First holidays with the G1

I remember I didn't write anything about my Easter holidays yet. I went skiing in the Italian Dolomites, to a nice little town in the province of Trento named Moena. Its in the middle of Fassa Valley, a valley in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige where people speak an ancient Rhaeto-Romance language called Ladin. I know this region since I was a kid, we used to go skiing there with all of our family, quite regularly for more than ten years. Moena lies at the foot of the Cantinaccio mountain range, home to the legendary dwarven king Laurin, who was said to having kept a garden of beautiful roses high up near the mountain top. Stories tell he fell in love with a beautiful woman and abducted her. He was defeated by the womans brother and a band of brave knights and taken away into custody, but as a last action he put a ban on his rose garden turning it invisible day and night. But he forgot about dusk, which is not day or night and thus you can sometimes see the mountains glow red of roses in the last rays of daylight when the time is right. So they say.

Easter was late this year but reportedly it had been snowing heavily throughout most of March and April and the conditions were said to be quite good so I took the chance to go there and spend a week skiing and trying my new camera equipment. I had recently bought a Lowe Pro Slingshot 200 back pack that is big enough to hold all my gear, the G1, 14-45, 45-200 and the Canon FD 50 1.4 lens, together with a small tripod and cables, filters, charger, etc. I didn't take the Metz flashgun with me, I have found that it's a part of my equipment I almost never use and since it adds considerable weight I left it at home. I didn't miss it.

I wasn't going there alone. We were a group of around 15 people and we had rented a house for the whole group. A couple of them I knew already from earlier trips to Moena, some of them even from the time I went there together with my parents and brother. The area of Trevalli (Three Valleys) offers quite a number of skiing opportunities. If you have a car, the selection of resorts within 20 minutes travel distance is quite impressive. The image to the left was taken from the top of Col Margherita, which is part of the San Pellegrino skiing resort. Looking at the pictures its hard to believe it was already beginning of April. Not often have I seen this amount of snow that late. However, the warmth of the approaching Spring time was busy melting the snow and even though there was lots of it, its quality degraded massively during the day. So we got up early every day and tried to be on the ski piste soon. That worked rather well, by the time the snow turned soft around 3pm we usually had enough for the day and enough time left to chill, drinking marvelous Italian coffee and eating ice cream.

All the time I carried the Slingshot pack on my back. It was working really well on the piste, I almost didn't feel the weight of the gear and when it was time to enter the lift I could just swing it around from back to front and sit down comfortably. My sun glasses turned out to be a bigger problem, I had to take them off for taking pictures together with my gloves. The viewfinder worked pretty well under the bright sun, I just had to shield it a bit with my hand. The LCD turned out to be mostly useless. I tried to take photos with all the lenses I had, most of them with the 14-45, but some with the 45-200 as well. Sometimes I used a polarizer filter to improve the sky colors and cut down the haze a bit, but still I had to post process most of the images to correct white balance and levels. I used only digikam for raw development and corrections and it handled the task pretty well. I had also taken the MSI U100 netbook with me which allowed me to download the images every evening and inspect them.

I've uploaded a selection of images taken during my stay to Flickr, there's a set named Dolomites. All in all I'm quite satisfied with how the G1 performed. The only thing I'd have wanted is a bit more of dynamic range. One stop more might have made a difference in some situations.


Old Gear, too

Old Gear, too
Originally uploaded by thinkfat
Today a big jumble sale of photo equipment was held at a university facility, it takes place only once a year and it was the first time I went there. It was quite amazing, the mass of gear for sale was huge. Wide selection of stuff from all old and recent camera makers. The selection of Canon FD lenses was not too rich, though.

Still, I was quite successful and got a 28mm f/2.8 for very little money and a 50mm f/3.5 macro lens in very good condition for considerably less than the cheapest ebay offer.

I was tempted to buy a 24mm f/2 and had another good offer for a 24mm f/2.8, but the difference in speed and field of view was too little against the 28mm I already had in my bag and I declined. Instead I took the 50mm f/3.5 macro, I think it will be nice for flower shots and might work as a portrait lens as well.

The 28mm is a particularly nice lens. It's very light and the effective focal length of 56mm is close to a typical film standard prime. I think I'll like it. The 50mm macro is a bit long physically, but also quite light. Not something to have on the camera all the time, but still something to have in your photo bag.

Some first images with both lenses can be found in my flickr photo stream.