Saturday, 5 March 2016

Olympus OMD EM5 MkII Abstract Landscapes

A photographer friend of mine (Hi Stew) and I went out shooting last evening to grab a sunset along the Coast Road.

Unfortunately, it didn't really eventuate - even though the night before (and the one after) were fantastic! Murphey's Law in practise once again :-(

17 Mile Beach Sunset. Olympus OMD EM5 MkII with Zuiko 12-50mm f3.5/6.3. F4.5 @ 80th sec. ISO 500
It never got better than the image above, with fairly flat lighting, but still some elements of colour. Whenever I'm presented with these conditions I think of two things; black & white and ICM (Intentional Camera Movement).

Olympus OMD EM5 MkII with 9mm Fisheye bodycap lens. F8 125th sec at ISO 1600
So I tried the black and white first, although there isn't a lot of contrast in the scene to really make black and white work. It's OK, but not great.

The light, what there was of it, was fading fast - perfect conditions for the long shutter speeds required for ICM photographs. But if you want to 'intentionally' blur your images with an Olympus mirrorless, then you need to turn the Image Stabilisation OFF first - it really is that good.

Olympus OMD EM5 MkII with 12-50mm EZ lens. F16 @  0.8secs, ISO 200
I aslo turned Auto ISO to OFF, setting the camera at its lowest ISO of 200 (for longer exposures). I then began to move the camera around as I exposed - effectivley 'painting with light' with the camera as the paintbrush. There are an infinite number of ways of moving the camera, so the results are practicaly limitless - and a whole lot of fun.

Olympus OMD EM5 MkII with 12-50mm EZ lens. F16 @ 2.5secs, ISO 200
With some colour still in the sky, the exposures weren't too long - only about 2 to 3 seconds. This is long enough to get some movement, but short enough to still retain a lot of the detail in the image. The result is a mysterious lansdcape that is obviously blurred, but still very readable as a landscape picture.

Olympus OMD Em5 MkII with 12-500mm EZ lens. F11 @ 3.5secs, ISO 200
The longer the exposure, the less landscapy the images are - and the more abstract they become. I'm a huge art  lover, and one of my favourite artists is Turner. His abstract expressionist paintings have always inspired me, and I strive for that look and feel in my ICM images.

Olympus OMD EM5 MkII with 12-50mm EZ. F16 @ 5secs. ISO 200.
ICM is a lot of fun and can really create some strikingly beautiful images. Granted, they may be more like paintings than traditional photographs - but therein lies the joy of experimentation.

Olympus OM-D EM-5 MkII with Zuiko 12-50mm EZ. F11 @ 8secs, ISO 200
Next time you're faced with a landscape that isn't quite doing it for you in terms of light and drama, think about slowing down your camera and trying some ICM (Intentional Camera Movement). It can be very counter-intuative at first - especially if you're used to shooting landscapes on a tripod. But once you start seeing the results on the lcd screen, and realise how liberating it can be to intentionally shoot for blur, then I think you'll be hooked on the technique. Enjoy!

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