• Mirrorless Minutes 3rd B-Day Episode!….With Special Guest?!?!

    Check out our most recent episode of Mirrorless Minutes where Jamie MacDonald and I celebrate our third birthday of Mirrorless Minutes.  Wow, three years of bringing info and fun to photography.  It has been a pleasure doing the show and I am looking forward to many more years to come.  We also have a very special guest, Jayson Oerrtel from Adobe where we discuss our new collaboration with them and their products.  It’s a great show to watch if you are interested in getting involved in video and want to know where to start.  Plus we give away a full blown Adobe CC package, over $600 value.  Watch and learn how to join.  We know many of you have been asking so we listened and we are out there on iTunes, check it out and subscribe.  Don’t forget to give us a thumbs up if you like it and subscribe to our channel for future episodes.

    (To explain the image above – before every show I have been taking silly photos over the years.  I decided to show them for our birthday.  You have to have fun if you co host a FUN show, right?)

  • Keep The Focus for Street Photographers

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    I was recently featured in a book written by my good friend and CEO of Cosyspeed, Thomas Ludwig.  Check out the information below and feel free to download it today.  The price is right, FREE!

    DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE EBOOK – A MEDITATION GUIDE FOR STREET PHOTOGRAPHERS

    ‘Keep the Focus’ is a free eBook and practical guide on how to improve your street photography with three meditation techniques. The more you familiarise yourself with these techniques, the more you will find yourself able to better concentrate and focus when taking pictures. This will have a visible impact on the quality of your photos! It may even stimulate your creativity and create new potential and possibilities.

    Outstanding Street Photographers have contributed to this project, such as Mike Boening, Valerie Jardin, Eric Kim, Marco Larousse, Thomas Leuthard, Rinzi Roco Ruiz, Spyros Papaspyropoulos and Forrest Walker. Many thanks to you guys 🙂

    DOWNLOAD THE ENGLISH VERSION HERE

    FOLLOW KEEP THE FOCUS ON FACEBOOK

  • Shutterbug Magazine Feature

    Recently I was featured in the August edition of Shutterbug Magazine talking about my passion for photography and the new Olympus PEN-F

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    ©2015 Jamie A. MacDonald

    ©2015 Jamie A. MacDonald

    shutterbug cover

  • Introducing the New Olympus PEN-F

    ©2015 Jamie A. MacDonald

    For the last three months I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to shoot with the new Olympus PEN-F. It is such a fantastic addition to the PEN line and it’s focused directly at the Street Photographer. The new PEN-F model gets its name from the original PEN-F introduced back in 1963 which sold over 500,000 units in its lifespan.  I am very excited today to finally start talking about all the wonderful features combined with such great technology. This blog post is not going to be comparing high ISO shots to those of other brand cameras or looking at how a certain lens functions with the new PEN. It will talk about my shooting experiences in multiple conditions on the streets of 4 major cities in the US, all of which have a great street photography vibe. This camera was able to adapt to each scenario and my intentions are to illustrate that through words, video and more importantly, the images I produced with the new camera. If you want a high tech review version you may have to look elsewhere because this camera to me is all about “feel” when I am in the streets and how it captures my creativity. It’s a camera that helps you understand the passion behind image making.  Hold on and fasten your seat belts, because here we go…

    To start, you will find some great information in a video I did with fellow Olympus Trailblazer, Jamie MacDonald. After spending considerable time with the camera I asked Jamie if he wouldn’t mind doing a video type interview exploring the camera from A to Z. He captured that discussion on video and mixed in some images to give you a feel of how the camera operates in the streets. I would ask that you watch this and then come back to my blog to further explore the images I created with the PEN-F.

    When I first received the camera the timing couldn’t have been better because over that next 6 weeks I was going to be in New York twice, San Francisco, Chicago and of course my hometown, Detroit. I was more than excited to get out into the streets and work with it in as many conditions as possible. I shot over 2,000 images in this time frame and used every feature I could find on the camera. I documented all of my personal Monochrome and Color Profile Control settings by taking images with my iPhone and naming them after famous street photographers from New York City. You will see images and those settings below in my galleries. It was almost like eating an elephant, where do I start? I knew I needed to try every feature on the camera and I approached everything from a street photographer’s mind set.

