Leif Erickson Park and the Duluth Rose Garden, two popular parks in Duluth, I took time to wander around and see what would catch my eye.  The roses are not yet in bloom, but other flowers were and there were other subjects that caught my attention.  I used three different lenses and once again experimented with depth of field and framing.
Later, when examining the images, I decided that next time I will try expanding my focus points to allow more of certain subjects to be in focus.  Some of the flower shots could have benefited from more overall focus.  However, the bokeh is pleasing in some and I want to improve upon the selective focus used in a couple of others.

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Winter Colors

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On an unseasonably warm February day, it seemed appropriate to take a moment and savor the vibrant red of the red twig dogwood growing along the walking path.

The Conservatory

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The conservatory at Como Park in St. Paul, MN.

Sony RX100 V, ISO 250, 14.7mm, f/2.8, 1/2500 sec

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No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t come up with an appropriate title for this image.

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Sony RX100 V, ISO 250, 25mm, f/4.0, 1/50sec

Tickets

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I used a trip to Como Park in St. Paul, MN to play with a new toy, a Sony RX100 V, which is the fifth generation of the well regarded RX100 series.  I’m putting it through it’s paces, trying to learn the menus and capabilities.  And so far, it is not disappointing me.  I’ve only scratched the surface of what it can do and what is in it’s extensive menus.  But I do like having, to what amounts to, a DSLR that fits in my pocket.  The 24-70mm equivalent lens suits me fine, if I need more reach, then I can reach for my full size DSLR and strap on the appropriate lens.  For stealth shooting, this camera is fantastic, especially since I can choose to mute the shutter sound.  As recommended, I did invest in a couple of extra batteries and, although a bit overpriced, I added the stick on grip, which, because of the small size of the body, does provide a more confident feel in my hands.  I like that it has a viewfinder, but have not used it much as of yet, probably will be more useful in bright outdoor situations when the display is hard to see.  The display is articulating, which makes getting those awkward shots easier and even flips completely around for selfies.  It’s not a touch display, but that doesn’t bother me, I’ve lived this long without that feature on a camera and survived.  It also shoots 4K video, but that was not a selling point for me.  I shot one short test video, but unless you have a pretty beefy setup for editing, it’s hard to work with.  Also, at this time, I just don’t feel the need for the increase in quality for video.  Perhaps in the future.

I’m not giving up my full size DSLR, but this is a nice option to have in my bag and I’m sure more of the images I capture with this camera will show up on future blog posts.

 

Sony RX100 V, ISO 125, 15.52mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec

Coming Home

When people think of home, it usually is their house, a family home or perhaps their hometown.  I arrived back in Duluth late last Friday night to my house, but wasn’t truly “home” till the next day when I was out enjoying nature.  As I walked the trails along the St. Louis River as it passes through Jay Cooke State Park, I came to the realization that this was part of my true home.  Not just this park, which is quite beautiful, and not just northern Minnesota, but all of nature.  It is the place where my spirit resides and is renewed after absences.  As I look back at the past year, a year that started in early March when I got the call from my father’s doctor informing me of his hospitalization, followed by three months in hospice before he passed away which lead to spending a lot of time at their home.  While there, I began doing sports photography on the side and as often as possible, I would head north on weekends to be back in Duluth for a couple of days.  As I think back, I realize that one of the first things I would do upon my return north was to head out for a visit to Lake Superior, a hike along a river or into the forests or perhaps just climb the hills near my house and sit on a rocky outcropping and enjoy the view.  Those are the moments when I feel at home.  No matter where I am, I know that I am never far from home.  I can see it as I drive along the Great River Road of the Mississippi, the scenic back roads of pre-freeway America, driving through a national forest or sitting at a roadside stop with a view of the countryside.  The place my spirit calls home, is everywhere, it can’t be contained in a man-made structure, it’s far too vast for that.  Perhaps those places are good for being with others who share your belief, but so are the places I go to commune with spirit.  I know that many I pass on the trail share a similar belief, but in a much larger cathedral. Our altars are waterfalls, giant redwoods, dense pine forests, winding rivers, shimmering lakes and granite cliffs.  Our pews are fallen logs, rocks, flower filled prairies and sandy beaches.  We tithe by supporting our parks and natural areas, picking up trash as we hike, by taking nothing but photos and leaving nothing but footprints.

All images are of Jay Cooke State Park, February 27, 2016