Busy Busy May!

Hola everyone!  Its been a while since I’ve posted something to the blog for good reason.  May was incredibly busy with building my daughter’s Taj Mahal playset, planting trees on our property and a trip to  Walt Disney World in Florida!  My wife, 4 year old daughter and I headed down to Disney a few weeks ago.  Due to the oppressive heat and humidity, I debated forever about cameras…what to take?  I have a Canon 300HS point and shoot that takes decent photos and great HD video…or do I take the DSLR for the character meals that we booked since our daughter is at the age where the characters are really cool?!?  Since it was hitting 38 degrees C (101 F for the Imperialists in the crowd) I opted for the P&S camera wondering if I’d made a mistake.  One thing for all to remember is that if you’re there on a trip with kids and constantly picking them up out of rides/strollers/trains etc, either you better leave the camera at home or buy a good strap which keeps the camera from swinging.  This was a family trip and we wanted maximum flexibility, especially with carrying numerous water bottles.  Although I missed the big fella (Canon 50D), I can say that I’m glad we travelled lightly.

It turned out that that little camera can hold its own and I’m currently processing 40 GB worth of HD video (cue up the external HD not getting a break of the next month…).  The biggest thing I missed about not having an SLR was a lack of a polarizer for bright daytime shots but it all worked out.  Disney hires incredible people as their ambassadors and the characters would gladly wait for a few more shots just to be sure we had a good one.  The other alternative is that Disney has photographers at key locations for their service called Photo Pass.  The photos they take are available at the end of each day via internet and you can purchase prints or the digital file (for a mere $14.95 per file…ouch) which we also did at a few locations.  I guess if there’s one nice thing about people carrying SLRs, you can tell who knows how to use theirs and ask them to take a group shot for you with your own P&S.

Here are a few shots at the Animal Kingdom Lodge where we stayed onsite, all taken with the Canon 300HS.  Rather than post a bunch of family photos which I’m sure you’d love to see, cue up the flamingos!

After taking 40GB of video with a camera smaller than the size of my wallet, I thought I’d offer up some advice for those taking HD video regularly with a small camera:

1) You just can’t pan the camera slowly enough.  I admit you might look like a bit of a weirdo panning very slowly but trust me (and your stomach/inner ear will thank me later), choppy HD video is very irritating if you’re trying to follow action all over the place.

2) Don’t zoom.  The act of moving your free hand to the top of the camera, sliding the zoom slider on top is enough for camera shake, and lots of it.

3) Try to pin your arm against your side if you can.  This is easy, especially if you’re sitting down for long shows which I videoed for my daughter to see afterward.  So far, she’s loving the composites that I’ve put together for each day of the trip.

4) See Point #2 – don’t zoom – Try to keep a big picture view of what’s going on.  I’m a mac guy so I’m using iMovie for video processing.  A great feature is the stabilization mode for shaky video…but it does it by cropping so its nice to have some extra room by not zooming.  For the most part it didn’t have to crop too heavily for our videos but there are a few dandys that it said it couldn’t save! (lol!).

Up next on the blog are the newest photos that will be posted at http://www.finnerphotography.com.  You can check out the current and archived photos in the meantime.  Also, you can like us on Facebook which I post notices of new blog posts.

Now, I have to get out shooting, there have been some great sunsets in Bruce County!

All the Best,


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