A Photo Story: My New Camera by Josh Trudell

I've been saving for several months to buy a new camera body. On Christmas Eve, I was finally able to pull the trigger on a new Sony A-99. Full-frame, 24.3 megapixels, various and sundry pieces of awesomeness. (If you're a camera nerd like me, you can read up on all the specs here. Instead of writing a lengthy blog post extolling its virtues, however, I thought a little iPhone documentary would be a little more fun. Hope you enjoy.

The box from FedEx arrives.

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So there it is - my new A99. New Year's Resolution is to learn to use it in time for the big fall trip. Stay tuned, and Happy Holidays!

Jokers to the left of me, clowns to the right...and me with an iPoint-and-shoot by Josh Trudell

Sometimes being a photography nerd can be painful.

Painful in the wallet when your camera is getting fixed.

Painful when your camera is stuck in a Laredo warehouse, waiting for a part.

And painful when you’re faced with a smorgasbord of photo opportunities and are sitting there empty handed.

Such was my situation this past weekend, with day trips to Padre Island National Seashore and the Sherwood Forest Renaissance Faire.

Malaquite Beach – part of the national seashore – is a peaceful stretch of sand that is rarely busy. I’ve never seen it as busy as nearby Port Aransas. It’s where Superwife and I go when we need to get away from it all, and all we have is a day.

Renaissance faires are a blast to photograph, in my opinion. Everyone is in costume, they’re showing off, there are tons of performances, all kinds of animals – it’s photo heaven. If you can’t see a good photo, you aren’t trying.

Without my trusty Sony, I was forced to rely on my iPhone. Now, this was supposed to be one of the ailments of civilization the iPhone was going to cure – people would always have cameras in their pockets.

Frankly, after a weekend with my iPhone 4, I’m not that impressed. I know for some people I’m verging into heresy here, but I found it pretty average – there was a lot of grain on the pictures, particularly when dealing with less than open sunlight. The zoom resulted in soft focus, too.

Now, I didn’t use the multitude of apps that promise to improve the quality of iPhone photos, and they could make a significant difference. I’ll have to investigate the possibilities there to make a real judgment.

That being said, there were a couple of decent images that came from the day at the beach, including the one above. I like this image because of the sand’s swirling movement headed toward the water. It’s empty, but it leaves room for the viewer.

I like empty space photography – it makes you stop and take a second look, perhaps realizing life isn’t always full of beeping, blinking things.

Cleaning out the camera... by Josh Trudell

Jason Varitek of the Boston Red Sox and a parody of O Captain My CaptainA few snapshots while waiting for my camera to return from the repair shop…

Camera freak out: I had a momentary panic attack when I logged into Sony’s repair tracking web site to see how much fixing my camera was going to cost.

Staring back at me was a figure almost twice what I had been initially quoted over the phone. I cracked the display screen while at a wedding, and had been working somewhat blind until I saved the money to get it fixed.

I called in to see which quote was correct, and after some rigamarole, was told, “Well, the website isn’t always updated.”

That seems like a significant customer service flaw to me, but I’m not saying anything until my camera is safely back in my hands.

The funny bit about this is that Sony’s repair center for this region is in Laredo, so it would at least be a relatively short drive to go get it back.

Lesson learned: Always call and double-check.

O Captain, my Captain:  I am a fan of the Boston Red Sox.

These days, that brings either a snort of derision or a fist bump of pride.

It was more fun to root for the Sox before they became successful, because then there was some unity in the fact you knew the other person had had their heart broken at least once.

Once – or twice – a generation, the Sox would get close to winning the World Series, and then something heartbreaking would happen and another dream would be snuffed out. It was part of the fabric of New England.

I would never swap the satisfaction of the 2004 and 2007 titles, but it’s kind of sad to see fans now complaining about the team being more like a corporation and less like the lovable losers they once were. After 86 years of losing, it may take that long again to learn how to win gracefully.

Jason Varitek, one of the last ties to the pre-championship Sox, is retiring Thursday. I’ve never met or spoken to Varitek, but I always liked the way he carried himself. Quiet, strong, and did the hardest job on the field with pride and purpose.

He was named the Captain in 2005, and naturally there was a lot of 'Oh, Captain, my Captain,' floating around Fenway Park after that. (Which led to my little rewrite above. Apologies to the Whitman purists.)

Good luck, 'Tek. It won't be the same without you.

Geeking out: The new Avengers trailer is out, and it is a Hulk-sized dose of awesome.

The nerd saliva is hip-deep around here with the drool over Avengers, Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic summer for comic book movies.

Now, I’m a Joss Whedon fan from his Buffy and Angel days, and I have had high hopes for Avengers since I first heard he was going to be directing. But I thought the Dark Knight would be the highlight of the summer, with Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale wrapping up their dark and twisted trilogy.

That trailer made me change my mind. All that badassery, plus Robert Downey Jr. delivering Whedon’s snarky script is like watching Walter Iooss Jr. take Gisele Bundchen’s picture. It just doesn’t get any better.

Next week’s assignment: The Superwife and I are headed to a renaissance festival, assuming I kick this cold and my camera comes back in one piece. Those are always fun to shoot, so I’m looking forward to a good time.