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Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II Update


Kitty Hawk, NC Sunrise, August 2016


I’ve been shooting with my new Olumpus OMD EM10 Mark II for a few months now.  The camera has delivered on being a compact camera that delivers excellent image quality (provided ample light). However, the adjusment to micro 4/3’s shooting, and the Olympus EM10 Mii, has been a little more rocky than I had anticipated.

Perhaps the largest limiting factor has been the 14-42 kit lens that came with the camera.  The lens performs well with image quality (although desparately needs a lens hood), but the focal length equivelent of 28-82 and a 70 degree field of view are limiting.   I’ve just purchased a 7.5mm (15mm equivelent compared to full frame 35mm) Rokinon F3 manual focus lens to add to the bag that will allow me to get a little wider.  I know this is cheap (er) glass, but the reviews were quite good, so we will see how it performs.

As far as image quality, what I’ve found so far is in good light image quality beats the 7D. However as the scene darkens noise works in and most shots have been unusable.  I fully suspect I haven’t matched up ISO to the scenes just right, and that this will improve.  That said the 7D handled pre-dawn longer exposure shots at releativly low ISO w/o any limiting noise, and so far that’s not been the case with the Olympus E M10 Mii. Also in low light conditions, I’ve experienced dramatic auto focus issues.  I’m not asking the camera to focus in pitch black, but 25 minutes before the photo above was shot I was composing all shots in manual mode.

It’s not all bad news though!

McKees Breshers 07-2016-1.jpg

McKee Breshers WMA, Poolesville MD

One of the online critisims of the camera and kit lens was that you could kiss bokeh goodbye.  Well take a look at this image.  Plenty of bokeh and a nice shallow depth of field. I’ve done very little editing of this image.

I’ve also been dabbling with cloud stacking.  Here’s an example of a 50 frame timelapse edited as a single image.  Sorry for the over cooked foreground!


Jonas Green Park, Annapolis MD (50 image cloud stack) 

And finally to close, the camera has a 2x digital zoom, making the max focal length of the 40-150 M Zukio, the equivelent of 600mm on a 35mm sensor.  I was learly, because of past experiences with digital zoom,until I tested it out with front row tickets to a Frederick Keys baseball game.  Take a look


Frederick Keys, July 2016

All in all, it’s been challenging in low light, and the crop factor of camera has limited the width of the scenes I am trying to capture.  It’s got enough bells and whistles to keep me tinkering for a long time.  And image quality in decent light has surprised me compared to my 7D which was about 3x the price.  I think the investment I need to make with the camera is some decent glass.  The Olympus lenses are quite pricey, so I am researching options.  Until I figure that our, I’ll keep shooting away with the two kit lenses that came with the camera.




Bye Bye Canon

Hello all, I’m back.

So, it turns out I took a year and a few months off from photo blogging.  I can’t say it was some Zen moment, or an enlightening experience.  Truth is, I largely stopped taking photos for a while.  I am still wondering why, again not some conscious decision to “improve my craft” via a break from the hobby.  I just stopped.  Nothing extraordinary.

Then something quite interesting happened.  We went to Block Island, RI for a wedding and weekend away.  Block Island is a beautiful place.  Here’s a sunrise…


However, during the weekend my camera (Canon 7D w/  a Sigma F4 17-80) went missing. Stolen actually.  It was carelessness on my part.  It was left next to a bonfire at our hotel, and was gone when we went to retrieve. Pro-tip, stow your gear safely, especially if you are enjoying drinks around a bonfire.

However, the truth is I was a bit tired of the 7D, and in it’s absence and thoughts about how to replace, my mind shifted to a smaller, lighter, and more compact system.    I came to the quick realization that part of my loss in energy was that I was opting to leave the 7D home in favor of my iphone6 or Canon G7 (now an aging addition to my camera bag).  I was tired of lugging the heavy camera/equipment,

My first thought was to get a smaller DSLR, perhaps a Canon T6 or similar (never considered Nikon). But my mind conjured thoughts of my old 350D, so that was quickly dismissed.  I also briefly considered another 7D (Mark II), but then remembered the pain of lugging all that weight, and I was on a bit of a budget (now have a kid in college). Then mirror-less 4:3 systems caught my attention. I Eventually decided to make the jump to Olympus, and the OM-D E-M10 Mark II.  I’ll share a complete post on the camera and my initial images and review.

Here’s the M10 Mark II with the 40-150 (80-300 equivalent 35mm) MZukio zoom.


This weighs less than my Tamron 70-300 zoom not attached to the old 7D.  So, this is a significant space saver for my camera bag, but also several pounds less to lug around.   I did decide to keep my old Canon 350D with a 28-200 zoom as a back up camera in my bag.

