Permanent Tourist

The personal website of Mark Howells-Mead

Snow in Spiez

The last few weeks here in Switzerland have seen a great deal of snow coming and going. Even cities in the north, which see less snow than we do in the mountains, have been covered in white several times, causing many accidents and the predictable newspaper articles about people wishing for spring.

At work, we needed to buy both a point-and-shoot video camera and a new stills camera, so, on my advice, I went out and bought both in one camera: a new Nikon D90. I’d been toying with the idea of buying one for myself for some time and so this was a great opportunity to try one out before committing Fr. 1,500 of my own money. In general terms, the camera’s great: 12.1 megapixels for stills and just as good as my own, reliable D80. The video function is simple to use, with a “live view” screen and a one-click record button. The video, while HD quality, isn’t quite as good as I’d imagined or hoped, but I’ve found that by using a few basic techniques, good results can be achieved. I’ve decided not to buy one for myself, as I’m not really driven to make more than the most simple films and I therefore have no real justification in upgrading my D80, which is itself less than a year old.

Here’s one of my first simple attempts at a “long photo“, uploaded to Vimeo. (By clicking on the HD button in the video player, you will be taken to the Vimeo website where you can see the video in HD quality.) I’ve found that the best results are obtained by using the camera on a tripod (or putting it on a steady surface) to film, which applies just as equally to regular Handycams as it does with the D90. I’ll be shooting more video at random from time to time and making a little effort to learn more about how to film well. I have many years of experience in photography, but I have much to learn when it comes to making films.

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