Tag Archives: Olympus Stylus Tough 6000

Water Hijinks

My #2 son’s wet self-portrait, taken in our swimming pool

My #2 son and I got into our backyard swimming pool for the first time this spring last weekend. He carried a big frisbee to play with, while I toted my Olympus Stylus Tough 6000, a sturdy camera that’s not afraid of water. Which comes in handy when you’re in a pool.

The serious underwater side of #2

Both of us had a great time using the Olympus. #2 had several self-absorbed moments when he felt compelled to take his self-portrait underwater (and did a great job!). Then the Mister climbed into the pool, and I took over the point and shoot.

#2 jumps high to snare the frisbee.

As the Mister threw the frisbee high into the air for the leaping #2 , I tried to photographically capture the outcome.

#2 flies through the air with the greatest of ease!

Of course, a point and shoot camera can never stop the action like a digital SLR. But I put the Olympus on its sport setting and worked on my timing, which means snapping the pic well before the action’s peak.

All that triple jump practice comes in handy!

#2 had a blast jumping off the spa and trying to corral the frisbee thrown by his dad before dropping into the pool.

Got air?

And I had just about as much fun capturing all his water hijinks!

Blurry Bluebonnets

Is this an abstract painting or a photograph?

If you look at yesterday’s photo of the day, you’ll notice something unusual: It’s kind of blurry.

I’m a big fan of sharp, crisp photos (well, except for that lovely bokeh blurring of backgrounds). Want someone to think you’re a good photographer? Don’t ever show them your blurry pictures!

More blurry bluebonnets

So why am I showcasing these unsharp photos? First, I didn’t take them . . . my #2 son did with my Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 point and shoot camera (did I just throw him under the bus?!?). And, second, they’re helping me explain about yesterday’s photo of the day.

I love bluebonnets, as I explained here and here. They’re Texas’ state flower and a wonderful harbinger of spring. We don’t have many of them in our little town; however, there’s always a patch of them on the side of a very busy road nearby.

I was determined to take photos of these gorgeous purple-blue flowers last weekend. So I drove to a small street behind where they were blooming and parked. Before I could grab my Nikon SLR and get out of the car, though, I saw two unleashed dogs start to run towards me. Frustrated, I drove away.

Yesterday I had my Olympus with me when I picked #2 up after high school track practice, knowing we’d drive by the bluebonnets. He rolled (does anyone actually “roll” windows up or down anymore?) down the window and was ready with the point and shoot as I got to the bluebonnet spot. It wasn’t at the stoplight, but there weren’t any cars behind me, so I stopped and told him to snap away.

Even more blurry bluebonnets

Guess I should’ve told him to keep his hands steady!

Fortunately, bluebonnet season is just starting. Here’s hoping I’m able to get sharp photos where it’s obvious what kind of flower they are!

Water, Water Everywhere

That’s what it’s all about!

The Mister and I (via community property, thank goodness) own a business. Every now and then I have to drive the half hour or so into Houston to make my presence known by cracking the whip and knocking heads together so that the workers know who’s really in charge of the operation.

Well, not really. But I do stop in and visit once in a blue moon. Which happened last Friday. The Mister wanted me to sit in on a meeting about the company’s websites (wholesale and retail locations). I did, and the highlight was that I didn’t look at my iPhone 3GS for 80 torturous minutes. No checking e-mail, texting, or updating my Facebook status. How did I live without a smartphone?!?

A wide-angle view of the Water Wall snapped with the Olympus Stylus Tough 6000.

The best part of driving into Houston? After we went out for lunch, we were near one of the city’s interesting attractions, the Water Wall in the Galleria area. I had brought my Olympus Stylus Tough point and shoot and my Nikon D700 with me in case a photo of the day opportunity arose. I heard that photo op knocking loud and clear!

