Everyday Adventures Technology

Cameras, Competitions & Candy

The Bay of Kotor and Kotor Old Town from the Fort
Written by Kirstie

Cameras, Competitions & Candy

Kirstie Profile SmallWhen is a camera more than a camera? When it’s a compact competition winner for three bored kids in an unfamiliar city. In this sponsored post, brought to you in conjunction with Sony, we ask how compact? Well, you’d be surprised…

It’s competition time

Whilst in Kotor this summer I am left on my own with the kids as Stuart has to return to Croatia to pick up the car. In the old days, when the children were little, a separation like this used to fill me with dread; a foreign country, with no adult company and no transport. I’d desperately look around for a fun factory to kill the hours. But as the kids have grown up, spending time with them alone is fun. Although fun for them often means involving a little tech.

Give us a phone and app and we’ll be off for an hour geocaching. Give us half an hours net access and we’ll plan a half day tour of local attractions. Give us a camera and we’ll fill a whole day with a photo competition.

Why give kids a camera?

We have always had family photo competitions on our travels. Why? Because they are fun. Because they encourage creativity. Because they engage the kids with their environment. Because we’re a competitive lot. Because they fill time. And because we’ve got a website and a selection of social media platforms to feed with high res pictures. We all remember Bratislava quite vividly because we had a competition on its castle ramparts. And a photo challenge on our winter walk through Cumbria almost started a fashion for wearable moss.

Moss Hair Wigs

Cumbrian Moss wigs. Do you think they could catch on?

What’s the prize?

Of course every competition needs a prize to motivate the entrants and in Kotor, Hannah won’t leave the apartment until the prize is substantial enough. She negotiates a round of frozen yogurts for everyone taking part plus two euros worth of sweets for the winner. For the boys the challenge, and the victory of beating a brother is enough to make it worth their while, but the prospect of confectionery sweetens the deal.

When everyone is dressed and briefed the fighting over the cameras begins. Stuart is protective of his big DSLR; it’s heavy, expensive and he doesn’t like the kids using it unsupervised. I am surgically attached to my phone and don’t want to put it in sticky hands. The kids have their own gadgets but they are old and they say the controls and photo quality are not good enough to win a competition. What we could really do with, as Cameron our resident tech expert explains, is four decent compact cameras.

For travel, kids and competitions, compact is king

Back home I’ve been keeping an eye on developments in compact cameras, looking for something physically small, with high resolution, something easy enough for a child to operate but professional enough for Stuart. So this infographic from Sony caught my eye. I’ve been telling Stuart for a while that bigger isn’t always better but maybe I was wrong!

Sony Infographic NEX compact Camera range

Infographic showing how bigger is better

These days it seems bigger sensors come in smaller packages. This compact system camera range gives just the kind of performance we need. They are small enough to slip in your pocket, sensitive enough to get a good shot in the dark and with enough pixels to win a competition.

I’m no good with a DSLR and Stuart mocks me for it but I bet if I went head to head with him in a competition with one of these sophisticated gadgets I’d give him a run for his money. These little beauties have all the benefits of a DSLR in a handbag size. And it looks like Sony has got models for all the family in their NEX compact system camera range.  If me and the kids had our way it’d be a NEX 3 for Hannah, a NEX 5 for Cameron, a NEX 6 for Matthew while I take on Stuart with a Pro-grade NEX 7. Sony, are you listening?

Back to the competition

Back in Kotor, the kids make do with grubby phones and I lug round Stuart’s precious DSLR. We go to the iconic clocktower, to the tiny alleyways you can easily get lost in, to the churches where multiple cats bask in the sun outside, to the giant washing line that’s more art than laundry. We photograph people’s home interiors through their windows with cries of “That guy just photobombed my picture,” and counter cries of “Well, he does live there!” and counter-counter cries of “You’re an idiot. And your ugly face is spoiling my shot.”

Cam wins with his picture of a giant washing line in the Old Town. But Matt disagrees with the judge’s decision. And Hannah eats the prize when no one is looking. But we have a fun filled day packed with colour and creativity. We’ve hardly noticed the time, and we have quite a few high res, long lasting memories of our day.

Giant Washing in Kotor Old Town

The winning picture. Giant Washing in Kotor Old Town

Disclosure Note: This is a sponsored post. The story, views and opinions are, as ever, entirely our own.

About the author


Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.

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