Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Images with the OM10

I got a chance to take the Olympus OM10 out over the weekend and put through a roll of Fuji 400 colour film.

The OM10 is a solid, easy to operate camera that will make a great back-up for my OM2 (which I still prefer).

I took the family back to Carew Falls (I shot there a few months ago with the Bronica medium format camera) and we all got our cameras out to capture the magnificent falls.

Luckily the day was somewhat overcast, which meant the OM10 had no trouble keeping details in the water highlights or the forest shadows. Shooting on print film has also helped in this respect, with a greater exposure latitude than slide would have offered.

My daughter Emily also took photos of the falls on her Canon 10D digital camera, and we will be entering one in the junior section of a local photography competition coming up soon.

On the way back from the falls, we drove through the small settlement of Kumara. I had one eye on the road, and the other on the fields as we passed by - a useful skill to have when you're a photographer ;-)

I spied an old van in the middle of a field, and I just had to stop and take a couple of quick photos. The 35mm Zuiko lens is almost permanently attached to both the OM2 and OM10, but in this instance I needed a little more reach. The 135mm Zuiko was perfect and is a beautifully balanced, small and light lens to use.

I've been trying out several HDR software programs recently, so I popped the scan from the lab into Photomatix, played around with the tone mapping a bit, and got the above result. HDR is perfect for these old grungy car images, and I'm pleased with the end result. I think it would be even better if I used a scan from my Epson 700, but I'll have to do that another time.

Another favorite place of mine to shoot at the moment is down at our local wharf. Since I needed to finish off the roll, I took Emily down there one afternoon and we spent an enjoyable hour or so just wandering around the jetties snapping images.

I think I took about 12 photos - just enough to finish off the roll - whereas Emily, who was shooting on her digital camera, took a couple of hundred!

On one hand this is great. She gets to 'play' with the camera and try stuff out in a way I never could growing up shooting film.

But, on the other hand, while I carefully compose and think about every shot - even when I shoot digital today - I get the feeling that with digital, the 'scatter-gun' approach to composing becomes a very real option. Take as many photos as you can, and you're bound to get a good one amongst them all - right?

Don't get me wrong, Emily gets some good photos. But I do sometimes wonder if digital doesn't encourage a bit too much slop and not enough careful composition? Just a thought.

The final image above is a fairly straight forward shot - just a bunch of ropes tied around a post. But I like the image because of its simplicity, its compositional techniques (leading lines), subtle color palette, and bold use of contrast in post-processing. I just like it :-)

So I had fun with the Olympus OM10, and liked its small form factor, easy controls, and build quality. It won't replace my OM2 - but will definitely get a work-out every now and then.

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