• 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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  • Sundown Skateboarder

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

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  • Gifts For The Mirrorless Dad

    With less than two weeks from Father’s Day I wanted to put together a list for anyone who might be searching for that perfect gift for a Dad who loves Micro Four Thirds photography and is on the road traveling.  So, basically it’s a list of what I would like…  Here are my top 5 items with one bonus selection that you can never go wrong with.  Happy Father’s Day out there to all those Dads who love Shooting Light and Shooting Often.

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    The Domke 11 inch protective wrap – $12.50

    When your Dad travels and can only bring his briefcase or backpack onto the plane, he wants to make sure he has his equipment with him and not down below in a checked bag.  The Domke wrap is great for that.  This will fit any of the Olympus OMD models with the 14-42 EZ lens attached and can easily fit in a briefcase or backpack.

     

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    Monster Power Strip To Go – $16.20

    When your Dad gets to the hotel and needs to plug his laptop in along with an iPhone and probably a battery charger for his camera batteries it’s always hard trying to find those outlets behind a bed or dresser.  Make it easier with a small and portable 4 outlet switch from Monster.

     

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    Mastering The Olympus OM-D E-M1 – $39.95

    If your dad owns the Olympus OM-D E-M1 this book is a must have.  The menus are explained clearly and every section has the recommended settings which always helps when he is out shooting.  Plus it’s great to take on planes and read while on destination.

     

     

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    The Olympus M. Zuiko 14-42 mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ Lens – $299.00

    This lens is the ultimate low profile quick and easy travel lens for the Micro Four Thirds systems.  It works great when you need some wide angle shots all the way to a mid zoom lens.  Clean and fast, this is a great one to have.  Plus, when you use the OI Share app on your smart phone you can actually zoom in and out right on the phone screen with this lens, bonus!

     

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    Me-Foto Day Trip Tripod – $99.00

    An amazing little tripod.  MeFoto makes a few great styles and this is their smallest.  When you want a tripod but know you don’t want to check a bag when flying this is a great addition.  Your Dad can bring this all the time when he travels and if he needs to get up higher just look for a rock or can to set it on.  He will never be let down with this little thing.  It’s very strong and sturdy even when trying to set up shots in windy situations.

     

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    BONUS GIFT – Gear Ties 16 Pack – $22.47

    You just can’t go wrong with these gear ties.  If your Dad travels with electronics, he has cords and those cords need to be tamed.  These little ties do the best job when trying pack more efficiently.  Nice bonus gift that keeps on giving….

     

     

  • How Did You Get That Shot? #1

    Taking a cue from fellow Trailblazer, Jamie MacDonald, I wanted to start writing a blog post that spoke to the question, How Did You Get That Shot?  I am often asked about different images that I have posted or shared and one way to let others know would be to let those questions work as motivation to write blog posts on the most talked about images.  I will try to share my motivation for the shot, the tools used and a bit about processing the image after the shoot.  So, without further ado, here is my first blog post for “How Did You Get That Shot”

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

    Live Composite Mode set at 1 second @f/5.6 ISO Low for 90 seconds

    I want to discuss this shot above which happens to be taken with the Olympus Live Composite mode.  Anyone following me on social media probably already knows how much I love to talk about Live Composite.  It is truly one of the wonders in the Olympus OMD systems.  Long exposure or star trail photography has always been possible but it required many different setups along with some very intense post processing work after the shots were taken.  Olympus has cut that time tremendously, which in itself is amazing, but when you couple that fact with you can watch the scene develop before your eyes on the back of the camera, well now you are stepping into uncharted territory which opens up the creativity level tenfold.

    untitled_20150521_20_48_59_IMG_8719_©mikeboening_2015When scouting locations for Live Composite shots I am always trying to think of areas that can be shot either from above or down low where I can put some sort of object, building or statue in the background or foreground to give it perspective.  Taking images of light streaks or star trails is fun, but putting it into the real world by featuring a recognizable object makes it enjoyable.  I also try to imagine what types of light streaks am I going to get from this area?  Like the shot above, one of my concerns was the street lights?  When you shoot from bridges you always have to take this into consideration because many times you are at the same level of the glaring street lights.  Even though Live Composite can handle them in terms of not blowing out exposures, they can be distracting from what you want featured.  I thought if I could get a couple different exposures of the same composition than I could merge them in the new Lightroom CC HDR product to combine the street lights on and street lights off exposure.  So, I started by getting some shots with the street lights off just before dusk and the light streaks not so enjoyable because I was only going to use this shot for the blending of the darker image with better streaks..  I made sure that that I had found the composition which I liked for the shot because I couldn’t move the camera when I took the shot after it got darker and the street lights were on.

    LC TIP:  Be sure you bring as many batteries as you have and look into getting a battery grip which holds an extra battery that will switch automatically when the other runs out.  You will be taking images for long periods of time and batteries can run low.

    After getting the shots I wanted without the street lights on, I started to set up for the darker shots to capture the best car light streaks I could.  I may handle Live Composite settings a bit different than most so let me describe.  I first go into manual mode and start to expose for the scene if I were going to take a single image shot.  I set my aperture and shutter speed along with ISO at either 200 or Low.  Once I have found the settings I like they are remembered as I turn my back dial all the way to Live Composite mode.  From here I am depressing the menu key to set the base exposure shutter speed.  I have the base exposure rate remembered from the last set of test shots.  In this image those settings were 1 second at f/5.6, ISO 100 or Low.  I select the 1 second exposure time and be sure to depress the OK button to lock in that time.  If you don’t hit the OK button you will be left with the previous exposure time from the last time you used Live Composite.  Now my settings are ready and I can take my base shot.  I depress the shutter and let the camera take the base exposure.  When it is complete it will read ready for composite shooting. Once completed I move to the next phase which is monitoring the traffic and starting the Live Composite mode with the next depression of the shutter button.untitled_20150528_06_50_15_IMG_8806_©mikeboening_2015

     

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    At this point I am checking traffic patterns and want to make sure there is a nice combination of cars, buses and large trucks if possible.  The varying heights of each lends itself to light streaks from the low of cars to the high of an 18 wheeler which makes for some interesting images.  Tonight it seemed it was just cars and every so often a truck.

