The tree of knowledge – the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 is great even into the sun

Written by admin on June 1st, 2014

Following on from my earlier post demonstrating images taken on Daylesford, Victoria with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8lens, here is another from that region.

This was again shot using the lovely, light and very sharp Olympus mZD 75mm f/1.8 lens& on the Micro Four Thirds camera, the lovely little Olympus OM-D E-M5:

the tree of knowledge

tree of knowledge

This image was exposed to create a silhouette and then processed in Lightroom principally to darken and warm the clouds.

ps.. if shooting into the sun, remove any filters which may introduce internal lens flare – unless of course, you want this.

 

Yet another day out with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens

Written by admin on May 29th, 2014

Following on from my earlier post demonstrating images taken on Daylesford, Victoria with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8lens, here are some more from nearby Mt Macedon.

These were shot using the lovely, light and very sharp Olympus mZD 75mm f/1.8 lens& on the Micro Four Thirds camera, the lovely little Olympus OM-D E-M5 (NB. no PS other than toning adjustments):

autumn light

autumn light

An alien deciduous tree in an Aussie eucalypt forest

an alien tree

Fall leaves:

fall leaves

Winter is coming:

Winter is coming

 

Occultation of saturn by the full moon tomorrow night (14th May 2014)

Written by admin on May 13th, 2014

UPDATE: Here is a shot from tonight using the Olympus E-M5 with Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens and eyepiece projection via a 10″ Newtonian telescope. Seeing was not great but at least the clouds were less than earlier.

saturn occultation May 2014

Those lucky people in Australia with access to a camera and a telescope (or at least a telephoto lens with around 1000mm or more focal length in 35mm terms) will be able to attempt to photograph saturn with its rings going behind the full moon (this is called an occultation) tomorrow night.

Times in the various cities can be found on Ian Musgrave’s web blog post here.

For those of use in Melbourne where the forecast is for nice clear skies (hopefully), saturn will disappear behind the moon at ~ 8.50pm local time and then reappear around 10pm.

You will not need to go to a dark rural site as light pollution will not be as much of a problem other than preventing accurate polar alignment – but this is not really needed either given the short exposures of well less than 1 second. More of an issue is atmospheric disturbances so, a site above grassed land or over water and away from houses is preferred – but then you will have to deal with standing on wet, dew affected grass. For best seeing, elevated sites away from urban areas may be best – but these are colder.

You will need to have everything set up by about 8pm to ensure it is all working for you, and the telescope has had a chance to cool down so your seeing conditions are better.

You will need to manually focus on the moon or saturn well before the crucial events occur as you will be too busy taking shots in the couple of minutes or so each event itself will last.

Ideally you will control your camera remotely so you don’t shake the telescope, and ideally you won’t be using a SLR but a mirrorless camera so the mirror doesn’t shake the telescope.

An ideal camera for this is the new Micro Four Thirds cameras such as the Olympus E-M10 or Olympus E-M1 as these are not only mirrorless cameras which can shoot at rather fast burst speeds of around 10fps for brief bursts (you need rapid shots as atmospheric seeing changes rapidly within each second so sharp images may only be seen on a few frames out of 10 shots), but you get a great compromise in having the most telephoto effect for a large sensor camera while still having good image quality at ISO 1600-3200 (and you will probably be needing ISO 3200).

Better still, these 2 cameras allow you to wirelessly tether to a smartphone so you can see what you are imaging on your smartphone BEFORE you take it and remotely release the camera shutter without shaking the camera. Very nice indeed – my Olympus E-M5 does not have this feature so I will be using a TriggerTrap accessory and iPhone app to trigger the camera by cable.

Manual focus is made more accurate by being able to magnify the image in the electronic viewfinder.

Here is a previous blog post of mine demonstrating what can be achived using the Olympus E-M5 with the TriggerTrap accessory to photograph the occultation of Jupiter by the moon.

Tomorrow night’s event will be a little tougher as saturn is much less bright than jupiter, but it will be higher in the sky so hopefully there will be less atmospheric disturbance and less atmospheric extinction.

Here is one of my images from the Jupiter occultation:

Jupiter

Good luck and have fun.

For those without the above, a pair of binoculars will be useful.

More on astrophotography here, and more on lunar occultations here.

 

Another day with the Olympus 75mm lens – Daylesford

Written by admin on May 10th, 2014

Following on from my earlier post demonstrating images taken on Mt Macedon, Victoria with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8lens, here are some more from nearby Daylesford – a lovely township in central Victoria famous for its mineral springs such as those at Hepburn Springs.

