Blog

It just clicks.

My camera and all but one of my lenses are from Olympus. I have nothing against any other camera brand, I just happened to travel down Panasonic Avenue and then turn left at Olympus Drive which in my case was a no exit thoroughfare.

My first interchangeable lens camera was the Panasonic GX1. It was my introduction to mirrorless cameras, also known as compact system cameras also refered to as micro four thirds cameras. It’s a confusing world! I came to like this camera format. I liked working with this more compact and lighter camera. In time I sold the GX1 and took to the critically acclaimed Olympus O-MD E-M1. 

I have the current Olympus flagship model O-MD E-M1 MKII. Its quite a handful of a name. Legend has it that they were originally called M, but Leica took exception and Olympus changed the name to OM. The D stands for Digital, the E for Electronic. 

Olympus OM-D E-M1 MKII

Olympus OM-D E-M1 MKII

Olympus O-MD E-M1 MKII

Olympus O-MD E-M1 MKII

Mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras differ from conventional DSLR cameras in that they use a digital display system instead of an optical mirror and optical viewfinder, which reduces weight and allows for a smaller camera body. The interchangeable lenses are also smaller and lighter making it somewhat easier to lug a camera and lens kit around for any length of time. My full camera kit weighs around 6kg including a backpack. It still feels heavy after being on my back for long periods and my camera attached to the largest lens I have, the Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 lens can become uncomfortable (heavy) to hold for long periods. A comparable DSLR kit of the same items would weight much more though and require a somewhat larger backpack.  

The first mirrorless camera was marketed in 2004. By 2012 major camera manufacturers, Canon, Nikon & Sony had all introduced mirrorless cameras and subsequently so have others such as Fuji. The camera market is shrinking and in 2016 the number of cameras shipped was down 81% compared to 2010. In 2010, there were 8 times more DSLRs than mirrorless. In 2016, the overall production numbers dropped for both, but they almost got even in share: 12 million DSLRs and 11 million mirrorless cameras. I guess one of the reasons for a slump in camera sales is the flood of smartphone cameras and the ever improving abilities of smartphone cameras has destroyed the compact 'point and shoot' camera market especially.

Mirrorless cameras can struggle in low light conditions due to having smaller light sensors resulting in an increase in ‘graininess’ in images taken in very low light. I have to say this can be a source of irritation for me but the EM1 MKII has noticeable improvement over my previous EM1 MKI. Fast light gathering lenses somewhat compensate as does the very impressive much lauded ‘5 axis image stabilization’ which Olympus pioneered. It provides the capability to take long sharp exposures with lower ISO’s without the need to mount the camera on a tripod. In digital photography, ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The lower the ISO number the less sensitive the camera is to light and the finer the grain. Higher ISO settings are generally used in darker situations to get faster shutter speeds. Most of my daytime and golden hour photos are taken at ISO200. The ISO range on my camera is from 60 to 25600. Personally I wouldn’t go above ISO1600 as the images would be too grainy for my liking. Hey, if you saw an alien standing on the front lawn after dark, stuff the graininess! I'd just take the picture, or more likely just take off.......fast

Olympus users are obtaining fantastic images while handholding the E-M1 MKII camera and it’s stablemates using exposures of 5 to 10 seconds and even 15 seconds. Testimony to the amazing inbuilt image stabilisation. 

The Olympus O-MD series of digital mirrorless system cameras debuted with the announcement of the O-MD E-M5 in 2012. The following year saw the introduction of the new flagship camera the O-MD E-M1, which was my first Olympus camera. Olympus mirrorless cameras have been critically acclaimed and have won many awards. Most recently the E-M1 MKII won prestigious honours at the Camera Grand Prix 2017, including Camera of the Year. The recently released Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO lens also won lens of the Year.  

So what lenses do I attach to my E-M1 MKII camera? Camera manufacturers market their cameras with kit lenses. These lenses are built to a price in order to provide a competitively priced camera and lens combo. Kit lenses can produce really great photos but I do believe that there are advantages in eventually acquiring higher spec interchangeable lens. I started with a kit lens on the previous E-MI and experimented with a few other lenses along the way before settling on my current range of lenses. My first really good lens was the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens. This is such an outstanding solidly built sexy workhorse of a lens, incredibly sharp. Just look at the image below. It’s lens porn!

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO

View toward Broadstairs, Kent, UK, 2017 taken with Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 lens.

View toward Broadstairs, Kent, UK, 2017 taken with Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 lens.

