Exercise In Futility

These images were shot over the span of a 7 days or so as I walked to work. They were shot on my Olympus EM1 using either my 12-40 (24-80) or 40-150 (80-300). I did all but one in monochrome because I felt that it just added texture the images that they otherwise lacked in color; to be honest they don’t have much color.

Why is this an exercise in futility? I just could not get myself to edit them to satisfaction. I have attempted these images on 3 different times and either would forget something basic or just blow out the blacks or the highlights. I finally just pushed through ignoring stuff that annoyed me to no end and gave up trying to “fix” the problems. I am still not happy but some part of me liked the images. Still it was an exercise in futility and I might have well edited with my eyes closed and said to hell with it and how it comes out is how it comes out.

Try and enjoy.

Exercise In FutilityExercise In FutilityExercise In FutilityExercise In FutilityExercise In FutilityExercise In FutilityExercise In FutilityExercise In FutilityExercise In FutilityExercise In Futility

 

Distant Shores

This was taken off of Wongnamat Beach in Naklua as the sun was starting to set over the Gulf of Thailand with the city in the distance. You can see Pattaya, Pranumnak, and Jomtein in the distance. I also liked how the water and the rocks played off each other.

This was shot with my Olympus EM1 versus the Sony A7R which I use for most of my landscape stuff. Mainly because I am lazy and hate switching lenses and I can use the 24-200 I have for the A7R. Still, I can notice the lack of details between the two cameras if I pixel peep enough. The one thing I haven’t done with the Olympus is use a 2 stop bracket like I do with my Sony. The HDR was done with 7 images shifting 1/3 of a stop each direction. I might try it with 3 images with a 2 stop shift.

Lots of filters after the HDR conversion. Running it through Macphun’s Intensify CK and Nik’s Color Efx. Then masking everything back in at various levels.

Enjoy.

Distant Shores

Sint Maarten

It’s funny how you think about some images and can’t find them and you move on. It just so happened this was the case with these images. I asked my friend who was on the trip with me about them and he had no idea where they went so I moved on. I needed to clear space on my phone and backed up all my images to my Google account and suddenly there were the images.

These images are 7 years old. They were shot on an Olympus FE-230. The camera had “quality issues” to be nice. The unflattering truth was image quality sucked. Then again, when I used the camera I was totally clueless. This was before I started to spend enough money on photography gear that I could have bought a nice family car (no joke).

Still, I had a fondness in my heart for these images for some reason so I figured why not take a crack at them. The saying you can’t polish a turd is true. You can make it look like a better turd. Think of it as concept art.

These were all processed in Photoshop and Camera Raw. Using my usual process just scaled way the hell back to retain what little sharpness there was in the images and improve it if I could. Also, it should be pointed out that the photographer at the time was clueless about anything remotely considering photography other than point the camera in the general direction and hope for the best.

Enjoy this little trip down memory lane and Sint Maarten.

Sint Maartin

Sint Maartin

Sint Maartin

Sint Maartin

Sint Maartin

Sint Maartin

Sint Maartin

Sint Maartin

Sint Maartin

Sint Maartin

Sint Maartin

Waves Lapping At the Shore

Final one I think from the Edison & Ford Winter Estate. The shoreline was the one thing I found fascinating there from the sheer number of images I took of it.

Went with a cinematic crop and then just played with the image to get it where I wanted it. Did a lot of work while in lab color in Photoshop which made color adjustments a bit different but overall liked the effect. I also built lots of layers to bring out the textures in the rocks but didn’t want to mess with the sky. I like my clouds fluffy damn it!

Enjoy.

Waves Lapping At the Shore

Framed Ripples

This is another shot from the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. I happened on this view while discovering everything else was closed and my $20 was spent for naught. The river is the Caloosahatchee and I just like how the shot was framed between the palm trees.

Enjoy

Framed Ripples

Signs of Spring

Just two quickies I shot while working on something else. Used the Olympus 40-150mm (80-300) and got both these shots before moving on to what I was really shooting. Since what I shot will take a lot more time to edit then these two you get the hopeful signs of spring.

Enjoy.

Daffodil

Daffodil

Cinematic Skies

I have gotten over the worst of my man flu which was really debilitating. So in honor of that I have edited five photos to create something of a cohesive series. I have taken some liberties with the cinematic crop. Some of these are clearly more cinematic than others but you get the general point of what I was shooting for. The other interesting thing was a couple of these were edited in the morning and the others at night. Points if you can tell which were edited at which time.

All of these were shot on on Olympus EM1 using either the 12-40 2.8 or the 40-150 2.8. They were all processed using Nik’s ColorFX to get the images to where I wanted them. Then the usual sharpening and final touches put on them in Photoshop.

Enjoy.

Cinematic Skies

Cinematic Skies

Cinematic Skies

Cinematic Skies

Cinematic Skies

Where Eagles Dare

This could be a reference to the movie with the same name or more importantly; the Iron Maiden song. Take your pick on whatever makes you happier.

