Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Spring at the Botanic Gardens

In my blog post on Josh getting his Olympus E-M5, I mentioned that we spent a morning at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens shooting flowers and other spring-type subjects. I have only just looked through the photos I took on that morning, and thought I should post a few.

Spring Cherry Blossom. Olympus OM-D E-M5 MkII with Zuiko 40-150mm. f5.6 @ 1/1600th, ISO 200
As I mentioned in the earlier post, Josh was using my Zuiko 12-50mm EZ lens on his E-M5, especially the macro function, so I used my other 'kit' lens, the Zuiko 40-150mm f4.5/5.6. It's not a lens I would normally have used at the gardens, but it was a great exercise in forcing me to 'see' differently. Despite being a 'kit' lens, it's fantastically sharp, even wide open, and can still produce some decent bokeh, as can be seen in the Cherry Blossom image above.

Kayaking on the Avon. OM-D E-M5 MkII with 40-150mm. f5 @ 1/160th, ISO 200
The main issue I had with using the 40-150mm lens was not being able to go wide enough. There were some instances where I wanted to get 'more' in the frame, but couldn't move back. The above image of the family kayaking, for example, was taken standing on a bridge looking down on them as they paddled past. I was at the widest setting I could go (40mm), and while I like the image, ideally I would have given it a little more breathing space if the lens had allowed for it.

Monarch Butterfly. Olympus OM-D E-M5 MkII with 40-150mm. f5.6 @ 1/800th. ISO 200
Of course, the flip side of that is the ability to get very close to your subject at the 150mm (300mm film equivalent) end of the zoom range. The beautiful Monarch butterfly only stayed on this flower for a second or two - long enough to get three or four shots off, before it was gone again. Shooting at 150mm allowed me to maintain a good distance so I didn't scare the butterfly away, and still get a close up shot that shows all the incredible detail on the butterfly's wings.

Pied Shag. Olympus OM-D E-M5 MkII with 40-150mm. f5.6 @ 1/200th. ISO 200
Getting close to other wildlife was also possible with the 40-150mm lens. This Pied Shag was minding its own business by the side of the river, and since it's used to having lots of people around, wasn't too concerned when I got down low on the ground to photograph him. I didn't have to get too close though, and the combination of the long zoom and separation from the background has meant that the bird stands out sharply against the water.

Red Tulip. OM-D E-M5 MkII with 40-150mm. f5.6 @ 1/640th. ISO 200
I also got down low and used the far end of the zoom to isolate some of the flowers. This works really well with the long stemmed flowers like tulips. Even though the flowers were growing closely together, shooting from a distance, at 150mm, and picking out just one flower, has created a decent amount of background blur (bokeh). Even from a lens that stays at f5.6 wide open at the long end. Yes, I'm sure an f2.8 lens would have given even more subject to background separation, but I don't have an f2.8 lens - and this has worked out fine. In fact I'm very happy with the final result.

I had a great time shooting at the Botanic Gardens with the Zuiko 40-150mm f4.5/5.6. It's made me realise that we don't always have to reach for the standard lens we always go for when we find ourselves in a familiar environment. We can (and should) shake things up a bit by using a lens that we wouldn't ordinarily choose. Next time you find yourself reaching for the same lens, stop and consider shooting with something else. It will force you to think slightly differently about the images you can take - and that's never a bad thing.   

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment on this post. I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Thanks again