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Aerial Oregon & California 2012 — Album Description
Photos in Album: 31 Album Created: 11 Feb 2012 Last Updated: 11 Feb 2012
To begin viewing the photos, you can browse the album — or view the contact sheet.
On February 3, 2012 I flew from Portland, Oregon to San Luis Obispo, California, to pick up a car my parents were giving to my teenage kids.

For a while I had been thinking about getting a small, pocket camera, for those occasions when I didn't want to haul around my large Sony α77 camera system. This trip seemed like the perfect opportunity to pick one up, so shortly before I left I bought the new Canon PowerShot S100, which packs a lot of professional features into a tiny package, including the ability to take RAW photos.

I actually wasn't planning on taking any pictures on this trip, but when I glanced out the window right after takeoff and saw the gorgeous view of Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Rainier, I quickly pulled my new camera out, and didn't stop snapping photos the entire flight down to San Francisco! I got some great shots of most the major peaks along the Oregon Cascades, as well as numerous awesome pictures over the San Francisco Bay area.

Even though the photos turned out pretty nice, they still fall below the quality I normally try to achieve. There are a few of reasons for this. First of all, I was taking pictures out of a dirty airplane window. That right there degrades the quality of each photo. Secondly, many of the photos, especially the ones in Oregon, were taken of the view to the east, where the morning sun was hanging low in the sky. Therefore, besides the uncleanliness of the window, there was the additional problem of glare in the window.

The third hindrance to quality was the camera I was using. Normally I take pictures with my somewhat-high-end Sony α77, and the even higher-end lenses that attach to it. But this time I was using a pocket point-and-shoot that, while a decent camera, can't approach the quality of the larger Sony α77. For the sake of portability, one has to make tradeoffs. All in all, I'm still pretty happy with how the photos turned out, and I'm looking forward to using the Canon S100 more in the future.

Every outing is an opportunity for another photo album!
UPDATE — FEBRUARY 2015

In June 2013, I finally came to the conclusion that my Canon S100 pocket camera was a failed experiment. A couple of months later, I was still in quest of the ideal pocket camera.

Also, for quite a while I have been unhappy with how I processed the photos I took on my flight to California. As I mentioned above, a dirty airplane window is not a very good optical medium to take pictures through. Neither is thousands of feet of atmosphere.

Under these kinds of conditions, I have found that processing photos as black and white images will yield better results. I can’t really explain why I originally chose to process them in color.

After putting it off for a long time, this week I finally reprocessed all of the photos in this album as monochrome images — except for three which I left in color. The quality is still not so great, given the challenging conditions under which they were taken, but I do think it is an improvement.
For further details about the story behind the photos in this al­bum, see the related article, From Bulky SLR To Pock­et Point-and-Shoot.
The photos in this album were taken with the Canon PowerShot S100 camera.
To begin viewing the photos, you can browse the album — or view the contact sheet.