Those who follow my blog probably realise that I love getting away by myself and doing short 2-4 hour hikes into the forests and gorges, and if, like today, you start one of these hikes 2 hours before sunset and you take more time than one should for photos, it works better than a personal trainer as you really have to get a move on climbing those steep gorges to get back to the car safely before it really is too dark – there is no mobile phone reception in these gorges, so all the more reason to take extra care and not sprain an ankle in the process.
As is my want and need, I carry 2 Olympus OM-D Micro Four Thirds cameras on these hikes, and to take the weight off my back I carry them on a waist belt harness with quick release systems for the cameras.
This works superbly for me except for a few potential problems:
- if you are not careful, direct sunlight can enter the rear of the viewfinder of mirrorless cameras such as these and potentially cause permanent damage to the EVF as happened with my E-M1 whilst walking around Uluru (see previous posts).
- if you use the Olympus HLD-6 grip for the E-M5, the weight of the camera supported by the quick release mechanism gradually and permanently deforms and twists the HLD-6 grip making the grip part feel loose – hence I bought a dummy grip from China to try out for this walk and so far it works fine.
- I have noticed that with heavier lenses such as my Olympus ZD 50-200mm lens and with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 lens, there is a risk the lens can rotate on the camera mount with risk of it coming off – I now regularly check for this.
- your cameras are exposed to knocks against trees, rocks, etc, so you have to remember to allow room for them as you walk
- you need to be mindful that you might dislodge the lens cap, especially the one for the 7-14mm lens – consider buying a lens cap cable attachment
- NB. I HAVE GIVEN UP ON THIS SYSTEM AS IT DROPS MY CAMERAS TOO OFTEN AND DAMAGES THE TRIPOD BASE PLATE!
Today on my Spring walk through Werribee Gorge, I chose to take just two lenses – the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 lens with MC14 1.4x teleconverter, and the Olympus mZD 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens (the latter lens I will talk about in a future blog post), and although rain was not on the radar, both these kits are very splash-proof, so a bit of rain would not be hurting them whilst carried in this manner.
Carrying these two lenses made me visualise the scenery in very different ways, with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 lens with MC14 1.4x teleconverter, I am always looking for distant scenes to capture, wildlife, or for closer scenes to explore how it paints the out of focus backgrounds and how pleasant or busy the bokeh is, in much the way as I use my Olympuis mZD 75mm f/1.8 lens.
The Olympus 40-150mm with MC14 adapter effectively becomes an easily hand held, relatively light and compact 112-420mm f/4 zoom in 35mm full frame field of view terms.
Some of the images below could have been taken without the MC14, but I didn’t have the time to be taking it on and off, so I just left it on until dusk when the very low light levels meant that leaving it off was the best option to gain that extra 1 stop of light.
Here are a few quick edits of some of my ugly Australian gorges taken with some nice golden hour light – I wish I could have just stayed and sat there until the stars came out – maybe one day when I get my ultra-light one man tent set up!
above image taken at 56mm f/4 (widest zoom with MC14 and widest aperture)
above image taken at 95mm f/8
above image taken at 77mm f/4
above image taken at 155mm f/4.5
above image taken at 210mm f/4 (longest zoom with MC14 = 420mm in full frame terms and widest aperture)
above image taken at 73mm f/9
above image taken at 210mm f/6.3 and I have added some extra sun flare in post.
above image taken at 210mm f/8
After the sun had set, and the light became dim in the gorges on the way back, it was time to take the MC14 teleconverter off, ramp up the ISO to 800, so I could take this bokeh-centric image at 67mm f/2.8 at 1/15th sec hand held while I was catching my breath after walking up and down the valley path along Ironbark Gorge:
I really enjoyed this walk although it was like interval training for my heart, and didn’t even notice the weight of the cameras on my hips, although I do prefer the beautiful bokeh of the Olympus mZD 75mm f/1.8 lens, but of course, this lens cannot give the telephoto reach of the 40-150mm.