From time to time, I get asked what kind of camera I use to capture the images I capture and what techniques I use capture them. Though I do try selling my artwork online and I do get an occasional paid gig, I don’t consider myself a professional photographer, and I’m sure that I still have a lot to learn. I have enjoyed photography for a long time but it’s only in the last few years that I have had the time or the means to really pursue it. When I did start pursuing it, I was actually very surprised at how good I am at it. My own personal observations are somewhat confirmed by the feedback I get when I post an image on Facebook or Instagram.
My ability to see a striking shot and capture it remind me a lot of the nature versus nurture debate. My father was a professional photographer for many years, but in terms of photography, he never taught me anything nor did I learn anything from observing him. I have taken no photography classes nor any art classes. It simply seems that somehow, I inherited whatever talent he had for photography despite never having learned anything from him.
That said, it doesn’t matter what kind of camera one uses. Artistic inspiration comes from the artist. Not from the tools he or she uses. It is important for whoever that wants to shoot a good photograph to notice the shot when they see it and capture it right then and there. Not only is it important to notice the shot when he or she sees it, it’s equally important to frame the shot the way they want the final image to look. I try to frame so that I don’t have to crop if I can possibly avoid it.
Nevertheless, below is a summary of the gear that I use when I capture my images.
I almost exclusively shoot with an Olympus OMD E-M1 when I travel or go out taking pictures. I went with an Olympus because almost everyone I know shoots with a Canon or a Nikon. I wanted something different simply because I’ve never been the type of person to follow the crowd. With only 16 megapixels, the camera I use doesn’t seem like the most impressive on paper. Especially in an age when many cameras have 24 or more megapixels. I think even my friend’s smartphone has more resolution than that. The thing though, is that art is in the expression…..not necessarily in the details. I find that my Olympus captures more than enough detail to fulfill my needs.
Before my Olympus, I shot with an 18 megapixel Canon 7d until it stopped working after it got wet…..if you can imagine how happy I was after that. The 7d is actually splash proof. I didn’t realize that the lens I was using was not. The camera technically still works. It just never worked the same after the insides got wet. In any event, I find that the image quality in my Olympus is actually better.
Because the OMD E-M1 has a lot of features, there is a bit of a learning curve when learning how to use it. Not all the features are apparent and the menus aren’t intuitive when starting out, but once you master the camera’s controls and learn how to make the most out of it’s 200+ features, the E-M1 delivers fantastic images.
The lens I use when shooting a subject depends on the subject itself, how far I am from the subject and how much of the scene I want to photograph. When choosing a focal length, the smaller the number, the wider the field of view, and the larger the number, the smaller the field of view. It’s important to choose a focal length that will capture the scene in the way that you want to capture it.
As a general purpose lens, I use the M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8 PRO. This is the lens that I almost exclusively have on my camera when I travel and I’m walking around taking pictures. For capturing shots of a wide scene such as a landscape, I use the Super High Grade Zuiko 7-14mm f4.0 I use a zoom lens when I travel because I don’t always know what I will be photographing and I need the versatility of a zoom in order to adapt to a changing environment.
I use a prime lens(single focal length) when I am shooting in a more controlled environment and I know my subject is either static or inanimate. An example of such an environment is photographing a city skyline. Two general prime lens I use are the M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8 and 25mm f1.8. Both produce crisp, sharp results.
A really cool, but very challenging form of photography is macro photography. A macro shot is one where you take an extreme close-up shot of a small object to make it appear larger than life. Such a shot can reveal close-up detail that is not usually visible to the human eye. An example of macro photography is photographing a small insect. I have two macro lenses: the Zuiko 50mm f2.0 Macro and the M.Zuiko 60mm f2.8 Marco. Both lenses are good, but the 60mm took me more practice to use effectively.
A lens I use less frequently is the Rokinon f3.5mm fisheye. A fisheye lens distorts an image to create a more artistic effect. It has its uses but since art is in the eye of the beholder, there is no one single type of shot it can be used for. It’s use is subject to the taste of the artist.
When I get a paid job such as a wedding or a party. I generally use the Super High Grade Zuiko 35-100mm f2.0. This is a beast of a lens with a long enough zoom to allow me to get a good shot, yet stand far enough away from the subject so that I don’t impede the general flow of a party. It is big and heavy and produces stunning images. The crispness, color, and clarity of the images it produces are on par with any lens of any manufacturer anywhere. It is a fantastic lens, and although I do occasionally use it for my own artistic needs, it is generally too heavy and taxing to carry around for very long.
I have other lenses, but the ones mentioned here are the ones I tend to carry around the most. If you have any questions about my photography, please don’t hesitate to ask.