These were shot on a sunny day  using the lovely, light and very sharp Olympus mZD 75mm f/1.8 lens& on the Micro Four Thirds camera, the lovely little Olympus OM-D E-M5 (NB. no PS other than toning adjustments):

the olde cart

the olde cart

Aussie farm tools from a bygone era

farm tools

Remains of vintage train wheels at Trentham:

train wheels

 

Have I told you how much I love the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens?

Written by admin on May 4th, 2014

I really enjoy going for walks in the forests and gardens in the nearby hills, and taking the light and compact Micro Four Thirds camera kit avoids making these walks a burden as often happens carrying the larger, heavier dSLRs.

Following on from my earlier post demonstrating images taken on Mt Macedon, Victoria with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8lens, here are some more from Tieve Tara, one of the private gardens up there open to the public from Sept – May.

Even though these were shot on a very overcast day in low light, I still prefer to use a polarising filter for when I am shooting leaves so I was thankful I had the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with its 5-axis image stabiliser to help out with these hand held shots without flash in low light using the lovely, light and very sharp Olympus mZD 75mm f/1.8 lens (NB. no PS other than toning adjustments):

Aussie garden diptych I

diptych I

Aussie garden diptych II with flowers as focal point

diptych II

The hidden garden:

hidden garden

 

Lunar eclipse over Melbourne

Written by admin on May 2nd, 2014

Last month’s eclipse of the moon at moonrise in Melbourne was quite challenging to photograph.

It would have been nice to find a location with the city’s buildings in the foreground, but given the position of the moon rise this was not easy and thus a spot along the shores at Williamstown was chosen which looked across the bay towards St Kilda’s Palais Theatre.

The very dim eclipsed moon was difficult to see rising over the Dandenong Ranges in the distance and it was not until it was some 5 degrees above the horizon that it could be seen through the autumnal haze. Manual focus was made much easier with the electronic viewfinder and image stabilisation during magnified view using the Olympus E-M5 camera.

My initial attempts were with the Olympus E-M5 with Olympus ZD 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 lens with 2x converter (the EC-20) at full 200mm focal length giving an equivalent field of view of 800mm on a 35mm camera.

This is a favorite set up of mine for the moon but being so low and with the atmospheric disturbances it was not possible to get sharp imagery of the craters.

Timing of the shot of a lunar eclipse is quite critical as the most aesthetic image is when the sunlight just starts to hit the edge of the moon (as shown below).

I then resorted to doing wider angle shots to show the yachts anchored nearby, so here is my version of the lunar eclipse:

lunar eclipse

EXIF: 100mm focal length (50mm + 2x telecoverter = 100mm in Micro Four Thirds crop = 200mm in 35mm full frame equivalent), ISO 1600, f/7.1 (f/3.5 x 2), 1/4sec, tripod mounted.

See my wiki for how to photograph the moon.

 

Gardens and forests with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens

Written by admin on May 2nd, 2014

I really enjoy going for walks in the forests and gardens in the nearby hills, and taking the light and compact Micro Four Thirds camera kit avoids making these walks a burden as often happens carrying the larger, heavier dSLRs.

Even though these were shot on a very overcast day in low light, I still prefer to use a polarising filter for when I am shooting leaves so I was thankful I had the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with its 5-axis image stabiliser to help out with these hand held shots without flash in low light using the lovely, light and very sharp Olympus mZD 75mm f/1.8 lens (NB. no PS other than toning adjustments – a lot with the psychedelic garden!):

Girl leap frogging her brother in front of a pond:

girl leap frogging her brother

Dreaming of what life could be:

girl dreaming

Too much mountain fresh air – a psychedelic garden:

psychedelic garden

 

Abstract forest:

And by putting the E-M5′s image stabilisation into panning mode, we can shoot the forests in an abstract manner by sweeping the camera at 1/30th sec.

abstract forest

 

Killing time in the botanic gardens with the Olympus mZD 60mm f/2.8 macro lens

Written by admin on March 30th, 2014

What do you do when you have an hour or so to kill and you are in the CBD of a city such as Sydney?

Head for the botanic gardens for a relaxing walk and see what you can find.

As long as it is not windy, you can use the time to search for subjects for your macro lens – be warned, even the slightest movement of a plant will make your subject blurred unless you use a flash.

It was a very overcast day in low light so I was thankful I had the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with its 5-axis image stabiliser to help out with this hand held shot without flash in very low light using the lovely, light and very sharp Olympus mZD 60mm f/2.8 macro lens:

Australian native long legged fly

This dainty little metallic blue and green Australian fly is the long legged fly (Austrosciapus connexus) – which is mainly found along the east coast of Australia, Adelaide and Perth but not in southern Victoria or Tasmania.

