Morning comes to Flores

Sunrise in Flores, Guatemala:

Morning comes to Flores

We didn’t get to spend much time in Flores on our autumn trip to the Yucatan — really, just a night sandwiched between the ruins of Tikal and our flight east to Belize.  But we had a great night on the island, and were greeted in the morning by this amazing sunrise.

The original part of Flores (where we stayed) is an island in Lake Peten Itza — it was once the last Maya holdout (from the conquistadors) in the Yucatan peninsula.  Now the island is connected to the mainland by a causeway, and the town of Flores covers more ground there than on the island.

Wide zooms (for micro 4/3 cameras) compared

For a brief period of time, I owned three wide zooms that worked well on my Olympus E-M1 body — so I thought I should take the opportunity to compare their performance on a quick walk around a neighborhood park.  Actually writing up this review took a bit of time, and was prompted by an excellent comparison of two of these lenses over on Small Camera Big Picture.

A warning to pixel peepers: what follows is a real-life experiential comparison.

Wide zooms compared

The lenses, as you can see, were the Olympus 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 (4/3 system) lens on an MMF-3 adapter, the new Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 lens, and the Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 lens.  The 12-60 I’ve had for years, the 12-35 was a “gap-filler” purchase (for use while waiting for the 12-40mm to ship), and the 12-40mm my planned go-to lens going forward.

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The Olympus E-M1 and long exposures

I stumbled across something interesting on micro-4/3 camera forums, and thought it worth pursuing.  It’s been said (here, and here, and here) that the Olympus E-M1 has a problem with long exposures.  I’d noticed what looked like grain in my E-M1 images, so thought maybe it had a similar cause.

Since I’ve got an E-M1 and an E-M5 camera, and a bit of history with debugging, I thought I was well-placed to do some characterization testing.  To get a fair comparison, I first ran pixel mapping on my E-M5 and E-M1 bodies (to take care of any obviously “hot” pixels on the sensors), then took dark images (with the lens cap on) under the same conditions with both bodies:

  • ISO 200
  • 60 second exposure
  • Noise Filter set to Standard

I did this twice for each camera body — once with Noise Reduction off, and once with it on.  I took all 4 RAW images, converted them to JPG using Olympus Viewer 3, then grabbed a 400×400 pixel crop out of the center of each.

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Plein air

On our recent trip to Chicago, we did our usual tour of the local botanic gardens (one of the benefits of being married to a garden-loving woman).  While wandering through the Chicago Botanic Garden, I spotted an in-progress plein air watercolor:

Plein air

Sadly, the artist was nowhere to be found, so I couldn’t chat with them.  Just the same, I liked this composition…

The Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 10 — a pictorial review

I own some fairly roomy camera bags — but some trips just don’t allow me space for much photography gear.  For situations like that, and for trips when I need a protected way to carry a second camera body (with a lens or two), I purchased a Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 10 camera bag.

The Mirrorless Mover 10 is advertised to hold one medium size mirrorless body (e.g., the Olympus OM-D EM-5) along with one to two lenses and additional accessories. So since my photo gear is increasingly EM-5 based, I thought I might as well put one of these bags to the test, and let you come along for the ride.

Mirrorless Mover 10

To get the specs out of the way, the Mirrorless Mover 10 measures 5.3″ (13.5 cm) wide, 6.1″ (15.5 cm) high, and 4.5″ (11.5 cm) deep on the outside; 4.9″ (12.5 m) wide, 5.3″ (13.5 cm) high, and 3.7″ (9.5 cm) deep on the inside. It comes in two color combinations — I bought the black / charcoal one, you can also get it in black / taupe. As is usual for these folks, the bag is sturdily made and while being water resistant, also comes with its own rain cover.

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Sievers Mountain South

Captured from the trail to / around Maroon Lake — near Aspen, Colorado:

Sievers Mountain South

On our “fall colors” road trip through the mountains, we only made it to Aspen in the late afternoon — so the lighting was much better for shots on this side of the lake (vs. the more traditional / popular shot of the Maroon Bells themselves). I just love all the color in this frame!

Fireworks with an Olympus E-M5

Over the years, I’ve settled into having two semi-related sets of photography gear — a “large set,” and a “small set.” My small set of gear is all micro-4/3 stuff, and I recently upgraded that body to an Olympus OM-D E-M5 (yes, bit of a mouthful there). Or to be more accurate, I should say that I ordered an E-M5 back in March and it finally arrived a few weeks back.

So buoyed by reports of good performance in low-light situations, I took my shiny new (surprisingly small) little camera with tripod and cable release to a fireworks display that our town put on recently.

Celebration

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