I just came back from the Walhalla-Rawson excursion. As far as I can tell, everybody had a great time. I did. We stayed in a plain but comfortable-enough place in Rawson. Walhalla is another small town about 15km away from Rawson, and the centre of attraction in the region. We walked many of the hiking trails and took lots of pictures. Back at the lodge, we talked about photography, exchanged notes, or simply picked the brains of the more experienced ones.
Here's what I have learned from my trip, photography-wise. Firstly, I realized that to get the most out of shooting, I should not strive to take pictures with competition in mind. I should set myself free to take whatever pictures I feel like taking. That way, I will enjoy taking photos, and I find I am more successful in getting some shots that I really liked. On this trip, I did just that and I really enjoyed myself. In the last club outing to Cranbourne, I was trying very hard to get good pictures and I ended up with nothing. Also, I did not enjoy myself at all.
On camera gear, I looked at the various cameras everyone brought. They were all either Nikon or Canon. I must say I am happy with my choice of Nikon D90; comparing with what others had, the D90 is truly a midrange camera. Quite a few were using D700's and 5D Mark II, Nikon's and Canon's flagship products, but I am really satisfied with mine because I believe I won't be able to get much more out of the more expensive cameras than from my D90. I am also very happy to have chosen Nikon because of the ease of doing off-camera flash with the built-in commander mode. This is something Canon doesn't have ... yet?
I am also happy to have really got the most out of my polarizer and my tripod. Both were put to good use with effective result. Previously I was only using the polarizer to get a bluer sky, but now I can appreciate how it can also give me a richer colour by removing reflections from leaves and trees; certainly a great accessory to have on a very sunny day. As for using a stand, I learned to be more critical of even tiny camera shake, and that's where a tripod comes in. One member showed me what to look for when checking image sharpness at 200% view.