Running Photos: Fordingbridge towards Downton with the Pentax WG3-GPS

My mother has recently gone into hospital for an operation on her leg (the 4th recurrence of malignant melanoma needed to be chopped out which is not much fun).  I stayed at her house for a couple of nights to look after her Collie’s while she was in hospital and this gave me an opportunity to run in some different areas.

Greg - one of my Mum's Border Collie's.

Greg – one of my Mum’s Border Collie’s.

Henry- the other one!

Henry- the other one!

This post is more about the camera I took on the run than the run itself.  It’s the first “proper” use of the Pentax WG-3 GPS that I wrote about here.  Having said that, the two dog shots above are from my Sony NEX6 with 35/1.8 lens attached – you won’t get shots like that from the WG-3!

I ought to point out that as well as a runner, I’m a keen photographer, and as a job I sell (well, write and sell) software for DSLR autofocus calibration.  (If you’re interested and contact me through this website I’ll do a special deal 🙂 ).  So there will be a certain amount of photography related posts on Two Running Feet as well as posts on running.

The run I did was around 11 miles from Fordingbridge towards Downton on the Avon Valley Path.  I turned around a little after Hale as I was time constrained otherwise I would have gone all the way to Downton.

Here’s a set of photos that I took on the run – the comments give a rough idea of what was going on and I’ll add some final thoughts at the bottom of the post…

The Avon Valley Path sign (the green one that looks like an "M")

The Avon Valley Path sign (the green one that looks like an “M”)

I found a suspension bridge!

I found a suspension bridge!

A place called "Castle Hill" has a great view of the Avon

A place called “Castle Hill” has a great view of the Avon

With the weather, this pylon looked quite majestic

With the weather, this pylon looked quite majestic

Most of the route was off-road through fields and on paths

Most of the route was off-road through fields and on paths

Following (or trying!) these waypoint markers

Following (or trying!) these waypoint markers

After a climb past a lovely church this path was beautiful

After a climb past a lovely church this path was beautiful

I ended up deep in some woodland, and liked this uprooted tree.

I ended up deep in some woodland, and liked this uprooted tree.

At the turnaround point I found this Land Rover rusting away.

At the turnaround point I found this Land Rover rusting away.

20130913_102948-PENTAX WG-3 GPS-0237

And bits of a gearbox.  Maybe from the Land Rover.

And bits of a gearbox. Maybe from the Land Rover.

And a woodshed.  Someone had a woodburner near I guess!

And a woodshed. Someone had a woodburner near I guess!

On the way back I stopped again at Castle Hill in the rain.

On the way back I stopped again at Castle Hill in the rain.

It's difficult to convey in a picture, but it was raining quite a bit!

It’s difficult to convey in a picture, but it was raining quite a bit!

And then it wasn't a few miles later.  This is from the suspension bridge.

And then it wasn’t a few miles later. This is from the suspension bridge.

And here's an in-camera panorama from the bridge.

And here’s an in-camera panorama from the bridge.

Final Thoughts

This was my first daylight run with the camera, and I made a bit of an effort to use it.  Compared to a DSLR, it’s got a tiny sensor, and I was bit worried about this for final image quality.  The point of getting this camera is to have something more robust and better than a camera phone, and I didn’t want to find the images were the same sort of quality as out of an average phone when used on the run.

I’m pretty pleased with the results.  The combination of dynamic range and ease-of-use mean that this Pentax WG3-GPS does jump a fair way ahead of a phone in the final results. Having the GPS version means that all (well, most) of my images are geotagged and I can find not only the position I took the shots in, but with the in-built digital compass I’ll even see the direction I was shooting in.  The barometric altimeter theoretically gives a more accurate altitude reading, but in use I’ve found it to be quite inaccurate (+/- 50m or so on an average day) and I prefer the accuracy of GPS*.

I use Lightroom for image processing from my DLSRs and CSCs, and I did the same with the WG3 images – don’t expect to see the images above straight out the camera!

To close, I’m happy with this running camera.  I know I can drop it, drown it and freeze it and it’ll still take shots for me.  And those shots – with a bit of processing – can produce results I’m happy with.  So expect to see more shots from my runs in future… 🙂

 

* technically GPS is optimised for a ground-based position which means the altitude is less accurate, but a good GPS lock will give you an altitude reference to within about 9m of WGS-84 and the offset between the WGS-84 ellipsoid and a position on Earth is widely known and corrected for in online applications like Garmin Connect – the end result is GPS is more accurate than the barometric altimeter after correction.

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