Oh My Darling…E-M5

Olympus 40 Years 1024x481 Oh My Darling...E M5

OM-1 compared to the OMD-E-M5. Some great similarities.

Time to come clean…I have converted to Mirrorless system.  Ok I really have not converted but I have gone out and gotten a mirrorless kit.  Let me explain why.

My Nikon D800 is the perfect camera for my style of photography.  I take it on all my travels and I absolutely love it.  The problem is that it is heavy and bulky both of which I am willing to overlook as I seek that perfect image of that once-in-a-lifetime landscape image.  The problem is that I am unwilling to take this to the corner restaurant when we go out to eat with the family.  This means I am missing out on some great photographs of our town’s street life and of my kids!

So I went to find something light and small that I can use to take less obtrusive street photographs as well as family daily moments that make life great.  My rule was that I needed something inexpensive, decent image quality, super fast (those great life moments happen in a flash), small and flexible.

Sabrina Reading Perth Australia 1024x819 Oh My Darling...E M5

Sabrina Reading (Perth, Australia): OMD 45mm shot at 45mm, f/1.8, 1/200sec & ISO 200. This is an image I would have missed as it was shot at a restaurant while Sabrina waited for her food.

The Micro 4/3rds world meets most of those points.  The small sensors (2 x Crop factor) allow them to be put into smaller packages.  They have a great lens assortment (very important for growth) but I was worried about the Image Quality (IQ).  After a bit of reading I found that the IQ had improved over time and it is very “acceptable”.

Finally I looked at the OMD-E-M5 which looks very much like my father’s old OM-1 camera which I LOVE.  I tried Nikon, Sony and Fuji but I found the Nikon and Sony too modern for my taste.  Fuji was a very close option but I liked the looks of the OMD and opted for that one.

I traded in a bunch of airline miles and very little money and purchased a OMD-E-M5 with a 12-50mm kit lens.  An with this purchase I have broken my vow (see HERE) and purchased more gear.  No excuses I am weak willed.

Screen Shot 2014 07 27 at 10.52.07 AM Oh My Darling...E M5

OMD with 45mm and 12-50mm Lens. You can see the size difference.

When my virtually “free” camera arrived I was impressed with its size but disappointed with the 12-50mm length.  this lens is almost as long as the camera and it sets the balance off.  I also did not like the gimmicky zoom control.  So I went out and found a 25% off sale on a 45mm f/1.8 prime lens (I had to buy a spare battery after all) to fix the situation.

The result is the fastest autofocus beast I have ever seen!  The tilt OLED screen on the back gives me more street photography options and the small package makes it very unobtrusive.  Best of all it fits in my coat pocket and looks GREAT!

Mushroom Perth Australia 1024x1024 Oh My Darling...E M5

Mushroom (Perth, Australia): OMD 45mm shot at 45mm, f/3.2, 1/100sec & ISO 800. This shot is full of detail even the top of the mushroom shows some sharp detail even at ISO 800.

In regards to image quality I am very impressed.  The color rendition is some of the best I have ever seen and the low light performance (something I was worried about considering the low light in restaurants and many street scenes) was astonishingly good.  Below is a test shot at ISO 6400 to show you that it is still useable.  Please see the full review HERE to see the different ISO performance.  Note that no noise removal was done.  This is RAW to JPEG conversion (just the automatic sharpening that Lightroom applies) without any alterations.

OMD ISO Test 6 1024x768 Oh My Darling...E M5

Test shot at ISO 6400. For full ISO tests please see review.

The images were taken on a tripod with a set aperture of f/8.  But as you can see on this ISO 6400 shot the noise is very manageable.  This coupled with the 45mm f/1.8 lens and the PHENOMENAL stabilization that the OMD offers, I have a very wide light range to work with.

So if you are interested in a full review please have a read HERE.