If I was to only have one lens then the 12-40mm would be it. I have however reluctantly sold this lens in order to sort of appease my guilt over acquiring another lens which I lusted after which I will discuss a little further on. 

I followed the 12-40mm f/2.8 lens with the purchase of the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens (image below). This versatile lens is attached to my camera more often than any others. Coupled with the Olympus MC-14 x1.4 teleconverter it gives great magnification of distant objects, excellent for street and sport photography. It’s also a very good portrait lens so I guess it could be called a very good all rounder. 

Olympus M.Zuiko ED 20-150mm f/2.8 PRO

Olympus M.Zuiko ED 20-150mm f/2.8 PRO

Between a rock and a wet place. Taken from a considerable distance using the Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens.

Between a rock and a wet place. Taken from a considerable distance using the Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens.

The 40-150mm f/2.8 lens is great for zooming in on distant subjects. This image was taken hand-held from a few hundred metres away up on Mauao, Mount Maunganui. 

The 40-150mm f/2.8 lens is great for zooming in on distant subjects. This image was taken hand-held from a few hundred metres away up on Mauao, Mount Maunganui. 

And the 40-150 f/2.8 lens was a great option for photographing these dolphins travelling at speed in the Bay of Islands, NZ. 

And the 40-150 f/2.8 lens was a great option for photographing these dolphins travelling at speed in the Bay of Islands, NZ. 

My next lens lens joining the family was the Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens, which unlike the 40-150mm lens, gives a very wide field of view. I really procrastinated on this one but I’m very pleased I bought it. It’s great for wide landscapes and wide dramatic skies, as well as for interior photos and ‘opening up interior space’. Its also a great street photography lens for that more expansive street view.

Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens.

Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens.

Dusk at Papamoa Beach. Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens.

Dusk at Papamoa Beach. Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens.

Above and below. Sunset at the end of my street. Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 lens.

Above and below. Sunset at the end of my street. Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 lens.

Interior image using the Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 lens

Interior image using the Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 lens

The backyard at home. The 7-14mm f/2.8 lens gives it that wide real estate agent exaggeration of a look.

The backyard at home. The 7-14mm f/2.8 lens gives it that wide real estate agent exaggeration of a look.

My only non Olympus lens but much loved lens outside of the Olympus brand is the Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2. Primarily a class leading portrait lens, it is a ‘fast’ lens with excellent light gathering ability exceling in low light situations. It’s an absolute ‘go to’ lens for portraits but also a very good street and sunset photography lens. Wide open at f/1.2 it is fantastic for isolating the subject from the background as seen in the following photo.  

Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens

Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens

The Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens does beautiful separation of foreground and background and being a fast lens coupled with the Olympus in-camera image stabilisation, there is no need for a tripod for low light shots like the one below. 

Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens

Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens

The Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens is also a wonderful street photography lens. 

Friday afternoon in Dublin, Ireland. Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens

Friday afternoon in Dublin, Ireland. Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens

My most recent lens acquisition completing my kit is the Olympus 25mm f/1.2 PRO prime lens. This is the one I sold the 12-40mm lens for. Another fast lens great for low light photography, including portrait, street and landscape photography. Since I favour low light photography at both ends of the day, it suits my purposes. Being f/1.2 helps create beautiful ‘bokeh’ where the background is out of focus placing attention firmly on the subject in the foreground. I bought this lens in Dublin, Ireland, last year while my wife was distracted in another shop. Personally I blame one of my daughters for leading me right to said camera shop. My guilt was somewhat softened by the considerable tax free saving I made in comparison with what it would have cost me to buy back in New Zealand. It did however require me to get certification from a Justice of the Peace that the lens was in fact here in New Zealand.  

Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO lens

Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO lens

I love the background separation that a lens wide open at f/1.2 can provide placing attention firmly of the subject in the foreground.

Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO lens

Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO lens

Honestly it just does a beautiful job.  

Olympus 25mm f/1.2PRO lens, handheld image at dusk.

Olympus 25mm f/1.2PRO lens, handheld image at dusk.

I’m very content with my camera gear now, a happy little shutter button pusher,  but honestly, looking at new lenses is like looking at that last glass of wine left in the bottle. The desire can be hard to resist, but resist I will. There are no state support services for those suffering from camera gear addiction. If it’s got to be, it’s up to me. 

