Sunday, 2 August 2020

Olympus in-camera focus stacking is a game changer

I thought I'd try out the Olympus in camera focus stacking again. Sadly there were no butterflies but I managed to find a grasshopper that was willing to model for me.
The Olympus in camera focus stacking is a real game changer for close-up macro photography allowing you to shoot with a wide aperture to blur the background but still get more of your subject in focus.
The images below show the difference the in camera focus stacking can make, the bottom image shows the very shallow depth of field with just the grasshoppers head being in focus when shot at F3.5. With the focus stacking being used in the top image you can see a lot more of the grasshopper is in focus with the background still nicely out of focus.

ISO200, F3.5, 1/620th sec, handheld with IBIS. 5 images focus stacked.


ISO200, F3.5, 1/620th sec, handheld with IBIS.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Puffin 2017 reworked in Capture One pro

I was looking back through some of my old photos and decided this one from my trip Skomer in 2017 was worth reworking in Capture One Pro.
It was a very bright afternoon, not ideal for Puffin photos, but the Capture One Pro raw converter seems to do a better job than Lightroom when working with the extreme contrast like this photo has, or maybe it's just my post processing that has improved.
Whatever the reason I think it was worth the 10 mins processing time, it's a photo that nearly went in the trash.

puffin

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Plumpton Tree early morning

Here's another one from my early morning stroll around Plumpton lanes.
I've taken this tree many times but usually have it framing Hoad monument in the distance. Again I like the way the early morning light was illuminating the tree and tried a different composition without Hoad in the background so making the tree and light the main subject. I used my Panasonic 100-400mm lens at 150mm for this shot, handheld with the help of the legendary Olympus IBIS.

Plumpton tree
Olympus EM1 MKII with Panasonic 100-400mm, ISO 250, F4.2, 1/320th sec, 150mm, handheld.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

A different view

When I was out walking the other morning I noticed the nice morning light on Hoad Monument and the devils armchair.
Amazing how the light can make scenes look different, I must of seen this composition a thousand times but have never thought it worth capturing until that morning.

Hoad monument
Olympus EM1 MKII with Panasonic Leica 100-400mm at 100mm ISO500, F4, 1/640th sec


Monday, 20 July 2020

Barn Owl in flight close-up

I finally managed a close-up of the Barn Owl in flight.
Not the easiest of shot to get, the owl doesn't usually appear until the sun has dipped below the horizon so the light isn't the best. The Panasonic is isn't the fastest focussing lens in poor light but I did manage to get it to find the focus for a few frames.

Barn Owl
Olympus EM1 MKII with Panasonic Leica 100-400mm ISO 1600, F6.3, 1/640th sec

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Silver Howe with the Olympus 12-100mm Pro lens

Recently my wife and I had our first post-lockdown stop-over in the lake district. Staying in Grasmere we decided to do a walk up Silver Howe, a short walk but hopefully with nice views.
Silver Howe is quite a steep ascent so I decided to travel light taking just my Olympus EM1 MKII and 12-100mm Pro lens which would give me a 24-200mm F4 full-frame equivalent. I wasn't worried about not taking a tripod because I knew the light would be good and the dual image stabiliser in the camera and lens would make it easy to handhold even at longer focal lengths.
I wasn't disappointed with the views it's definitely a walk we will be doing again this Autumn when the colours and light will make it a landscape photographers dream location.

Langdale pikes from Silver Howe
ISO 200, 1/320th sec, F7.1, 54mm

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Better to ETTR with Olympus EM1 MKII

One of the things I like about photography is you never stop learning. It's over 12 months since I swapped camera systems from Pentax to Olympus and I thought I'd pretty much learnt nuances of my Olympus EM1 MII. However the other night I found out something by making what I thought was a mistake.
Usually when photographing Barn Owls if the owl flies in front of a dark background I use -0.7 to -1 exposure compensation so stop the owls light plummage overexposing. Recently I was too slow and just took the photos at the cameras exposure, this gave me what looked like on the camera LCD an over exposed image which normally I'd delete (see bottom image below). This time I thought I'd keep the image and see what I could do in post processing in Capture One Pro.
To my surprise after decreasing the exposure my -1.2 in Capture One all the details in the owl plummage were there (see top image).
This has got me thinking on my next outing I'm going to try leaving the camera to control the exposure and see how many spoiled images I do actually get.
Watch this space ! 


 

Friday, 3 July 2020

Barn Owl with Olympus 40-150mm Pro lens


My latest photography project has been some local Barn Owls. This is the first ime I've tried the Olympus system for Barn Owls and decided my usual go-to wildlife lens the Panasonic 100-400mm wouldn't be fast enough for the low light Barn Owl shots so thought I'd try with the Olympus 40-150mm Pro lens.
Early in the evening I started with the Olympus MC-1.4x teleconverter fitted to the lens so taking the 40-150mm to 56-210mm F4 or a 112-420mm F4 full frame equivalent. As the evening grew darker I removed the teleconverter and relied on field craft to get a close enough to the Owl for acceptable shots. The settings I used were manual at F4 and 1/1000th sec with auto ISO up to 3200 with the teleconverter fitted and the same but at F2.8 without the teleconverter.
The EM1 MKII and 40-150mm Pro coped admirably with the gloomy condition, the autofocus locked on and kept focus and the the High Iso photos showed plenty of detail.

