Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Capturing the Memories of Our Summer Adventures #FujiSummerFun {giveaway}

I have one "kid" (he's 22!) who finished school and started summer vacation weeks ago, and another who has more than 3 weeks to go. The little guy isn't so impressed with this situation, and the big guy keeps forgetting his kid brother still has to go to class. Then he laughs a little bit. Between this situation and weird weather we've been having in Southern Ontario, it's hard to keep track of what season we are in, but since I started my vegetable garden on the Victoria Day weekend, my mind has been pretty firmly switched to summer mode.

We've been cooking and eating out on the deck, and generally spending as much time as we can outdoors. The rainier days have been a drag, but even then, as long as it's warm, who cares! This past Sunday saw rain in the morning and mostly overcast, threatening skies all afternoon, but Boo and I headed out to do some exploring anyway.  We thought we'd head out to Rouge Beach, and take the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail over to Frenchmen's Bay in Pickering. It's a trail we haven't walked before and we were excited to see what we would find.

What we found? This was the parking lot.


And, yes, that's a guy in hip waders, fishing in the parking lot. I knew water levels were still super high, and part of the reason I chose this hike was so I could see the river and beach and try to judge how soon I might be able to put my kayak in the water. Well, no time soon it seems. Perhaps we could have paddled across to the start of the trail?

Scratch that idea. We headed out again, and decided to try Mocassin Trail Park. This one is actually in our old neighbourhood, in Don Mills, and is a super find in the middle of an urban area, right next to the Don Valley Parkway. Toronto is blessed with many of these amazing, naturalised trails and parks that you can access via public transit. They make for a great taste of nature and wildlife that can be enjoyed over the course of a day, or in small bites when you have a few minutes to spare.

Boo loves our nature walks, and he loves taking pictures. He takes after his Mom :) We took turns on this adventure, trying out my new Fujifilm FinePix XP120, which I am reviewing. Here are a few of the images we grabbed.

Rockets
The FinePix XP120 has a special shooting mode for floral shots, which is perfect for us, seeing as we love to shoot flowers.


It's not a true macro, but the floral mode lets you get in very close to get excellent detail and vibrant colours.

Boo just really liked this tree, standing on its own.
This heritage building just looked so lovely peeking through the weeping willows.
I take advantage of these nature adventures to teach Boo about different types of plants, telling him names where I know them, and pointing non-native invasive species to watch out for. We do a good bit of bird watching too. On this trip we saw mallard ducks, Canada geese (and their goslings!), a heron, red-winged blackbirds, cardinals, starlings, and more. Boo can identify the calls of the cardinal and red-winged blackbird now, which makes me proud. We even saw a blackbird nesting, but couldn't get a good picture to share because of the angle and height of the nest. It was very cool.

The FinePix XP120 has a variety of built-in shooting modes, as well as programmed auto, where you can set your own preferred ISO, based on your present lighting levels. There's a special setting for sunsets, pictures in snowy settings, panorama, and more. Parents will appreciate the sports setting, designed to take still pictures of moving objects - like toddlers.  You can even set this camera to take pictures in black and white or sepia, instead of the standard colour.

One setting I haven't seen before is the text setting, which is effective for taking clear shots of lettering. As someone who likes to visit trails and attractions with lots of educational signs, this appealed to me. I like to capture images of the signs so I can remember the details later. Here are two shots of the same sign, with and without the text shooting mode.


I hope this shows up properly on your screen, because there is a clear difference in the clarity and sharpness of the text. As someone with aging eyesight, this is a bonus.


I see this camera coming along on many adventures this summer. It is waterproof to 20m, so it will be great to take paddling once I can finally get out. And Boo can play with it in the pool. When we go south in October, it will for sure be going snorkeling with me to capture images of the fish we see. It's also very sturdy, though light, and shockproof to 1.75m. So, if your kid drops it at the amusement park, or it falls out of your bag on the trail, it should be just fine. Kid proof is a great thing to have in a camera; I have always loved reviewing pictures the boys have taken, and seeing the world through their eyes. What interests them? What caught their attention? Like that lone maple tree up there. I didn't think much about it, but to Boo it HAD to be photographed. I wonder what else he will capture?

A Giveaway

I don't have one of these cameras to give away, but I do have another fun one for you. One lucky RMB reader will be ready to take off on their own summer photography adventures when they win an Instax Mini 70! But it's even cooler than that. Your Instax Mini 70 will be a limited edition Canadian themed/engraved camera + 1 pack of Canadian themed film. The package is valued $183.94 CAD, and this limited edition is not available for retail sale.

Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 12:00 Noon EDT, June 19, 2017. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only, 18+, excluding Quebec. Best of luck!



Disclosure: I am participating in the FujiFilm campaign managed by SJ Consulting. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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