A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

camera habits

April 8, 2013
Emilie Phillips

Last weekend Tyson and I went skiing on Mt Washington with the AMC.


I still enjoy photography, even if I no longer have time to post the photos. Thus, I had my trusty little camera along with me. I decided to bring a lens I rarely use — my telephoto zoom. I wanted the longer focal length to capture skiers at a distance. In this case it was forecast to be sunny enough that the relatively smaller aperture should not have been a problem, and my longest prime lens needs a new protective filter after a certain incident earlier this year. I also thought it would be fun to use something other than the same old two favorite lenses.


We were an hour or so in when I realized, that, though I had taken photos, I had not yet touched the zoom. After a year sticking to my prime lenses, I was that out of practice with zooms. The other problem is that the comparatively big telephoto only fits in the camera bag with the lens cap stowed covering the zoom ring. Most of my photos are spur of the moment, jog ahead of the group, or whip the camera around to the person behind me kind of pictures. So it was just going to take a bit more planning to pull the camera out in time to flip the lens hood and analyze the scene to find a beautiful picture at some focal length other than max wide. I realized all this at a point where I was enough ahead of the rest of the group that I had a breather while holding my camera. In an effort to improve, I took that moment to contemplate the scene and look for good telephoto shots. I discovered a whole lot of trees and quickly nixed the idea of trying any zoomed shots until we got above tree line.


Once above treeline, I encountered a different problem — it was a brilliant sunny day. When buying my camera years ago, I had compromised and accepted a camera without a view finder in order to get a smaller camera. Between the glare of the snow and the bright sun I could barely see the screen even with my sunglasses off. Those were no conditions to zoom to the telephoto end of my lens. Telephoto point and shoot — not very effective. Worse, I noticed at one point that I had bumped the manual focus button. Who knows how long I had been taking fuzzy photos.


When it came time to ski down, I was determined to try to get some use out of the lens, so I pulled my sunglasses down and squinted hard. Once I got a lock on a skier, I could kind of follow them in the LCD. Until I found them, though, I could not tell one bit of white snow from another. Now that I was using the zoom lens as intended, I discovered I had no muscle memory for which direction on the ring zoomed in or out.


After all those challenges taking pictures, I was resigned to a high failure rate. Tyson processed the photos, so I don’t know what the actual failure rate was, but either I took a whole ton of photos, or my success rate was higher than I expected. The final photo album had a lot of good photos.


A few of my favorites


Oh, and the skiing was good too.