Barn Owl

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Wildlife photography lucky moments

Most of the time in wildlife photography to get good shots it takes a lot of planning and investing lots of your time, other times it's just look. This was one of those lucky moments.
I was having a walk around my local nature reserve and as I approached a nest box a pair of Blue Tits weren't happy, at first I thought they were just warning me off but then realised it was a Stoat that the Blue Tits were trying to warn off. Sadly I think it was too late for the Blue Tit chicks. I managed to grab a few shots of the Stoat as it exited the nest box. Not so lucky for the Blue Tits.
Again taken with my Olympus EM1 MKII and Panasonic 100-400mm.

Stoat in nest box

Stoat exiting nest box

Monday, 22 June 2020

Trip to the barbers required

I think a lot of people know how this horse feels, I never noticed the moustache until I got home and started processing this photo.
Taken with the Olympus EM1 MKII and Panasonic 100-400mm.

horse with long mane

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Roe Doe in evening light

Here's another one from my recent evening stroll around my local nature reserve. The Roe Deer is back-lit by the low summer evening sun.
Another one taken with the Panasonic 100-400mm lens, my favourite walk-around wildlife lens when paired with the Olympus EM1 MKII.


Roe Deer

Monday, 15 June 2020

Summer evening light on Elder

I had a walk around the Rusland Valley the other evening and liked the way the late evening golden light was catching this elder tree.
I was looking for wildlife photos at the time so had the Panasonic 100-400mm lens on my Olympus OMD EM1 MKII, this was taken at 124mm

Evening light on Elder

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Summer landscape

Summer isn't the best time of year for landscape photography, but it doesn't stop me trying.
We went for a walk around Elterwater on a hot summer morning, the harsh sunlight wasn't the best but I quite like the way the shadows in the foreground seem to point to the Langdale Pikes.


Elterwater

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Be prepared for failure and frustration

As a wildlife photographer one thing I've learnt is you have to be prepared for failure and frustration. I'd guess 90%of the times I go out taking wildlife photos I go home without getting photos that are better than the ones I already have in my portfolio. It's very rare you get the perfect light, nice background and willing model, most times you think things are stacked against you.
This is one recent example when things didn't go my way that ended in frustration. On a walk around a local nature reserve I could hear the small birds alarm calling which usually means there's a predator about. Sure enough I spotted this Tawny Owl in a tree only 20m from me I had to be quick and managed to fire off a couple of shots before the Owl took flight. I thought I'd managed to get the photos but when I looked on the back of the camera found that at the critical moment the blustery wind had blown a branch in front of the owls face, these photos would be going in the bin.
You have to learn to put the failures behind you and persevere because the more hours you're willing to invest in your photography the more likely it is you will get that odd moment where everything falls into place, and those moments are worth waiting for.

Tawny Owl failure

Tawny Owl failure

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Macro is not all bugs

I thought I'd try something different with the Olympus 60mm Macro lens.
This is the close-up of a Persian buttercup (Ranunculus asiaticus) on our allotment, another five image focus stack.



Persian Buttercup flowerclose-up

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Getting down and dirty with the bugs

Another shot taken with my new Olympus 60mm Macro lens.
It's amazing what you find when taking photos with a macro lens, you have to get down and dirty to get to eye level and quite often get bit but it all adds to the excitement.
I'm loving the Olympus 60mm macro it's so small and portable when coupled with the Olympus EM1 MKII.


Ladybirds

Sunday, 31 May 2020

A different Hoad shot

I've got hundreds of photos of the monument but thought this one is a bit different. This was taken with the Panasonic 100-400mm.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Olympus 60mm Macro and in camera focus stacking

I've just bought the Olympus 60mm F2.8 Macro lens so thought I'd try out the in-camera focus stacking feature on the Olympus OMD EM1 MKII.
Another very useful feature in the Olympus system, this image was 5 images taken at F2.8 and focus stacked in camera. The thing I like about the in-camera stacking is you can shoot at a wider aperture to keep the background bokeh but have more of the insect in focus. The 5 Raw files are also saved so you can stack them manually for better quality if you wish.
I know this fly image isn't perfect but there's a lot of settings to play with and I was quite happy with it for a first attempt.






Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Tridley Beach

It looks like I'll be able to re-start my Morecambe Bay project.
Anyone my age from Ulverston will know this scene. This beach used to be packed in the summer months, especially the summer of 1976.

morecambe bay

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Goldfinch in flight using Olympus Pro Capture mode

I was trying to find something different to photograph during lockdown, so thought I'd try some bird in flight shots using the Olympus Pro Capture mode. This was with the Olympus EM1 MKII and 40-150mm Pro lens.
I need more practice so it's definitely something to go back to in the winter when there's more birds using my feeders.



Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Morecambe Bay with Olympus 7-14mm Pro

Here's another one from earlier in the year. I'd just acquired the Olympus 7-14mm lens and thought the local sands around Morecambe Bay would be a good subject when learning to use this lens.
The 7-14mm is the widest lens I've ever owned and is taking time to learn how to use properly with the exaggerated perpspective it produces. Looking at the results so far I think I'm going to enjoy the challenge.


Morecambe Bay with Olympus 7-14mm Pro

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Morecambe Bay project put on hold

Another on of my projects for this year has been put on hold because of the lockdown.
Hopefully it will all be over soon.
This was taken earlier this year, in fact new years day, when out testing my Xmas present the Olympus 7-14mm Pro lens.

Morecambe Bay

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Long-tailed Tit

Another one from my garden bird photography in lockdown series. This time a Long-tailed Tit.
I think this photo illustrates where it gets it's name from quite well.
This is another image taken at ISO 2000 and shows how well the Olympus cameras can handle noise well at high ISO's.




Monday, 20 April 2020

Landscape edit in Capture One Pro 20

This one is from January this year, taken with the Olympus EM1 MKII with the 12-100mm F4 Pro lens handheld at 0.5 seconds. The image stabiliser in the Olympus cameras are amazing, it's great being able to take blurred water shots without a tripod.
It was processed in Capture One Pro 20 using the luminosity mask to bring out detail in the clouds. I've included the unedited version so you can compare the before and after.
I'm starting to get the hang of Capture One Pro now, after 10 years of using Adobe lightroom it's been a steep learning curve but I've had plenty of time on my hands during lockdown.





Sunday, 19 April 2020

Roe Doe, Capture One Pro 20 edit


I've not been able to get out taking wildlife shots so have been practicing my Capture One Pro 20 processing skills.
This ones from last year when I was testing out the Olympus gear before I took the plunge and bought into the system.


Saturday, 18 April 2020

Garden bird photography during lockdown

I was hoping to get a bit more wildlife photography done this Spring but obviously that has been put on hold for a while.
I've been getting a bit of practice in doing some garden bird photography and processing in Capture One Pro and Affinity Photo.
It has been a good time to swap from Lightroom to Capture One with me having plenty of time to get used to the new software. I'm more than happy I switched, I was getting fed up of the £10 a month Adobe subscription and do seem to be able to get more from the Olympus Raw files.
This Blue Tit photo was taken at ISO2000, Capture One Pro does a very good job of cleaning up the noise without losing too much detail.
I used Affinity Photo to add the shadow and logo to the image for web use and do find Affinity Photo more simple to use than Photoshop which in my opinion is too complicated for most photographers needs.



Thursday, 16 April 2020

High ISO with Olympus EM1 MKII


I know a lot of photographers worry about using the higher ISO settings on their cameras. I use Olympus which has a Micro 4/3rds sensor and have found no issues with using the camera at ISO3200.

1/400th F6.3 ISO3200 400mm 

Friday, 3 April 2020

Practicing with Capture One 20


I'm trying to get to grips with the new Capture one 20 software, another reworking of an old image.
The ability to work in layers on a raw file is a game changer compared to Lightroom.



Tuesday, 31 March 2020

From Adobe Lightroom to Capture One Pro

After much deliberation I've decided to switch from the subscription based Adobe Lighroom to Capture One Pro.
It wasn't a decision taken lightly, after over 10 years using Lightroom I knew it would be a steep learning curve to switch to a new photo editing software. My Lightroom catalogue was getting a too big so I was going to split it into seperate subject based catalogues and thought if I was going to do this maybe this would be the time to bite the bullet and switch over to Capture One Pro.
I downloaded the Capture One trial and used it for a couple of weeks and was amazed how I seemed to be able to get more information from my Raw files.......there was a 25% off Capture One Pro so it was time to make the switch.
I'm now in the process of creating my catalogues and processing some of my old files, this one below of Blea Tarn is one of my first attempts. The top image is the Raw unprocessed file and below is processed in Capture one Pro.
I'm still getting to grips with the new software but am liking what I'm seeing so far.


Blea Tarn - Raw unprocessed
Blea Tarn - processed in Capture One Pro



Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Orton Effect for woodland photos using Affinity Photo

I'm using Affinity Photo instead of Photoshop because I find it easier use.
Trying to learn a few new processing techniques so I gave the Orton effect a try, this dreamy effect works well for woodland photos.
Here's my first couple of attempts.


Bluebell wood, Orton effect
Bluebell Wood Coniston



Roudsea Wood, Orton effect, Affinity Photo
Roudsea Woods


Saturday, 7 March 2020

Great Langdale Walk with Olympus 7-14mm Pro

First decent weather on a Friday in the Lake District for a long while so we decided to go for a walk around Great Langdale.
My new Olympus 7-14mm Pro lens hasn't had a lot of use so I thought I'd take that along.
We can't always be up for sunrise, especially if my wife Maire is coming along too, but it's still worth taking a few photos. You may not get fine art photos to hang on your wall but blue skys and fluffy white clouds are always good for Stock photos.
I think this one says.....come for a walk in the Lake District.
Part of the Cumbria Way at Great Langdale