Saturday, March 5, 2011

Teaching an old Travel Dog New Tricks

Little Princess goes to Paris
j smith photo, (c) 2011
This southwest road trip through a part of Nevada and a lot of Arizona a test of the post's title.

For decades my travel attire has included a mandatory camera draped around my neck.  The reason was best expressed by a friend when she once said of travel photography,"taking a photo makes the trip seem real, like it really happened"..

And I'm a reluctant late-comer to the digital world having only a couple years ago I left my SLR and photos behind, when I inherited a then-several-years-old digital camera.  Joel was immediately delighted as it no longer required that huge package of film canisters nor my bulky SLR.  That first digital still looked like my SLR, and I quickly became charmed by the little contraption and named her Ol' Betsy. Sadly, she began showing signs of age while we were in Greece last fall and her impending retirement was confirmed when they quit selling memory cards that she could handle and the repairman used the horrid words, "garbage can". (Betsy is resting comfortably on our kitchen counter right now).

So for months I've searched for a replacement: big bulky DSLRs, smaller point and shoots that look like DSLR's but that fit in the travel bags a bit better. What I vowed I wouldn't ever buy was one of those small things with no eye viewfinder that you can hold in the palm of your hand.

New Tricks

So, here we are am on the road; me with my Little Princess, as I have named the new camera..  She arrived from the afternoon before we left on this trip.  And she's everything I said I'd never buy:  compact, no view finder, and so small there is no neck strap, there's barely a wrist strap. (Joel loved the camera the minute he saw its size, "less to carry" he noted without concern of its capabilities.)

But reviews I have read from the dozens of travelers who love this camera say that this Fuji Fine Pix F300EXR (the name is bigger than the camera) is the perfect travel camera. Many said they've compared their photos from this camera to the DSLRs and they have rated well. I've read the small 'how-to-use' pamphlet, but didn't have time to load the 150-page PDF users manual, let alone read it. I figured out how to charge the battery and install it, along with the memory card.  But I certainly have no idea how to make the bells and whistles it offers sing any sort of photographic melody, let alone result in a digital image (I still prefer the word 'photo')

For now the old travel dog is busy snapping digital images and telling myself that travel - even travel photography - should remove me from my routine comfort zone.  Little Princess has certainly done that.

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