Here are the reasons I made the switch:

  • I don’t need pro gear, I’m not a pro.  That said, I expect top quality images.  The M10 delivers this.
  • Lugging around heavy camera gear is a pain, and I had stopped taking photos because of it.
  • Micro 4:3 is emerging, and technological advancements in this realm are exceeding whats happening on the DSLR markets
  • I was on a bit of a budget, and couldn’t really afford the hefty 7D Mark II price tag (especially because I needed a new primary zoom lens as well).

So, I am back.  And the blog will continue.  Next post will be a review of the camera, as well as some images captured so far.  Stay tuned.


What’s next….

So here it is!  The end.

I’ve decided to shutter [bad pun i know] this photo blog.  Since it’s start back in 2007 it’s been a good journal of what’s become a great hobby. I’m proud of the photos I’ve posted.  The photos here are the product of some hard work.  And while some are better than others, I’ve enjoyed sharing them all.

However, over the past year a few things have changed.  First my shooting time has diminished dramatically.  I’ve picked up a few other interests, not replacing the photography, but replacing some of the time spent hunting for the “perfect” shot. Secondly, as a family we’ve transitioned away from the desktop being the primary location for using the internet. In doing so my photos have become disjointed and saved across several devices and in several light room catalogs.  Suddenly managing a portfolio, over multiple devices, which saw the introduction of 15K photos a year for the last 7 years is nearly impossible.  So the lack of time and a rather disjointed workflow have me thinking about the hobby, blogging, and how I want to approach both.  The current blog, in my opinion has run it course and is due to retire.

The new space, when it’ ready will be a discussion on composition and how I manage to “get” the shot, my slide down the technical learning curve, and a serious discussion on workflow and photo catalog management (not that I know anything about that, but I do know I’m doing it wrong).  Posts will be concentrated on projects not single photos.  All in all, a discussion of my hobby more than a presentation of my work.

So there will be one more post on this blog.  When I sign off in about a month.  By then the new blog will be hatched and I’ll share the details.

I have met a few interesting people along the way, and shared 646 posts with everyone.  However, it’s time to retool and rebuild.

Thanks to all!


Last of 2013

IMG_1619So I’ll end this years blogging the same way I ended 2012, with a sunrise shot from “the favorite spot”.  Colors weren’t nearly as amazing this year, but there’s always an interesting view from this spot.  In keeping with tradition my next post will be a report card of sorts where I look back over my photography in 2013 and figure out where I’ll be headed in 2014.

Still learning how to use ND filters and Grad ND filters.  This photo is a stacked ND8 and GND8.  Exposure is 58 seconds @ F25 ISO 100.  Started to get the cloud swirl going.  It’s refreshing to be getting these photos without relying on bracketing.  Also, very minimal processing in LR on this image.

Happy new year everyone!


Park View


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Very very busy, no time to blog



While my posts here have slowed a bit I assure you I am very very busy.  Busy both with photography projects and work.  I have been contacted recently to participate in a number of photography projects, which is very exciting.  Here’s a short list of what’s going on.

Earlier this month I was contacted by a publishing company who prints the Appomattox, VA phone book.  They were seeking permission to use a photo I posted of the Appomattox Battlefield.  I granted the permission, the book goes to print in early November.  This is the first time someone has asked permission to use my photos on a commercial level.  Sometime in the next few months, I’ll be traveling to Ft Myers FL to peddle some photos an art/jewelry show.  This is a first for me, and while the profit margin will be slim, I may cover my airfare to spend the weekend with good friends.  Also, next weekend I’ll be shooting photographs at a High School reunion  to be used on the reunion committees website.

But probably the most significant; I will be starting a project tomorrow AM (was going to start today but it was too cloudy)  for a client who has contacted me to produce a book of photographs.  It will take a year or more to shoot all of the photographs, and produce the final book. I’ll share the progress as I work through this project.  Already this has been a learning experience for me and has changed my approach to photography (for the better).  I’ve been refining my photography workflow so I can stay more organized with the photos taken during the project.  This a huge step for me into making this hobby a small source of income.

In the midst of all this, I got a new (day) job.  In mid-august, I moved from a local passenger transportation company providing commuter busing in Washington DC, to a Northeast regional transportation company (which is part of a larger national network)  providing passenger transportation from Washington DC to cities from Charlotte, NC to  New England.  It’s been a huge change and I’ve been quite busy.

Photo above is a rusty Alternator found a few weeks ago at the salvage yard.


Eyes falling out


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