Tip: enjoy this live Bahamian radio station to set the mood.
I took a trip to the Bahamas in July 2015 to test out the new Sony RX 100 Mark IV. I paid for this myself; it wasn't a free trip hosted by a camera company to curry favor with the media.
The Bahamas are AWESOME!!! I haven't been out of the USA for a while. The instant we landed in the Bahamas everyone was ultra-helpful and seemed to be having a great time doing it. Unlike in the USA where we couldn't find a skycap and had to go find people who were still too busy to help us get the passport machines to go, the machines worked great in the Bahamas, and three guys would always come over on their own and offer their help anyway.
It was a pleasant surprise to see that Bahamians think for themselves. There were no idiotic proposition 69 warning signs, no fear-mongering doomsday profiteers trying to scare the gullible about world collapse due to global warming/flesh-eating bacteria/nuclear melt-downs/Ebola/climate change/ISIS/mass extinction/venereal disease/plastic shopping bags/1970s gasoline shortages/Taliban/economic instability or other locally manufactured crises blown way out of proportion to keep the stupider people distracted. I hadn't realized how pervasive on a daily basis this is in the USA until I went to the Bahamas and no one worried about any of this baloney.
The Bahamas are a young country, having earned their independence in 1973, and aren't yet gullible to politicians and the media trying to scare them into a a state of dependance on both. They work hard to earn their livings and certainly seem to enjoy doing it.
There were no problems and nothing but good times. There were no bottle taxes, and the beaches were clean! Good times had by all!
Everything was shot on the Sony RX 100 Mark IV which hung around my neck on an American-made Op/Tech sling strap ($12). It lets me carry my RX100 around my neck and shoulder for instant use. I also brought a spare Watson charger and battery, but I never wore out the first battery in a day's use. I also had my iPhone 6 Plus.
I brought a few simple 4GB SD cards. I shot for a few days, then put in a new card. I shot JPG LARGE NORMAL for the scenic shots, and JPG SMALL NORMAL for the people shots. I set Saturation to +1 for the people shots, and to VIVID with +3 Saturation for the shots of things. I use the Program exposure mode. More at Sony RX100 Usage.
The RX100 is so good that the only hard part is seeing the picture in the first place; otherwise point the camera in the right direction and what you see here is what you'll get.
I brought my 2009 Apple 13" MacBook Pro so I could update this website in case of emergency. Since I had it with me, I copied my photos to it each evening. I did not play with my photos or spend any time on a computer while in the Bahamas; I enjoyed my trip and waited to play until I returned. It's important to spend time where you are and not with your attention diverted to a screen or phone.
Since I had my laptop, I copied all my images before we returned to the USA onto individual 32GB cards and put them in my and my wife's wallets. I shot 8GB total which easily fits on one card, and carried in my wallet or sewed into the side of a piece of luggage made it more likely that I'd still have my photos even if my camera or computer didn't make it back.
When home, I used Phase One Media Pro to see what I had shot, and pick the winners for publication.
The great news is that the colors you see are what came out of the camera. I didn't have to tweak them in Photoshop; they were awesome as-shot. Exposure was also perfect; I didn't have to twiddle with it in-camera or later.
I ran most of these images through the Perfectly Clear Photoshop filter because it usually makes my pictures look even better faster than I can do it manually. Speed is everything.
I made the BAHAMAS logo in Photoshop CS6 with a Clipping Path to cut out the letters. I took one frame and copied it twice to make a much wider background image so I had a long enough scene of sky, water, beaches, palm trees and pools. Tutorials for these tricks are easy to find using a Google search.
My only regret is that we never got out to meet the Bahamians on their own turf. We rarely left the resort, since the resort had more fun and pools and fish and sharks than we could handle as it is. The RX100 isn't waterproof, and I spent a lot of time in the water. Therefore most of the photos you'll see are of us eating and walking around, which were good times as well.
Our plane at the gate. (Sony RX 100 IV at 25.7mm, f/2.8 at 1/20 at ISO 800).
With the RX100, no light, no problem!`
Ryan and Katie were waving to the pilots as we waited to load.
We flew overnight to Miami, and changed planes to fly to Nassau.
14 July 2015, Tuesday
We arrived in the Bahamas the next morning.
In contrast to the indifferent airport folks in the USA, as soon as we touched ground in the Bahamas, everyone was super-duper nice and helpful. Customs and immigration folks simply wished us "Welcome to The Bahamas and have a great time!," and porters and drivers fell over themselves helping us. Everyone has a positive "no problem" attitude, and what really hit us is how proud they are of their young and free country.
Our shuttle driver gave us a complete history of the country as we drove to the resort!
The Sony RX 100 IV is so ultra-fast that I easily grabbed this shot as we drove by at 50 MPH!
NP plates are for livery. The slight tint is because the truck was lit by light reflected from the pinkish-reddish tan building.
We arrived about 11AM, and we were in luck: our room was ready, whoo hoo!
We wandered around and looked at the resort and some of the fish first.
These were discovered off the coast of the Bahamas in 1924, and lifted up from the bottom of the sea in 1932. Locals say they are from the actual city of Atlantis.
Katie and the fish. (Sony RX100 Mk IV at 8.8mm, f/1.8 at 1/125 at Auto ISO 500.)
Kids and the caldron. (Sony RX100 Mk IV at 8.8mm, f/1.8 at 1/125 at Auto ISO 12,800.)
Kids jumping in an elevator. (Sony RX100 Mk IV at 8.8mm, f/1.8 at 1/125 at Auto ISO 4,000.)
I taught them to do this.
"Living Big in the Rain."
To get this look, I used significant burning and dodging in Photoshop with curves adjustment layer masks to darken the edges and sky, and another curves adjustment mask to warm the image.
We were hungry! We grabbed some snacks at one of the bars, and hit the dinner buffet as it opened at 5:30 PM. It turns out that it was so good we ate there every meal for the next week! They had everything, and everything was awesome.
Stir-fry station at the buffet. (Sony RX 100 IV at 8.8mm, f/1.8 at 1/10 at Auto ISO 125.)
Mom loved this; it was her favorite item. It was always cooked to order.
Cheese station at the buffet. (Sony RX 100 IV at 8.8mm, f/1.8 at 1/10 at Auto ISO 125.)
Katie clears 48 inches! This means she can go on the water slides!!! (Sony RX 100 IV at 11.3mm, f/2.5 at 1/15 at Auto ISO 125.)
Kids copying dad in the elevator again. (Sony RX100 Mk IV at 8.8mm, f/1.8 at 1/125 at Auto ISO 5,000.)
We were pooped. It was a long trip spanning two days to get here. We had dinner and were heading to bed. I popped out on the balcony to make a snap, and as I was going back in, heard thunder. I really wanted to get to sleep, but figured I was duty-bound to stay out in the lighting and see what I could get.
Lighting is easiest to shoot at dusk, which is also the very best time to shoot it because the sky is dark enough to show lightning, and light enough to show detail everywhere.
I was getting snaps in the default Auto ISO and Program modes, but instead forced it down to ISO 100. I used a tiny Adorama travel tripod that weighs about an ounce and held it down on the railing of my balcony.
I set the Sony to keep shooting as I held down the shutter. It kept making 1-second exposures.
I sorted through all my shots, and picked the one that had the best display a you see above, There's no need for triggers or anything because the shutter is open about 90% of the time; whatever happens you're going to get.
NEXT: 15 July 2015.