For my third installment of “How Did You Get That Shot” I would like to discuss the above image captured with the newly released Olympus AIR. The AIR is a new concept open platform Micro Four Thirds camera that has all the benefits of your interchangeable lens camera with the intelligence of a smart phone. Benefits like optical zoom, high image quality, fast apertures and great low light performance is what makes this new camera so appealing when you can pair it with any Micro Four Thirds lens you have. The creative limits are removed with a camera like this and being that it’s open platform makes it that much more exciting because there are developers out there right now working on new ways to make it even more awesome.
Last week I was out at a local 4-H fair where they have a huge Motocross event to end the week long county festival. It’s always a big deal and to give you an indication of that we had to mark our spot and place chairs that morning at 7am to be sure we would have an area to sit by the time it started at 7:00pm that night. The races consisted of riders from 4 years old and up and of course differing levels. I wanted to experiment with the AIR and thought this would be a perfect venue. It’s fun to get close, really close, but it’s also very dangerous in these type of amateur events. Sometimes, you just don’t know when the next rider is heading for the crowds going right over that photographer who might be leaning over the fence. So, bring out the AIR, put on the new Olympus f/1.8 Pro Fisheye lens and see what you can get.
I placed the AIR with the Fisheye lens just under the plastic fence, very close to a hay bail and pushed it deep into the grass. The AIR and Fisheye lens were attached to my Manfroto PIXI Mini Tripod. I use this tripod all the time because of it’s strength and it’s ability to fit into places my larger tripods can’t. It has fixed stainless steel legs which make it very strong. I think every photographer who I have shown it to has gone out and got themselves one right after. I don’t like to leave without it and now with the AIR, it’s a perfect companion for getting the job done.
With the AIR activated and hooked to WiFi through my iPhone 6+ I could watch the action from a safe distance, about 30 feet away. I had placed it strategically at the end of the first turn and where the riders would launch off the first jump. I had it pointed up and a bit to the left to capture the people sitting along the side to give the images a reference point. If I were to just get the motorcycle rider high in the air it would leave out an important part of the composition, the crowd and excitement they were feeling watching these dirt daredevils. As you can see in the image above, the crowd loves to sit right on the fence and capture these jumps with their smart phones. I think that lends the human element to the image and just how high these riders are off the ground.
Composition Tip: Capturing views from a fan’s perspective will keep your viewer engaged in your image longer.
The settings on the AIR were all manual, which is an awesome feature. I had the focus, to manual as well. I didn’t want the camera searching for focus before firing on all those fast moving bikes. Plus, when using the fisheye, most of what’s in the frame will be in focus. The shutter was set to sequential so all I had to do was wait for the motorcycles to launch and time it so I could get a good series of images in a row. I was shooting at 10 frames per second and holding the shutter button on the iPhone through the jump. My image quality was on high and I used the JPEGs for all of these images. I had to choose the best images after in post but I was happy enough with them straight out of camera that twice that night I was able to go back, find a couple images and save them to my iPhone for sharing on social media during the event. I love having that option.
Overall, the shots I was able to get that night with the New Olympus AIR were very satisfying knowing that I didn’t want to risk laying on the ground with my arms under that fence with the riders going by. I am very excited to have the AIR with me all the time now in my camera bag because I never know when something creative will come up on a shoot and I pull it out to try something new. Also, one other benefit that night was as I shot the riders jumping I could also get them on the next series of jumps which followed with my OM-D E-M1 to capture more fun moments. It was almost like having a second shooter there for me…
Added clean up tip: I use a shaving brush with big soft bristles to clean off any dust or dirt on the AIR or lens housing, not the glass.