Tag Archives: Tripod

Imperial Beach, Before and After

Imperial Beach on Superbowl Sunday was fantastic.  The sunset wasn’t especially colorful, but the cloud formations were amazing!

I used my Olympus EM-5  with Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye lens mounted on a tripod.  In order to make sure there was absolutely no camera shake created by me pressing the shutter, I used the 2 second timer.

In case you’re interested, these are of the settings I used:

  • Aperture Priority
  • Format – RAW
  • ISO – 200
  • Aperture – f/11
  • Shutter Speed – 1/60th
  • Exposure Compensation – +0.3

Here’s what I got:
Imperial Beach, After

The out of camera results aren’t bad, but if anything perhaps a little dull.  And yes, I do recognize that there is some distortion, but I’m ok with that. This is a fisheye image after all.  I’ve mentioned it in some of my other on-line forum posts and I’ll say it here – I like the fisheye effect. I don’t use it all the time, and think that limited use is probably better than too much. But, there are times when a scene seems just perfect for it, and this was one of those times!

I’m not going to go into great detail on the adjustments that I made. There are plenty of excellent tutorials on-line for that. This is more of a high fly-over. In Adobe Photoshop RAW, I bumped up the Clarity setting. To my eye, this has the effect of tweaking the midrange tones. After that I did some work in Photoshop. Not much, but I did adjust the levels a bit. To finish it I bumped up the color saturation, cropped it a little from the bottom, and added a vignette .  This is the result:

Imperial Beach, After

The changes are subtle and simple, but lately I like that. I used to be much more into HDR images, but I’ve backed that off a lot.  As much fun as it was to make a series of images into something really grungy, I think I’ve gotten that out of my system. Just like using the fisheye sparingly, I’m going to keep HDR as a technique, a tool that I can use when the time is right.

That’s it for now.  Until next time – Happy Shooting!

EM-5 vs EOS-M

EM-5 vs EOS-M

This post is about a quick comparison between my Olympus OM-D EM-5 (that is a mouthful, so I’ll shorten it to EM-5) and the Canon EOS-M.  Sorry, this isn’t an in-depth scientific test, but more of a seat of the pants real world comparison.

The EM-5 is mine and the EOS-M belongs to my son, Steven.  He got a great deal on his gently used EOS-M (with a couple of lenses), and was kind enough to bring it down during our motorhome vacation at the Chula Vista RV Resort.

My first impression of the EOS-M was from what I had read on-line.  And unfortunately the reviews weren’t very good.  But once I actually got to touch and feel one, I was pleasantly surprised.  The size was perfect (small, but not too small), and it had a nice heft to it.  There isn’t an electronic viewfinder (EVF), and the screen is fixed.  The EOS-M also has a touch screen. The other thing I noticed is that there aren’t many external controls.

The EM-5 on the other hand had glowing reviews since it was first introduced.  I knew I had to have one, and have written about it in previous posts.  To summarize, it’s just the right size (for me), has a movable view screen, and a great EVF.  One more plus is the amount of external controls.  The EM-5 has a touch screen, but I don’t use it and have turned it off.

So, how exactly did we go about comparing these two great little mirrorless cameras?  We put each camera on a tripod, and set them to manual.  Then the aperture was set to f/16 and the shutter speed set to 30 seconds.  Finally, each camera had the ISO to 200.  Here are the results:

EOS-M , San Diego Night Sky
The photo above is from the Canon EOS-M, with 22mm EF-M22mm.

Olympus OM-D EM-5, San Diego Night Sky

The photo above is from the EM-5 with 17mm 1.8

Other than converting from RAW and resizing, each image has had no post processing applied.

Let’s look a little closer.  I zoomed in to 100 percent on each image. Then I selected a small section and cropped it.  This is what they look like:

100 percent EOS-M
The photo above is from the EOS-M

100 percent, OM-D EM-5
The photo above is from the EM-5

Now, the question is – which one is better?  Personally I think they are both great, and there is no clear winner in my opinion. Unprocessed, there is some noise, but nothing that some noise reducing software can’t handle. Will these cameras win any low light contests against full frame DSLR’s? No, most likely not. But that’s ok because they have other advantages like size, speed, and ease of use.

I could have processed these images, cleaned them up, sharpened them and applied some other tweaks and adjustments., but I didn’t want to do that.  I wanted to share what each camera can do right out of the box.  Each image is presented honestly so you can judge for yourself.

Either one of these cameras would be a fine choice if you are in the market.  It really boils down to personal preference.  The best thing to do if you’re interested, would be to get your hands on them and see which one feels the best in your hands.

That’s it for now.  Until next time – Happy Shooting!


Warm and Cozy

Warm and Cozy

Warm and Cozy, that’s what I’m calling this photo and the name of this post.

There’s something about this photo that I like (not just because I made it).  Maybe it’s the sense of a warm and inviting cottage by a pond.  The yellow glow from the lights in the windows and reflecting from the calm still water really make this shot work!

While it looks warm and cozy, it was certainly anything but that when I was standing out there, setting the camera to get this shot.  It was dark, and getting cold, and as usual, I didn’t have a warm enough jacket with me, not to mention gloves.  Gloves can be a real pain when you’re trying to push tiny camera buttons and I end up taking them off, so I just left them back in the motorhome.

My camera of choice for this image was my Panasonic GX-1.  The GX-1 has a slight edge over my Olympus E-P3 when it comes to working in low light (by producing less noise).  I put my Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens on for 2 reasons:

  1. The lens was still fairly new to me and I wanted to use it!
  2. I really like how sharp and clear some of my previous results were with this lens.

The only other piece of equipment I used was a tripod.  From past experiments and failures, I knew I needed a steady mount to have any kind of success.

Once I figured out how to compose the shot, I got busy.  The interesting thing to me, looking back, is that I only took a few shots of this scene.  As I mentioned, it was getting cold and I wanted to get back, so I didn’t do much experimenting.

My settings for this final image were:

  • Aperture Priority
  • f/3.2
  • 40 second exposure
  • ISO 160
  • RAW

The final image is from a single RAW file (non-HDR), post processed in Photoshop.

So far, Warm and Cozy has been my most popular photo on my Facebook Page (click on the link), and has won “Photo of the Day” at MyParkPhotos.com (click on the link).

If you’re interested in purchasing a print click here (and thanks)!

That’s it for now, until next time – Happy Shooting!