Post Processing Sharpening

Sunset Riverbank Perth Australia 1024x768 Post Processing Sharpening

Sunset Riverbank (Perth, Australia): OMD 12-50mm shot at 12mm, f/5, 1/640sec & ISO 200. Here is a shot with the 12-50mm. As you can see it is a solid performer and the color is astonishing.

Today is the final post of a three post special on tack sharp pictures.  But before I do that I thought I would answer some questions that have been mailed to me at contact@lost-in-transit.com.

In the first post I discussed how I calibrate my auto focus and I got some questions about the process.  One person asked if I ever tried FoCal or a similar software to help calibrate the autofocus and the truth is that I have not.  It is such a simple process that once you do it the first time you quickly realize that you may as well save the money.

In the second post I discussed the proper hand holding method and I got a lot of comments…more than I expected.  Some argue this is far to basic stuff and that every camera manual covers how to hold cameras.  I would argue that it was only after I bought my D800 with 36Mp sensor that proper holding technique really became an issue.  Most people shoot fast enough (shutter speeds of fast than 1/200 sec) to hide all manners of poor technique.  When they do get a blurry shot (just as I did) we blame the poor light, camera, autofocus or just bad luck.  The reason most shots are blurry is poor basic technique.

I also heard mention of the tripod.  It is funny that I define a photographer as a novice if they only go hand-held and advanced once they start taking their tripod! (this will get me more hate mail).  The reason is that a tripod is heavy, cumbersome, slow to set up and just generally uncool.  But the fact is that they are GOLD.  Once you take the time to set up a great shot with a tripod and see the results you will quickly forget about the back ache and odd looks you got.  So yes a tripod is best but we all have to get to that conclusion on our own.  It is part of a photographers development.

Tack sharp focusing is a critical part of the equation but it also surprises me how few people properly sharpen in post processing.  The fact is that most cameras have various filters that light must pass through before being recorded by the sensor.  Most cameras auto-sharpen any JPEG images for you however RAW images are not sharpened and the JPEG images are only sharpened for viewing on a computer.  If you plan to print them you need to give the sharpening a boost.

When I first wrote about my workflow (you can download that HERE free) I covered sharpening in a few short words pushing people to use Unsharp mask in Photoshop.  It is popular and easy method however it is an over-simplified process of sharpening.

So I went through my sharpening process (I like to call it a “Workflow” to make me sound more important) and took some notes in trying to simplify it as much as possible.  So, while this may not be an “Idiots Guide” to sharpening it is a “Hurry up and tell me cause I got to get the kids into the bath” kind of guide.  Drop me an email and I will happily send you a more full explanation on PDF free.  Just put “Kids are in the Bath” in the subject line of the email and I will send you the detailed explanation.

Rules For Post Processing Sharpening:

  1. Apply sharpening last.  Post processing is all about pushing the pixel data to extremes and this can cause artifacts to show up (when we have pushed the pixels too far).  Sharpening early makes this worse.  Leave it for the end so that you have your picture the way you want it and you can see how much sharpening it will allow.  I also remove the pre-sharpening that Lightroom automatically puts into any RAW file.  I prefer to do it all at the end.
  2. Sharpen 10% more than you want to.  If you are doing “Even Sharpening” (this means that you are applying sharpening to the entire picture in the same amount such as via the sharpening slider on Lightroom) than take it to where it looks good on your screen and increase it by another 10%.  If you are going to print then increase it by 25%.  Nice and easy but it works and works VERY well.  Give it a try.
  3. Selective Sharpening is oh so very worth it.  “Selective Sharpening” (where you pick what is the main subject of the picture and apply more sharpening there than to the rest of the image) can be done several ways in both Lightroom and Photoshop.  It is great because it gives you a subtle power to focus the viewer’s attention.  You can use light (keep the subject brighter than the rest of the image), composition and selective sharpening to draw the viewers eyes to the subject.
Focus Man on Bike Perth Australia 1024x768 Post Processing Sharpening

Focus Man on Bike (Perth, Australia): OMD 45mm shot at 45mm, f/1.8, 1/1250sec & ISO 200.

