OMD EM-5

I Love Intials. OMD EM-5… RFN-4.

Most of the summer I have been trying to get photos of the humming birds that have taken up residence at our house. I’m using the Olympus OMD EM-5 with a 40 to 150mm 4/3 lens (80 to 300mm equivalent on a 35mm camera) with the micro 4/3 adapter. A hummingbird flies at an average speed of 25-30 miles per hour and can do a fast dive at up to 60 miles per hour, which makes them a bit hard to catch. In addition to their speed they are easily scared off by movement. Their wings flap 12–80 times per second, and at just 3 inches long, even with the lens zoomed all the way in they don’t fill up much of a 16 megapixel shot.

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All of the shots here, were taken with the camera on a tripod on 15 to 20 feet from the subject. I’ve been setting the camera up on a tripod and then using a cable release so I won’t scare them off. The problem is the zoom lens is pretty slow, and while it’s a good lens, it’s not a great lens. I’m getting some OK shots, but the reality is I need to get closer with a better lens. This is where my new wireless release comes in. With a range of up to 80 meters, the RFN-4 Wireless release is going to allow me to tripod mount the camera with the very fast 45mm f 1.4 lens right by their favorite flowers.

The 45mm lens will give me enough light when wide open to be able to crank the shutter speed way up and freeze the action (something that has been hard to do with the 40 to 150mm at f5.6 ). The wireless release will let me pre-focus the camera, then hide out inside waiting for the hummingbirds to show up.

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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Santa Fe, OMD, Autostitch, Big Sky.

Part of the great thing about being on vacation is getting to see things you haven’t seen before. I’ve been to Santa Fe before, but photographically I’m getting to see it through a new lens. This image is from Fort Marcy looking east. It was shot on the amazing Olympus OMD EM-5 with the Olympus 17mm lens. 3 images that were shot, then stitched together with the Autostitch app to create the panorama.

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