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Take time and find interesting subjects in ‘ordinary’ places.

 

Find something interesting in ‘ordinary’ places

I enjoy traveling and seeing new places! Combine that with a trip and my camera and it is pure joy!  However, there are usually beautiful places to photograph near your home that we too often overlook because they seem normal or ordinary. This is why I resonate with this quote:

“Photography is an art of observation . . . it is about finding something interesting in ‘ordinary’ places.

Seeing and photographing iconic places in the world is an adventure many photographers dream about. However, due to many reasons, we don’t have the opportunity to travel to New York City, Glacier National Park, Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, etc – But each of us has the opportunity to photograph where we live.

I live in Beaver County, PA and I make it a game looking for different places to photograph near where I live.  Often I have a camera with me and will stop when I see something new and ‘interesting’!

Old School House Reflections

 After a recent rainstorm, I was out walking at a nearby park enjoying the brisk air from a long day inside and noticed a near perfect reflection of the old schoolhouse (McKinley School #3).  Since we experienced a strong rainstorm, I was walking in my winter boots (yep, not an easy task to log 3 miles but it works 😀 ) and was able to walk into the puddling water. I used the trees in the foreground to frame the schoolhouse.

Reflections fascinate me and I gravitate to them when I notice them because they always remind me to reflect on the beauty of the world around me.

Sunrise and weeping willow tree

On a different morning, I was looking out the window enjoying the beautiful sunrise over our front yard when I noticed the light pouring through the weeping willow.  My goal was to get a nice sun flare off the branches and into the lens creating a fun sunrise image through the weeping willow.

It is one of our favorite trees that we planted, this weeping willow always provides interesting light patterns.

Is there a similar tree in your yard or park?

 

glycuronic

Springtime fun

Photographing flowers and blossoms are fun and I often use a macro lens to get all of the detail and attempt to isolate the flower/blossom from the background.  However, in this case, my goal was to show how ‘perfect’ these blossoms from a Pear Tree looked in the rising sun.  This is another tree in our yard and although it doesn’t provide shade, it does provide a resting place for birds and paints the spring with some of the prettiest flowers around.

Find beauty in your backyard! Walk your neighborhood at different times of the day.  Take a different route home or to work and look for new adventures!

Cameras used:

  • Olympus E-M1MarkII
  • Olympus Pen-F

Find Beauty in Beaver County

 

 

Posted in beaver county, 408-635-9711, Find beauty in your backyard, mirrorless camera, (228) 813-4874, Olympus Tagged |

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, 5073670301. (Plus, I would get to meet him and another longtime favorite of mine – 8158842756  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

(334) 453-4980

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 (514) 223-4013 and captured a magnificent sunset and blue hour.  When we returned from our trip to Treasure Island, the (404) 944-9211 began arriving and a few went to the park from the previous day.

(207) 615-8693

Sunset and Street Photography
E-M1MarkII 12-100

(604) 524-1474

Sunset and Street Photography
E-M1MarkII 12-100

(515) 274-3629

Blue Hour
Olympus E-M1MarkII 12-100

 

Sleep why?

 

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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 rationalist (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.

 

(954) 771-7396 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.

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Alcatraz Island Lighthouse
Olympus E-M1MarkII 12-100

(832) 454-1959

Tranquility
Olympus E-M1MarkII 12-100

 

Links to Olympus on the net

 

self-fountain

(646) 736-6540

/instagram.com/getolympus

/twitter.com/getolympus

3862831560

/flickr.com/groups/getolympus

Posted in 4508368491, beaver county, 6602655076, diary of a travel junkie, Gratitude, Inspirational Art, (330) 264-0548, mirrorless camera, Dedication festival, Olympus, 816-400-1467, photography, street photography, nebulizer

World of Wheels 2018

The World of Wheels is always a fun show to attend but ensure you put your walking shoes on and be ready for great looking cars, trucks, and bikes.  There were many fully custom vehicles with ‘paint jobs’ that were unreal.  To me, the World of Wheels 2018 in Pittsburgh is a great way to tickle the car cruise enthusiast and take away the winter blues for those who enjoy great looking cars, trucks, and bikes.

There were many that caught my attention (844-678-4153) including the coffin car to the cars from Fast And Furious but one that stuck with me is what I titled “Laughter”.  This image was taken with the Olympus E-M1MarkII and Lensbaby Sweet Optic 35. creating the fun out of focus look.

 

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Laughing Car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another image that immediately caught my attention was the very ‘high’ truck. I don’t think it would make it into most parking garages. 😀

Monster Truck

 

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Monster Truck

Monster Truck

(418) 267-6395

Monster Truck

 

Used Cars

There was a display – parody – Used Car Lot | featuring the 90-second warranty and shady salesperson

Shady Sales Person – 90 Second Warranty

Used Cars

Shady Sales Person

Vendors

There were many vendors ranging from fudge to car parts to shirts and hats.