    A couple images with the new PEN-F compared with one of the original film cameras that debuted in the 1960’s.  (click on image to enlarge)

    ©2015 Jamie A. MacDonald                    ©2015 Jamie A. MacDonald

    The Features

    Now that you have the back story on how I used the new PEN-F, let’s talk about some basics concerning the features. The 20 megapixel sensor was a surprising addition and I felt more comfortable letting my Auto ISO run up to a max of 8,000 at times while using the M.Zuiko prime lenses. I only used the primes from Olympus during my shooting. I never used zoom or PRO lenses from the Olympus catalog, but of course you can. The camera body was well balanced and felt very solid to the initial touch. It uses the same 5 axis stabilization as in the O-MD E-M5 Mark II which is second to none.  The outer casing was all black and sported a new exposure compensation wheel on the top right side which I loved to use. Very noticeable is the “sleekness” of the outer body seeing that there are no visible screws to be seen.  I can only imagine how much work this was for the engineers to hide the screws and give it this look.  Unlike the PEN models of the past this had an electronic view finder that was simply amazing and the eyepiece is located on the left side of the body. I was so happy about this because when I am shooting I like to keep both eyes on the street and now my right eye can be on the viewfinder and my left can be surveying the streets ahead. It was definitely one of my favorite features. Overall though, my top feature that I fell in love with was the dial on the front of the camera that allowed me to select Monochrome and Color Profiles. This is what makes this camera different than anything I ever shot with. Post processing, outside of a few crops, was nonexistent for two reasons. One is I did not have a RAW converter yet and most of everything I captured was the look I wanted before I began to shoot because of the customization through the Color and Monochrome Profiles.

    Profile Controls

    The Monochrome and Color Profiles on the PEN-F make all the difference to an image maker looking to emulate old film quality in their shots or develop their own style and emulsions through its customizable settings. Each Profile Control has 3 settings. The first has no presets and you can make your own here. The second and third each have a specific setting which resembles certain types of film. I will explain these in more detail below with sample images.  (click on images to enlarge)

    Color Profile Control:

    • Profile 1 is up to you. You can adjust how the colors are depicted and select the level of curves and shadows that will show in your image all from the back toggle button located below the selection wheel. By using the right and left toggles you can go through the colors or select the level of Highlights and Shadows to make your own customizable setting. These are the settings I referred to earlier in this post about taking pictures of the screen and keeping it in my notes on the iPhone.

    C1Untitled-01C1Untitled-04C1Untitled-11C1Untitled-13

    –Here is one of the Color samples I named Patterson.  These are highly customizable in color schemes and curves.

    IMG_9620                               IMG_9621

    • Profile 2 is Chrome Film which has rich colors.

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    • Profile 3 is Chrome Film  with vivid saturation

    color_3_20160112_12_07_36_Untitled-11-3_©mikeboening_2016color_3_20160112_12_07_22_Untitled-06-3_©mikeboening_2016color_3_20160112_12_07_34_Untitled-09-3_©mikeboening_2016color_3_20160112_12_07_14_Untitled-03-3_©mikeboening_2016color_3_20160112_12_07_35_Untitled-10-3_©mikeboening_2016

    Monochrome Profile Control:

    • Profile 1 is up to you. Like above in Color Profile 1, the same goes for the Monochrome here. The difference being you choose the color filter and you get one more option which is the selection of a vignette. The vignette is also found on all three of the Monochrome settings.  You also get one more new feature and that is film grain.  This is not your heavy handed electronic film grain options like in other filters.  I know for a fact that Olympus went to great lengths to make this a very realistic grain and it can be added in differing levels of density.  You will be surprised in the difference this grain has and how it feels like something from the past film days.

    mono_1_20160112_12_16_07_Untitled-2_©mikeboening_2016mono_1_20160112_12_16_09_Untitled-4_©mikeboening_2016mono_1_20160112_12_16_11_Untitled-5_©mikeboening_2016mono_1_20160112_12_16_13_Untitled-7_©mikeboening_2016mono_1_20160112_12_16_06_Untitled-1_©mikeboening_2016

