It’s Photo Friday ~ Panasonic Lumix FZ 150 Review

My (new to me) travel camera purchased on Ebay was put to the big test the past couple of weeks.   Panasonic Lumix FZ 150 with 24x optical zoom and image stabilization.  I found the controls and features easy and quick to access with dials and buttons right on the camera.  No fumbling deep into the menu to change settings.  I was able to switch between aperture priority, shutter priority and manual quickly and efficiently.  Its compact size made it easy to pack and carry in a fanny pack even with carrying a 16 pound backpack. It handled cold, wet conditions well and the battery was long-lasting even with heavy use. I was able to shoot in raw format and was pleased with the noise level of images at 3200 ISO which is the highest ISO of this camera. Image stabilization worked well as I had sharp images even down to 1/20 of a second, hand held, while zoomed in.   I’d recommend this camera to anyone looking for a good travel camera with professional features.

Eye above the altar in the Santiago Cathedral.

Eye above the altar in the Santiago Cathedral.

Above image shot at 3200 ISO / Aperture 3.8 / Shutter 1/320 of a second.

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The above image of the nun leading singing during the Pigrims’ Mass was shot at 1600 ISO / Aperture 3.5 / Shutter 1/20 of a second.

Birds nesting at the top of a church in Segovia, Spain.

Birds nesting at the top of a church in Segovia, Spain.

Birds nesting in the above image really tested the zoom and image stabilization.  I was fully zoomed to the 24x .  Shot at 200 ISO / Aperture 6.3 / Shutter 1/1600 of a second.

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Completed 130 miles of the Camino de Santiago (135 if you count detours!) and this image was taken at the end of our walking/hiking experience. March is a cold, rainy month to attempt the Camino but that was the time that worked out with our occupations. Wonderful experience since we were able to meet people from all around the world tackling this amazing journey in a parallel realm.  A huge thank you goes out to my sister, the travel organizer extraordinaire.

Photo Friday ~ Express yourself with a collage.

High school is all about involving yourself in activities that play on your strengths and interests.  One way to remember the Glory Days is with a collage to commemorate an important time in your life.

16x20sportscollage_1B ~ RJMeyerArt

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~ RJMeyerArt

The Pushcart ~ Sport & Commerce

What is a push cart? Pushcarts are those homemade carts that can be seen all across Jamaica. They are used as a moving restaurant (vendors who sell food etc), to transport items (mainly merchandise to the market, but some are used as moving trucks) or as a racing cart (similar to North America soap box) in push cart derbys held across the island. Push-carting began as a grassroots sport and has become a very popular event.

The Kaiser’s Sports Club is the venue for the finals of the annual Push Cart Derby in August. Many of the owners of these homemade carts compete for cash prizes and trophies. Some of these carts are very sophisticated and have been clocked at 60 miles per hour on a downhill homestretch.

The pushcart derby in Jamaica is credited for the inspiration to start a Jamaican Bobsleigh team. Two American businessmen who attended the Jamaican Push Cart Derby were so impressed by the skills of the participants that it inspired them to negotiate the formation of a Jamaican Bobsleigh team with the Jamaican government and the prospective participants.  ~ Jamaicans.com

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Employment Opportunities in Montego Bay

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Scene: My sister and I walking in Montego Bay toward downtown debating whether to explore the “sketchy” part of town.

(Enter Steve): “I recognize you. I work at El Greco. My name is Steve. What are your names? It is market day so come with me and I’ll show you! No one will bother you when you are with me.  You can take all the photographs you want!” He then proceeds to give a a tour of old downtown, Montego Bay.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAI knew this ploy from a previous visit since they see the bright yellow wristband we need to get our complimentary breakfast and know where we are staying. (We figured out later to have it put on loosely so that we can slip it on and off.) I was O.K. with this situation since I REALLY wanted to take pictures downtown but was hesitant to attempt it with just the two of us.  Maybe not wise to trust a complete stranger but we were sucked in….
S-o-o-o-o here we go!SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

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Sam Sharpe Square in the heart of Montego Bay makes a good place to start a walking tour of the town. Sam Sharpe is a national hero of Jamaica (1801, Jamaica – 23 May 1832, Jamaica) and was the slave leader behind the Jamaican Baptist War slave rebellion. Sam Sharpe was later captured and held at the jail cell in the square now known as the cage; He was tried at the court house now known as the civic center and hanged in the square along with other participants.