Hawke's Bay and a 3 day train journey to the other side of the bed

With autumn upon us and Easter being the last long public holiday weekend before winter, it’s a great time to get away for a change of scenery. The weather is invariably unpredictable no matter whether Easter falls in March or April, it could be fine it could be wet and this year was no exception. Right on the eve of Good Friday we had a raging tempest as the remains of former tropical cyclone Cook swept ashore on a southward track across the Bay of Plenty. It is likely to be the wettest April on record. Anyway thankfully the storm was short-lived and the predicted up to 150kph gales never eventuated. We made the decision to carry on with our plan to travel across to Hawkes Bay via Taupo for the long weekend accompanied by our son Mike and daughter-in-law Hayley.

I’ve always loved the ‘Great Lake Taupo’. I like to think that feeling is through wonderful childhood memories of being flown up there from Christchurch to stay with my grandparents. In those days it was an exciting flight on a Vickers Viscount from Christchurch to Wellington and then a low flying Douglas DC3 from Wellington to either Rotorua or Taupo. My grandparents house had a view of Mount Tauhara and I remember spending hours staring at the bush clearings on the mountain slopes thinking I might see a deer or wild pig. I was overly optimistic. I recall the neighbours had carnations growing everywhere and I helped water them in the hot Taupo summer and grew to love those flowers. I wonder what happened to the cute girl who lived next door? There was manuka scrub land so close to the house and it was really cool to play in. We’d do some trout fishing and then at night would help weigh and bag sweets for the snack shop in the Starlight Theatre. To this day I don’t believe I have seen a movie more times than I saw ‘The King and I’ at the Starlight Theatre on one holiday stint in Taupo. I'll never forget Yul Brunner (The King) dying over and over. I think it must have traumatised me. Today Taupo is a clean modern bustling beautiful centre of approximately 25,000 residents and I always enjoy my times there.

Lake Taupo with Margie Taylor

Lake Taupo with Margie Taylor

The Napier Taupo Highway passes through the high rugged hill country of the Kaiangaroa Forest and descends to the Esk River Valley in Hawkes Bay with its vineyards and orchards. We arrived in this beautiful region mid-afternoon to 24C and not a breath of wind. The night before 15,000 people in Napier were without power after former Cyclone Cook raced across this region with high winds and driving rain. This night less than 24 hours later we were dining outside on a perfect evening in downtown Napier.

Napier, Hawkes Bay, NZ

Napier, Hawkes Bay, NZ

East coast beaches are quite naturally ideal when it comes to seeing the sun appear at the dawn of a new day and I wasn’t disappointed in Hawkes Bay with great conditions of clear skies and rough seas and having accommodation adjacent to the beach. It was literally a hop, skip and a jump over the Napier Gisborne railway and State Highway 2 to the rugged shoreline.

First light, Awatoto, Napier, NZ. Olympus O-MD E-M1 & Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200 sec @ F/6.3, ISO 200

First light, Awatoto, Napier, NZ. Olympus O-MD E-M1 & Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200 sec @ F/6.3, ISO 200

Napier is a city of great character having been rebuilt after the devastating 1931 earthquake in the Art Deco and Spanish Mission styles popular at the time. It has a vibrant centre not given the soul destroying treatment of the effects of large suburban malls which have turned other city centres into ghost towns.

Napier. Art Deco Capital.

Napier. Art Deco Capital.

The waterfront is well developed for community use and also is home to the National Aquarium of New Zealand. Marine Parade adjacent to the beach, like a lot of Napier has some beautiful characterful buildings such as this group known as ‘The Six Sisters’. I only got five in the photo. If you are ever in Napier the coffee shop bearing the same name and visible in the photo below is highly recommended. I initially thought it got its name from six sisters who I hoped to see behind the counter but while taking a photo afterwards it clicked (literally) that the name referred to the buildings.

The Six Sisters. Sorry, the sixth one is out of frame to the right.

The Six Sisters. Sorry, the sixth one is out of frame to the right.

For a panoramic view in all directions a drive up Bluff Hill does the trick.

Napier from Bluff Hill

Napier from Bluff Hill

I was told that the Hawkes Bay Farmers Market in Hastings was arguably the best farmers market in New Zealand. I wouldn’t argue against that claim, it probably is. I have not been to any other farmers market that would rival this one. What a large vibrant weekly event in a truly beautiful setting. It is full of local produce, wines and artisan foods and Hawkes Bay is rich in all of these. It took no time at all to fill a bag with taste sensations. It would be easy to do a complete weekly grocery shop here. Absolutely recommended.

