Concert and S120 Camera Review Pt 1

I had a chance to play with the S120 sooner than I expected when a friend invited me to an outdoor concert. It was held at the Bernardo Winery and featured the “Big Band Jazz Machine.” If you like the sounds of big-band jazz then this local San Diego group would be hard to beat.

The venue was superb. Weather was mild and a sold-out audience assembled in one of the garden like areas of the winery grounds. The mixed light seemed like a good test of the little camera for its intended (for me) use to have when a larger camera was not appropriate or I jut did not want to carry one around to take documentary-style shots for web/computer/blog use as opposed to enlarged prints or files for reproduction.

The camera has a built in HDR function which I decided to try. All of these were hand held since there was no way to even rest the camera on something. And in nearly all of them something is in motion, whether it was a performer, the conductor, or someone in the audience so there is some softness that is cockpit error. Here is an overall shot of the band playing.

Big Band Jazz Machine at Bernardo Winery

Big Band Jazz Machine at Bernardo Winery

Part of the evening’s fare featured two guest performers. The first was Janet Hammer, a truly talented jazz vocalist whose range went from belting out the blues to soft torchy ballads.  She reminds me of my friend and incredible vocalist from Denver, Lannie Garrett.

Janet Hammer with Big Band Jazz Machine

Janet Hammer with Big Band Jazz Machine.  She is very animated so you can see the sight double image  (her arm and mic) that the internal processing did not take out.

The featured guest was Gilbert Castellanos, an incredible virtuoso on the trumpet.

Gilbert Castellanos at Berenardo Winery concert

Gilbert Castellanos at Berenardo Winery concert (here playing a flu gel horn).  By now the light was almost gone and the exposure for the HDRs was ridiculous but, what the heck, this was a test…

Everything about the evening was fantastic: weather, music, conversations, and the chance to play with the little camera in ways it probably was never intended to be used. But for what it is, I’m very pleased with it so far. I would not have gotten these shots otherwise for the simple reason is I would not have brought one of the DSLRs into this venue.

If you get a chance to catch the band or ANY of the performers as they perform around the San Diego area, so yourself a favor and go see them!

About ndking

Commercial Photographer and Professor of Photography at San Diego City College
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