Bike, camera, and Autumn
An excellent combination, I think. One thing my Canon G9 compact camera does well is capture colour, and Autumn is the time for colour, this year especially, as late summer was warmer and wetter than usual. October is my favourite month, not just because of the gorgeous foliage but also the sense of darkness creeping over the landscape, but it isn't dark yet. That comes during November, my least favourite month. So I've been out on my bike with my camera, cycling the lanes and tracks around where I live, near Chorley in Lancashire.
My photos are in the Autumnal set on Flickr. I make no claims for my personal photography, and the photos are pictures of roads, tracks, and trees, with leaves fallen on the grass. So nothing special, but they express the season and how the colours of the trees changed from green to yellow and gold in just a few weeks. I like how meandering country lanes curve and plunge into tunnels of bronze with gloomy grey shadows. These few weeks weren't especially sunny and that is how I prefer the Autumn. Let the sunshine come in Winter.
I quite fancy a new camera. My Canon G9 was given to me by one of my sons so I can't complain about that, but it's a compact camera with the usual limitations. Image 'noise' increases noticeably where there is less light, and on an overcast day it tends to expose either for the sky or the land, but not both. I could use a filter but that means slower exposures and even more noise.
Excessive noise in low light scenes is a drawback of the small sensors in compact cameras. The Micro Four Thirds cameras introduced in 2009 are compacts with a bigger sensor, nearer to those in a digital SLR. The sensor in my G9 is bigger than a normal compact's but still five times smaller than the Micro Four Thirds. So I'm looking at a Panasonic GF-1. This is a 4/3 compact come down to a reasonable price since last year. A bulky SLR is no use for cyclists – too big to slip into a pocket, so the GF-1 looks promising. With a 'pancake' lens it's only slightly larger than my Canon compact. The lenses are interchangeable, like on an SLR. With a zoom lens it will be bulkier, but still easier to carry on a bike.
The Panasonic GF-1 also has 'intelligent exposure' which "increases the exposure only in under-exposed areas by detecting the brightness level part-by-part in the image. If the background includes sky, which tends to be easily washed out, the camera automatically adjusts the aperture and shutter speed to keep the setting slightly under-exposed to prevent wash-out while brightening the darkened area by increasing the ISO only in that area." (quoted text from Panasonic website)
Landscape photographer David Clapp seems impressed.