Category Archives: photography

The trip that almost didn’t happen

The email Olympus Super Fan Experiential in San Francisco

 

It was late afternoon on Tuesday, Dec 19th that I received an email indicating I was invited to attend a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” entitled  ‘Olympus Super Fan Experiential in San Francisco’.  Unfortunately, this almost didn’t occur because I thought it was a scam.  I researched the email originator of the email but didn’t put too much effort into it since I had a very early flight the next morning and had to begin getting ready for the flight and put this out of my mind with no thought to return to the email.

 

Thursday afternoon when driving from North Carolina to Pittsburgh, I received an Instant Message from Olympus Visionary, Jamie McDonald asking if I got an email from Olympus earlier in the week.  Since I was driving, I didn’t respond immediately.  A few hours went by and I reread his IM then responded. “Yes, I received a note but I thought it was SPAM.” – Do you have time to chat? He responded – Yes, call me.  I did and he confirmed not only was it true but I needed to respond quickly since the deadline to respond was the next day. – Ouch! Was I going to blow the chance of a lifetime?

 

I immediately called the number on the email and began the adventure of a lifetime that would begin on my 61st birthday.  Yes, the trip would start on January 25th and I would get to meet new folks who love photography, ‘play’ with new gear and meet people whom I admired for a long time.

 

I was selected as one of ten photographers in the United States to attend the “Olympus Super Fan Experiential” fully paid for by Olympus.  To state I was excited is an understatement and as the date approached, I was filled with anticipation taking me back to my childhood when either my birthday or Christmas was close and I ‘knew’ my parents bought me something I wanted but I had to ‘pretend’ I didn’t know I was getting that ‘special’ toy. Yes, I felt like a kid again and loved every minute of it.

 

The journey to selecting Olympus as my gear of choice

 

A few years ago I purchased my first OMD camera, it was a used OMD-EM5 and my ‘love’ for mirrorless technology began.  I used this for some of my macro work during weddings and it became my exclusive ‘travel’ camera along with the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens and 60mm f/2.8 macro.  Over time, I sold this camera, bought a different micro 4/3 mirrorless but when the Olympus OMD-E-M1MarkII was announced, I pre-ordered it along with the 12-100 f/4 (more on these two items in a different article) and purchased a few more used Olympus lenses beginning my full migration to Olympus from Nikon.  There were many people along the way who kept fueling my interest but there was one person who stood above the rest, Olympus Visionary Scott Bourne. (Plus, I would get to meet him and another longtime favorite of mine – Derrick Story who wrote an article on our trip.  I started my selling off of Nikon gear and fully moved to Olympus in early 2017 telling everyone and anyone I photographed how much ‘funner’ shooting with Olympus was than Nikon. (No doubt, some thought I was annoying :D.)

 

As the date approached, our group connected on a ‘private’ Facebook group and group instant messaging and connect we did.  The IM seemed non-stop in anticipation from one of the members indicating this was the first time they were flying while another lived near and worked in San Francisco.

My birthday

The day finally arrived, my 61st birthday on this great planet earth and I was off to SF with my backpack of Olympus gear to my standard travel ‘food’. It was going to be a long flight and my body was more than juiced for the trip.  I sat by the door (I was ready many hours early) of our house as I waited for a limo to pick me up and drive me to the airport.  Yes, Olympus had a limo pick us up ensuring there was no expense on our part and that we would arrive at the airport with plenty of time for the flights across the country.

 

When we arrived in San Francisco, a limo picked us up and took us to our Hotel, where we hooked up with the others in our Super Fan group, great folks from MullenLowe U.S, and Olympus USA. and given some new toys that we would play with during our trip.  For me, the two items I wanted to play with was the new Olympus Pro line of f/1.2 lenses.  The 17mm and 45mm, both lenses I was ‘eyeing’ up since they were announced. To me, the 17mm f/1.2 (FF equivalent of 34mm) is the perfect event and street photographer’s lens.  The 45mm (FF equiv 90mm) is perfect for event and portraits.

 

After going to dinner where I was surprised with a nice ‘vegan’ desert and birthday celebration, a few of us went to a local park high above the city to capture the cityscape at night.  We walked back to the hotel via Chinatown and continued playing with the 17mm lens where I was amazed by the feel of the lens.  (I knew it would be difficult to return it to Eric from Olympus in a few days.)

E-M1MarkII 12-100

San Francisco Cityscape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To state I stayed up too late is an understatement but I wasn’t going to miss one minute of opportunity to photograph San Francisco. Add in the time difference, excitement, and joy, I finally went to sleep nearly 24 hours after I started the journey on Wednesday.  However, I wasn’t tired and according to my Fitbit, I averaged 2-4 hours of sleep each night the entire time I was in San Francisco. 😀

 

Chinatown Wall Art
Olympus E-M1MarkII and 17mm f/1.2 Pro Lens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golden Gate Opportunity

The next morning we met in the lobby and headed out to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge from atop a mountain.  It was very foggy but we came away with iconic images.  From there we went to Muir Woods and had lunch and continued photographing everything and anything.  Derrick Story was with us and documented the journey on his blog.