    LC Tip from a bridge:  Try to find a bridge that has a curve behind you so you can see down the road and around the curve giving you the time to push the shutter button when you see a nice grouping of vehicles coming your way.

    I would depress the shutter a second time when I saw a large grouping of cars coming in both directions and hope for that stray truck or bus.  The next step is my favorite.  I get to watch the image taking shape right before my eyes on the rear LCD.  You also have the benefit of a small histogram on the bottom left which can guide you as to when you have taken a long enough exposure.  For the shot above I let it take 90 shots which in turn was 90 seconds total for the shot.  This part is up to you because you are watching the streaks come through.  If you like what you have after 45 seconds then depress that shutter button for the third time to stop the shot.  If you need to let it go to 2 minutes or more because you hit a lull in traffic than feel free to.  This is the wonder of Live Composite because you aren’t blowing out the highlight areas, your base has been set and only the new streaks are falling in on top of that base exposure.  A side note is you have up to three hours or until the batteries run out in Live Composite mode.  This part takes experimentation and you will not always succeed so I will take many images over an hour or so.  For every shot I share there are many that I didn’t like or the wrong group of vehicles came through making it a boring image.  I typically have my noise reduction set to Auto within the Custom Menu>E-Exp/ISO.

    Once I have enough shots to look through I head back and start to think about the processing.  I’ll determine the 2 or 3 I want to work on move to the basics panel of Lightroom adjusting sliders in White Balance, Exposure, Shadows, Highlights, etc.  I often move to curves next to make sure the sky stays a consistent black or color it was when shooting.  In this image above though, I did do one thing before all this because I wanted to merge the non-lit street light with the lit one to make it a more pleasing composition.  I did this in Lightroom by right clicking>Photo Merge>HDR.  (There are other ways of doing this in Photoshop but I found the new merge function worked well for this image.)  With the new DNG file just made I adjusted my basics and then brought it over to On1 Perfect Suite 9.5.  I like to take my Live Composite images there after the basics are completed for additional Tonal Contrast or possibly some localized detail in the streaks.  Now that the image is where I would like it, I’ll bring it back into Lightroom for some noise reduction.  Don’t be scared of noise reduction, if you need it, use it.  Experiment with those sliders…

    After you have tried a few images with Live Composite you will start to understand this amazing mode which Olympus has put into its cameras.  It should open up some great possibilities for you in creativity which is what we are all striving to improve on when we head out the door with our equipment.  Go out, experiment, make some mistakes and share the winners with me.  I would love to see what inspires you…

    LC TIP:  If you want to see the number of composited shots in the final image, you can find it later by using the Olympus Viewer 3 Software that came with the camera.

    Bonus LC Tip:  When you arrive to your location it is normally earlier then dusk so you might have some time to kill before you start.  Put your camera in JPEG only mode and go over to Shooting Menu 2>Time Lapse Settings.  From there run a couple Time Lapses with 200 images of the traffic below.  Don’t forget to turn your file type back to RAW before you start your Live Composites and make sure you have a fresh battery.  You never know when these time lapses might come in handy, like here:)

     

    Equipment used for this shot:

    Olympus OM-D E-M1

    12-40mm f/2.8 Pro Lens

    Battery Grip HLD-7 (not pictured)

    Me-Foto Road Trip Tripod

    Click here to see more of my Live Composite work

    Shoot Light | Shoot Often

    -Mike

     

     

  • Olympus OMD and PEN Workshop May 17, 2015

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

    Here’s a fun workshop and get together for Olympus shooters only. Have you been working with your OMD or Pen camera and wanted to know more about all the options available to you?  Have you seen others talk about art filters, time lapse mode and more on the Internet and would like to put them to use in your photography?  Have you thought about video or internet training for your Olympus but you would rather be learning these things while you are actually out shooting?  If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then please keep reading about our Sunday, May 17th workshop.

    Jamie MacDonald and Mike Boening will be hosting a small group, only 6 Olympus shooters, for a morning and afternoon of shooting in some great areas around Detroit. We will work on cityscape shots early in the morning, street and urban shooting later and then some architecture images to finish off the day. Along the way we will be discussing the menus in our cameras and what we can do to enhance our photography with all functions Olympus makes available to us. Jamie and Mike will each take three people in cars to the locations stopping along the way for breakfast and lunch as well.  Everyone knows you have to fuel the mind when learning.  While together we will be sharing ideas about photography, camera functions and related gear.  Who knows, a conversation might actually break out about camera bags.  Boy can we talk about bags:)

    If this sounds like a fun workshop for the Olympus shooter than take advantage today by registering now.  There are only 6 spots, don’t delay.

    This workshop is expected to give you the chance to unplug from your daily routine and focus on the hobby you love, photography.  You will meet like-minded people and find that the camaraderie built during the weekend will last long past Sunday.  Give yourself the opportunity to experience a great time with some great people capturing great images. 

    Click here for detailed information and registration

    Photo by Mike Boening http://www.mikeboening.com Belle Isle Bridge - Detroit OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA eastern_market_20140719_09_27_14_P7190043_©mikeboening_2014