OMD EM-5

Art of the Car. Ghosts Amongst Machines.

Today was the eighth annual Art of the Car Concourse at the Kansas City Art Institute. With each new year, the quality of the cars being shown increases, and so do the crowds. Both things are good, since the ticket money goes to a scholarship fund, and everyone gets to see a diverse and interesting group of automobiles. The challenge however for those of us taking photos, is how to get rid of the oblivious passerby that walk through your shot.

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The image above shows both the solution and the problem in action. That ghosted blur is the legs of a man that stood directly in front of my camera as I took the shot. He’s a ghost because the exposure was five seconds long. The photo isn’t ruined, but it isn’t right either. Thankfully by using a heavy neutral density filter, long exposure, and low ISO settings on the OMD, I was able to experiment with a new process and pretty much eliminate the walking masses from some of my shots.

I didn’t want to drop a ton of cash on a piece of gear for a process I’d never tried before, so I picked up an in expensive variable ND filter for 35 bucks at a local camera store. The filter when set to its maximum allowed me to expose for up to five seconds at ISO 200 or lower. Now I wish I had gotten an even heavier ND filter so I could have opened the aperture up and blurred the background out. Because it was 9:30 AM the sun was bright enough that I had to stop down to f16-22 in most of the shots at this exposure length. Lesson for next year.

All the images below were taken on my OMD EM-5 with the Zuiko 12 to 40mm f2.8 lens. ISO was either 200, or Low ISO. Exposure times ranged from 2 to 5 seconds depending on light, and how many people were walking through the shot. Minor post processing was done to the JPEG’s on my iPad in SnapSeed. Raw images will get uploaded later.

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Bottoms Up.

After spending a total of seven hours of hiking through various trails at altitude it’s safe to say I had my ass handed to me. The photo below was at Lilly lake after hiking up to Jurassic Park trying to find rock climbers. No rock climbers, but a great view from the top was great.

This is a mallard duck couple over in the marshland South of Lilly Lake. The challenge, getting them to sit still, not fly off, or swim behind tall marsh grass. Using a tip from a wildlife photo blog I set the OMD to aperture priority, set the f-stop to f-11 and started shooting. The 150mm to 300mm did a great job and the OMD’s image stabilization saved me. This is all the way out at 300 with the birds at about 50 yards.

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Minor post processing was done in Snap Seed on the iPad with a little tone adjustment.

A New Solution for a Vintage Camera.

Back in December when I bought my vintage Olympus OM2 it came with the most amazing original leather case for the whole kit. Fine grain brown leather with enough room to hold the camera, 3 lenses, flash and filters. The only problem with it is the case weighs a couple of pounds empty, and when full loaded the narrow strap cuts through your shoulder like a dull knife. It looks great though. That case got me to wondering where I could find a new case, with a vintage look for both the OM2 and my Olympus OMD EM-5. Enter the Hard Graft Frame 1 Camera Bag.

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Hard Graft makes some serious leather goods, and once again this looks like an amazing piece of work. Retro styling, and modern features. Constructed completely of 100% vegetable tanned leather with a soft wool lining this case will more than protect your pricey camera gear. It features a removable divider components separated and there is a small zip pocket for your memory cards or film (if you still shoot with it), cables or phone. The shoulder strap is detailed with 100% wool felt, is fully adjustable, and features a comfortable shoulder pad.

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The Olympus OMD EM-5 is Camera of the Year.

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time Olympus was embroiled in a massive financial scandal that almost cost them their camera division. 12 months later the Olympus OMD EM-5 was voted camera of the year at Digital Photography Review. It’s no surprise to me, I pre-ordered it as soon as it became available, and it has been my primary camera since it arrived at my house in May. The camera, while not perfect, is pretty damn remarkable. Olympus should be very proud of the award, and getting the camera division back on the right track.

By the way, the OMD EM-5 beat out the Canon 5D Mk III, and the Nikon D-800. Not bad, not bad at all.

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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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It’s For the Birds

After spending all summer trying to capture some half way decent images of the hummingbirds in my yard, I think I might have found a better solution than the OMD on a tripod with a wireless shutter release. Really what I would like is the Bird Photo Booth to house my OMD with a wireless shutter release controlled by my iPhone. None the less for $150.00 Bird Photo Booth has produced some pretty amazing sample images.

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I love the retro design styling, and the fact that this can hold the GoPro Hero 3 as well as any iPhone, or iPod Touch. I also like the fact that is not software dependent allowing you to use your app of choice to talk to the camera you are using.

I just hope I can get some shots like the ones below in the future if I buy this.

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