Golden Opportunity – Olympus E-M1MarkII and 12-100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect sunset

We had ‘free time’ and a few of us took an Uber trip to Treasure Island and captured a magnificent sunset and blue hour.  When we returned from our trip to Treasure Island, the Olympus Visionaries began arriving and a few went to the park from the previous day.

Sunset and Street Photography
E-M1MarkII 12-100

Sunset and Street Photography
E-M1MarkII 12-100

Blue Hour
Olympus E-M1MarkII 12-100

 

Sleep why?

 

Sunrise over San Francisco
E-M1MarkII 12-100

The next day our adventure continued but a few of us rose early (why not :D) and went back to the mountain and photographed the Golden Gate bridge again and this time there was no fog but we were given a beautiful sunrise.

We returned to the hotel and hooked up with the rest of the group heading off to Alcatraz (stay tuned for a story in a future post) and Baker Beach where I could have spent hours taking in the view of the Golden Gate bridge, excitement from the kids playing on the beach, and the unique feel of the sand unlike the sand from the east coast of the country.

 

We stayed out late again knowing our journey was coming to an end and I didn’t want it to stop.  Along the way we ate at some of the finest restaurants, traveled in a limo bus, laughed and talked until our voices where fading.  We didn’t want the trip to end but it did end sealing lifetime memories and relationships.

 

I could write for thousands of more words and my gratitude to Olympus, MullenLowe, the other Olympus Super Fans, and the Olympus Visionaries could not be expressed more than these words – “Thank you! Not only was this a tremendous experience, but I couldn’t have asked for a better 61st birthday gift!”

Beach Fun Olympus E-M1MarkII 12-100

Everyone got along well, talking, laughing, and enjoying this once in a lifetime experience.  We gained more than an experience but a lifetime of friends, a connection to tremendous people, and a unique bond with an amazing company (Olympus).

 

All of the images in this post were taken with the Olympus OMD-E-M1MarkII, the Olympus 12-100 f/4 (the very sharp, perfect ‘general’ purpose and travel lens), Olympus 7-14 f/2.8, and the new Pro 17mm and 45mm f/1.2 lenses.

 

To find the images taken but the Visionaries, Super Fans, and me during the trip, search this hashtag on Social Media:

#CapturingSanFrancisco

 

I posted the majority of my images on my portfolio site here.  Watch this blog for a write-up on the Olympus 17mm f/1.2 lens.

 

Me on Facebook and Instagram

 

As I state often, ‘photography is too much fun to be legal’ and using Olympus gear is like ‘cheating’ for it is almost impossible to make a bad image.

Alcatraz Island Lighthouse
Olympus E-M1MarkII 12-100

Tranquility
Olympus E-M1MarkII 12-100

 

Links to Olympus on the net

 

http://getolympus.com

http://facebook.com/getolympus

http://instagram.com/getolympus

http://twitter.com/getolympus

http://youtube.com/getolympus

http://flickr.com/groups/getolympus

Also posted in #CapturingSanFrancisco, beaver county, Camera Review, diary of a travel junkie, Gratitude, Inspirational Art, Landscape Photography, mirrorless camera, mirrorless photographer, Olympus, OM-D E-M1 Mark II, street photography, Travel Photography

Tender moments

Daddy’s protective arms

In daddy's arms

In daddy’s arms

There is nothing like photographing tender moments and when a dad is so in love with his little girl the moments ooze from every image making my role as a photographer and artist very easy. Daddy’s baby girl touched his heartstrings in more ways than an image can show but when you notice, her hand was on his left side over his heart. My goal is always to show an intimate and loving bond between each parent and child and often using black and white gives a look that cannot be told in color. Without the distractions of color, the eye automatically gravitates to the emotion and tenderness of the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleeping sound with mom

The delicate touch of a mom and glow that is displayed radiates from this image and the light was perfect creating a soft look.

My sweet baby

My sweet baby

Fun, fun, and more fun! Every time I look at this image, it looks like an ad for a hair product. “Use our hair products and your hair will look this good!” 😀 What a fun image!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daddy’s little girl!

Daddy’s big muscles

Wow, the look and feel as daddy holds on to his little girl’s hand and keeps her secure in his arm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tender moments!

Tender moments

As both mom and dad look on to their little girl, the love pours from the image and this could be used for many statements including, “The depth of the love of parents for their children cannot be measured. It is like no other relationship. It exceeds concern for life itself… ” James Faust

 

 

 

 

 

 



Technical specs:

Camera used – Olympus OMD-EM-1 Mark II
Lenses – I use a variety of prime lenses for portraits including the Olympus 17 mm, 45 mm, and two macro lenses 30 mm and 60 mm

Also posted in family portraits, mirrorless camera, mirrorless photographer, Olympus, OM-D E-M1 Mark II Tagged |

Exposure Triangle and Aperture

How does aperture impact my image?

