My first outing with the Ricoh GR III was also the first of the new 2020 spring. The temperatures were in the mid-60s, and I couldn't help but take the opportunity to shoot some of the local farmland and wooded areas.
Spring is just now breaking, so the leaves and flowers haven't bloomed yet, leaving trees still bare with the unappealing winter look. But the point of this trip was to find something, anything, that I could shoot with my GR III, and I wasn't disappointed.
The old half-destroyed structure
Not too far from my home in southern Johnson County, I found a half-destroyed brick structure. It's kind of a mix between a small home, or barn. Most of the interior has been destroyed by fire, but the appearance of relatively clean ladders tells me the owners are either about to tear the structure down, or renovate. Despite the No Trespassing signs, I made a quick circle around the structure.
In my opinion not entering the structure was following the 'No Trespassing' rule, can't imagine being yelled at for just taking photos from the outside, but walking inside is an insurance thing, homeowner responsibility, etc, so that's breaking the rules and understandable if the homeowner caught me and was angry - that's the way I look at it anyway.
The Mechanics of the Ricoh GR III
Now that I had found a subject, and a decent subject at that, it was time to turn my attention to the camera itself. And since I didn't really know what I was going to shoot in advance, I didn't really have time to prepare or think about settings, etc.
If I'm using my Canon T3i, I typically go manual and know my way around the controls, given that I've used it for several years. But with the Ricoh GR III I just made a last second decision to put it on PROGRAM mode and start shooting.
I've been shooting long enough to be past the whole "I'm more of a photographer than you because I shoot in Manual mode." The end result is the MAIN result. Doesn't matter how you get there, as long as you get there. So not being used to the small, compact controls, completely new camera system, etc, I just went with PROGRAM. And it worked great!
While the photos themselves are nothing spectacular, the quality of the photos are top-notch. I have to admit, I did like the point and shoot aspect of the camera, without lugging all the weight of my Canon. The only thing on my mind was the composition, and whether the focus took hold before the shutter released. It usually did.
Time to test the Macro Mode of the Ricoh GR III
The property also had an old crank-style water pump sticking up that I used to experiment with the Macro feature, which is easy to engage/disengage, with good enough results that I'm motivated to dig into Macro shooting a lot more in the future.
The performance and results of the Ricoh GR III were excellent! As I walked the perimeter of the structure, shooting inside when I came to an open window or hole in the wall, the exposures were already looking nice on the viewfinder, what little I could see with the glare.
I'm not used to using PROGRAM mode, so the meta data was interesting to view later in Adobe Lightroom. Of the photos I kept from the shoot, I found the camera stuck mostly with 200 ISO (100 in some cases), and stayed between f/2.8-4 for most the shots shooting into the structure. The average exposure time was around 1/125 sec.
While shooting one of the concerns I had with the PROGRAM mode was the possibility of over-exposure with the bright sunlight coming in the openings of the structure. As it turned out, only a few of the photos overall were blown out in the highlights, even though I did not use the overexposure-feature on the camera, which I will experiment with on next sunny day.
As a real estate photographer, the biggest concern is detail in the windows. And while the 18mm lens is a big tight for real estate shots (I use the 10-18mm, usually wide open at 10mm for interior shots), it does a great job of not over-exposing in PROGRAM mode.
One of my favorite shots of the day on the property was actually a big tree sitting right next to the road. As I walked back to my car I saw the composition and snapped a few shots. In hindsight, I should have backed up to get the entire tree in the frame. But I will be definitely returning to this location in the next week or so to get some more shots before the leaves take over the character of this massive tree.