Zooming out with my feet (Nikon 105mm lens; f/2.8, 1/1000, ISO 200)

The day was chilly, and all that water pounding away was dizzying. I had put my Nikon 105mm lens on the D700, forgetting to add the star utility player 50mm lens or the 35-70mm to my bag. The 105 was too long to get a good wide-angle view of the water wall; fortunately, I had my Olympus point and shoot with me.

Capturing the water through one of the arches (105mm lens; f/18, 1/25, ISO 200)

The 105 came in handy for experimenting with using a fast vs. slow shutter speed to see what effect it would have on how some of the 11,000 gallons of flowing water (per minute)  looked. Above, I closed my aperture (f/18), which slowed the shutter speed to 1/25th of a second.

Speeding up the water (f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 200)

Here I opened up the aperture to f/5.6, which sped up the shutter to 1/250th. I’m not sure which effect I like better, but both look pretty cool.

Slow speed ahead! f/20, 1/25, ISO 200

Here are more photos illustrating the effect of slow vs. fast shutter speed on how the water looks.

Faster! f/2.8, 1/1250, iSO 200

Sloooow! f/25, 1/15, ISO 200

Fast! f/2.8, 1/1250, ISO 200

Given my druthers, I prefer the photos taken with the faster shutter speed.

But either way, I’m sure glad I had my camera with me for when that photo op knocked. It made traveling to the big city for a somewhat boring meeting worthwhile!

Random Running Snippets & iPhone Apertures

Me pre-race (note Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS watch) complete with my Hero hat

Wondering how I did in yesterday’s Aramco Half-Marathon?

Short version: I finished with a wide smile on my face and tears in my eyes.

Longer version: I finished with a wide smile on my face, tears in my eyes, and with my left arch hurting almost every step of the way. That had plagued me in training. But numb feet had not; unfortunately, I suffered with those from miles three through six, forcing me to walk from time to time until I could feel my toes again.

Thankfully, my tootsies felt fine once I hit mile seven, so after that I only walked through water stops and when I ingested Gu energy gel. Oh, and when I took iPhone 3Gs photos, which I uploaded to Facebook along the way.

I wasn't the only one taking iPhone photos at the start.

I figured I’d try to take iPhone photos and keep updating my Facebook status during the race. In hindsight, it would’ve been much better to have used my Olympus Stylus Tough point-and-shoot camera. It was awkward stopping mid-race to take a photo, typing in a caption (especially considering I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses), and then hoping AT&T would allow me to upload it to Facebook. I missed out on lots of potentially good pix of cute signs and even cuter babies. And that guy at the half-marathon start wearing a Lion King costume. Wonder if he finished still wearing it? It got pretty warm.

Lots of people in front of me as we head towards mile two. Guess I'm not going to win!

We did have perfect running weather—it was about 45 degrees at the start at 7 a.m. and about 60 degrees when I finished around 10 a.m. Which means that probably half the participants overdressed. Those who were wearing tights, jackets, gloves, and beanies looked like the temps were still frozen over from last weekend!

I felt very comfortable in a short-sleeved t-shirt and shorts, complete with my Hero running hat that I earned by raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Oh, and my Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS watch. Why was that important? Because, as in 2008, it showed that I actually ran 13.3 miles instead of 13.1. Oh, that aching extra two-tenths!!

Heading up a hill just past 10K (6.2 miles).

The race starts with the half-marathoners and those running the Chevron Houston Marathon on separate streets. We mesh together around mile two until mile nine where the halfers blissfully turn around (180 degrees) and head for the finish. The organizers like to boast that the course is flat . . . but it is NOT! There are enough hills in the first seven miles to stretch out our legs and tighten our arches (well, my left one).

Cresting the hill over Allen Parkway nearing mile 7. As we're running outbound, faster runners are about to turn near mile 11.

Here were my plans for the race: First goal always is to finish. My second goal was to break three hours. That’s a slow pace and nowhere near my personal best, but my training had been done at snail speed. Mentally, I was going to concentrate on just getting into the swing of things for the first two miles, which includes the much-hated (by me) Elysian Viaduct. At least two people slipped and fell behind me as we approached the first mile on the viaduct. I’ll bet they hate it, too.

