New Olympus gear — a preview of coming attractions

Olympus just announced some interesting new items in the high end of their micro-4/3 system line-up.  I’ve been shooting almost exclusively with Oly gear since I went digital years back, so thought I could add a useful thought or two based on my experiences.

First off, Olympus announced a special, limited edition of the OM-D E-M5 Mark II.  The E-M5 was just “refreshed” to the Mark II model (with lots of interesting new capabilities) a few weeks back — this new special edition is limited to 7,000 copies world-wide, and comes in a special titanium finish (for the top and bottom plates).  E-M5 MarkII Ti ensemble

Continue reading

Indoor peak

On our trip to Iceland this January, we got to see a new perspective on a subject we’ve had earlier experiences with — lava tubes.  Formed when lava flows crusted over and subsequently drained, we’ve walked through some in Hawaii — but never previously seen one in a colder clime.

Indoor peak

So this is what happens near the Arctic Circle where there’s a lava tube “skylight” (localized collapse of the tube’s ceiling).   Continue reading

Beanrise

So it just now occurred to me that I took a huge number of photos on a trip to Chicago a few years back, and somehow neglected to get more than a handful out on the internet to date.

That being said, here’s a shot I took of a Chicago sunrise, partially reflected in the Cloud Gate sculpture (a.k.a. “the bean”) in Millennium Park:

Beanrise

For those interested in visiting, I’ll be writing up a post in the next week or so with tips on photography of and with Cloud Gate; as public sculpture goes, it’s a particularly fun object to work with photographically.

Hanging on for dear life

We recently took a family “spring break” trip out to Washington D.C.  As part of a “behind the scenes” tour of the National Cathedral, I spotted this little gargoyle through a tiny window in a service door:

Hanging on for dear life

Even from just a few steps away from the door, it took 110mm of focal length (220 in full frame terms) to capture the little guy.

Love locks

A relatively new phenomenon (for Paris), the Pont des Arts bridge has gotten covered with “love locks” since about 2008.

Love locks

If you’re not familiar with the meme, the idea is that couples write their names on a padlock, lock it on the bridge, then toss the key into the Seine river as a show of their everlasting devotion.  The problem, though, is that the bridge wasn’t really designed to handle this kind of a load (it’s estimated that nearly a million locks, weighing 60+ metric tons, have been snapped onto the bridge).
Continue reading

Unselective color

When we traveled to Iceland a few weeks back, we were primarily hoping to see the colors of the northern lights.  We inadvertently saw some more urban colors as well — this time, in Reykjavik:

Unselective color

Many of the more-traditional buildings in Reykjavik tend to be painted in fairly muted tones.  One swath of buildings near the harbor is dressed in a more modern fashion, with saturated solid colors.  This one apparently got a bit of help from some of the younger locals — its sky blue front was augmented at some point with a variety of colorful graffiti.  When we passed by, the interior appeared to be in the process of being rebuilt — into a shop, or restaurant, or whatever — hard to say.  Regardless, it was a welcome splash of semi-chaotic color on an otherwise drab day.

The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens for butterfly photography — a user experience review

Some months back I purchased an Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens (officially, the M. Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens) and MC-14 1.4x teleconverter for my E-M1 body.  I’d given them some exercise on a road trip previously, but when an opportunity came up for a “Tripod Session” at a local butterfly pavilion, I thought I could give them a real workout on the facility’s residents.

Paper Kite

Continue reading