Where did you buy the bag? Hawkes Bay Farmers Market of course.

Where did you buy the bag? Hawkes Bay Farmers Market of course.

From the Farmers Market we had a quick look at the nearby city of Hastings which was in the 1960’s-1970’s the fastest growing area in the country. From then on like a lot of regional New Zealand under the new neo-liberal economic doctrine which reared its head in the 1980’s it went into economic decline. Today however it is again doing well thanks to the orchards and vineyards around its flanks.

Hastings, New Zealand.

Hastings, New Zealand.

Near to Hastings is the very attractive town of Havelock North (part of Hastings District) with Te Mata Peak rising behind it. A drive up the steep narrow road to Te Mata Peak is so worth it for the extensive views across this region.

Havelock North and Hastings from Te Mata Peak, Hawkes Bay.

Havelock North and Hastings from Te Mata Peak, Hawkes Bay.

Directly below Te Mata Peak is one of many vineyards and wineries in this region, Craggy Range. What a beautiful complex and stunning location. It was a wonderful stop for lunch on Easter Sunday.

Craggy Range Vineyard & Winery, Havelock North.

Craggy Range Vineyard & Winery, Havelock North.

Craggy Range Vineyard & Winery, Havelock North. A family of charolais cattle sculptures by acclaimed British sculptor Paul Day.

Craggy Range Vineyard & Winery, Havelock North. A family of charolais cattle sculptures by acclaimed British sculptor Paul Day.

Not too far from here is Cape Kidnappers and while we did not get out to see the largest mainland gannet colony in the world we did get to remote Clifton Beach. The beachside camping ground/motor camp there (in the right of the following photo) is like stepping back in time to simpler days of non-high tech holidays. It almost looks like time stopped there a few decades ago and there is something oddly attractive about it.

Clifton Beach and Cape Kidnappers

Clifton Beach and Cape Kidnappers

So that’s a bit of an overview of a long weekend in Hawkes Bay. This country has a wealth of beauty and they weren’t short changed in this region. With its sunny Mediterranean type climate, sweeping coastline, surfeit of orchards and vineyards, and spectacular sunrises, I could live here.

First light, Awatoto, Napier, NZ.

First light, Awatoto, Napier, NZ.

Back to that title. The accommodation we stayed in had a super king size king sized bed. It was big enough for the entire cast of Modern Family (and their neighbours), After one wine too many (probably) and after the light went out I told Margie it would be a three day train journey to visit her on the other side of the bed. I must have drunk one wine too many as it took a while for me to reign in the laughter

Mellow days of autumn

The mellow yellow days of autumn are here. It's a favourite time of the year with the sun being kinder on the skin and temperatures being pleasantly warm rather than being oppressively hot. I really love the soft golden late afternoon light. While its been arguably nicer weather than the summer which has passed there have been bursts of very heavy rain. Its one of those things visitors to the bay notice but after living here for two decades its just an accepted part of life unless caught in a downpour without an umbrella.

New swimming option at the end of our street. 5 April 2017

New swimming option at the end of our street. 5 April 2017

With a softer light and the sun rising later and setting earlier this is the time of year I look forward to sunrise and sunset photography. I'm not a fan of getting up really early to photograph sunrise but sometimes it is so worth it. A few days ago on 1st April, like an April fool I got up and walked up the Mount (Mauao) in the dark. A day or two later I went and bought 'a headlamp' for future excursions having found I was literally walking blind in the darker areas of the track. I wasn't anticipating anything special in the way of sunrises, I just wanted to take a dawn photo from the summit. As the first light of day started illuminating the stage and I started swatting the swarm of sandflies eating my ankles I could see there was indeed going to be something quite special.

Fire in the sky. 1st April 2017. Olympus E-M1 MKII, Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 lens, 1/60sec @ f/6.3, ISO 3200 

Fire in the sky. 1st April 2017. Olympus E-M1 MKII, Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 lens, 1/60sec @ f/6.3, ISO 3200 

My camera has a very impressive built in '5 axis' image stabilisation which allows for handheld photography with a slow shutter speed in very low light levels. While a tripod is as permanent a fixture in my car boot as the spare wheel is, like the spare wheel, it rarely gets an outing. This image has been extremely popular on both my photography Facebook and Instagram pages. I love it!

