Readers of this blog know that most of my photography over the past few years has been done with the Micro Four-Thirds (m43) system. Specifically, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and E-M5 cameras. I love the m43 system and have taken thousands of pictures with my Olympus cameras. I’ve had my Olympus cameras since the OM-D E-M5 was introduced in 2012 and love the system.
I converted to m43 after shooting Nikon DSLRs for many years. I used the Nikon DX (APS-C) cameras, most recently the Nikon D200. When I was ready to upgrade the camera in 2012, Nikon had not released a new DX camera since the D300s in 2009. I wanted a D400, but Nikon seemed to abandon the professional DX market. Rather than go full frame, as the Nikon marketing machine apparently wanted, I went the other way and went to the smaller sensors of the m43 system. In a surprise move this year, Nikon released a successor to the D300 after a 7-year hiatus. The company skipped the D400 label and calls the new camera the D500.
I’m now ready to supplement my E-M1 camera with another body and the choice comes down to the E-M1 Mark II or the Nikon D500. I have acquired a significant collection of m43 lenses and I love these small, high performance gems. I find that most m43 lenses are sharp right from the widest aperture, unlike most DSLR lenses. Although I sold some of my Nikon lenses, I still have a significant collection of Nikon glass — mostly the longer lenses for wildlife photography. Continue reading →
Sometimes less is more. Although I normally adhere to the Boy Scout motto (Be prepared), sometimes I try to minimize the equipment I carry with me. The Olympus Micro Four Thirds system makes that easy. On New Year’s Eve, I took my Olympus OM-D E-M5 with me to our local celebration. I had the Panasonic/Leica Summilux 15mm/f1.7 lens mounted. This is a great lens for a variety of applications, and the E-M5/15mm combo fits in your coat pocket. Giulio Sciorio has advocated this ‘one camera/one lens’ approach in the past, and I like to try it occasionally. Continue reading →
I live in Sugar Land, Texas. It’s probably best known now for the country band Sugarland. Ironically the band is from Atlanta, but the members liked the name and took it from the town. Although Sugar Land is a modern suburb of Houston, there are still remnants of the original sugar industry from which the town derives its name. Most notably are the abandoned buildings and silos of the Imperial Sugar Company. Once I saw the silos, I had this picture in my head. I just had to wait for an overcast day that would give me the negative space I wanted for the composition.
An interesting fact… Tonight (New Year’s Eve) the town will count down to midnight with the dropping of the giant sugar cube. 🙂
Olympus OM-D E-M1 with Panasonic 35-100 f/2.8
1/320s | f/5.0 | ISO 100 | 56mm | Gitzo GT0545T with RRS BH-30
She was there the day we moved into our house in Bicester, England. Sitting on the front porch like she owned the place. When we opened the door to our new house, she just walked in. She was cute, but she wasn’t ours. She was black with a white bib, and a white dot on her belly. The white dot led to her name–Domino.
We soon learned that she belonged to our neighbor. Domino was no kitten when we met her; she was three years old. The previous owner had allowed her to use the house as a refuge from her brother, Oscar. The two cats did not get along, and Oscar was the dominant feline. Our home had a cat flap on the back door, and Domino was accustomed to coming and going as she pleased. Initially we resisted. We kept the cat flap closed. We didn’t feed her. We didn’t want our new neighbors to think we were trying to “steal” a cat. Even so, she spent a great deal of time at our home. Continue reading →
It’s that time for the annual renewal of my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. This has become a struggle for the last few years, as Adobe makes it increasingly difficult to modify your plan. They want to automatically renew at the highest subscription rate possible. Last year, they double renewed me after I changed my plan to the annual rate from the monthly rate. The company continued charging me for the monthly plan after I renewed at the annual rate. It took hours on the phone with Adobe to straighten out that mess.
I have a tendency to not stray too far with contrast and levels sliders when processing images. When working with a color image, over-doing it can render the image cartoonish. However, when processing B&W images, sometimes you need to give it an extra push in processing. The image below is a good example. After working with the image below I was reasonably happy with this version:
Regular readers of this blog may recognize the above image from a previous post. However, you have not seen the original photo that caused me such problems when writing that post. Below you will see two versions of the same photo. The first is the original jpeg conversion from an Olympus Raw file. The second is a slightly different conversion. The only difference between the two is the color space. Continue reading →
Olympus OM-D camera bodies have a feature called In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS). This feature reduces camera shake when the shutter speed gets low. The big advantage of the IBIS system is that stabilization is available for any lens you put on the camera. Most other cameras use lens based stabilization. This means the image stabilization capability resides in the lens hardware. Either stabilization system works well, but lens-based stabilization means each lens must be IS capable and not all lenses are built this way. Sometimes the feature is removed to save costs; sometimes the manufacturer just doesn’t think it is necessary. That was often the case with my Nikon lenses. Nikon just doesn’t seem to think IS (or as they call it- VR, for vibration reduction) is necessary for wide-angle, normal, and short telephoto lenses. None of the Nikon lenses I used most often for portraits had VR. Occasionally, I used the 70-200/f2.8 lens for portraits. It had VR and was very sharp, but it was big and heavy, so I didn’t use it for portraits very often. Continue reading →
As I was posting the above photo to social media, it reminded me that I have been meaning to write a review of the Peak Designs Capture Pro Camera Clip (Amazon Link). The picture above was possible because as I was hiking in Nepal I had my camera at the ready on a Capture Pro Clip. I was trekking through a small village on the way to Everest Base Camp. I came upon these two girls playing in front of their home and just unclipped my camera and took the shot. If I my camera had been in my backpack, I never would have dug it out for this quick opportunity.
If you are not familiar, the Capture Pro Camera Clip attaches to the shoulder strap of a backpack and has a mounting plate for your camera. You just clip the mounting plate into the clip on the backpack and your camera is at the ready for quick access. I used the system almost daily for three weeks while trekking in Nepal in May, and for almost a week in June while hiking in Colorado.
Here is the promotional video the company provides for the clip:
I was reminded this week how much I enjoy going to my local Meetup events. I attended a Portrait and Lighting shoot at a downtown park a few nights ago. The event was well attended by about 40 photographers. If you haven’t been to a Meetup event in your area, you should sign up at Meetup.com and take the plunge. Here are three reasons why…
1. You can try something new If you usually shoot wildlife, then you can go to a portrait meetup and vice versa. There are lots of photographers at most shoots that are willing to help you with techniques, settings, etc. Continue reading →