Pictures for sale

650-964-6065

Hand Drawings

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Candy and more

Motorcycles

There were so many beautiful bikes with some of the most amazing paint designs that I could spend hours looking at them.

Airborne

I highly recommend visiting the World of Wheels 2018 at the Convention Center in Pittsburgh. Plan to spend hours, stay hydrated, and wear comfortable shoes. 251-648-0158

Victory Family Church

 

All images were taken with the Olympus E-M1MarkII and a variety of lenses including the Olympus 17 f/1.8 and 7-14 f/2.8

 

Video of images

 

 

Posted in car cruise, car cruise pittsburgh, car show, 325-947-9037, Olympus, OM-D E-M1 Mark II, street photography, Victory Family Church

Frozen Soap Bubbles

What do you do when you want to take pictures but the temps are below zero and you want to stay close to home?  Try this fun creative winter photo project.  If you search the net, you will find many different recipes to make soap bubbles that freeze into beautiful creative objects.

Frozen Soap Bubble Recipe

A recipe that I used to start my recipe is located here.

I substituted glycerine for corn syrup since I had glycerine and had no future need for corn syrup.  I did experiment with brown and white sugar and each one created an interesting look.

My first mixture didn’t freeze as hoped but it did create an interesting pattern of colors – I vote for the brown sugar and glycerine combination.

Using the Olympus E-M1MarkII and 60 mm macro, this is what the surface of the bubble look like as it attempted to freeze but instead swirled around creating beautiful patterns.  Maybe I had too much glycerine in the mix?

Colorful Soap Bubble

 

 

Frozen Soap Bubble Success

I tried a few different combinations of bubble mixes and lights but the wind was too strong carrying them away before they froze and or I didn’t like the way the lights illuminated the bubble. Then I decided to put the bubbles on top of our frozen pool. This idea proved successful since it seemed the soap bubble ‘stuck’ to the frozen snow on the pool cover. I used the setting sun to backlight the frozen bubble and the snow reflected light creating amazing patterns.  Again, I used the Olympus E-M1MarkII and 60 mm macro and was able to get an interesting set of freezing lines in the soap bubble. Although this was a similar mixture to the first image, the colors didn’t pop but created a muted look with fun lines and swirls.

Frozen Bubble

The temps were in the single digits but I think the amount of glycerine and sugar in the mix caused it to not freeze too fast but when it did, it was ‘solid’.

I continued experimenting with mixtures including coloring which ruined the mix causing no bubbles to create – what a messy, sticky solution 😐 I think the mixture will be on the pool cover until the spring thaw.

After tossing that mix, I used a mixture of dish soap, glycerine, and white sugar. The temps dropped below zero degrees F and the winds were over ten MPH.  I couldn’t sleep and was up around 0200 but went back to sleep thinking of what to do to ‘protect’ the fragile soap bubble (and my body).  Tis was not a good situation for being outside so I set-up shop in an area near our house which was still freezing (my mixture froze while in the container) but protected from the winds.

Using miniature toys for props in your frozen soap bubble images

It was then that I decided to use some of the miniature items I often use in macro work but never considered for frozen bubbles.

The pedestal was my first choice and I backlit the image by bouncing a strobe off a paper backdrop created from a summer image. Using a straw to ensure the bubble ‘landed’ where I wanted it, I took many images but the one when the frozen bubble started collapsing was my favorite.  (I might edit the others and post in the future – maybe when its 100 degrees out and folks are stating it is too cold 😀 .)

 

Bubble on pedestal – Collapsed

For this image, I used the Olympus 30 mm macro (which I believe is a sleeper lens) and had lots of fun. Using pocket wizards to trigger an off-camera flash, I bounced light into the backdrop and lit the scene.

Settings were –  f/4.5 1/30 second and ISO 200. Handheld.

Frozen in time! Be creative with your photography!

As I was ‘playing’, I couldn’t decide how to utilize a miniature chair and then it dawned on me to try reflections. I place the chair very close to the front of the bubble and using the Olympus 30 mm macro, I was able to create this fun image. No, the chair isn’t ‘Photoshopped’ in and the combination of two LED lights created the dimension to the scene. I had an LED headlight positioned to camera right and an LED panel light, camera left.

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Frozen in Time – Chair in Frozen Soap Bubble

 

If the weather stays this cold, I will continue to play and post more images. Watch my Facebook and Instagram feed for more tips, tricks, and images.

We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better. … Steve Jobs

Think different!

Make the world a better place.

Posted in 2256230882, (714) 766-9271, macro, mirrorless camera, 9105576185, 7185583492, (630) 204-5156, winter landscapes

818-674-9947

Daddy’s protective arms

253-306-4274

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(901) 877-0771

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!

(289) 731-9917

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

Posted in family portraits, 409-284-6731, mirrorless photographer, Olympus, (989) 666-1837, photography Tagged |

multihued

Focus Stacking | Inside a red flower

I bought this flower at a local flower shop along with a few other flowers but this flower was not open and presented little to photograph. However, after a few days of sitting in the container, it opened and I couldn’t pass it up as a candidate for focus stacking.