Sidebar: Years ago there was talk about getting rid of the viaduct, which is a concrete overpass. I volunteered to be the one pushing the plunger when it came time to dynamite it! But, alas, it still stands if only to torment me every year.

After the Elysian, I was going to think about the six people in whose memory I raised funds for LLS. The first was Dick Jones at mile three, then my dad, my stepdad, my cousin Lisa, Don Queen, and Ron Kalteyer at the subsequent miles. After that I felt like all of them were on my back spurring me along to the finish.

The halfers will turn around in 200 yards!

Two of the best aspects of Houston’s premier marathon/half-marathon event are its volunteers and spectators. We couldn’t have a successful race without thousands of helpers. And those watching make us feel like running gods and goddesses, as well as providing plenty of distractions. I saw so many great signs along the course! Some I remember were “Run like you stole something!” and “So easy a caveman could do it.” There also were live bands and boom boxes providing great music along the way.

No balloons for my pity party at mile 10?

Once I made the turn at mile nine, I focused on one sight: That mile 10 banner. I just couldn’t wait until I was able to have my very own pity party and feel sorry for myself and my aches and pains. Funny thing, though—by mile 10, I was rolling along at a decent clip for me. Sure, my arch was hurting, but it wasn’t slowing down my pace any, and I knew that in a mere mile we would be on Allen Parkway running along with the fast marathoners across the median. Plus I had those six precious souls riding on my shoulders whispering in my ear, “You can do it!” Cancel that pity party!

Mile 11 is a good time for prayer!

Houston’s Christian radio station had several prayer stations set up along the course. What a great idea . . . even for those of us who are Jewish! All runners are grateful for divine intervention late in a race.

My biggest disappointment once we got off Allen Parkway and headed through downtown towards the finish line at the George R. Brown Convention Center? No Elvis sighting! That’s the first time I haven’t seen the supposedly dead rock ’n roller during either the half (now five finishes) or marathon (eight finishes).

Disappointment reigns for those who finished behind me.

Finally, there was the most-spectacular sight of the entire 13.1-mile race: The finish line! Why do we run races? To finish them! As always, when I crossed the line, I looked to the sky to thank my dad for being along with me.

And then I thought of Dick Jones, who I had hoped so much would be there at the finish watching me run for him. He was there in spirit, of course, interrupting his golf game in heaven to ride on my shoulders. I couldn’t help but break into a wide smile and start to cry.

Is It Possible to Just Watch Disc Golf?

The Mister in action

The Mister in action

When the Mister told me that he was going to participate in a local disc golf mini tournament (only 18 holes) last Saturday, I had to think about whether or not I would photograph the action. After all, the #2 son wasn’t going to play, opting instead to have fun with his buddies at one of their family’s bay house in Galveston.

Sidebar: #2 was very glad the trip was scheduled for Saturday, because he absolutely, positively hates this disc golf course. The very pretty course is tucked between a lake (lost discs) and plenty of out-of-bounds placements (added strokes). While it was the first course he ever played, it’s the one that frustrates him the most. Better for him to be frolicking in the waters of Galveston than getting mad at his dear, sweet, devoted mom when she tries to comfort him after a poor shot.

Eric birdies a tough hole.

Eric birdies a tough hole.

Even though the weather was fine for photography, I decided to take a different spin on the way I looked at the tournament. Too often I get so wrapped up in shooting the action, I don’t really see what’s going on. A player releases the disc, I snap a photo, and then I have absolutely no earthly idea what happened after that. I could easily get clunked in the head, if I’m not careful.

Chuck rears back for a throw along the lake.

Chuck rears back for a throw along the lake.

I decided that especially with #2 not playing, I’d like to just enjoy the pretty park, the players’ banter, and watching the action through both eyes, not just my right one looking through a viewfinder. So I didn’t bring my Nikon D300 and Nikon 105mm lens. (It helped that I knew there would be no flowers to take macro pix of.)

