Sony RX100 on the beach

I just returned from Sri Lanka and realized that my next blog post would be a bit different.  This was my first trip out of the country with my son and I carried my newly discovered RX100 with me in the hopes of carrying my son in his Baby Bjorn while shooting street simultaneously.

Unfortunately that is not how it panned out.  Bentota, our first of two stops, is a lovely beach town and our resort was perched perfectly on the ocean with panoramic views.  But to stay a quiet picturesque location we had to abandon the more inhabited town and move to a more secluded part of Bentota.  This meant that to shoot in the street would require an auto ride to the town centre.

While normally that is just what I would do, with a six-month kid on our hands this option was no longer viable.  I could have left mama and baby in the resort and headed out on my own but I thought that would have been a tad inconsiderate, besides which I really could not bear to be away from my son only to come back and hear of all the cool new stuff he did from his beaming mother!  The best part of this decision was that I could walk on the beach with my wife and kid and continue to shoot at a leisurely pace, albeit not traditional street .  Once the sun would set they would head back to the resort where I would join them about a half hour later after testing the new directions in which I could push my little camera.  This worked well for all of us and even resulted in images that I have to say I am quite proud of.

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Spending time with the wife and son did get me this cool surreal image apart from several gorgeous images of the family.

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For the most part, however, I decided to make the most of the situation and chose to photograph the beach and put the RX100 through an entirely different exercise. If the camera managed well then it could possibly become my primary travel camera.

Beachscapes did not sound too exciting to begin with but I have to admit that as I immersed myself into it I began to enjoy myself.  A lot of what applies to street photography surprisingly applied here too.  And like street photography, I found this quite meditative as well.

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Having patience is key and sometimes waiting around can make all the difference.  Waiting in one spot for the light to hit just right and then sometimes waiting for that added element that can elevate the image from good to great. And yes the panorama feature worked pretty well on the RX100.

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Like with street photography, luck plays an important role when shooting beach scenes as well.  All kinds of luck – for instance when I jumped out of my cold hotel room onto the warm humid balcony to capture a rainbow, my lens fogged up and gave me this interestingly rendered image.

I shot mainly at ISO 80 and 125 and used a small lightweight tripod for most images.  Image quality really impressed even at ISO 800 but there were however a couple of issues I had with the camera:

Focus at night – once the sun set it was pretty dark and the LCD was too dark to focus either manually or in auto.  So I had to use guess work in manual focus or walk upto a lit bulb in one of the resorts behind me and focus from a certain distance and then walk back to the beach and shoot from approximately that distance.  Also composing with a dark, virtually black LCD was impossible and so I used a lot of trial and error to get my images. If anyone has a workaround please do let me know.

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It was twenty minutes after sunset when I made this image and my LCD was black, and even to the naked eye the beach and rock formations seemed too dark, although I could see a beautiful blue in the sky filled with some dramatic clouds.  Just then, as luck would have it, the resort behind me switched on a powerful halogen to light the beach leading to their entrance and that is where I happened to be photographing from.  I still could not see anything much through the LCD but I saw the warm glow created by the artificial light and I knew there was something special to be made here.

Bulb mode – is pretty useless since you have to press the shutter and keep it pressed for the duration of the shot which is impossible to do without introducing blur.  There should be a remote which can be used for this but not sure if there is one available as of now.  So I was basically relegated to using fast apertures like f2.8, or even f2 sometimes, thus compromising on sharpness.

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This image was made blind at a fast aperture.  I would have preferred to shoot at f6.3 or f8 (small sensor) but then I would have had to use the bulb exposure which was not an option.  However the luck of the artificial light made this image quite spectacular with the warm glow of the beach and the rock against a dramatic sky.

Other than that the camera is great and the images produced look pretty impressive for a camera this size and I think I will be able to print them to exhibition size no problem.

Digital photography makes shooting a lot easier and there is no longer any excuse for missing exposure, and in some cases composition as well.  As I was making these images I realised that anyone with a decent camera could probably make them as well.  But then when my wife saw one of my images she said that she would never have thought to capture it that way – and that is the crux of it I guess.  Our photography is more about how we see, how we work a scene and how much we push ourselves to get the images we desire.  The technical aspects of an image are a level playing field today and the only thing that matters is how we stand out creatively through our personal vision.

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When I got to Colombo I thought I would get to do a bit of “traditional” street photography but my mind was totally switched off that mode and so a couple of street images is really all I managed this trip.

Actually having said that I am not sure why all these images cannot be classified as “street” (apart from the first one of my wife and son which was obviously a set up).  I personally do not care if an image can be “classified” as a street image or not.  If the image moves me then I like it…period.  It is easier to slot images in different genres through precise definitions but I believe the lines between many of these genres are constantly blurring.  But anyway for the purpose of argument a generic definition of street photography is “Scenes shot in the public domain.  Not posed.  And does not necessarily have to have people.”

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Public Domain – most of these images were shot on a public beach

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Not posed – As much as I tried I could not get the rocks to smile for me

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People not necessary – although I personally always prefer images with people, sometimes the lack of obvious habitation is quite calming.

Accepted street photography then? 🙂

CONCLUSION: The RX100 is a very capable camera and if the prints of these images are up to the mark then this may well become my primary camera.

Oh and my next post will be back to the traditional, I promise!

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21 thoughts on “Sony RX100 on the beach

  1. Great pictures, really, you can use any camera you want and be unable to produce bad pictures. Indeed this article make me want to own such a little and capable camera. I keep carrying my X100 (fuji) but sometimes I still feel is to big and heavy to have it with me everywhere. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Kaushal, I hope your well.

    It’s great to see these images from you, I also feel sometimes that a photograph needs to contain people in order to be interesting but it’s far from the truth. It’s just good to mix things up once in a while and diversify. Thanks for sharing these, take care.

    Cheers, Jason.

    1. Hey Jason good to hear from you. Diversifying is truly liberating and a lot of fun. I know you have been doing a lot of different work in the last year. I really enjoyed shooting these images and hopefully will continue to challenge myself to keep growing and stay interested.

  3. great pictures! I like the line ” Beachscapes did not sound too exciting to begin with but I have to admit that as I immersed myself into it I began to enjoy myself. A lot of what applies to street photography surprisingly applied here too. And like street photography, I found this quite meditative as well.”
    As I have a great respect on such beachscapes, landscape photography I always felt if done with a good composition they are very self satisfying

  4. These are some very stunning images, I just love the way you think and explained the pictures. I not much into labels and street or travel or beach these pictures are beautiful… Thanks

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