    –Here is one Monotone sample I named Boogie.  Green filter, -3 on Vignette and -7 on both shadows and highlights

    IMG_9617               IMG_9618               IMG_9619

    • Profile 2 is a Classic Film, like a monochrome film.

    mono_2_20160112_12_21_57_Untitled-11-3_©mikeboening_2016mono_2_20160112_12_21_49_Untitled-05-2_©mikeboening_2016mono_2_20160112_12_21_52_Untitled-07-2_©mikeboening_2016mono_2_20160112_12_21_55_Untitled-09-3_©mikeboening_2016mono_2_20160112_12_21_50_Untitled-06-3_©mikeboening_2016

    • Profile 3 is a Classic Film, like an Infrared Film.

    mono_3_20160112_12_33_55_Untitled-09-3_©mikeboening_2016mono_3_20160112_12_33_48_Untitled-03-3_©mikeboening_2016mono_3_20160112_12_33_50_Untitled-05-2_©mikeboening_2016mono_3_20160112_12_33_49_Untitled-04-3_©mikeboening_2016mono_3_20160112_12_33_56_Untitled-10-3_©mikeboening_2016

    You also have settings like Color Selector and Art filters we all may be used to when shooting with Olympus cameras.

    Here are some images from the Art Filters settings with some of my unique tweaks in those settings.

    AFtest-15AFtest-12AFtest-01AFtest-06AFuntitled_20160109_16_36_19_test-07_©mikeboening_2016

    The Build and Quality

    As soon as you pick up the new PEN-F you will notice how well constructed and solid it feels in your hand. The button placements were right on the money for me and as previously stated I love the eye piece being on the left of the camera for how I shoot in the streets. The top controls are laid out well and the new exposure compensation wheel at the top is solid and clicks well when turned. You will notice a hole with threads in the shutter button to screw in a mechanical “plunger” cable release. In staying with some previous PEN designs the top is nearly level across the buttons and hot shoe with the bottom being ultra-cool with nothing more than the socket for a tripod plate (see comments above about no screws can be found). Smooth all the way across. It does have a fully articulating screen like the OM-D E-M5 Mark II and a solid raised portion on the back for your thumb rest. I was not able to shoot with the additional grip but would like to get one soon to see how it feels. I had no problem shooting with it though because I hand hold my camera with a wrist strap 95% of the time. The pictures below will give you an idea of what the camera looks like from many angles. They were all shot by Jamie MacDonald when we worked on the above video.

                                  

    Conclusion

    To tell you I think the new PEN-F is a great camera for the type of photography I do would be a huge understatement. It is the best street camera I have ever used and with the new Control Profiles for Color and Monotone along with a 20 megapixel sensor, it makes the possibilities endless. If you are a street or urban type of shooter you need to check this camera out as soon as possible and if not, you will love the versatility built into this new PEN-F for many types of image making. Olympus has hit a Grand Slam in my book with this new camera and I can’t wait to continue talking about it in the weeks to come on Mirrorless Minutes and in all my social channels. Please stay tuned for more and if you liked this post please consider signing up for my email list on my home page.

    Shoot Light | Shoot Often

    -Mike

    ©2015 Jamie A. MacDonald

     

     

     

     

    I would like to personally thank fellow Trailblazer Jamie McDonald for all the help in making the above video and snapping some images of the camera. He has some amazing skills on this type of project and I was glad he said he helped bring my story out to everyone about this new gem from Olympus.

    PREORDER THE NEW PEN-F HERE

    Other Specs from the camera you might find interesting:

    -OLED Electronic view finder approximately 2.36M dots
    -Simulated Optical View Finder mode (OVF)
    -AF targeting pad
    -Up to 1/8000 shutter speed
    -High Res Shot equivalent to 50 megapixels (8 shots combined into a single JPEG using sensor shift)
    -Lens tagging for 3rd party lenses

  • How Did You Get That Shot #5

     

    For this installment of “How Did You Get That Shot” I am once again going back to the Olympus AIR.  The AIR has so many interesting and new capabilities available with its size and portability.  This time it isn’t so much a still photograph as it is video I shot with the AIR.  I am certainly out of my comfort zone when it comes to shooting video with the AIR or any hand held camera.  I normally only shoot stills but getting outside of your comfort zone can only help when you are trying new things.  So, the video shooting and editing in this blog post is likely not to professional standards, but I think the ease I was able to do it with the AIR shows that it can be done by anyone and that is what I am trying to convey.  Have fun and try something new.  You will not be disappointed!

