Ullr in the storm

A snow sculpture of Ullr, norse god of skiing, on display at the 2023 Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships.
Ullr in the storm

As luck (good? bad?) would have it, our drive up to Breckenridge for the 1st public day of sculpture viewing coincided with the arrival of another storm front. Appropriate, I suppose, for a bunch of sculptures made from snow.

ProMaster batteries — a good option for the OM System OM-1 camera?

When the folks at OM System (formerly Olympus Imaging) released their new flagship camera, the OM-1, it came with its own new high-capacity battery — the BLX-1. As is usually the case with new battery designs, supply was tight at first. But pandemic supply chain issues (and maybe other problems) have helped keep supply tight since then, and prices for BLX-1 batteries have only gone up in the meantime.

So what’s an OM-1-loving / cost-conscious photographer to do? Plenty of 3rd-party batteries are available on various websites, with varying price, performance, reliability, and safety. I’ve seen good results from ProMaster accessories in the past, so I thought I’d give their batteries a try, particularly since they’ve recently introduced BLX-1 “equivalents” with a twist — built-in USB charging. What follows is a “first impressions” view of the situation (more details will follow in a later post).

Visual overview

Batteries compared, bottom viewLet’s start visually. Here’s a bottom view of three batteries that I’ll be comparing — an OM System BLX-1, a ProMaster replacement, and a ProMaster battery with built-in charging. If you were curious, I purchased all of them — no vendor-provided stuff here.

Continue reading

Colorado away!

Liftoff of a Colorado-themed hot air balloon at the closing session of the (rain plagued) 50th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Colorado away!

We haven’t had a chance to attend the Fiesta for years, but this year’s event lined up perfectly with some family travel we had on the calendar. We showed up in town the Friday night at the end of the Fiesta, just in time for the Saturday morning and evening main events to be cancelled due to bad weather (an unusually wet October for New Mexico meant many events were cancelled through the week).

Luckily for spectators and the remaining balloonists, the weather improved overnight, so the Sunday morning mass ascension could still take place. A lot of pilots had given up before that point, so it was a relatively “thin” mass ascension, but we were all happy to see a respectable number of balloons airborne.

OM Digital OM-1, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 II lens
34mm, f/13, 1/80 sec, ISO 200

LS-P4 vs. LS-P5 audio recorders — an early comparison

The fine folks at OM System have just announced the upcoming release of their new LS-P5 audio recorder (it’s now available for pre-order). A variety of tutorial-centric videos have been released as part of this announcement, but I couldn’t find a direct comparison of the LS-P5 to its (slightly dated but still pretty good) predecessor, the LS-P4 (update on that situation is below).

LS-P5 Photo

Photo courtesy of OM System

So based on available information, I pulled together my own high-level comparison — I’ve got an LS-P4, and wanted to know if the new gadget would be worth the upgrade for me. Continue reading

Vernazza afternoon

Looking down on the Cinque Terre town of Vernazza on a stormy afternoon. The harbor would normally be full of small boats at this time of day, but they were all pulled out of the water due to dynamic sea conditions.

Vernazza afternoon

Earlier this year, we were able to spend a bit of time in Italy. Out of this, we had three days to rattle around in Cinque Terre — a group of 5 old fishing towns. They’re quite a photogenic group, although I’d vote for Vernazza as the prettiest. They’re all also connected by both a seaside hiking trail, and shuttle service on the local rail line — so you’ve got multiple options for getting around to see the sights, as a function of your schedule and exercise tolerance. I took this shot from the trail on the north side of town — not terribly far to go for a “postcard” view.

Olympus E-M1III, M.Zuiko 8-25mm f/4 lens
8mm, f/11, ISO 200, 1/200 sec