Back from South America

It was quite the trip, our longest in years.

Manaus, Brazil; Amazon Jungle Lodge; Rio de Janeiro; Iguassu Falls (both sides); Buenos Aires. Extra days in BA and in Manaus. Fabulous trip, exceeded both expectations and budget {8;^>}. Kudos to Globus for marvellous experience management. Carps at CIBC for not knowing, and apparently now not caring, that ATMs won’t accept my debit card in Brazil. This made funding, er, interesting. But we overcame, thanks to some help in changing USD to BRL.

One thing I learned on this trip is about me and my camera. I am never going back to a lesser machine. While my specific camera is a Panasonic GH1 with the 14-140 zoom lens, this is not really a specific product endorsement. What I learned is how to use some of the features, and how to overcome difficult situations. Animals in cages? Manual focus. Odd lighting? Electronic viewfinder, exposure bias. Sudden movement (objects into the image)? Electronic viewfinder, one-second review: take it again. Stabilization? lots of tricks, using railings, higher ISO, whatever. I have shots under 1/6 second that are sharp at 100% (and some that are not, eh? take it again.)

My wife’s camera is pretty good, takes very sharp images, but has an optical tunnel viewfinder with limited exposure information and so-so framing accuracy. The extra features on my admittedly much heavier and larger machine are what make the difference.

I’m waiting for (Probably Olympus) a camera with similar capabilities and rainproof. They almost have one now, but it’s screen neither articulates nor folds flat, both of which features I use. And its zoom range is not, for me personally, ideal. But this is coming: a camera of equal capability with rainstorm sealing. I will get one when it exists, if I can afford it.

On the trip I also used an Olympus Stylus 780. This is weather sealed, 5x zoom, image stabilized. I used it in the rain on the boat, in the fog at the statue of Christ the Redeemer, and at one part of Iguassu Falls where it was, er, pretty wet. Normally this one is only used in very bad light; this time it was merely wet, not dark. The images are pretty good, considering I’m more or less guessing by the horizon (could not really see the LCD very well) and holding it in the hands-out pose you’re forced to use when there’s only the LCD as viewfinder.

If I had weather sealing in my main camera I’d use it everywhere.

Meanwhile the blog resumes.

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