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Today five main monuments are a testament to that faithful day. These include the fountain (not running that day), the court house where he was tried, his statue placed at the spot where he was hanged and two holding areas known as the cage. The square, formerly called Charles Square, contains a collection of bronze statues sculpted by island born Kay Sullivan that show the Bible-thumping Sam Sharpe talking to four of his followers.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe stone Cage is the other main feature of the square. The Cage was built in 1806 and originally used to hold captured runaway slaves and sailors, and those out after curfew. Since then it has been a town lock-up, latrine, a clinic and a tourist office. It now houses a small museum. ~ Don Philpott

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe St. James Parish Church was built between 1775 and 1782. It underwent substantial repair work in 1957 following damage from an earthquake.There are many points of interest in the church, including two monuments by noted 18th century sculptor, John Bacon. One of these is a monument to Rosa Palmer, the former owner of Rose Hall Great House. Was she the “White Witch?”

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe welcome wagon was ready to sell us string bracelets.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, we made a deal so he was a happy camper.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAAn elaborate stained glass window was installed in 1911. Adorning the walls are plaques and memorials to important figures in the history of Montego Bay. ~ Jamaica Travel and Culture.com

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Cemetery near the main square where 21 Jamaican soldiers from WW II are buried.

Tour continues to two elementary schools; an infant school for very young students and an upper elementary school. It was fun to see kids just being kids.

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Friday is Market Day so we found the street busy with vendorsSAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

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Along the way we picked up a wing man, Dave, who claimed he “had our backs” and tagged along behind us. He also would pipe in with the history, information and would answer any questions. Oh, well, another one on the payroll.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Time to wind down our 1 1/2 hour tour of downtown Montego Bay and get a photo of our guides/bodyguards. Our attempts at fist bumping.

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We pay our guides and part ways assuring them that we could walk back to the hotel unescorted. We had other offers for tours and taxi rides along the way with the opening line “I recogize you. I work at El Greco.” Been there, done that… The REAL test was continuing to wear the RIU Resort red wristband from Negril after returning to Montego Bay. All of a sudden we had so called “employees” of RIU offering tours and taxi rides. Hmmm… Do we have gullible written all over us? Don’t answer that!!!

When past and present collide…

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The above image is a blend of images taken before renovation of the former South Dakota School for the Blind located in Gary, South Dakota and a wedding dance scene in the same room upon completion. Buffalo Ridge Resort has done an amazing job restoring the facility for modern purposes while maintaining the historic architecture and  feel of the former campus.  It is now used for wedding receptions/dances, conferences, family reunions, retreats, etc. and has lodging on site in the form of hotel rooms and camping.  The Rock Room Bar & Grill, located on site, is a unique dining experience with occasional local entertainment. In the summer the entertainment moves outside to the patio for a low-key, summer fun experience.  For more information about Buffalo Ridge Resort you can check out their website:  http://buffaloridgeresort.com

It’s Photo Friday ~ A creative quest or waste of time?

There is a fountain of youth; it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love.  When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.  ~ Sophis Loren

In the process of exploring the recesses of my mind I find myself attempting to put together a creative result that is thought provoking yet has strong artistic elements. My final result sometimes seems like a waste of time.  Is it?

When teaching young children I found the value of the process often far outweighed the final product.  Why should adults be any different?  Every time we use our thinking skills in a unique way to accomplish a task we take risks at the sake of an end result.  Sometimes we may fall flat on our faces, while other times we may find a new way of looking at life and our capabilities.

Do cooks always follow a recipe perfectly or do they take risks from time to time and put their own unique twist on the dish? The culinary end result may sometimes be a flop but they probably learned something (Not to do?)  in the process.

Lack of funds is often an incentive for creative problem solving to produce a final result that is less expensive but will still be a good alternative to the expensive option. Hence, the popularity of Pinterest.

I cannot take credit for any creative thoughts that may have entered my head or knowledge that I may have acquired. When things just seem to appear and I experience an “ah-ha!” moment, I know it is because the Lord has allowed me to see.  It would be nice if He would help me see the way to enjoy and do bookwork on a regular basis… Hmmm… maybe He’s working on that right now!

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I stumbled across the following tutorial referred to me by another blogger.
http://photobyholly.wordpress.com
A lazy Sunday afternoon was spent experimenting with this process.

Make some noise ~ it’s Photo Friday!

If a picture is so boring that you notice the noise, it’s a boring picture. ~ Rick Sammon

Noise can be present in images. Electronic noise will be present in camera sensors, and the physical size of the grains of film emulsion creates visual noise. This kind of noise is referred to as “grain.” ~Wikipedia

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I occasionally check out Rick Sammon’s photography blog and noticed this leading quote.  It stimulated some thinking about my own images and noise. I guess I’d say an image is a keeper if the noise does not detract from the impact of the image.  I’ve had some horribly noisy images especially with older digital cameras that did not perform well at higher ISO’s  but still had some keepers due to the strength of other elements of the image.  Or, sometimes it was just the best I could do under circumstances which deemed a photo “good enough.”

The image above is a blend of  6 images plus a very faded texture layer.  The image of the bar crowd is very noisy – shot at 6400 ISO. With all of the other activity within this piece the noise doesn’t jump out but I’m not sure if I’d enlarge this to a huge size.