Compacting the Market

Last week I said I was going to the Daylesford Market, well, I got the days wrong, so we ended up going back to the market at St Andrews.  I decided that instead of taking my DSLR again I would try my daughters Nikon Coolpix L120 which she got for her birthday last year.

Recently I have heard from some people that think that because they use a compact camera they don’t need to worry about how their images look.  I was sorry to hear this.  I know that a compact camera has limitations, and there isn’t a lot you can do with it, but you can compose your images.   Learning about composition is very important to anyone who wants to take images, even those using a compact camera, or the camera on their phone.  I am not going to go into the rules of composition and things like that, but I hope if you have a CC (compact camera) you will compose your images thoughtfully.

Don’t you love this stall, the woman at the back did have someone else sitting beside her knitting as well, but she went to help a customer.  Controlling the light was a little difficult with CC, you can see how the hat in the foreground on the right is totally blown out and would seem to be glowing.  The camera did seem to have a lot of trouble with the full tonal range, the lights to the darks.

This is like an aisle down the market, or that could be up the market.  I thought it was a good image to show you the setting.  It really is like a bush market.  It really adds to the ambience of the place.

Taking this image, I put the camera down below waist height, it was good not having to get down myself.  I could see the image in the back of the camera.  I could probably do the same on my DSLR, but I have never bothered to work it out, I do like looking through the viewfinder.  I think also, if you are looking through the viewfinder then you are less likely to miss things that might be on the edge.  However, I did enjoy just pointing the camera and taking photos.

Again, you can see the camera had trouble with the very white sky and the foreground.  I think this is just something you have to live with.  I am sure in photoshop you could do things to fix it, I didn’t really try, I wanted to be able to show you.

This is something I find quite amazing, there are quite a few places where you find tools, second hand I believe.  This image was done quickly, the camera was taken out and I pointed it and then I clicked.  Haha, get it, point and click.

Again the flooding of the white down into the image is happening again.  I think it was one of those things where the day was overcast, but it was very bright.  The camera really had it’s work cut out for it.

This man had lots of tools around this tree.  He held onto that saw on the right and he did seem a bit scary, but I am sure he was very nice.  He had some interesting tools.

I did try and fix the sky in this and make it less intrusive, but I didn’t have a lot of luck.

This is my daughter Klara getting a Henna Tattoo.  She has been wanting one for a long time and was so happy that Nomadic Tara was there doing her henna tattoos, so Klara sat down for one.  You can see the design she picked there in the left corner, sorry I don’t know what the design is.  We had a lovely time talking to her and seeing where she goes.  She was a very lovely woman, as are most people at the market.

This image is probably the best out of the ones I took.  I didn’t take many, but it was so different doing photos with a compact camera, certainly very challenging.  I tried to remember to compose each image and take each one with thought.  I hope you can tell that.

It was a lot of fun playing with a camera like this, really takes you back to basics, which is a good place to go from time to time.  One of things I love about the phones these days is the cameras in them.  I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 and I like playing with the camera in it.  I have a few apps as well, Instagram, HDR etc, though a new one I got, Paper Camera, which I purchased for 25cents is turning out to be a lot of fun.  Photography should be fun, but serious sometimes as well.

I heard from Canon today and the cameras are arriving tomorrow, which will be great, just in time for the weekend.  I have also heard from Crumpler so that is good news as well.  Lots happening which is great.  I was also approached by someone last night about some software, but I have to check it out first.


My Travels and Photography has nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award

So thank you very much, it is really appreciated.


