I loved the idea of the Nikon 1 AW1 camera the minute it came out. Then I got to bum it off friends over and over again. Last week, I put my very own Nikon 1 AW1 in the water, sand and waves for the first time. It was true love. It was so easy and so much fun. The Nikon 1 AW1 is the world’s first waterproof, shockproof, interchangeable lens camera. It’s small. It’s light. It can get wet. It’s supposed to get wet. It works great on Auto. And it has a whole host of other features if you want to get more creative.
Most of the pictures below were shot on either Auto or the camera’s predetermined underwater settings. I have a few examples below of other creative settings too. This camera has a manual feature but I haven’t used it yet. I really wanted to simply point and shoot; relax and see what this little baby could do without me changing a bunch of settings. It rose to the occasion big time. Without getting into color theory or Photoshop, I think the colors look pretty great – not too cool, not too warm. Every now and then, a creative setting saturated an image too much, but it’s actually kind of fun to see. I also really love the 11-27.5mm wide-angle lens that came with the camera – the wider view helps tell the whole story. I love the solitude of my kids in the ocean alone, but seeing Jay skim board on a busy beach is an important part of our story too. For better or for worst, wide angle lens are known for causing distortion around the edges of your frame. The distortion controls in this camera worked great for me! If I had to pick one negative about Auto, it would be that it didn’t control ALL of the highlights. That’s really hard for a camera to do on it’s own. With my professional camera, I control the highlights by spot metering to make sure they match my vision. When you shoot in Auto, the camera makes these decisions for you. You’ll see a few hot spots in these pictures but they really don’t bother me. I was shooting in mid-day sun anyway and the point of this camera (for me) is that’s is easy, breezy, light and fun. I spent minimal time editing these, mostly just a few simple conversions to black and white. I’m so happy with this little mirrorless camera. It’s no substitute for my Nikon d610 but it sure did laugh in the face of sun, sand and surf. That’s important to me. It helped me capture my family fun without worrying about harming my professional equipment.
The two vertical shots below were taken in different creative modes. The first was shot in Selective Color mode in which I designated green to highlight the skim board. The second shot was taken with a Miniature Effect causing everything around my focus point to blur.
P.S. You know I took my professional camera too. Stay tuned for more beach pictures, the portrait kind with less water and waves 😉 See more of my family in my personal project 50 Summer Snaps. Several of these AW1 shots are making it into that collection.
Abbe McCracken is a portrait and lifestyle photographer serving Charlotte, NC and the surrounding areas of Matthews, Ballantyne, Weddington and beyond. She specializes in family, child, newborn and event photography. Abbe is a member of the National Association of Professional Child Photographers and is the 2015 winner of Charlotte Smarty Pants’ Best Family Photographer, Hulafrog South Charlotte’s Most Loved Family Photographer and Charlotte Parent Readers’ Favorite Family Photographer.