I will say that this series was like shooting on white seamless. It’s just the sky behind the lights and the light fooling the meter. Interesting effect that isolates the subject.

Enjoy.

Where Eagles Dare

 

Where Eagles Dare

Where Eagles Dare

Photo Gear Enema

None of these images has anything to do with this topic. They just happened to be the last images shot with gear I have just sold. Other than that they have no bearing what-so-ever on what I am about to write about. I also got to use enema in a title. Very excited by that.

I am fresh home from Ace Photo which is my local camera shop. I had made the decision to give myself a photo gear enema. To be blunt, I have way too much gear on hand and it was time to let it go. Clear the system out so to speak.

Snow and branches

The list of gear was 2 Olympus EM5’s, 1 Panasonic G5, 1 Panasonic 7-11mm, and a Nikon 55mm 1.2. I also had 3 grips for the EM5’s as well. The images in this piece were shot on the G5 and the Nikon 55.

One EM5 was my first Olympus camera after shooting Panasonic for awhile. I had moved away from Olympus because it was stuck at 12mp on the sensor and the Panasonic had a 16mp chip. It made a difference at the time. When the EM5 came out I sold my Panasonic gear and got the EM5. It made me happy. That camera has had some serious adventures in its life. It really had survived one night in Bangkok (well really more) and a few other interesting places. The guys at Ace Photo were laughing at its condition because it was “well loved”. I pointed out that the dust and dings on it add value considering the places it has been and the images it has captured. Sadly they pointed out that cameras can’t tell stories. It served its time well and each ding on that body attests to its adventures. I hope it finds a nice home with someone with a wild streak that goes on “adventures” once a year or so and relives the memories the rest of the time. The Bilbo Baggins of camera owners.

The other EM5 was used for concert shoots so I didn’t have to switch lenses as often. It made sense at the time because the Panasonic G5 I purchased for that purpose sucked at concert photography. So I now had 2 Olympus EM5’s and a Panasonic G5. Then I acquired a Panasonic G7 which made the G5 useless except for when I would put manual lenses on it because it was nearest to shooting an old school camera as it didn’t have image stabilization or focus peaking.

Pine Tree and Snow

So I had all these cameras and I mainly shoot with a Olympus EM1. I have the most excellent 12-40mm 2.8 Pro lens and I ordered the 40-150mm 2.8 Pro lens this week. Reality is these two lenses is and are going to be my bread and butter in personal stuff and paid. It made sense to get another EM1.

Sure the new EM5MK2 is out but it didn’t impress me. Sure it can do that 40mp uber resolution crap; thats it nothing moves and you have the tripod bolted to the Earth’s core. Oh, and it flips out the LCD now. I gave it a big meh. The EM1 is shaped like a DSLR. With a nice grip! Yes, I moved to micro 4/3 gear because of weight but mirrorless camera makers love to eschew gripping points for coolness. Sorry, I’ll take uncool DSLR look that weighs less then a full sized DSLR and I can actually hold on to it. Sadly the camera hipsters will never give me a fedora so I can shoot Lomography stuff and be cool. I’ll take functional over fashionable.

The lenses I sold were also not in use. I used the Nikon 55mm 1.2 but it was never seriously. It was nice to brag I had a 1.2 lens but mostly pointless. I bought it on a whim and sold it equally as fast on a whim. Admittedly the camera nerds even at the store were cooing over it but we all knew sexy but ultimately useless. Like most Playboy Playmates.

The Panasonic 7-14 was the real value on the trade. It’s a wanted lens. Its cool at first then quickly goes into the bag to collect dust until that 1 or 2 times a year you drag it out. There was dust on it from nearly a year of non-use. I bought it by accident on eBay. I bid thinking I would be sniped at the last minute. Wrong! So when it came time to look at stuff for sale it was quickly put into the sale pile. I just don’t use it.

Abstract Snow

So why am I rambling on about all this and writing a long piece on what would make a lot of people have gear envy? Hoping it hits home to fellow photographers that sometimes we have too much crap. You need to give yourself a gear enema and focus on what you need versus what you think you need or want. Look at it and stop thinking maybe I need it or “HOLY CRAP I WANT”. Odds are you don’t.

Growth as a photographer isn’t from gear. I look at my images from a years ago which I have published recently. I don’t even own 90% of it anymore. I know for a fact that the cameras were irrelevant. I didn’t need to spend the money on the stuff. I could have equally used what I was using before I convinced myself that I need that shiny new piece of equipment.

So give yourself a gear enema. Use the money to buy something you will use and need. Even better; pocket the money and save it for something else or spend it on education. Want to be a better photographer; take some classes. You will be better served by doing that then you ever will be from buying another piece of gear.

PS – Damn those Sony A7R’s are nice! Kidding! Mostly.