Long-term Review of the Olympus E-M1X: A Wildlife Photographer’s Perspective

A Question of Size

For some, the E-M1X might seem like a bit of an enigma. For many years, Olympus and Panasonic championed the compact form factor of their micro four-thirds series cameras and the advantages that they offer in terms of portability over a DSLR. Over the past couple of years, Olympus has shifted its focus away from ultra compact lenses and bodies and  towards larger bodies and lenses for working professional and serious enthusiast photographers. Panasonic seems to be leaning this direction as well, if the release of the GH5 and G9 micro four-thirds flagship cameras and their recently released 10-25mm F/1.7 zoom lens are any indication. That brings us to the E-M1X, which is a clear deviation from Olympus’s compact micro-four thirds heritage. Is it worth considering with today’s full-frame craze?

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FotoPro EGL-65 Eagle Series Carbon Fiber Tripod and E-6H Gimbal Review – A Lightweight Option for Wildlife and Landscape Travelers

Fotopro EGL-65 with E-6H Gimbal (Olympus E-M1X mounted)

Preface

Tripods are one of those pieces of photography equipment I tried to avoid buying for a long time. In part, it’s because I’ve benefited from the excellent built-in image stabilization provided by the micro-four thirds cameras that I have used over the years, but I also never liked carrying extra weight when I didn’t have to. Still, there are times when I have found that a tripod is an indispensable tool. This includes situations where I must be patient and wait for a wildlife subject to appear, or when shooting macro subjects where maximum stability is required. Holding a camera with a telephoto lens at your eye for long periods of time can be extremely fatiguing, and not having a tripod near the correct position at the right moment could lead to missed or blurry shots. Tripods are also exceptionally useful for stabilizing video.

Continue reading “FotoPro EGL-65 Eagle Series Carbon Fiber Tripod and E-6H Gimbal Review – A Lightweight Option for Wildlife and Landscape Travelers”

Upcoming nature photography workshop – Point Reyes, September 27-29th

If you are local to the SF Bay Area and are just getting started with nature photography, Bobby will be co-instructing a workshop hosted by the Western Chapter of the Wildlife Society on September 27th and 29th: Click here for registration. This workshop will focus on a variety of nature photography subjects targeted towards the serious beginner. Workshops are the fastest way to learn a lot of skills in a condensed period of time, and they are always a lot of fun. Bobby will be presenting on a number of topics including action/bird photography and print making along with co-hosts Sarah Bettleheim and Brian Freirmuth

Brown pelican

Better beamer – better wildlife photos?

What’s a Better Beamer? It’s not a hot-rodded BMW. It’s essentially a plastic fresnel lens that’s placed in front of your flash to concentrate the light beam using age-old lighthouse technology and physics.

Anna’s Hummingbird

A Fresnel lens projects the light beam farther then your flash can accomplish on its own. It does this by bending parallel light beams that would otherwise diffuse towards a concentrated point.

Many wildlife photographers find this type of flash setup useful for illuminating wildlife under forested cover and less-than-ideal lighting conditions. It also provides a nice catchlight in the eye, which helps bring subjects to life.

This photo was captured with the Sony A9, 100-400 GM lens, flash, and a Better Beamer.

Crater lake landscapes

Earlier this year we made it up to Crater Lake in Oregon – and I just got around to processing this photo from the trip. It was a clear day with nice reflections. This photo was shot with the Sony A9 and the 24-105 G OSS lens. I’ve been renting and testing out different mirrorless camera setups, and the Sony offers impressive autofocus performance and good image quality – even though it’s not particularly known to be a “landscape camera”. The truth is, most mid-level to professional cameras are capable of excellent results, and it mainly comes down to personal preference.

Panorama stitching: the Sierra Nevada Landscape

Panorama stitching is one of my favorite ways to capture landscape photos, especially when I don’t have a wide angle lens with me. It sounds like a really involved process, but it’s actually quite easy to accomplish. Pretty much any lens under 100mm (35mm equivalent) can be used and still capture a wide scene without much effort.  All you need to do is snap a series of panoramic shots, upload them into Lightroom, and perform a photo merge, like this sequence from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Lightroom performs the joining and merging automatically. There are many other technical aspects and techniques of panorama stitching for the more intrepid photographer, but that discussion is for another day…

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Import the photos into Lightroom, select all of the photos comprising the stitch, and then Right Click -> Photo Merge -> Panorama
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The end result of a seven image stitched panorama.