Looking Back at 2011

I have gone through some major changes this past year.  I’m not even going to address the physical changes or the move from Bowie, MD where we lived for 45 years, or the move to Homewood at Plum Creek in Hanover, PA.  While those events were quite remarkable in themselves, in this article I’m only going to write about the changes with my photography and cameras.

Some will probably think that I have gone in a complete circle, or series of circles, but I believe that I am making progress … it just hasn’t been in a straight line.  It’s more like I’m spiraling in towards my more minimal set of cameras … or camera.

I started off the year with the Pentax K-7 DSLR and Olympus E-P1 cameras.  When I traveled to Tunisia the previous year, I had taken the E-P1 rather than the K-7 due to weight restrictions, and the results firmed up my feelings about the benefits of the mirror-less micro 4/3 camera-lens systems.  In fact I was so pleased with the E-P1 that I added the Olympus E-PL2 to my collection of cameras and took both it and the E-P1 to Ireland in May of this year.  The E-P1 became my backup camera.

To further reduce the weight and size of my gear, I tried shooting primarily with prime lenses while in Ireland and found that they worked quite well.  I determined that the Lumix 14 and 20 mm lenses on the E-PL2 made a great travel system, but I began to think that carrying two Olympus Pen cameras (one for backup) was heavier than necessary, so I bought a Canon S95 to use for backup and as a true pocket camera for other times.

But, while the two Pen cameras performed OK in the hot, dusty climate of Tunisia and the wet, windy climate of Ireland, I still had some doubts about using them in even harsher climates, so I purchased a Pentax K-5.  My intent was to use the K-5 in future trips to places like the Amazon rain forest or the wet tropical areas of Costa Rica.  I then took the K-5 to Hawaii for a couple of weeks so that I could get more accustomed to using it and to see how well I liked it.  The bottom line is that I liked it a lot, but I could have gotten along just as well with the E-PL2.  For now, I’m keeping the K-5 in case I make any future trips back to the rain forests and/or need an effective 450 mm reach for wild life.

Since the E-P1 and the E-PL2 performed so well and since I have fallen in love with the Olympus Pen system, I decided to replace both of them with the E-P3.  The more I use the E-P3 the better I like it.  If all continues to go as I expect, I will be using it as my primary camera with the S95 and K-5 relegated to collect dust sitting on the shelf.

There have been other changes relative to photography in the past year, but they have been more subtle.  I have come to realize the photographer is much more important than the camera and that having a smaller, lighter weight camera with me is more important than having a DSLR APS camera at home sitting on the shelf.  A continual search for my next camera is an endless pursuit with limited benefits, and I’m tired of reading web sites that compare the minute changes in image quality, etc. for each and every new camera that comes out.  I would be a lot better off devoting more time to getting out and about and taking pictures and perfecting the use of what I have.  Finally, I have embraced shooting all of my pictures in the raw format and using Lightroom (LR) to develop all of my pictures.