Sudden Sam putts.

Sudden Sam putts.

However, I knew that I couldn’t just watch. I had to have a camera to document some of the goings-on, right? So I opted for my Olympus Stylus Tough 6000. I traded great image quality for convenience and hoped for the best.

Ducks are wary of flying discs.

Ducks are wary of flying discs.

Using the point and shoot camera made me snap fewer pictures (why bother taking a lot of action shots with a camera that isn’t made for that), but it allowed me to look at the tourney in a different way photographically. And without a lot of effort.

Billy sweats in the hot Houston sun.

Billy sweats in the hot Houston sun.

I felt less stress, and I got to enjoy watching the Mister play . . . even though he didn’t particularly enjoy playing due to the heat and the toughness of the course.

Water jets shoot over a swimming pool.

Water jets shoot over a swimming pool.

And, even with the Olympus, I still got to be distracted while shooting disc golf!

Photo Friday: Keep Your Camera Handy

Does this sound appetizing?

Does this sound appetizing?

What’s nice about having a camera in our phones and/or point and shoot cameras is that they’re so handy for taking those unexpectant photos that you just have to show to someone. Say, like the one above.

I snapped it at our local Chinese restaurant. It was a sign in the window (hence the reflection). The minute I read the verbiage, I laughed, whipped out my iPhone, and clicked.

Of course, I know that “chess” really is “cheese,” right? And the “rork roll” is a “pork roll.” But that “chess puss” on the bottom line? Let’s not even go there!

Well, at least, at $2.50 or $3.95, the price is right!

Hot, hotter, hottest

Holy cow!

Holy cow!

When I got in my car after a wonderful lunch at Chipotle (as they all are) on July 2, I started the engine and looked at the temperature gauge. And then I reached for my Olympus Tough-6000 (which I almost always carry with me) and took a photo. Goodness gracious, 109 degrees?!? I sweat just thinking about going outside these days! This has been one brutal summer so far in south Texas.

Fearless Photography

The #2 son waves at himself . . . underwater!

The #2 son waves . . . underwater!

Usually I’m nervous when my camera equipment gets around water. I always worry that my Nikon D300 and expensive lens of choice will get splashed or even worse . . . horrors of horrors . . . fall in and be ruined.

But now not only am I not anxious about my camera getting wet, I can deliberately put it in the water and take photos! And the picture quality is pretty good. That’s because I have the Olympus Stylus Tough-6000, a point and shoot that allows you to snap pix as deep as 10 feet underwater.

Not the cleanest environment for #2's self-portrait

Not the cleanest environment for #2's self-portrait

Sidebar: I made the in-hindsight poor decision to turn on the waterfall, because I wanted to take the following photos of the water streaming off the rocks. Unfortunately, that meant that all the leaves and junk in the waterfall came out into the pool. Thus the junk in the above photo of the #2 son, which he took.

The Olympus works well in and out of the water.

The Olympus works well in and out of the water.

Another waterfall shot

Another waterfall shot

Using the underwater setting (there actually are three) for photos that are taken out of water results in very saturated colors, as you can see. It’s not unpleasant, though.

#2's handstand underwater

#2's handstand underwater

The white balance looks a little weird to me, but I guess that’s the actual color of the light underwater.

Feet up!

Feet up!

Here are those overly saturated colors again, as I used the underwater setting on a photo taken out of the water. That’s what happens when you have a lazy photographer who doesn’t want to move the dial!

Who lurks behind the mom in the pool?!?

Who lurks behind the mom in the pool?!?

The best part of using the Olympus with the #2 son was all the fun we had together! We laughed so much as we tried to take these photos.

The dynamic duo underwater

The dynamic duo underwater

Mom and son together making memories. On a hot summer day in the backyard pool with a camera that can go anywhere, it doesn’t get much better! It’s great being a fearless photographer!!