It looks fantastic but there is an arguable flaw in that I unthinkingly used too high an ISO setting. The higher the ISO, the grainier the captured image. Its not that noticeable in what you see above even with Facebook's built in degradation of images. However, I would not look at putting this on a large canvas or large print as the annoying graininess would become distracting. Before I finish this blog I'm going to provide some settings that I have established in one of my camera's presets specifically for sunrise/sunset.  

There were many others up there taking in the sight of a new dawn on a new day.

On the edge of daybreak. 230 metres between a rock and a hard place. First light 1st April 2017. 1/125sec @ f/2.8, ISO 6400

On the edge of daybreak. 230 metres between a rock and a hard place. First light 1st April 2017. 1/125sec @ f/2.8, ISO 6400

Composing a sunset shot is not difficult when you have a beautiful canvas virtually on the doorstep. The image below is a case in point. I love standing in the water but ever mindful that a fall would likely destroy thousands of dollars worth of camera gear.  There are times when the risk and reward equation becomes finely balanced. This photo was taken on an incoming tide. In the distance adding an element of interest is my other half Margie (who always adds an element of interest) and our lucky beach dog Toby. I watch the water lines in relation to the far focal point, in this case Mount Maunganui and depress the shutter button at that moment when the silent voice says 'now'. 

Just a touch, a touch of paradise. Papamoa Beach, 23 March 2017. 1/320sec @ f/6/3, ISO 200

Just a touch, a touch of paradise. Papamoa Beach, 23 March 2017. 1/320sec @ f/6/3, ISO 200

One of the joys of being out and about for sunrise or sunset photography is in expecting the unexpected. I've heard of the old saying 'pistols at dawn' but in this case it was boxing gloves at dawn.

No need to fight. There's plenty of beach for all of us. 

No need to fight. There's plenty of beach for all of us. 

One of my camera lenses is the highly acclaimed Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2. It is a very fast (which means its excellent in low light) primarily portrait and street photography lens. Its portrait renditions are superb. I have found however that it does a pretty damn fine job in the golden hour. The photo below was taken with this lens at Pilot Bay, Mount Maunganui. The fact that this lens has fast light gathering ability means I took this photo at a very fast shutter speed of 1/6400 sec.

Olympus E-M1 MKII with Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens. 1/6400 sec @f/5.6, ISO 200

Olympus E-M1 MKII with Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens. 1/6400 sec @f/5.6, ISO 200

Given that I'm drawn like a moth to a light to sunrise and sunset photography (also known as golden hour and blue hour photography) I have through research and advice of others established a basic camera preset so I can immediately switch to optimal settings for this type of photography.

The first preset is to fix the white balance to 'daylight', which gives richer tones at sunrise/sunset. I have also changed the Olympus in camera 'Picture Mode' from natural to vivid, again giving richer tones. I underexpose the image by -0.7 and have fixed the ISO setting at 200 to control the potential graininess or 'noise' levels in low light. When taking a photo, the only setting I change is the shutter speed which controls the amount of light hitting the camera sensor so that those presets can be maintained. I upload RAW files into my editing software Lightroom and invariably use a one touch preset I established named oddly enough 'Pohutukawa, the colour of summer'. I actually developed that preset obviously for a photo of a pohutukawa tree but it's fantastic for giving polish to my 'golden hour' photos. I guess I should think about renaming it.

Well, that's it for this update. Easter is nearly here and I'm heading to Napier & Hawkes Bay and the following week the Bay of Islands and hopefully Cape Reinga so I'm looking forward to letting the camera out for a walk and a feed of photographs in those areas. Its just a few weeks now until we return to England and Ireland for our second daughter's wedding and also to catch up with much missed family and grandchildren in Ireland. 

Until next time, have fun

Autumn days. Mount Maunganui Beach, Tauranga, New Zealand. www.christaylorphotography.net

Autumn days. Mount Maunganui Beach, Tauranga, New Zealand. www.christaylorphotography.net

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

 

The new baby

It’s been a while since the last entry and that is because it’s been very busy both with photography and home and family events including our son’s wedding. This was closely followed by our younger daughter’s engagement announcement and we now have her upcoming wedding to look forward to this year in the UK. I’m looking forward to letting my camera loose again on those beautiful scenes in the UK and Ireland.

My 2017 calendars were a great success being despatched not only locally and nationally, but as far as Europe and Scandinavia. My photography is also hanging on quite a few other walls as canvas prints and I have also sold images for commercial use including a big roadside billboard which I pass fairly regularly (Coast, Papamoa Beach). I feel extremely fortunate as photography is a hobby primarily for my pleasure but it's so rewarding that it also brings pleasure to others via my Facebook & Instagram accounts and also via my webpage.