  1. I use a 4-5 yr old Canon Ixus at the moment, though it’s getting a little dodgy now. I find I can do some helpful adjusting in camera, as it were, but the rest, such as dealing with any flare I’ve not eliminated/avoided, is done on the computer with pretty basic software. Also, the old trick of pointing it at the sky directly before refocusing on the subject helps reduce the washout/flare. It doesn’t produce the ‘bee’s knees’ of photography, but, as long as there is some accuracy in focus and framing of subject, I can squeeze some passing OK compositions from it, allowing for the limitations of it being a compact and my abilities with the camera and software. Mostly, I enjoy trying to produce an image that doesn’t need adjustment but then also have fun seeing what can be squeezed out of less successful images, whilst at the same time knowing they could have been better taken by someone with a better camera and who knows what they’re doing. I have very, very small hands and am not too comfy with many of the non-compacts. Very interesting market – wish I’d been there ;)

    • I like that tip, pointing at the sky first, will have to remember that one. Thanks. I did have a Canon Ixus, I loved it, small enough to take with me everywhere. Then my daughter started using it, and well, let’s just say, it doesn’t work anymore. It was a great little camera and I took many photos with it. Was the camera in between my film SLR and my DSLR. I tried to do many things with it.
      I think it is great that you love your compact camera, and I think it sounds like you find it challenging in a great way. The image is the most important thing, and you do what you have to to get it. Thank you so much DoF@theinfill

  2. What I like about your blog so much, Leanne, is that you don´t just preach about what should and shouldn´t be done when taking photographs. You actually think about the fact that for whatever reason different people have different cameras – and just try to help everyone to take the best shots. Many photographers seem to ignore this.

    I only have a compact camera (a Canon PowerShot SX220HS), yet most people who visit my blog remark on the photographs I take. I like to think of it as making the most of what you have – not giving up or thinking you aren´t good enough because you don´t have the best/most expensive equipment.

    Thanks Leanne – you are inspiring me :)

    • Thank you Marianne, what a lovely thing to say. I think the teaching has helped me to understand that. Not everyone has the same camera, and everyone is at different levels.

      You really do have to make the most of what you have, and if you are good at composition, then I think you are on your way to a fantastic shot. You have certainly said it correctly and I agree with you say. I hate this idea that if you have a good camera you must take good photos, such nonsense, the person taking the photos is what makes the image good, not the camera. The camera can help, but if you have no clue about composition, then you will never take fantastic images.

      Thank you as well, you give me the strength and the motivation to continue. :)

  3. Despite the bright sky in the background, your compact camera did a good job of not under exposing the foreground subjects, something I would expect from many compacts. Looks like a fun day.

    • It was a great day Ed, my daughter was certainly very happy. Yeah, the compact does a pretty good job. My daughter has had a lot of fun with it. Thanks.

  4. Reblogged this on Capriciously Creative and commented:
    Personally, My main camera is an Olympus 800uz at the moment. In the future I do want to invest in a DSLR, but you don’t necessarily need a great camera to take good pictures.

  5. Until late November last year, I only had a compact camera…with a little practice and fiddling around with the settings, they can take really good pictures. But you’re right – they do have their limits…I’m glad you did this :)

    • Thank you Marie, I think it was a good thing to do. People with compacts can tend to play down their importance.

  6. I guess my Canon SX30IS is at the border between point-and-shoot and a higher end camera then. Still not sure I really need more camera but being able to snap a Macro lens on would be dandy. Maybe a fish-eye or a wide angle lens… Hmmm. Good shooting though with the little camera.

    • A DSLR is great for all those reasons, but if you don’t want to do that, or just want a camera that you can point and shoot, then a compact is fine. So many people buy DSLRs and never take them off auto, I think that is silly. Then it is an expensive compact. Thanks John.

  7. I have several compact cameras and they are all fun, from the old Canon G9 to the new SX50 HS. It doesn’t really matter too much what you use if the image works. Post processing equalises a lot of the deficiencies but I do recommend finding a compact that shoots RAW files.

    • If you love them, then what does it matter, but trying some composition techniques, if you don’t already use them might make your images pop. Thanks

  8. Hazy skies are forever a problem – you should try living in UK! It’s probably a good idea, where possible, to compose the sky out of the frame if you know it won’t come out right.

    If it’s a simple horizon, not too many trees etc., I read you can take your picture normally then, before moving away, take another image exposed on the sky. Then stitch the two images together (with a feathered edge). Seems a lot of work to me but I suppose it depends how fussy you need to be.