In this short video, I show a few examples how changing the aperture / f-stop impacts the look of your image.

My goal is to get you off of auto and in manual mode.

Additionally, my intent is to show you that each of the images shown in the video are exposed properly but a properly exposed image does not mean it is the image you intended to photograph.


Stranger: “That is a beautiful child you have there.”
Mother: “That’s nothing. You should see his photograph.” – Anonymous


 

Technical Specs

Olympus | E-M1MarkII | Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens | Mirrorless Camera | MeFoto Tripod

Also posted in beaver county, Landscape Photography, mirrorless camera, Olympus, OM-D E-M1 Mark II, Photography Education, photography quotes, Wedding Photography Tagged , , , , , , |

Invest in yourself – two free ebooks

Photography education

I believe in investing in yourself through books, ebooks, webinars, and more in all areas of life.  I have been a long time fan of DAVID DUCHEMIN having read many of his photography ebooks and a few of his physical books.  He is giving away two excellent photography books that I recommend regardless of your skill level.

Ten – TEN WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR CRAFT WITHOUT BUYING GEAR

Ten More – TEN MORE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR CRAFT WITHOUT BUYING GEAR

David’s books are extremely affordable normally selling for ~$5 ea but at the price of free, they are a tremendous deal.  Don’t let free scare you away thinking they are not worth the time or effort to download and read them.  Invest in yourself starting today.

“Your body and brain will be around much longer than those expensive toys you are considering.”

R.E.A.D. Really enjoy and discover the world of books

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr Seuss

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.” Mark Twain

 

Vintage Car Show

Also posted in Photography Education, Wedding Photography Tagged , , |

Candid Moments in Life

Candid Moments in Life

The best moments are not planned

I took this image of my wife and two eldest grandkids is 2009. We were walking along a path that borders our property and the moment seemed perfect for an image.  The grandkids are now 13 and 11 but this image is one of my favorite images of all times.  My wife and I were going through the thousands of images I took of the family since 2001 and this one jumped out as a ‘must print and hang’ image.  We pondered the best scripture verse and decided that Psalm 46:10a, “Be still and know that I am God…” is perfect.

I printed this as an 11×14 and matted it to fit a 16×20 black frame for hanging in our living room.  This will join many other prints that we proudly display of our family and life.  My wife kept saying, this looks like something you would buy and hang on your wall from a Christian bookstore. 😀  One of the greatest compliments a photographer can get is when their spouse states they would pay for the image.

Some of the best images I took were not planned, staged, nor posed.  They just developed (pun intended).  Although this sat on my hard drive for 6 years after I processed it, the image remained ready to become a story teller.  However, I believe that an image isn’t a true picture until it is printed and hung on a wall for others to see and cherish.

No doubt this might have more meaning to us than it would to others, the connection of the viewer becomes when they can relate.  A mom can relate thinking when they walk hand in hand with their child(ren) or a grandma thinking to the day when she walks with her grandchildren.  Life is short and too often the only thing we have to trigger a happy and cherished memory is to look and hold our pictures.  There is a saying that a picture is art when it connects with the viewer.  I would add that a picture is an image when it tells a story that connects the viewer to the subject.

It is very important to preserve memories with photography but it is more important to print the images to share and hold.

What many do not realize is the image we take today isn’t for our benefit (today) but for the benefit of future generations or to comfort us years in the future.  I hope that one day my grandchildren will be blessed with children and grandchildren of their own and that this image will provide conversations they have with their families.  As I type this, tears flow down my cheeks.  Not of sorrow but of joy that a God given gift (vision and photography) can bring joy and happiness.  Tears of joy that memories are captured and preserved for future generations to enjoy.

With the advent of digital and the fact that nearly everyone has a camera (mobile device) and images are shared non-stop, my concern is that too many people fail to print their memories.  They show them off on their smart phone but when the smart phone breaks where are the memories.  Yes, more and more people store in the cloud but how many retrieve them from the cloud and display the images proudly on their walls?

Candid moments need preserved and cherished!

Mother’s day is quickly approaching.  Plan a time for pictures, preserving today for future generations.  We offer a session that includes both still and motion (video) with a multimedia show that brings laughter and tears wrapped in joy and happiness.

Also posted in beaver county, high school senior portraits, hybrid portraits, Inspirational Art, portraits, Wedding Photography Tagged , , , |

Kodak Commercial Pictures Live Forever

Tremendous commercial emphasizing the importance of pictures.  One of my favorite commercials of all time!  Why?  Because it emphasizes the value and art of story telling through photography and just as important it shows the need to print your images.  Too often folks take pictures but they never print them or do anything with them other than post them to instagram, facebook, or other social media site.

 

“The pictures are talking . . . they are saying keep me, protect me, share me and I will live forever.”  I can hear them! 

Also posted in photography quotes, Wedding Photography Tagged , , , , |