• Extended Writing

    Photography Corner: Behind the Images

    For some time now on the Hemispheric Views podcast, I’ve been banging on about cameras. You see, when I finished high school, my parents got me my first DSLR—I’d had a compact camera before this—and I really got into the swing of taking photos and experimenting with editing on my Mac. I loved it and used it repeatedly for travel. With the ever-increasing popularity and convenience of the iPhone, however, I fell out of using the DSLR regularly, reserving it instead for special occasions.

    It wasn’t until years later when we had our son, Mac, that I became enthusiastic about more manual photography with a dedicated camera. I knew that things had moved on and I could get something smaller. I was pointed in the direction of Olympus (now OM System) and purchased the wonderful OM-D E-M10 Mark IV. I absolutely adore this camera and it has reignited my passion for photography. As a Micro Four Thirds camera, it’s incredibly lightweight and the lenses are also pleasingly small for the performance and reach that they deliver.

    I thought it would be nice to include three images here that I’ve taken with the E-M10 Mark IV (and subsequently shared on Glass and Micro.blog), then share the brief story behind each one. Of course, I’d love your feedback or questions in our members’ channel on Discord or through my accounts on Glass or Micro.blog.

    1. The Street Where I Grew Up

    In February this year, I was away from home for a week on a work trip to Aotearoa New Zealand. I had a fantastic time and I was looking forward to the places we had planned to visit, but I was also feeling down about being away from my family. I had never been away from Mac for so long and I was concerned that he would be upset, especially since he was too young to understand where and why I had gone.

    The week before I went, we were visiting my mum and sister for our weekly family dinner and the sunset that evening was spectacular. The sky was bright orange, giving everything an almost Caprica-style post-nuclear-holocaust glow. I went outside briefly to capture some images.

    Below is one shot that stood out to me, and you can view its post on Feld Notes.

    A long suburban street with parked cars and eucalypts stretches into the distance.

    40mm | ISO 2000 | ƒ4 | 1/10 s

    I did no manual edits or post-processing to the image; what you see is exactly the light as it was that evening. I also shot this with my Olympus M.Zuiko 40–150mm Lens, which in Micro Four Thirds (2x crop) terms is equivalent to 80–300mm in full frame. The lens, which you can see below, is a delightfully small and light telephoto and has also been very handy in some event photography that I have done for work. It also has a lovely flattening effect in some shots, bringing elements that are far into the distance much closer to the viewer.

    A telephoto lens is held over a computer keyboard.

    I looked at my street image repeatedly while across the Tasman Sea, and I imagine that I’ll return to it very nostalgically for years to come.

    2. Throwing Rocks

    Late one Sunday afternoon, as we were still enjoying the warm sunshine that came with daylight saving, Natasha suggested that we go to the creek that runs through the local Harry Graham Park. This area is bordered by a primary school, residential housing and tennis courts and is the place where my sister played football/soccer for years. I watched many games there on freezing-cold Saturday mornings, let me tell you.

    Apparently Mac had really enjoyed riding his trike along the path there on a previous occasion (when I wasn’t there), and this time we thought that he’d enjoy checking out the water and rocks along the bank. We were correct! He had an absolute ball throwing rocks into the water (under our parental supervision, of course). See the image on Feld Notes.

    A toddler throws a rock into a creek.

    25mm | ISO 250 | ƒ2.5 | 1/3200s

    I also thought it would be a great opportunity to test the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH prime lens—whew, what a mouthful! I had bought this lens second-hand on eBay as a dedicated portrait option, and I was not disappointed with the results. I felt that my camera bag was missing something with the appropriate low-light performance to capture a toddler on the move, and this lens was the perfect choice (at a low price) to keep track of such fleeting family moments.

    A lens is held over a computer keyboard.

    Photos like the one at the creek remind me of the value of embracing blur and shadows to focus on motion or your subject.

    3. Tasman Sea from Flagstaff Hill

    Some of you may recall my first inclusion in our Virtual Tourist Corner playlist on YouTube: Virtual Tourist Corner — Wollongong Edition. In that video from 2021, I had a horrible, boofy hairstyle due to a lack of haircuts during lockdown; fortunately, we were still able to go outside so that I could show off the gorgeous Illawarra coastline from a spot called Flagstaff Hill.

    More recently, I decided to spend some time photographing this very popular area. Most of my shooting is while I’m with family, which is great, but I don’t get to go out by myself often, so this was a special excursion.

    Moving beyond the Flagstaff Point Lighthouse, I went looking for cool photo opportunities along the rocky shoreline. From what I’ve observed, many people simply shoot the lighthouse or focus on the shoreline and city. I was hoping for something a bit different that would capture the vivid colours that day. Once I stopped right on the edge of the point, I noticed the beautiful division between the rocky earth, deep-blue sea and the bright sky, essentially following the rule of thirds. The result was the photo below, which you can also view on Glass.

    Looking over a cliff at the sea and a partly cloudy sky

    9mm | ISO 100 | ƒ1.7 | 1/4000s

    Yet another mouthful, I took this photo with the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm f/1.7, which is a compact, wide-angle prime lens that offers little distortion, considering its focal length—perfect for landscapes! One thing that I really enjoyed about taking this shot was noticing that one of the Five Islands off our shoreline (to the right) can almost be mistaken for a ship, of which there are many sailing to and from Port Kembla nearby.

    A lens is held over a computer keyboard.

    That afternoon was incredibly relaxing. I truly appreciated the way that photography made me slow down to observe my surroundings more closely and find something new in a place that I had visited many times before.

    Anything to Share?

    Thank you for taking the time to read about each of the photos above; I could have gone on with even more but we don’t have all day!

    Are there any photos of which you’re proud? Anything that you’d like to show off? Visit our Hemispheric Discord’s #photo channel to share the stories behind your images. Otherwise, feel free to get in touch with me on Mastodon.

    This post was originally written in May 2023 for Hemisfeldic News; subscribe at the members’ site One Prime Plus to receive this newsletter and other benefits that are linked to the Hemispheric Views podcast.

    Tuesday July 11, 2023