This spring I planted lots of morning glory seeds. I especially went in for the giant blue varieties. Over the past few months, I have been rewarded with hundreds of blooms. They peaked around a month ago, with 9 new flowers a day. With a fairly mild autumn so far, I still get 4 or 5 new flowers a day, but the first frost isn’t far away.
I hope these have been some of the more photographed flowers this year, otherwise some other unfortunate photographer must have worn out a camera or two. I have shot them with an extreme macro lens, focusing on a tiny piece of the petal. I have used a telephoto lens, compressing a group of blossoms into an impressionist palette of blue flowers framed by blue sky. I have brought them inside to photograph backlit on my light table with an unearthly glow. They have been photographed with almost every possible ISO, shutter speed, aperture, angle, and light.
As morning glory season winds down, I thought it would be interesting to show a small hint of the variety I have seen and captured of these flowers with a single shot. Well, a single tap of the shutter on the touch screen, which in turn generates a total of half a dozen shots. So what is this camera that apparently has a mind of its own? The Canon Powershot N, announced in January of this year.
There are several features of interest to me with this camera. The first is the screen. My second digital camera was the Nikon Coolpix 900 with a rotating screen. I couldn’t believe the freedom of this camera after decades of holding the camera with two hands and shooting with it held up to my eye. The camera ended up on the ground pointing up at tiny flowers, tilted down to give a bird’s eye view, and every angle in between.
The Canon N has a relatively large 2.8” screen that can be tilted 90 degrees, and used upside down, basically acting the same either way. Flipping the screen out at an angle allows the camera to stand on its own. The freedom to compose from any angle makes for some unusual poses.
Even more fun is the creative shot mode. This is like having Instagram automatically flow out of the camera with every shot you take. For every original picture taken in this mode, the camera takes 6 shots. According to Canon, the camera analyzes what is being photographed and uses presets that use the subject, lighting and other variables to choose the permutations the camera chooses to alter the original image.
Some of these are very subtle, some pretty dramatic. The camera changes the exposure, focus point, composition, contrast, white balance, cropping, angle of rotation, tone, color, and almost any other photographic variable. Sometimes the images come out looking antique, with a vignette, tightly cropped, or other variations that I might then explore with another camera. Sometimes the black and white version is stronger than the one in color, which again makes me think of creative possibilities. And then sometimes it just spits out something totally random, focusing on an irrelevant background element with a rainbow of colors. And sometimes that is the best shot!
So this afternoon I went out in my garden and took a single shot, and will include here some of the permutations the camera selected. First, this is the shot I took. This isn’t a wonderful composition because I was being herded by my impatient dog, who sometimes unintentionally contributes to my photographic choices.
I will include two variations here to show how varied the camera’s choices can be. First is a highly stylized and cropped version of the flower. It looks a bit as if it belongs in a parallel universe.
And second is a black and white version, which I am not especially fond of since I like these flowers particularly for their blueness. But sometimes black and white helps to expose texture and form that might otherwise be overlooked. This is probably pretty much what my dog saw. Since he can’t see the amazing morning glory blue, it explains why he was in such a rush to explore somewhere more interesting than the garden. So he herded me to his favorite place- the kitchen.
This camera doesn’t have the image quality to make large scale prints or pixel peep to a major extent. Though with 12 megapixels, it makes my Coolpix 900 look like a dinosaur, with its whopping 1 megapixel. But for me it has the ability to provide new photographic ideas, and sometimes these encourage me to go back out with other cameras and create new images I never would have seen before. Sometimes, just when I think I have exhausted a subject like these flowers, this camera proves me wrong and inspires me to keep shooting.