    • I have heard that about the UK. I probably won’t use the camera a lot, so not really a problem for me. DoF@theinfill suggested pointing the camera at the sky to get the exposure and then framing your shot with the button still slightly pressed, then take the image. Interesting idea. Perhaps that might you if you are shooting with a compact camera. Thank you.

  9. Most of what I do is ‘point and click’, Leanne…but many decades spent photographing have made composition an automatic brain function…lots of ‘crooked’ shots that get easily fixed.

    These above are really fine…signifying your brain functions automatically also when taking the shot.

    Lovely to see this marketplace…wish we had something like that here….

    • I do the same, the crooked shots, I don’t seem to be capable of shooting straight.

      I am so surprised, I would never have guessed. I also think what you say about composition is so true. I have always been complimented on my composition skills and have been told many times that it is one of my strengths, I think that is the artist coming out.

      It is a lovely market. Shame you don’t have one. I am always amazed at what they have. Thank you 1000.

      • I get crooked shots every now and then, but my camera has a display setting that breaks up its display screen into thirds with horizontal and vertical lines. I’ve seen that option in several different camera makes and models. Check to see if yours has it. It helps me take straighter shots and easily apply the “rule of thirds” when I take pictures.

  10. phrenzel says

    Nikon never seemed very strong in the world of compacts, at least from my own experiences. Compacts have come a long way though over the years. Case in point the Sony RX100, the only camera I brought with me to Europe this past year.

    But you are so correct, no matter what gear is in your hand, including the ubiquitous iPhone, composition should always be a fundamental that survives.

    I enjoy your blog very much

    • My daughter wanted the Nikon because it was a compact but it looks like a DSLR, she is all for the look. Haha.
      Yes, composition is so important. And thank you so much for the last part, it means a lot.

  11. Hi Leanne,
    So true it’s not the gear that makes the photo it’s the photographer. I currently have a piece at an art exhibit that was shot with a canon s100 point and shoot. Thanks for all your wonderful posts-Steve

    • Congratulations Steve, that is wonderful having a piece in a gallery. Just goes to show that the camera doesn’t always matter, it is how you use it. Thank you Steve.

  12. You are so right… even with my Samsung phone I try to take a good image, and even a quick Photoshop Express edit or auto fix before compressing the image can make a difference. I think I’d love St Andrews market… one day I will get there :)

    • I agree EllaDee, it is always very important. I hope you do get to the market one day, but remember I will have to come too, haha, :) Thank you EllaDee.

  13. Great photos! I use a 5 year old compact camera (6 mega-pixels) and I’m frustrated by the white light that gets into the photos. Time get something better, but still in the compact range (can’t afford anything else). Do you have any suggestions?

    • I think getting knocked about can help with that light problem as well. I don’t know what to recommend, I have to say I have always loved Canon’s range of compact cameras. If I was getting one I would get a Ixus, I like how small and compact they are. I think it depends on what you are looking for, how much you want to spend. Good luck in your search. Let me know if you get one and what you get.

  14. I enjoyed this article, thanks. I am just getting into photography, have a Nikon Coolpix, and find that my iPhone camera often takes better pictures. I’m glad to hear it’s not just me! Thanks much for the Like :)

    • Thank you, glad you liked it. I think the Coolpix takes good images, but there are some things it doesn’t cope well with, my daughter likes it, though it running out of batteries quickly drives her nuts a bit. I think camera phones can be really good as well, I don’t have a compact anymore, I rely on my phone for that now. Oh, you are welcome. :)

  15. I love strolling through markets like this one. Like the simplicity of the shots too! :)

    • My daughter loves markets so much, so I always have someone to go with, which is always great. Thanks. :)

  16. Hi Leanne, thanks so much for sending me the link! Loved seeing your work (amazing images on your site) and meeting you both at the market. Tara x

    • You are more than welcome Tara, glad you liked the image, and we had a great time meeting you as well, maybe we will see there again one week. Thank you.

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