Late last year I was delivered a new baby after a painful protracted labour, the Olympus E-M1 MKII camera which supersedes my beloved Olympus E-M1. (Warning: Camera porn image follows)

I knew I would be fighting the urge to acquire this camera from the moment it debuted at Photokina, which is the world’s leading trade fair for photography. Like other manufacturers, the global shipping of this Olympus camera was delayed in part due to a series of strong earthquakes in southern Japan in mid-2016 that damaged factories manufacturing camera components and resulted in a shortage of camera sensors.

I was contacted just before Christmas to say I had the option on what was purported to be the first E-M1 MKII in New Zealand. These cameras are about 1/3rd more expensive than the MK1 predecessor so it was a very difficult yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes sort of time. In the end the glowing reviews which I compulsively read just fed the hunger pains so I went ahead and got it. I must have agonised to the point where my wife borrowed the NIKE phrase ‘just do it!’ I console myself with the thought that there are other hobbies and pastimes which consume significantly greater costs.  I am now 100% satisfied with my photography kit (although that new Olympus 12-100 f/4 PRO lens sure looks very enticing), but no, I must snuff those thoughts out. I definitely know I will never part with $4300 to buy the Olympus 300mm f/4 PRO lens.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some images from the E-M1 MKII. It took me a few outings to get comfortable with it and familiar with the menu and sub-menu settings, which in true Olympus fashion are arguably highly over engineered and complex and will be an on-going education.

Now that I have achieved some good results amongst the hit and miss I’m starting to feel increasingly OK about upgrading to this camera.  

Olympus O-MD E-M1 MKII. Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens and Olympus MC-14 Teleconverter

Olympus O-MD E-M1 MKII. Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens and Olympus MC-14 Teleconverter

One of the very first images I took with this camera from the summit of Mauao, which is about 240 metres above sea level. Launched in February 2017 the near new Ovation of The Seas is the largest cruise ship to visit New Zealand. It was an amazing sight as it cruised through the narrow channel entrance to Tauranga Harbour.

My speciality with photography is being out at the so called 'golden hour', aka 'the magic hour'. This is the time of day just after sunrise and just before sunset where the light is mellow and warm and enhances the colours of the scene. For some reason we seem innately attracted to sunrise and sunset. The time shortly before sunrise and shortly after sunset between day and night is known as 'the blue hour'. The following photo taken just before sunrise one morning this week at Papamoa Beach is a 'blue hour' image example.

Papamoa Beach, Bay of Plenty, NZ. 1/200 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 200

Papamoa Beach, Bay of Plenty, NZ. 1/200 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 200

The following image taken at Mount Maunganui Beach this week just after sunrise is a 'golden hour' image.

Mount Maunganui Beach, Bay of Plenty, NZ. 1/800 sec @ f/4, ISO 200

Mount Maunganui Beach, Bay of Plenty, NZ. 1/800 sec @ f/4, ISO 200

It had been many months since we have had a really wild ocean. Big seas are an aspect of photography I love so when I heard the ocean roaring in the night last weekend I just had to have a look the next morning. Knowing there was a surf lifesaving event along at Omanu Beach I headed there. Unsurprisingly the event appeared to be cancelled but this IRB provided a great focus point in the churning sea.

Ocean fury. Omanu Beach, Bay of Plenty, NZ. 1/2000 sec @f/8, ISO 200

Ocean fury. Omanu Beach, Bay of Plenty, NZ. 1/2000 sec @f/8, ISO 200

I have four lenses in my photography gear and the wide angle 6-14mm f/2.8 lens, which I never thought I'd get a lot of use out of has become a real favourite. It probably spends more time on the camera than the other three. (Warning: Lens porn image follows)

Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 lens

Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 lens

The following gob-smackingly beautiful sunrise was taken with the 7-14mm f/2.8 lens. Its awesome for landscapes but its not one I'd necessarily use in the bright light of day as its bulbous wide angle lens is prone to pick up sun flare. 

Fire in the sky. Mount Maunganui Beach. Olympus E-M1 MKII & 7-14mm f/2.8 lens. 1/60 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 250

Fire in the sky. Mount Maunganui Beach. Olympus E-M1 MKII & 7-14mm f/2.8 lens. 1/60 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 250

Well, that's it for now. Start of a long fine warm holiday weekend in this part of the country. It's tough, but we just have to try and cope.