Prawle Point with a Point and Shoot

Packing Light and Exploration

I've photographed Start Point <insert link to previous blog post> on the south Devon coast a few times but I've never really ventured further west towards Prawle and Salcombe.  My father-in-law had suggested a few times that this area of the coastline was worthy of investigation, so when a free Sunday morning came up I decided to do just that.


Summerleaze beach in Bude. The manual controls on the Sony RX100 M4 allowed me to create this long exposure.

After deciding that I would go to Prawle Point I also considered if I should pack all my DSLR gear and go for a sunrise shoot.  I have to admit that going somewhere new and trying to find a composition for sunrise was exciting, but my head overruled my heart.  The weather forecast was for high winds and 100% cloud coverage so I decided I would take a more leisurely approach and have breakfast first and go out after sunrise.

I already knew the conditions weren't going to be ideal for seascape photography but I didn't want to go out with no camera at all so I decided to go out with my light weight setup of my Sony RX100 M4 and Manfrotto BeFree carbon fibre tripod.  The Sony RX100 M4 looks like a point & shoot camera, but this little compact camera can be a real powerhouse.  It has lots of manual controls, and while it does have it's limitations, it is capable of capturing some wonderful images.

So with a new area to explore, and very lightweight setup, I decided to make a video to see if I could capture a good seascape image while out exploring Prawle Point.  I was going to test the theory The Best Camera is the One That's with You.  Check out the video below to see how I got on.


Results and Conclusions

As I said in the video I'm certainly not about to give up all my Nikon gear but that's not to say that I can't capture good images with a compact camera.  Yes, I was off to a little bit of a head start with advanced capabilities of the Sony RX100 M4 but it is more about understanding your gear and having a good technique that allows you to get results.  

Sony RX100 M4, 8.8mm (24mm @ 35mm equiv), 1/4 sec @ f/11, ISO 80, in-camera ND filter on. Processed and converted to black & white in Lightroom CC.

Sony RX100 M4, 8.8mm (24mm @ 35mm equiv), 1/4 sec @ f/11, ISO 80, in-camera ND filter on. Processed in Lightroom CC.

A reference shot facing east from Prawle Point lookout. Taken with my Nexus 6p phone.

A reference shot facing east from Prawle Point lookout. Taken with my Nexus 6p phone.

While I'm not considering these images for my portfolio, given the weather conditions and the fact it was a new location for me I'm relatively happy with the results.  While there is no doubt that my Nikon camera, lenses and Lee Filters provide me with a superior level of control and quality, I'm still confident I could capture good images with my Sony RX100 M4 if I needed to.  It's also nice to travel light every now and again!

I'm also very much looking forward to exploring to the east of Prawle Point.  The coastline seems more dramatic and there are a couple of very nice looking beaches.  Once I've got some locations marked out I'll return with my Nikon and also shoot some video there with the drone.

So, do you prefer to go out with a light weight setup?  How important is gear?  Is good photography technique just as important as the camera?  Let me know in the comments below.

A Technical Footnote

The video I shot at Prawle Point was also an opportunity to test out my new audio/video rig.  Audio is a critical component of good video, and I've struggled to get good audio for my videos.  The Sony RX100 M4 captures wonderful 4K video, but without a mic input, I've had to depend on onboard audio which isn't great.  Now that I'm using an external audio recorder and a lavalier mic I can consistently capture high-quality audio.  In fact, I wouldn't have been able to capture good audio at Prawle Point without my new rig as the wind was so strong.  

If anyone is interested in the setup let me know in the comments and I'll either do a blog post of video on my personal setup.  However, I do have to thank Ted Forbes and his YouTube channel The Art of Photography which originally showed me how I could use a Sony RX100 M4 and an external audio recorder in a single rig setup.

And thanks to Ted, I also learnt how to sync the audio as well.

Please do subscribe to The Art of Photography.  It's a wonderful photography channel that discusses so many aspects of photography from technical side of things (as above), to the artistic side of photography. 

And of course, don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.