 

 

 

In the picture above I have exaggerated the technique a little.  I have added selective sharpening, softened the surrounding parts and brightened the man subject.  The idea is clear….guide the viewers attention to where you want it….obviously you need to do it in more subtle ways.

Ok great so how do I apply sharpening?  For most images I use Even Sharpening.  For the special image that I would add to my portfolio I will take the time to apply Selective Sharpening.

With Lightroom 5 I have begun using it for sharpening.  I used to use Photoshop as I liked the control it gave me better.  I would essentially use Unsharp Mask with a layer and “paint” it into the areas where I wanted sharpening.

Lightroom 5 gave me some more tools to use.  For example the ability to apply sharpening using the Adjustment Brush.  As you can see below it is easy to apply some extra sharpening to the main subject.  I usually boost it to 20.

Screen Shot 2014 07 27 at 8.44.46 AM 1024x541 Post Processing Sharpening

Selective Sharpening: By using the adjustment brush you can paint over the area where you want the sharpness increased.

The second thing it gives you is the option to adjust Even Sharpening to areas of higher contrast.  Using the mask slider under sharpening you can keep the “Option” key pressed and it will change the screen to black and white.  Where ever the screen is white Lightroom will apply sharpening.

Sharpening 1024x640 Post Processing Sharpening

Even Sharpening Adjustment

With these two functionalities I find that Lightroom does a faster job than Photoshop.  I have since started using Lightroom for 90% of my sharpening in post.  Once I have it right for my screen if I decide to print I increase it by around 25% on Even Sharpening.  This will over sharpen the main subjects but the printer will be unable to comply giving you a very well sharpened print.

 

Tack Sharp Focus

Lucas Pilot Perth Australia 1024x683 Tack Sharp Focus

Lucas Pilot (Perth, Australia): D800 70-200mm shot at 175mm, f/2.8, 1/750sec & ISO 800. A shot of my son where I focused on his eyes. This was hand held using the stance described below. 

A couple of days ago I posted a process to calibrate your Autofocus which has served me very well.  Taking the time to make a proper focus target will help make the process easier and more enjoyable.  But what if your camera and lenses are fine and you are still not able to capture tack sharp images?  Well grab yourself a glass of Merlot, kick your feet up and read on…

Tack sharp images need to start at the bottom and work their way up.  Lets assume that you are hand holding your camera (while I love my tripod I do most of my work hand held) your focus will only be as good as your ability to hold the camera steady.  So lets keep it nice and simple…after all the trick is not “knowing” how to hold your camera but rather “remembering” to do it.  Flat, Shoulder, Brace.  Repeat it five times out loud.  This is your mantra for remembering the right position to get into for each and every shot.  As you lift the camera you should think “Flat, Shoulder, Brace“.

  •  Flat Feet: Keep your feet flat on the ground.
  •  Shoulder width apart: Pretend you are on a moving train or bus.
  •  Brace your arms: Your elbows should be against your body.

A good resource to see regarding how to brace your arms is Improve Photography and you can find that HERE.  I won’t repeat it as it is well covered there.  My only issue is that they do not give you a mental trigger to help remind you to do it.

They recommend getting a battery grip but I do not necessarily agree.  I have used one before and enjoyed it but here is the trouble with most grips….they add bulk and weight.  Nothing will hurt your photography form more than fatigue.  I say keep your camera as light as possible and keep repeating the mental trigger of “Flat, Shoulder, Brace”.

Screen Shot 2014 07 20 at 5.36.03 PM Tack Sharp Focus

Photo taken from Nikon web site. Please see link below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The picture above comes from the Nikon site which has a very brief lesson on holding your camera.  While I think this is good enough as a reminder I do not believe they show as much detail as Improve Photography in terms of bracing your elbows.

Proper Hold 1024x1024 Tack Sharp Focus

I took this selfie to show you what you should do with your elbows.  This is the “Brace” that I mention above. The red circles are where some attention needs to be paid.  The elbows need to be tucked in and your left hand needs to be under the camera.

