Olympus OMD

Creative Renewal

One of the great things about taking the annual photo weekend trip to Colorado is not just spending time with good friends, but also having the opportunity to focus on being creative for me. On the drive out to Estes we stopped at Monument Rocks about 20 miles from Oakley Kansas to get some sunrise shots of the rock formations that grow out of the Kansas Prairie unlike anything else in the state. These were shot with the Olympus OMD EM-1¬†Taking full advantage of the world-class image stabilization built into the camera. Tonight some experiments with “Live Composite” mode for night time shooting… provided the clouds hold off and we can see the night sky.

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The Coyotes Are Hunting

One of the things I love about staying at Tim’s place in Estes Park, Colorado is the abundance of wildlife so close to the property. The image below was taken just a half mile from his house, South of the Lumpy Ridge Trail Head. I was testing out the 150 to 300mm (300 to 600 on a full frame DSLR) with the OMD.

The camera did a solid job of stabilizing the shot, but I need practice with the lens though. Especially at maximum focal length. The shot below has the lens all the way out. The coyote is about 75 yards away.

What I noticed was all the grass seems sharp, as well as the coyotes face. The mid section of his body seems a bit soft though. I think I need to increase shutter speed and find the sweet spot on an f-stop that renders sharpness across the depth of the frame.

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RMNP

I’m going on vacation for a few days starting tomorrow so my concentration is blown. For the next 6 days I’ll be hiking around in Rocky Mountain National Park taking photos and enjoying the emerging spring in Colorado. Last week PetaPixel posted a link to a Phelarn video on tips and tricks for improving landscape photographs. I’ve been using Photoshop since version 1. Since before Adobe even owned the software. The thing that is great about Photoshop and sites like Phlearn is, you can always learn something new, or remember a technique you might have forgotten along the way. The image below is something I shot last year, and used some of the Phlearn tricks from the video below it to enhance my image. RMNP is going to be fun. I’ll be posting images from the trip over the next few days. I hope I don’t bore everyone to death.

RMNP

Old School meets New School. Vintage Lenses on the OMD.

A few weeks back I purchased a vintage Olympus OM 2N with 4 lenses on eBay. The purchase while sort of sentimental in nature, did have a couple of real world purposes. I wanted those vintage manual lenses to mount on my Olympus OMD EM-5. Using a Bower adapter, I did just that and the early results show promise. Taking some test shots with the 28mm f 3.5, the 50mm f 1.8, and the 35 to 70mm f 4.0 lenses over the last couple of days have turned out some OK results. Shooting in full manual mode all three lenses produced sharp, bright images with a creamy bokeh and when wide open a shallow depth of field that looks really nice. As I use these vintage lenses more, I’ll post more images and a more thorough review of the Bower adapter and any tips about shooting with these older lenses.

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The Elusive Hummingbirds

This summer I put up a hummingbird feeder and planted a number of flowers that attract the elusive birds. I say elusive, because even though they are swarming the feeder, they are shy when it comes to being photographed.

For the last few weeks I have been trying a number of approaches with the OMD, most of which involve shooting with the 40 to 150mm lens from inside. Not an ideal situation since it puts me so far away from the subject. Recently I’ve begun sitting quietly about 15 feet from the feeder and patiently waiting for their return.

The results are mixed. They either perch of top of the feeder, or feed on the back of it making it hard as hell to get a decent shot. The good thing is,I’m getting more familiar with the cryptic menu system on the OMD, and for every thirty or so photos I get. Couple of good ones. Like they say, practice makes perfect.

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Saturday Morning with the OMD

It’s a beautiful August Saturday morning. For the first time since June, it feels like the weekend is starting off with tolerable weather. I think the heat has finally broken. Now if we could just get some much needed rain.

Earlier this year, I planted a flower bed in the front yard with the intention of drawing hummingbirds, butterflies and bees to the house. we have always had a casual visit from Ruby Throated Hummingbirds, but nothing steady. I wanted something that would draw them in so that I could try and photograph the shy little guys. The hummingbirds are here, just not in great supply. I think the drought has kept them out of the Kansas City area.

this morning while patiently waiting for the return of the ever present female hummingbird, I decided to use the OMD to grab some shots of the butterflies that have invaded the flower beds. Using the the 40 to 150 zoom I grabbed a seat at the end of the walk way to the house, set the camera to aperture priority, opened it up, zoomed in and snapped away.

The more I use the OMD, the more I realize how outstanding this camera is. Especially when combined with some of Olympus’s newer lenses that have been optimized to take advantage of the super quick autofocus. The lens I was shooting with while adequate, is not the fastest glass on the block and it showed. This lens is for the full sized Olympus DSLR. I was shooting with the micro 4/3 adapter ring, and while it focused quick enough to catch butterflies feeding on the flowers, it simply doesn’t have the speed for hummingbirds, or even the fast moving bees. What this lens does offer though, is an amazing shallow depth of field and a sharp center focus, which lends itself well to the kind of images shown below.

As for the camera, it is wonderful. I could write pages about shooting with it, but there are hundreds of in-depth reviews out there and I’m not going to write another. Let me just say this. The camera is a joy to shoot with. It’s not perfect, but no camera is. I love the small compact footprint, the bright EVF, the large HD LCD panel, and the ability to custom program pretty much every button on it. (something I am still figuring out)

Now, I’m off to get another hummingbird feeder with the hope of attracting more to the yard.

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I’m Lusting ILLOT this Friday Afternoon.

I have a thing for retro styled digital cameras. Its one of the things that attracted me to the Olympus EP and OMD series cameras. I don’t have a thing for film anymore. I have moved fully into the digital camp and this is where I’ll stay. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a soft spot for retro film cameras though. Especially cameras like the ones that are being done up by ILOTT Vintage.

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ILOTT collects and restore select vintage rangefinder cameras taking great care, time and pride in refurbishing each camera that they acquire.The cameras are put through a series of rigorous tests to ensure that they are field ready before being sold.

Taking the cameras to a new level, ILOTT replaces leather body coverings with premium quality wood veneers tailored to each camera for a unique vintage appearance. Since no two cameras ILOTT creates are exactly the same, they continue to restore cameras rather than rely on the collection they already have on hand.The cameras are wrapped in Mansonia, or Mahogany which is applied by hand after the camera has been restored. I love the Argus C3, but I have to say the Mahogany Canonet QL 17 has me all lusty this afternoon.

“We love the mystery of not knowing where the cameras have been before, who has used them and what photos they might have taken.”