Posted on March 21, 2018
During the last couple of weeks, I have not been posting much online. I have been visiting a remote location with no wifi and a phone that ran out of credit. However, I have still been busy on a couple of projects. The photos will emerge at some point, so watch this space. Here is a little teaser of what I have been doing.
I am fortunate to have spent the last week camping out with my Grade 6 class at the Nilgiris Hills, in Southern India. As well as being responsible for student wellbeing, I also had the task of photographing the week’s events. My gear of choice was the Olympus Em5ii with the 12-40mm and 25mm lenses. I am used to using this camera for a day’s photography. However, using it for a full week, from when I woke up to when I went to bed was going to show up its strengths and weaknesses.
I took two batteries with me; one is an official Olympus battery and one a cheap knock-off from China. In general, there was always a charging point nearby. However, the life of these batteries is still way shorter than with my Nikon D7100, which can run for days without a charge. A couple of tips, turn the screen around and just use the EVF. I also turned off the image stabilization for a lot of the time; mainly when there was a lot of sunlight. Mirrorless has caught up with DSLR’s in every aspect but battery life, and the Olympus range of cameras is no exception.
The 12-40mm lens will remain my go-to choice for Street and People Photography. However, in this situation, there were times when I wished my lens had more reach. While nature photography is not my usual bag, if I see a wild animal then I damn well want to capture of shot of it. As well as a plethora of exciting bird life, I was privileged to witness a herd of wild Gaur, these are huge horned cows and are pretty dangerous. I managed to get reasonably close for a picture but would have loved a longer lens. The 12-40mm range also falls short when needed for sporting activities, such as abseiling. On the Street, I can get close to people, but with nature and sport, this intimacy is not so achievable. Olympus have a 12-100mm lens that would be ideal for this kind of camp, but I don’t think I would want to be using a lens that big and heavy every day. The strength of the 4/3’s system is, in part, due to its compactness.
I had updated the firmware and lost my customized settings, and this meant I had to set my camera up once more. Re customizing my camera turned out to be a good thing, and I am now pretty happy with my settings, which I will share with you at some point. People criticise the controls of the Olympus cameras, but time spent customizing your Olympus camera will make it sing. While away I also had a chance to play with the pixel shift technology, for some reason the camera chose to shoot in Jpeg format, which while not ideal, helped to ensure that I got it right ‘in camera.’ However, this is not a feature I am likely to use much.
Once again, I love the images captured with this camera. For a short period, I will leave the album up on this site (https://pagespics.com/nilgiris-camp/). The photos are a little different from my usual fare, but it is a great way to share the images with the students who came on camp. Again, I always shoot RAW to get the best out of my camera. To edit the multiple photos quickly, I used the synchronize option in Lightroom.
I do not usually use my Olympus for a lot of video. However, this may change as I am happy with the footage captured. The 5 axis image stabilisation worked a treat. You can see the final edited version of the movie on my YouTube channel. The image stabilization meant I could leave my tripod in the bag. Again, with Micro 4/3’s less is more! I love to travel light. My editing was carried out using iMovie, although basic, it is a piece of software that gets the job done, plus the price is perfect!
I had a great week, taking pics with my camera. I loved its compactness and versatility, and the photos look great. I would have liked the batteries to have had a better life and would have appreciated a little more length on the zoom. If I threw money at these issues, I could get a battery grip and the 12-100mm lens. However, there is no extra pay for taking photos when I am at work, so it would be hard to justify the cost. Adding these extra’s would also negate the advantage of the system’s compactness, plus I do not need either of these items for my Street Photography.
Tonight I head for a brief stint in the UK, which is covered in snow. It has been a few years (at least) since I last experienced cold weather and I own NO warm clothes. Hopefully I will get a chance get out and capture a little Street Photography.