For those of you who want to see this in video please have a look here at Greg Cazillo’s YouTube video.  It is a short two minute affair but he shows you what he usually sees that is incorrect.  I like his videos however I should warn you that they are VERY basic.

And that covers it.  Finished the Merlot already?  Nice and simple.  Flat, Shoulder, Brace.  If you practice a bit and repeat the mantra every time you pick up your camera you will find that more of your shots are tack sharp as you will avoid moving or shaking your camera.

 

 

Autofocus Calibration First Aid

Brothers Perth Australia 1024x683 Autofocus Calibration First Aid

Brothers (Perth, Australia): D800 70-200mm shot at 200mm, f/2.8, 1/60sec and ISO 100. This was focused on my youngest son’s eyes and is tack sharp in that area.

There are a few basic tenants of photography that cannot be ignored and one of the most absolute is that something in the image needs to be in focus.  I do not mean more or less in focus…I mean it has to be TACK sharp.

I love an image that has great Image Quality and whose subject is absolutely sharp.  The image can be of questionable artistic value but I can appreciate the technical aspects involved in getting such an image.  Even looking at all the images I have shot the ones that I consider tack sharp are in the minority.

I have decided to write up a three post special focused on how to ensure your images are tack sharp.  To be clear there is very little “new” information in photography and going through various sites I have found several that have written on this topic very well.  I will give references whenever appropriate to document where you can go for more information or better help.

So, in proper Transit fashion vill up the glass with Merlot, kick up the feet and settle in for some photography shop talk.

Lesson 1: Autofocus Calibration

Every camera and lens manufacturer builds to a certain specification.  They build their internal quality standards in order to deliver consistent output.  Obviously they build within a certain tolerance which means that each lens or camera that comes off the assembly line are not EXACT copies of one another.  They are nearly identical and how “nearly” depends on their tolerance.

But what happens when you get a camera or lens that is on one extreme of the tolerance?  The result can be (although not always) a lens that does not focus where it is supposed to be.

When you pick up a lens you might feel that the lens is a bit “soft” and you may hunt for a properly focused image.  When this happens you need to go back to basics.  You need to remove as many variables that can affect your camera’s ability to focus (see the next couple of posts on this topic). If you still feel that a lens is soft then you need to get a little more serious and do some Autofocus Calibration First Aid.

I have seen plenty of forums that tell everyone that their camera and lenses are fine and the issue is with the shooter.  This might indeed be the case but since Autofocus Calibration is so easy to do I feel that deterring someone from testing their lens is lazy.  If you want to test your lens then go for it!  It might even be fun.

Prepare the Tools:

Autofocus Test Chart 768x1024 Autofocus Calibration First Aid

Autofocus Calibration can be done at home but you need to prepare a little bit.  I have fun doing this part as it reminds me of the art projects I did as a boy in school.

  1. Download an Autofocus Test Chart.  I use Jeffrey Friedl’s test chart found here. I like it because it is simple and he does a great job explaining how to properly print it.
  2. Get matte adhesive paper.  Trust me on this one.  Matte paper will prevent reflections of light and will help ensure your camera has the best chance to autofocus.  Follow Jeffrey’s instructions on how to print.
  3. Stick the test chart to some stiff cardboard.  Make sure it is FLAT and stuck on well.

That is it.  You are set up.  You have your reusable test chart and are ready to go.

Autofocus Calibration Stand:

You will need to set up your test chart on a stable platform.  You need it at a 45 degree angle.  I found that the best was to borrow my daughters music stand that allows you to adjust the angle at which the music sits.  I then taped it into place to ensure the wind would not blow it over.

Please note that the shot below was taken in some uneven lighting. This is only for the picture.  All the tests need to be in consistent lighting.

Autofocus Test Stand 683x1024 Autofocus Calibration First Aid

Please note that the dappled lighting here cannot be used when testing lenses. Find constant light.

