Firstly, there will be quite a lot of firsts described in these Micro Moments blogs…
The main reason for this, is me doing a complete swop-over to the Olympus OM-D camera system, from the Canon DSLRs (and film SLRs) that I’ve been using professionally for over a decade and a half.
My camera combo used to be my Canon 7D (with Canon 17-55mm F2.8 EF-S lens) and 40D (with Canon 70-200mm F4 L lens) as the backup camera. I then acquired the Olympus E-M5, for the purpose of having a small camera with superb optical performance, permanently by my side. I ordered the magical little Olympus m.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lens with the E-M5 and what a potent pair these two made – serious image quality in a small package!
After becoming familiar with the E-M5’s performance and potential, I relieved the Canon 40D of backup duty. I could leave the E-M5 around my neck (with Joby’s 3-Way Camera Strap) for the whole of any shoot assignment and scarcely be aware of it because of the small size and weight – whenever I saw a potential photo, I just quickly lengthened the cord and fired away.
Then the Olympus OM-D E-M1 was announced. It was also during this time, that I was in the fortunate position, of being asked if I would be interested in becoming an Olympus Ambassador photographer – 1 of 4 Olympus Ambassadors in South Africa. (consistently badgering the Olympus marketing manager with my E-M5 photos paid off… : )
Having built up a little arsenal of Canon lenses throughout the years, especially my beloved L lenses for wildlife, made the choice a tad tough. However, after fondling (and dribbling on) the E-M1 at a photographic expo and scouring the web for EVERY single E-M1 review, I knew I had found my new main camera body. I confirmed ambassadorship promptly.
I immediately ordered the Olympus m.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens (equivalent to 24-80mm F2.8) with the E-M1, as I couldn’t do without this optical length on many of my assignments. It was quite scarce worldwide during this period and I was getting slightly panicky as those assignments drew closer – I had by now sold nearly all of my Canon equipment! I had to do one studio shoot with only the 45mm and the 12mm prime lenses – portrait shots worked beautifully, but full length shots was a touch on the WIDE SIDE.
Fortunately the 12-40mm made its welcome appearance – oozing solid metal quality – its premiere was another studio shoot (which went more satisfactory widely speaking). Next I used it on an exciting aviation shoot – described in my previous blog Flying Free.
And now it was the turn of my wedding shoots to experience THE ALL OLY OM-D 1ST. With my E-M1 (and Olympus m.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens) and E-M5 (with Olympus m.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lens) I was fully armed for those eventful events, called weddings!
It was a public holiday long weekend in March (autumn in South Africa) and I had wedding shoots on the Friday and Sunday – a decent hectic opening run for my all OM-D setup.
The first wedding’s shooting started at 12h00, which worked out well, as I could photograph the bride preparation, etc. all in-house when the light outside was not optimal.
The wedding ceremony started at 15h00 and was held under a hugely beautiful tree in a lush spreading garden – the shade provided by the tree was tre(e!)mendous for photography at that hour, but here and there blotches of sun shone through, which made it a bit trickier, but then again also provided special photo opportunities.
There were real jungle-like areas to be found in the thicker foliage areas of the garden – superb for posing the blissful couple. And a smorgasbord of lighting situations was on the menu – one could shoot into the sun, use a reflector or a wirelessly triggered flash (the Olympus FL-600R with a small Rogue Flashbender reflector attached) or just utilise the beautiful soft golden light. The E-M1 handled it all in a smooth stride. The well-placed knobs (with their delicious knurls – yes, there is such a word…) and with the plethora (I’m getting in a stride now) of intelligently-placed buttons, most of the functions & options were close at hand, which made shooting that more breezy. And the quick-portrait-shoot E-M5 just complemented it all beautifully.
The speeches took place in a dimly-lit lapa after the sunset. Here I just reflected the flash light (on-camera with previously mentioned Flashbender) and could get clear sharp images without the need of going higher than ISO 800.
The Sunday wedding was Hindu – a first for me (yes, another one). I was looking forward to all the spectacular colours. It was a day-affair, which meant interesting lighting challenges lay ahead. Fortunately the ceremonies were either in the shade or under a thatched roof – the couple shoot, however, was scheduled for 13h00 – not completely ideal. I tried to keep the couples in shady areas for most of the shots, but to add a bit of location spice & variety, some needed to be taken in the straight harsh African sun. And again handled superbly by the E-M1 & 5.
Editing the photos afterwards in Lightroom, felt quicker than normal – it was as if the images contained more natural light and colour.
An apt description of the OLY OM-Ds.