And here are a few cacti that caught my attention:

cactus flower

cacti

cacti

And a water lily using the awesome Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens at f/1.8:

water lily

This macro lens is fantastic, not only because it is incredibly sharp, and it has focus range limiters for faster AF which, by the way is very fast, and it is image stabilised in 5 axes by the E-M5, but it is so light and small you don’t even notice you are carrying it in your bag, and your hands don’t start shaking from its weight as you try to hold it steady for the shots.

 

The new Nikon 1 v3 camera – who is it for?

Written by admin on March 16th, 2014

The Nikon 1 v3 is the latest “high end” of Nikon’s mirrorless point and shoot compact range.

Like all Nikon 1 cameras it has a small 1″ sensor with a 2.7x crop factor and this allows it to have small lenses, particularly at the telephoto range.

 V3 and system

The camera body size though is almost identical to Micro Four Thirds cameras such as the Olympus PEN EPL5, and is almost twice as heavy as the new Panasonic GM-1 while being bigger with optional EVF added than the very versatile Olympus E-M10.

The Nikon 1 V3 has a just a few advantages over current Micro Four Thirds cameras which may be important to some people:

  • fast burst rate of 20fps with much better continuous AF – could be great for parents shooting their kids at sports events – assuming they are allowed to!
  • 60p HD video with 120 fps slo-mo at 720p – should give nice video but presumably not as well image stabilised as the Olympus E-M1 and no where near as good a quality as on the Panasonic GH4
  • electronic 1/16000th sec shutter – most new cameras will be getting this – the Panasonic GM1 already has it

But that’s about where the advantages over current Micro Four Thirds ends and one can expect these features to be added to Micro Four Thirds soon.

In short, if you just want to take snap shots or fast action shots then the V3 may well be the best for your needs, BUT if you want to LEARN to be a photographer, you are much better off getting a camera with larger sensor so you have more options of control over depth of field, and a camera with a much greater range of wide aperture lenses at affordable prices – and that is what you get with Micro Four Thirds without much increase in weight, size or price.

What you get with Micro Four Thirds which is not available with Nikon 1 is:

  • better ability to control depth of field
  • better image quality at higher ISO
  • better ability to utilise full frame lenses
  • an  extended range of camera sizes, features and prices from the tiny GM-1, to the E-M10, to the weatherproof pro level cameras, the Olympus E-M1 and Panasonic GH-4 with 4K HD video.
  • an extensive range of lenses – nearly all with filter threads so you can attach polarising filters and gradient filters
  • an affordable portrait lens – the 1 Nikon 32mm f/1.2 is ~$900 compared to the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 which will give similar imagery at only ~$400 and you get in-camera image stabilisation as well
  • shallower DOF standard lens – the 1 Nikon 18.5mm f/1.8 gives DOF of a 50mm f/4.9 lens whereas the Olympus 25mm f/1.8 gives DOF of a 50mm f/3.6 lens (you can also resort to f/0.95 lenses), and again you also get in-camera image stabilisation as well
  • a wide aperture super compact lens for walking the street at night or indoor part shots – the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7
  • an urban night wide angle lens for hand held work with shutter speeds down to 2secs (with the E-M1) – the Olympus 12mm f/2.0
  • a beautiful wide aperture telephoto lens – the Olympus 75mm f/1.8
  • pro quality lenses such as the f/2.8 pro zoom lenses
  • a high quality macro lens – the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro
  • a range of fisheye lenses – the Nikon 1 system is yet to have a dedicated fisheye lens
  • in-camera image stabilisation for any lens you attach, even legacy manual focus ones (Olympus cameras)
  • very nice BULB long exposure modes such as Live BULB, Timed BULB and the new Live Composite Mode which does automatic Time Stacking
  • in-built viewfinder – this is essential if you need reading glasses – and also to provide better image stability for sharper photos
  • ability to automatically auto-focus on the subject’s closest eye
  • a full external flash system including ring flashes, plus remote TTL flash (my understanding is that the 1 Nikon flashes are not compatible with Nikon’s i-TTL flash technology)

 

See also my blog when the Nikon 1 system was announced.

 

 

Some awesome photos I have seen posted on 500px in Feb 2014

Written by admin on March 2nd, 2014

Another of my regular posts highlighting fantastic photography which photographers post on 500px.com

Click on the images to go to their source on 500px.com.

Enjoy!

The Magic of Bled Island by Dan Briski

Incredible Campo, CO Tornado by Brandon Goforth

My way to the Milky Way in Saudi Arabia by Ghazi Al-Saif

Untitled by Tatiana Mercalova

Uno City, Vienna by Stoleac Cosmin

the sculptor of women by Marcos Medina

Life by Mete Özbek

by Ivan Balabanov

Green tea field by Jaewoon U

Sabina by Zachar Rise

Dark Skies by Peter From

Timeless Towers of Faith, Greece by George Papapostolou

see more of my favorite images I have seen on the web HERE