As you can see in the picture below it is easy to put it on a 45 degree angle.

Autofocus Test Stand 2 1024x1024 Autofocus Calibration First Aid

The final bit of kit you will need is a tripod.  The make, model or color really does not matter.  Just make sure it is sturdy.

Calibration First Aid:

Now would be a great time to refill that glass.  Everything up until now has been fun.  Now we have to do some fairly repetitive tasks and most importantly we have to trust our eyes!  So believe me it is a good time for a refill of Merlot.

Place your camera and the lens you wish to test on the tripod.  Make sure it is secure.  Put is between 2 and 8 meters from the test chart.  How much will depend on the focal length of your lens.  If it is 24-70 two meters should be fine.  If it is 70-200 then take it out a bit more.

Screen Shot 2014 07 20 at 2.40.04 PM Autofocus Calibration First Aid

This picture is drawn as if looking from the top. The camera must be square with the test chart.

Make sure your camera is level on the tripod.  Then ensure that the test chart is completely square with the camera.  The only angle you want is the 45 degree tilt of the chart.

Once everything is physically set up and then prepare your camera.

  1. Set your camera to aperture priority and set it for the widest aperture (the smallest F-Stop number).  For example my Nikon 24-70mm was set at f/2.8.
  2. If your lens is a zoom lens then zoom so that the paper takes up the majority of the frame.
  3. You need to have a fast shutter speed.  Anything over 1/60 of a second should be ok but try to get it a bit faster if possible.
  4. Set it to self timer and set that at 2 seconds.  You can do this or use a remote trigger.  The idea is not to move the camera when it is taking its shot.  Movement can easily be confused with poor focus.
  5. The focus point should be on the central line.
Screen Shot 2014 07 20 at 2.51.32 PM 300x233 Autofocus Calibration First Aid

Ensure the focus point does not touch anything but the middle line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now manually move the focus to infinity and press the shutter release allowing autofocus to grab the focus and take the shot.  Manually move the focus to the other extreme and press the shutter again.  The idea is to have autofocus move the focus from one extreme to where it believes the focus should be.

After taking several shots (to see if the shots are repeatable) then switch to live view and focus manually.  This is the control image that you will compare the other images to.  Download the pictures and compare them side by side in Lightroom.  They should be the same.  If they are not you will need to apply a manual calibration for that lens.  Look to your camera manual to find out how.

Final Test: 

This is what I call the real world test.  Here you want to find different distance objects to capture to see how your focus is doing.

Screen Shot 2014 07 20 at 3.34.39 PM Autofocus Calibration First Aid

 

 

 

 

Here I chose some objects on a string.  I got low and shot at an angle to show some depth.  I focused right where the red box is.  On lightroom I zoomed in and found that the focus was dead on.

Screen Shot 2014 07 20 at 3.35.30 PM 1024x712 Autofocus Calibration First Aid

What did I find when I tested my own lenses? Well it turned out my gut feeling was right all along.  My 70-200mm lens was tack sharp on focus.  My 85mm was about right.  But my 24-70mm was way off.  I ended up putting a -12 adjustment and found that to work.  This is a pretty large adjustment considering that my Nikon allows for up to a +20 to -20 adjustment.

This is a simple project for a lazy Sunday and the rewards are amazing.  Even if you do not need to adjust your lenses at all it is worth the effort to know that your lenses and cameras are calibrated together.

 

Shots Revisited

In Prayer Bali Indonesia 1024x821 Shots Revisited

In Prayer (Bali, Indonesia): D800 70-200mm shot at 155mm, f/2.8, 1/250sec & ISO 100.

I have written a few posts about the importance of going back and re-editing images that you took long ago.  Processing software changes as does our style.  By revisiting an old shot we can process it in new ways and see subtle differences between shots.

