Reviews

Little Camera, Big Pictures: A Road Trip with the G10

by Kari Post | October 16, 2009

© Kari PostThis summer, I went on the adventure of a lifetime. The journey began on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Yorktown, Virginia, when my three friends, Jenny, Justin, and Dave, and I boarded our bicycles with a plan to ride unassisted across the United States. We expected to take anywhere from 60-70 days to reach Astoria, Oregon, our final destination, and our route had us traveling through ten states along the 4200 mile journey. As a photographer, I wanted to take pictures on the road, to capture the beauty of the country, preserve memories of the trip, and be able to share my journey with friends and family back home. We carried all of our own gear on our bikes, including our food, cooking equipment, clothes, sleeping blankets and pads, and a tent, so hauling my “lightweight” DSLR rig was out of the question. However, I didn’t want to skimp on the quality of my photos with some slow five mega-pixel consumer point-and-shoot either. That’s where the G10 entered the picture.

Convenience store in Virginia

When my three friends and I decided to bike across the United States this summer, it was important to me to be able to photograph the many memories we would have along the way. Here, three of us are taking a well deserved break outside of a closed convenience store in Virginia on Day One of our trip.

I had procured a Canon G10 earlier this year, when I was working for a local non-profit outdoor education company. I spent a lot of time in the woods, either hiking for fun with friends or leading groups of children at my job, and I wanted a camera I could carry with me always”just in case” as it rarely made sense to have my expensive DSLR on me at work or on a group outing. I needed a camera that was small enough that I would actually carry it, but one that was also able to yield quality photos that I could sell and make decent sized prints from if needed. When the G10 was announced, it seemed like just the camera I was looking for, and after reading some positive reviews by respectable professional photographers, I went ahead and purchased one for myself.

Bison at Yellowstone National Park © Kari Post

Even with the limited range of the built-in zoom lens on my Canon G10, I was able to get memorable shots of the wildlife I saw on my trip. This environmental portrait of a bison shows Yellowstone National Park’s thermal features in the background.

The G10 ended up being the perfect camera for my cross country bike trip. It, combined with a GorillaPod for self-portraits and group shots, only added a pound to my pack weight and took up a minimal amount of space. When I bothered to take it out and use it I got some nice photos, and its point-and-shoot handling made it easy enough for non-photographers, like my riding companions, to use too. The G10 even survived several bike crashes along the journey without issue and it’s got the battle scars to prove it, just like me.

Photography instructors and photo magazine columnists have long said that “it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer” that makes a good picture. While true, as least from a creative point of view, not all digital cameras are capable of producing technically good photographs. Fortunately, today’s technology has allowed camera manufacturers to produce some impressive machines in tiny packages, and a handful of point-and-shoots are now being used by professional photographers and critical hobbyists for occasional or even everyday work.

Evergreen trees © Kari Post

This shot of backlit evergreen trees was taken during a 30 second stop while riding down the highway between Grand Teton National Park and Jackson, Wyoming. It makes an impressive ten by twenty inch print with minimal interpolation.

Today’s little cameras have impressive features and can indeed take some nice photos. My G10’s pictures are sharp and have accurate color, and the camera focuses quickly and has very little shutter delay. It can even capture RAW files, giving me maximum control over the image in post processing, and can also shoot video.

The G10 is not the only feature packed pint-sized shooter on the market capable of professional quality photographs. Panasonic’s Lumix LX-3 and new GF-1, Nikon’s P6000, and the Olympus Pen and new E-P1 (smaller interchangeable lens versions of DSLRs) are all top choices of discerning photographers looking for a bigger bang in a smaller package.

Pearl Geyser © Kari Post

Pearl Geyser was one of many thermal features we got to see in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. With the G10, I was able to capture the colors and details of Yellowstone’s amazing landscape, despite the camera’s small size.

On September 13, after more than three months on the road, Dave and I finally arrived in Florence, Oregon, and completed our 4000 mile journey across the United States via bicycle. We had split up from Jenny and Justin back in Kentucky, due to different deadlines and goals for the trip, and they had finished in Astoria nearly a month ahead of us. Because Dave didn’t have a camera of his own, it became even more important that I was able to document our adventure. Thanks to the Canon G10, I was able to capture some beautiful photos of my trip without the inconvenience of bringing my expensive DSLR and lenses with me across the continent. I didn’t worry about the hail and wind that we encountered, or about leaving my camera unattended in an easily accessible pannier while eating inside at a restaurant. And once it survived my first three crashes, I stopped worrying about that too. Best of all, I didn’t have to lug a heavy DSLR setup up the Appalachian, Ozark, Rocky, and Cascade Mountains and while biking at 11,000 feet atop Hoosier Pass in Colorado. I guess the old saying is true – good things do come in small packages.

Bull elk crossing Madison River in Yellowstone National Park © Kari Post

One of my favorite photos from the trip is this one of a big bull elk crossing the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park. My little G10 enabled me to capture many memories of my exciting trip to share with friends and family back home.

About the Author

Kari is a self-described adventurer, photographer, outdoor enthusiast, conservationist, and nature lover. She loves being outside in nature, exploring the world around her, and doing just about anything that keeps her on the move. Kari picked up photography as a young girl and developed a serious passion for the still picture in high school. In college, she combined her photography hobby and love of nature and began photographing wildlife and outdoor subjects, which now make up the bulk of her work. Kari views photography as a way to share the beauty she sees in the natural world with others. She hopes her images can be used help educate and inspire others to appreciate, preserve, and protect wild places and creatures, and aspires to one day work as a photojournalist for National Geographic documenting conservation issues. Visit Kari's website at: www.karipost.com and her blog at: www.karipost.com/blog.

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