Photographing Wide Open at f/1.7

I often photograph with my lenses wide open in order to blur out the background.  In this case I was also seeing what I could do with red leaves.  I’m already tired of the colored leaves and I wanted to see how they worked in B&W.  I made these images with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens, a favorite of mine, while I was still waiting for the arrival of the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens.

Micro 4/3 System

211115-083609-JEH21Recently I had another one of my spells where I started wondering about getting another camera.  It seems that I have always been enamored with changes, no matter whether it was my career or my cameras and lenses. 

Since I’m retired and getting older by the day, I now limit my thoughts relative to changes to my photography.

In the past I used many different Pentax DSLR cameras and lenses and since most of them are still available to be purchased used, I went back to my older images made with Pentax gear and played with reprocessing them with the latest version of Lightroom.  I found that I still liked the kinds of images I had made and that they responded well to the latest capabilities of Lightroom.

I was almost ready to order another Pentax camera with the 55-300mm PLM lens, a lens that I liked using at its maximum focal range.  But, then I forced myself to remember why I left Pentax systems, they were larger and heavier.  I didn’t, and still wouldn’t, always have problems with their weight, so should I give them a try again knowing that I gave up Pentax DSLR cameras several times because of size and weight?

One of the things I would like to concentrate on this winter are monochrome images.  Would the APS sensor in the Pentax cameras be better than the micro 4/3 sensor in the Olympus camera?  Maybe, but not likely as much as most would expect.  The larger issue is the aperture of the lenses used with micro 4/3 and APS cameras, especially in low light.  

My particular concern is being able to blur out the background with the Olympus system, so I tried another example with the Olympus 14-150 mm lens at 150 mm focal length and wide open, which was only f/5.6.  Those are the settings for the image shown above made through a window.

My real issue is making or finding simple compositions and sometimes it means using faster apertures and reducing the depth of field, but not always like in the image above.  If I can isolate the subject, f/5.6 in micro 4/3 system can be sufficient.  When photographing things in the field that isn’t always as easy.

There are several alternatives, but one alternative is using a faster Olympus 75 mm f/1.8 lens.  Since I have other uses for the 75 mm lens, I am going to try one.  I could use it along with my 20 mm f/1.7 for a pair of fast lenses at night and in other low light situations.

Winter is Coming

As the weather starts to get colder and wetter and windier I have been thinking about what I might do with my photography this winter.

On the morning I made the above images the first colors presented themselves in the sky and were later followed by the geese flying by.  Since I had my Olympus TG-6 in my hand, I made these pictures through a window.

I have to confess that I made these images to learn more about what works for monochrome images.  I have both my Olympus TG-6 and my E-M5 III cameras set to record raw images in square format in each camera’s monochrome style.  After I downloaded them using the camera’s settings I tried some different effects and then changed them back and forth between monochrome and the camera’s natural colors.  Obviously, I’m showing you the color style above.

And if you are wondering, I also originally made the images in the previous post in the same manner, except with the E-M5 III camera.

You might be wondering why I am making my pictures first in B&W.  Other than for learning what makes a good B&W image, I’m considering collecting my life style images in B&W for a book that I might want to make later and I want to compose them for a book.  I also want to try some more B&W printing.  Since some of the images work best in color I will use them occasionally, as warranted, in my blog, but my personal objective is to learn to make better B&W images.

Another thing I am trying, is to see if I can do more of my winter photography with the TG-6 since it is waterproof and small so that I can carry it in my jacket pocket.  That works better for making images of what I see as I do whatever I do this winter.  It is a great recording device as a visional record for story telling, etc.

Only in America

Note the expensive vehicle parked next to me with the “Jeep” label.  It was trail rated with a lifted suspension and big wheels, and shiny orange paint without a mark indicating that it had probably never been off of the pavement.

At Night with 12-40mm F2.8 Lens

I took the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 lens for a walk at night to see how it performed.  It did OK but a lighter, smaller, faster lens would have been better.  I’m still dithering about whether I would prefer to use the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 and the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lenses rather than carry the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 lens.