The shot above is a clear example of the benefits of revisiting a shot.  I had originally processed it with a two tone coloring that I liked a great deal.  With time I have moved away from that style and want the image to stand on its own merits.  Very little PP was done on this one.

The shot below is one of my favorite portraits and is of a man on a scooter with a rooster.  Rooster fighting is a big deal in Bali and while I would never watch a match I was thrilled when this man came driving by and was willing to stop for an image.

Man with Rooster Balis Indonesia 1024x819 Shots Revisited

Man with Rooster (Bali, Indonesia): D800 85mm shot at 85mm, f/1.8, 1/250sec & ISO 400.

The Value of a Photograph

Sabrina and Lucas with Patrick CDC Mexico 1024x768 The Value of a Photograph

Sabrina Lucas with Patrick (CDC, Mexico): Finepix S3000. This was taken by my wife with a point and shoot that friends bought me as a going away present.

I was reading “Amateur Photography”  the other day and realized that an author of a column that I enjoyed reading was looking to retire.  His final column tells us that he is questioning the meaning of photography as he sees little point to it.  His ex-wife recently passed and he was looking through his old photos and really liked seeing the shots of his family.  The wonderful landscape shots, macros or architectural shots really held little value to him.

Dena Patrick and Lucas Houston Texas 1024x826 The Value of a Photograph

Dena Patrick and Lucas (Houston, Texas): This was the day we brought home my son from the hospital. The photo was taken by a caring nurse.

So he presents the question which is if all the work we put into creating a wonderful landscape shot is worth our time.  In the end would be better off not focusing our photography on the things that really matter?

These questions got me looking through my hard-drives of pictures and I noticed an interesting trend.  Years ago, before I purchased my first DSLR, my photography was limited to my family.  I did not take many pictures and they were always of family and friends.  When we went to wonderful places my shots were limited to posing a family member in front of a scene and taking the shot.

As my interest in photography increased I began taking other types of pictures.  Sunrises, mountains, macro and landscapes.  The number of shots I was taking jumped as everything seemed to be a potentially interesting picture.

Three Generations Colonia Uruguay 931x1024 The Value of a Photograph

Three Generations (Colonia, Uruguay): Shot taken with a Sony point and shoot. Here is my wife, her mother and our two kids (before our third was born).

As my photography skills increased, the absolute number of images decreased and the quality increased.  I had more interesting shots and less trash (I never throw away and image but frankly do not know why).

The one thing that remained the same are the shots of my family and friends.  Oh the quality has improved and the number of shots has increased but the fact is that I still love taking pictures of my family.  My walls are covered in pictures of my family that I shot and they mean the world to me.  They mark the passage of time, allow me to relive memories and provide me with a tangible artifact of the people that I love.

So I suggest that one form of photography does not need to negate another.  Do I expect my pictures to be stored or remembered after I am gone?  Nope.  Not a single one.  Except those I take of my family as I believe my kids will enjoy having those links to their past as well.

Three Generations BsAs Argentina 1024x768 The Value of a Photograph

Three Generations (BsAs, Argentina): This was another FinePix camera shot. Here we have my grandmother, father and my son Lucas. The people in the back are family as well. This shot reminds me of the wonderful family diners we had. Note the wonderful table cloth and place settings.

I take pictures because I enjoy it.  I like the technology, the art and challenge of capturing the best image I can.  That enjoyment is the end of my hobby.  The actual image is my trophy and like my high school trophies they mean little to me now.

Sorry for the Silence

Screen Shot 2014 07 06 at 5.48.46 PM Sorry for the Silence

Silence is a precious commodity these days except when it comes to communications from family and friends.  So I do apologize for my recent absence but things got busy at work and then the World Cup intervened.  Yes I follow the World Cup and have since 1986 when I recall watching Argentina march to glory.

The World Cup is something that I look forward to about a year before it actually arrives.  I begin looking at each team to judge their ability for myself.  For the last 24 years Argentina has not made the Semi-Finals.  The last time they did was in 1990 and I can remember it very clearly.

