A lot of people are still waiting for their pre-ordered Olympus OM-D E-M1II cameras to arrive — in the meantime, a number of them asked to see some high-ISO photographs to judge the camera’s abilities in the realm of astrophotography. After days of waiting, I finally got clear night skies where I live, so took some shots of the constellation Orion. Please bear in mind that I live in the south Denver metro area, so have to deal with light pollution — here’s the view looking south toward Orion from my house (enough sky glow to silhouette bits of a telephone pole and two trees):
For the above image, the EXIF is E-M1II, 12-40mm Pro lens @ 17mm, f/5.6, ISO 1600, 8.0 seconds. This is a SOOC image, by the way — all I’ve done to it is RAW conversion and scaling (to fit my blog’s template) in Lightroom.
But I didn’t only take this one image — I took a series of them, all unguided (i.e., on a still tripod): Continue reading →
In our neck of the woods, we’ve had cloudy night skies recently (at least, since my E-M1II arrived). So I’ve lacked a clear view of stars to test the beast on, but fortunately there are plenty of Christmas lights to work with. Here’s a quick shot from one of the more-colorful nearby houses:
Some of you may recall that when the original Olympus E-M1 was released 3 years ago, quite a controversy was stirred up by its handling of long exposures. Basically, the noise level for the E-M1 was much higher than that for it’s much cheaper predecessor, the E-M5. At the time, I was able to compare an E-M1 and E-M5 side-by-side, and wrote up the results for public scrutiny.
So, now that the E-M1II is available (if only in limited quantities so far), I thought it’d be interesting to compare my copy of it to my E-M1 that helped make such a stir (while I still own it). I’ve also got an E-M5II on hand, so thought I should throw it into the mix as well.
Note to readers: I’m keeping this post alive for its useful comment threads, but the post’s content has really been superseded by material in a newer post.
I recently received an Olympus E-M1 Mark II — the idea being that it’ll shortly replace my trusty original E-M1 I purchased a few years back. While I’ve still got both, I’ll be shooting and posting some comparison shots between the two models — but first will be writing a few posts on upgrades and changes in the new model.
First up — setting up back button focusing.
What is back button focusing?
For those unfamiliar with the term, back button focusing refers to separating the focus and expose functions that normally occur sequentially when you depress the camera’s shutter button (focus on half-press, exposure on full-press). If you “move” the focus function off the shutter button, and assign it elsewhere, life is easier when photographing a fast-moving subject (like wildlife) — you can focus once, then concentrate on your timing / composition / exposure. Assuming, of course, that your subject doesn’t change its distance from you significantly as it flits about.
For your weekend relaxation — a view of Montmorency Falls, near Quebec City, Quebec, Canada:
As waterfalls go, Montmorency is both photogenic and easy to get to, if you’re in the neighborhood (it’s a relatively short jaunt off a nearby highway). Some thoughts, though, should you be planning a trip to Quebec City: Continue reading →
Granted, this isn’t normally the kind of “Mayan” architecture I blog about, but in a distant sense, it’s related. Today I’m going to show you a bit of Denver history — the historic Mayan Theater, one of a few surviving examples of Mayan Revival style architecture.
By far one of the biggest adjustments we had to contend with when visiting Cuba was food. Not the food we ate — not at all. Tourists get treated to food of a quality and in a quantity comparable to what you’d find in visiting many places across the globe.
But the locals don’t get off so easily.
This is a bodega, the Cuban version of a ration center. We visited in mid-month, when clients were few and the stock (as you can see from the shelves) thin. From what we were told, though, bodegas are very busy places on the first of the month — when Cuban citizens can come in with their ration books and collect (at relatively low price) their month’s stock of staple foods. Continue reading →
A few weeks back, the publishing company Rocky Nook sent me a copy of a recently released title by Brian Matiash — it’s called The Visual Palette: Defining Your Photographic Style. Now that I’ve had time to read through the book and digest it, I thought a review / critique would be helpful to this blog’s readers.
At its core, The Visual Palette is about the process of developing / uncovering / growing your own personal photographic style, and learning to apply it in your work. About being personal and intimate in your photography, rather than distant and formulaic. Continue reading →
Of the many challenges of life in today’s Cuba, housing must rank among the greatest. There’s not enough of it, much of the available housing stock is in terrible shape, and the Cuban legal code makes it hard to legally transfer ownership — so moving households is a big challenge.
In this shot from above (courtesy of a hotel upper-floor window), you can see how some units were turned into small yards after their roofs collapsed. Continue reading →