• Bag Review – 247 Medium Holster is a Little Workhorse

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    I have been testing the 247 Medium Holster bag for a couple weeks now and it certainly seems to be a very capable bag when you just need to grab your camera body and couple lenses for an afternoon of shooting.  Actually, it’s quite fun to carry on a street shooting adventure or even to a baseball game.

    I loaded up my 247 Medium Holster with my Olympus PEN-F and these lenses, 75-300mm, 60mm Macro, great short distance lens for sports, the 17mm prime and the Body Cap Fisheye.  I was set for a few instances and still had some room in the back zipper to hold paperwork and things like that.

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    The outside of the 247 is very tough outer shell material, which felt good but was still tough to stand up to the streets or whatever I threw at it.  It can be worn across the chest or on the shoulder with its removable strap.  I also liked the side clips, which spin so the strap wouldn’t tangle.

    Another feature is the attached weather protection that comes out from the bottom of the bag and is always there if you happen to be caught in a rainstorm, nice feature.  Another couple features which I liked was the SD card holder and the front pockets were good for a lens cloth and lens pen which are always necessities to take along.

    The main compartment was well lined and padded and easy to find items with its orange color material.

    Overall I really liked the 247 Medium Holster for a quick bag to hit the streets with.  I would have liked to see a small sleeve for a water bottle.  That would be a nice addition.  I would recommend the bag to all those looking for a nice bag that won’t break the bank but can hold your micro four-thirds equipment and keep it safe.

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  • 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

  • Olympus Firmware Updates

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    Olympus does it again with an amazing firmware update for not just one camera but two!  Today they announced a firmware update coming out late November time frame which will take both the OM-D E-M1 and the OM-D E-M5 Mark II to new heights.  The version 4.0 for the E-M1 takes the pro camera it is and supercharges it.  Version 2.0 for the OM-D E-M5 Mark II takes a new amazing camera and makes it that much better.  A normal camera company would have issued new cameras, but not Olympus, they take your equipment and make it better.  You have to love the innovation!  Check out all the information in the press release below.

    CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON THE UPCOMING FIRMWARE UPDATES

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  • How Did You Get That Shot #4

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

    On my recent workshop in Toronto I was discussing and demonstrating the benefits of Live Composite mode which is available on all of the Olympus OM-D line of cameras.  We talked about how to choose compositions and what made an interesting image compared to a normal plain light streak image.  As usual, when you get a group of photographers together and talking, ideas continue to evolve.  The above image is an example of that.

    We had been walking for a couple hours around some very busy streets and found a few nice images but we wanted something different.  Something that made us say wow.  I remembered a busy intersection we had crossed earlier and wondered if we could view it from the elevated walk we were currently on.  Sure enough, when we got to the area we were quite pleased.  A busy corner with curve qualities.  Earlier the same day I gave a presentation that talked about the same point, curves in roadways when in a big city make for very interesting compositions.  The images below were taken with this in mind.

    Photo by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.com               OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    After some time spent capturing images on the corner I started to experiment with the zoom effect during the actual Live Composite.  Earlier in the evening one of the workshop participants had reminded me of this option and I was quite appreciative.  Workshops have a way of creating this type of atmosphere between the participants as well as the host.  I think that is why I feel so strongly that getting involved with a workshop will always give your photography a kick start if you let it.

    The zoom effect is essentially rotating the zoom on your lens while you are capturing the long exposure.  It creates an interesting motion effect that can add depth into your Live Composite images.  The key piece in doing this effect during a Live Composite is you are able to see it happen live and if you don’t like it, you can stop and start over again.  You aren’t waiting till the image is completed 40 or more seconds later, hoping you got something worth keeping.  So much of the guess work is taken out of the image by using Live Composite.

    To start you need to have your OM-D on a tripod with your composition selected.  If you haven’t used Live Composite or need a refresher please see my recent blog post on getting started here.

    TIP:  Look for tall buildings in the background that might have lights on in the windows.  (see image below)

    I would suggest that you shoot a few test Live Composites before you actually perform the zoom effect to analyze things like traffic flow and is the pattern of light pleasing with your frame.  Once you are happy with your selection it’s time to experiment.  Sample test shot before the zoom effect was used is below.

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

    The lead image in the blog post was captured by watching the traffic flow and noticing when it slowed would be a good time to start the Live Composite working the zoom effect within the first few seconds of the image.  By doing that I ensured if I didn’t like the zoom effect then I could stop the Live Composite and start over instead of waiting for it to finish only to be unhappy with the results.  I start the first depression of the shutter of course to get the base image like in all Live Composite shots and then when the traffic slowed I would start the capture phase by clicking the shutter button a second time.  While doing that I had my left hand resting lightly on the lens barrel, over the zoom.  I would start turning the barrel slowly, but more important, consistently, all the way through the zoom from the front to the back.  This created the movement in the lights which were mainly the windows in the large office buildings at the back of my frame, see tip above.

    TIP:  When turning the zoom in or out be sure that it is done in one motion and at the same rate of speed.  If you start or stop too quickly it will leave jagged edges that may not be what you are going for.

    Now that I had the motion part of the image completed I would wait for the cars to start coming through the intersection around my already formed motion streaks from the zoom effect.  As soon as I felt I had enough light streaks I would depress the shutter one more time to stop the exposure.  That’s it!

    This effect is fun and creative.  It won’t work on every one of your Live Composite images but when used from time to time you will find that it opens an amazing creative ability in a function that’s already amazing in itself.  Give it a try the next time you are out shooting Live Composite and share the results with me.  I would love to see what you create.

    Gear used for the feature shot:

    OM-D E-M5 Mark II

    7-14mm f/2.8 Pro Lens

    Me-Foto tripod

  • The Toronto Experience

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

    This past weekend I was privileged to speak about Street and Urban Photography, as well as one of my favorite topics, Live Composite, in the beautiful city of Toronto.  Toronto is the most populist city in Canada and serves as the Capitol of the Province of Ontario.  It is truly a center of business, arts and culture.  It was my first international speaking engagement for Olympus and my first ever international street shooting workshop which I co-lead with Alanna St. Laurent.  An amazing weekend would be an understatement.  If you ever get the chance to visit this city don’t think twice.  There is more packed into 2 or 3 square miles than most cities can offer and it’s just 3.5 hours away from Detroit, Michigan.  Instead of a long post with words I will let the pictures do the talking from the weekend.  Here are a few from me and one of our Olympus hosts, Kathy.

    These images of the restaurant El Catrin where the presentation was held are by Kathy Nugent, National Account Executive – Canada.  If you are in the Distillery District when visiting Toronto I suggest stopping by for lunch or dinner.  You will not be disappointed.

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    After the presentation and answering questions of course, I was able to get with our workshop group.  Alanna and I had a great group of photographers from around Michigan and Chicago as well our guests from Olympus.  It was a fun group and very talented.

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    We hit the streets for the rest of the day working on Street Photography and started back up when the evening came where we worked on perfecting our Live Composite and long exposure shots.  One other guest, who was in town for the weekend and able to stop by, was my fellow Olympus Trailblazer, Peter Baumgarten.  If you haven’t seen Peter’s work go over to his website and check it out.  He produces amazing nature and landscape images as well as some very cool street images from the weekend:)  The entire event was extraordinary weekend and I am looking forward to returning and speaking again in this great city!

    Some images from the day:

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA        Photo by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.com        Photo by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.com        Photo by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.com