So for 24 years we have been asked to wait and accept average performance from our team.  Every four years I begin to believe that we can indeed win and I have been disappointed for 24 years!

Screen Shot 2014 07 06 at 6.23.59 PM Sorry for the Silence

Now I look and am thrilled that we have gotten to the Semi-Final match.  I am genuinely happy and will be thrilled with whatever result is.  As far as I am concerned we have reached the top four teams of the world and is enough to keep me smiling.

 

Iconic Shots are Still Needed

Trevi Fountain HDR Rome Italy 1024x794 Iconic Shots are Still Needed

Trevi Fountain HDR (Rome, Italy): D800 14-24mm shot at 14mm, f/2.8, 1/250sec & ISO 100.

So this week I have explored how peer pressure alters our travel photography style and the benefits of shooting non-iconic shots in order to capture a bit of the sense of place of a location.  These, usually detail shots, are usually the one that most people comment on.  They are fun to shoot and very low pressure.

Obviously when shooting an iconic image you are competing with the thousands of images that others have taken of the site.  It is important to make your stand out, or at least make it easily forgotten.  It is rather embarrassing to take a shot of an iconic image and have people wonder what it is.

On our first day in Rome I captured the above image of the Trevi Fountain.  I took a handful of shots and then I walked away from the crowds to enjoy life in Rome.  I am thrilled I captured it and must admit that it is not very exciting but it allowed me to focus on other images as well as on the wine….and food…..and people.

So take those iconic images but remember to take pictures of the details of the things that makes a place special.

Unexpected Location Defining Shots

Wild Wellington NZ 1024x683 Unexpected Location Defining Shots

Wild (Wellington, NZ): D800 24-70mm shot at 24mm, f/2.8, 1/3000 sec & ISO 100.

While peer pressure does drive some of our photography it is rarely the iconic monument shot that makes people understand a location.  It is the shots of the people, or shots of the details that make life so unique.

In the shot above you see the granite wording with enough detail in the background to show the port, wonderful sky and the sailboats that help make the waterfront of Wellington so wonderfully inviting.

In the shot below you have the cobblestone streets outside of the Parliament building in Rome.  The tent of a protestor can be seen in the back with a well dressed business man walking in a purposeful manner.

At the Feet of Parlament Rome Italy 819x1024 Unexpected Location Defining Shots

At the Feet of Parliament (Rome, Italy): D800, 24-70mm shot at 24mm, f/2.8, 1/500sec & ISO 100.

These two images help show a bit of the texture of their cities.  While not iconic by any stretch of the imagination, these images do help convey a sense of place.

Expected Shots

Lighthouse Overlook Castlepoint New Zealand 1024x691 Expected Shots

Lighthouse Overlook (Castlepoint, NZ): D800 24-70mm shot at 24mm, f/8, 1/500sec & ISO 100.

Peer pressure is something that drives virtually everyone in this world.  The expectations of our friends and family drives much of what we do, so it should be of no surprise that this influences our photography.

I was watching a travel photography class on Kelby Training and he mentioned the importance of creating a shot list while on vacation, and the need to shoot the iconic images first.  Both of these hints are really designed to ensure that you do capture the images your family and friends expect to see from your location.

Paris has the Eiffel Tour, Sydney has the Opera House, London has Big Ben and San Francisco has the Golden Gate.  No travel photography trip to any of these locations would be complete without an image of their iconic sites.

When traveling for work to Wellington New Zealand I had no idea what kind of shot would be considered iconic.  Soon after my arrival I began to see all these images of a lighthouse.  A little bit of digging and I found out where it was and that, as chance would have it, I would be seeing it during a geological tour I had signed up for.

Dock Tie Wellington NZ 1024x683 Expected Shots

Dock Tie (Wellington, NZ): D800 24-70mm shot at 48mm, f/8, 1/90sec & ISO 100.

Image captured I walked away with a sense of freedom as now I could focus not he little details that make Wellington such a unique place.