    To start with, I have been doing a lot of biking lately and of course if I am doing something like that than I am bound to have a camera with me, or even two.  Biking is so much fun and when you can do it with friends it multiplies the fun factor, and when you can do it with 2,000 friends, well you get the idea…  I like to go out on Monday nights in Detroit and participate in the Slow Roll.  The Slow Roll is a group bicycle ride every Monday night in Detroit that has expanded into a global network of community rides.  Each week we meet at a different location in the D and take a unique route around the city.  Major and minor neighborhoods are all included and that is the best part.  Most people will normally drive around certain bustling areas of the city or walk around downtown, but this bike ride gets you into the neighborhoods and everyone loves it, riders and locals.  It gives you a very unique perspective on the city and the community outreach is awesome when people are sitting on their front porches or coming out to greet the riders.  This isn’t a race, it’s a Slow Roll, and we go slow, usually for a couple hours covering about 10 to 12 miles.  Check out the links within the blog post and see if your area might even have started its own Slow Roll, chances are they might have.

    Photo by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.com

    OK, back to photography and the Olympus AIR.  I wanted to document the ride because they are so much fun and I will always have an OMD strapped around my shoulder for stills.  What could be better than riding and street shooting:)  Knowing that I have the stills covered, I thought I would also try my hand at video and the Olympus AIR would be the perfect choice to give a rider’s view of what it’s like to be in the Slow Roll.  It’s sometimes hard to explain to people what it’s like so this will give you a great idea of what it would be like and gain the perspective of seeing it from the back of a bike.  My first thought was I needed to have the AIR mounted to the bike in a way it didn’t hamper my riding in any way and I didn’t want to be bothered by changing settings or anything during the ride.  I worked on all kinds of different methods to secure the AIR but ended up settling on the Peak Design Capture that I owned.  It wasn’t necessarily made for this, but that’s the fun with the AIR.  I find myself using equipment that might have sitting around to help secure or place the AIR in places I just can’t be, like the back of a bike on a carrier.

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    Once I have the Capture locked onto the frame of the carrier I just insert the plate on the AIR and lock it in.  Next I use the O.A. Central app to get the AIR going into movie mode.  I attached one of the most easy to use lenses around to get that wide perspective view, the 9mm f/8.0 Body Cap Fisheye lens.  It’s a manual focus lens but with the field of view I wouldn’t want spot specific focus.  I want to capture everything I can.  I started the video up about 5 or 6 times during the ride capturing 3 to 7 minute spots of video that I would later edit down to the 2 minute video you see above.  I edited the whole thing in iMovie making it very simple without much of a challenge as far as the process goes which helps when you just want to get some video to share of your biking.

    Overall, capturing the ride from the rear perspective was amazing fun because I had no idea some of the things happened the way they did behind me.  Next time you are out for a ride, try to hook the AIR up to something on your bike leave your comfort zone to try something new. You will not be disappointed.  I am also going to share some of the still photos taken during the ride.  Capturing images from a moving bike is a challenge and I could probably do the next blog post on that subject…

    Equipment used:

    Olympus AIR

    9mm f/8.0 Body Cap Fisheye lens

    Peak Design Capture

    In case you are wondering about the bike I ride, it’s of course a Detroit Bike.  What other type would you think I would ride?  This bike is manufactured right here in the Motor City.  It’s an awesome piece of urban machinery.  I urge you to check them out here and watch this short video about Detroit Bikes.

    Here are some still images captured while riding in the Detroit Slow Roll.

    Photo by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.comPhoto by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.comPhoto by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.comPhoto by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.comPhoto by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.comPhoto by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.comPhoto by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.comPhoto by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.comPhoto by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.com