This image is a combination of five images focused from back to front then combined in Helicon Focus. I used the Olympus OMD E-M1MarkII and the Olympus 60mm macro lens. The water drops are a combination of water and glycerin sprayed on the flower to create dimension. Although the E-M1MarkII has IBIS, I use a tripod when doing focus stacking. It makes it easier for me to compose and reduces camera shake when I need to go to a slower shutter speed.

Some post processing work done in Photoshop and Topaz labs.

 


Recommendation for Topaz Labs and affiliate link: I highly recommend Topaz labs and they have a special until the end of June 2017.

New Free Features added as of 1.0.7:
– HEALING TOOL (we’ve added healing to the program and it’s available in the Tools toolbar on the right)
– Image rotation and flip
– More clear differentiation between free and pro adjustments (free or owned adjustments now have a blue icon)
– Better integrations with Plugins (Owned plugins are available automatically through the plugins menu upon install)
– Tons of minor bug fixes

We’re also working on a number of new features in the next minor update (which should be released in July) including
– Ability to save PSD-like Topaz Documents, so you can continue working later
– White balance picker in the Basic Adjustment to make color balancing simple
– Color pickers added to each relevant area
– Automatic Lens correction for more lenses with Raw images
– Social sharing of images directly to Facebook
– And much more!

 

Posted in floral, Hazara, Inspirational Art, macro, Purkinjean, mirrorless photographer, (417) 454-6803, OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Dedication | Flower Sunburst

Dedication | Talent is cheap but dedication is expensive. Dedicate your life to a dream worth living and it becomes a reality.

| Technical – Get Olympus (727) 456-4774-M1MarkII Olympus 30 mm macro f/6.3 1/15 second ISO 200 MeFOTO tripod slight painterly effect with Topaz Labs Impressions 2

 

(407) 250-0935

Posted in macro, (717) 757-5856, mirrorless photographer, Olympus, 616-340-6492

318-464-0148

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Alien or Bird of Prey

Alien or bird of prey?

 

Your photography is an extension of you and what you see in life. What I really like about macro and close-up photography is it reveals a world that too often we miss or ignore. This is a very close image of an orchid. When looking at this with the ‘naked’ eye, this look doesn’t automatically jump out at you. However, when viewing through a macro lens, the image takes on a different look which is fun and exciting.

Have fun with your photography and journey in life!

Enjoy photography, life, and the world we live in!

Life, love, laughter!

Technical info

Olympus E-M1MarkII | 575-523-8690 | 6517739359 | f/5 – 1/8 second – ISO 200 | Manfrotto Tripod

 

Posted in Fine art, floral, flowers, macro, mirrorless camera, 314-596-8609, 803-871-9891, OM-D E-M1 Mark II Tagged , |

(910) 256-4658

As I was driving home on route 51 in Chippewa, I kept watching the sky.  One minute it was pure white and snow was blowing creating a minimal visibility white-out and the next minute, the sky was as bright as a summer evening.  After arriving home I kept watching the sky change colors and told my wife, I will be back soon, I need to get an image of this sunset.  “What sunset? Its a whiteout!” Grabbing my camera bag, I was off and my goal was to head to Monaca and catch the sunset over the Ohio River but I didn’t believe I would make it before the sky changed again. Therefore, I went to a nearby park in Chippewa Twp, only minutes from my home.

Grabbing my tripod and bag I was off to the edge of the pond and was not disappointed with how the sky kept getting deeper with color.  I am not sure if it was a combination of the snow swirling in the sky or something else but it was beautiful.  I decided to use the widest lens I have which is a 7 – 14 mm f/4 (Panasonic) and welcomed the strong reflections on the water without the use of any filters.

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Fire in the sky | Sunset over water in Chippewa Twp

Knowing that I didn’t have much time, I quickly set up my tripod, leveled the camera, exposed the scene, and was blown away with what the Lord provided me in the sky and painted on the water.

If you know me, you will often hear me say that we don’t need to travel far to find beauty in our neighborhood. There are an unbelievable number of places to photograph in Beaver County to show off the beauty and wonder that we were given.

 

Photography humor: Ever since switching to digital, I find there are only positives and no negatives.

 


Technical Specs: re-enjoyment f/8 ISO 640 7mm (equiv 14mm) | 901-797-8837 | Manfrotto Tripod with Acratech Ultimate Ballhead | Landscape Photography | Gallery of Beaver County Images


From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised. Psalm 113:3
Posted in beaver county, 8059545060, mirrorless camera, mirrorless photographer, Olympus, 7123428678, (403) 438-5424, Travel Photography, adsorbate, winter landscapes Tagged , , , , |

Exposure Triangle and Aperture

strong-limbed

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

Posted in 2018046730, Landscape Photography, mirrorless camera, (504) 298-6823, (828) 527-5618, 5196075295, slowmouthed, Holstein, Wedding Photography Tagged , , , , , , |