Sunday, 6 August 2017

Landscape photography with the Olympus OM-D E-M1: Part 3

We have had an incredible run of gorgeous, clear, sunny Saturday mornings here on the West Coast in the last month. After working all week, and with a busy weekend ahead, I'm finding it exciting and energizing to plan where I will be to take photos as the sun rises on another glorious Saturday morning. This week I headed in-land, to Lake Brunner, Moana.

Kahikatea Grove - Te Kinga. Olympus OM-D E-M1 with Zuiko 12-50mm EZ. 1/10th @f6.3, ISO 200. 0.9 ND Soft Grad
First off I went to the settlement of Te Kinga - one of my favourite places to shoot. Sunrise was scheduled for 7.40am, and the above image was taken at about 7.30am - 10 minutes before sunrise. I've been having fun using filters (see last post), and had decided that I was going to make good use of them to extend the exposure and smooth out the water.

Kahikatea Grove Long Exposure. 8 seconds @ f6.3, ISO 200. Cheap plastic ND+16 (-4 stops) filter
I love the way the long exposure has flattened out the water and produced nicer reflections, but I hate the strong colour cast and the way that it's sucked all the definition and colour out of the trees themselves. Compare the colour in the first image with the second - taken with a cheap plastic ND filter, and you'll see what I mean. Damn! I guess that means I am going to have to spend some serious money to get a decent ND filter after all.

Winter Sunrise - Te Kinga. Olympus E-M1 with Zuiko 12-50mm EZ. 1/10th @f8, ISO 200. Polarizer & 0.9 Soft ND Grad
Having established that I couldn't use the ND filters, I decided to just stick with the Cokin 0.9 soft grad, in conjunction with a Cokin circular polarizer. The polarizer was cutting out 2 stops of light, giving me slightly slower shutter speeds anyway, so I just went with that combination. Cokin are also considered a 'cheaper' alternative to the likes of LEE and NiSi filters, although they do offer a more 'premium' grade glass filter. Their 'Nuances' range of ND's are every bit as expensive as the LEE Big and Little Stoppers (-5 and -10 stop neutral density filters), so I may have to start saving my pennies for a Cokin -5 stop ND (since I already own the filter holder and lens adapters).

Te Kinga Jetty & House Boat. OM-D E-M1 with 12-50 EZ lens. 1/100th @ f6.3, ISO 100. Polarizer
Once the sun was up, I moved around to the jetty to take some pictures of the lake bathed in early morning light. I kept the circular polarizer on the lens to intensify the blues of the lake and sky and was able to ditch the tripod and start shooting hand-held. I moved around the jetty trying out various compositions, but ended up preferring this vertical image with the jetty used to lead the eye into the image, where it then moves to the houseboat.

I prefer to keep my images as simple as possible - I guess that's my 'style'- (if I have a style), and when I'm composing an image it's usually more about what I leave out than what I include. I often have this internal dialogue when I'm shooting that discusses what I should or shouldn't be including before I take the photo. I guess I also look for strong leading lines and am a firm follower of the golden mean (and rule of thirds). All pretty standard stuff...

Te Kinga Frost. Olympus OM-D E-M1 with Zuiko 12-500mm EZ. 1/320th @f6.3, ISO 100. Polarizer
I am also trying to be a bit more spontaneous with my photography as well.What does that mean? Often when I go out to shoot, I'm quite single-minded and have certain images already in my minds-eye that I'm going to get. I've driven past literally hundreds of beautiful photos and not stopped to take them because they weren't 'what I was looking for'. But I'm trying to stop more often when I glimpse something out of the corner of my eye - and the above photo is one such image. Driving out of Te Kinga to get to Lake Brunner, the 'old me' would have simply kept on driving past a scene like this because a 'lake' shot was the next on my list. But the 'new' me stopped and took the photo. And you know what - the new me is glad I did. It might just be my favourite image from all the ones I took that morning.

Lake Brunner - Moana. Olympus OM-D E-M1. 1/100th @f8, ISO 100. Polarizer
I did eventually make it to Moanna and get my lake shot - and yes folks, I think it's now official: I'm obsessed with jettys! Although honestly - what's not to like? General theme of all my images in the last month; a) they are very blue, and b) they have a jetty in them. Easy....

Lake Brunner Reflection. OM-D E-M1. 1/80th @ 88, ISO 100. Polarizer
See what I mean about everything I shoot being blue at the moment? Even the boat is blue! I wanted to make sure I got all of the tree and its reflection in the vertical image - so yes, that means a lot of blue sky and a lot of blue lake - enhanced even more by using a polarizing filter. In fact, it pays to be careful when using a polarizer, because you can occasionally got too far with it and make blues turn almost black. Just keep spinning the filter and watching the effect in the viewfinder of your camera. And remember, you can dial the effect down as well as up.

Shoe Fence, Moana. Olympus OM-D E-M1 with Zuiko 12-50mm EZ. 1/500th @ f5.6, ISO 100. Polarizer
My last images of the morning were more of the spontaneous variety. On the way home I saw this fence, laden with shoes, and thought it would make a great shot, but kept on driving! So the new me told the old me to turn the car around and take some darn photos! So I did. And once again, I'm glad. The complementary blue and green, with the leading lines on the fence posts and wire, mixed in with the colour and shapes of the shoes, makes for a quirky and compelling image. And a great way to end another successful landscape shoot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1.


  1. Dear Wayne

    May I know which Raw Conversion Software did you use for these Landscape photos?


  2. Hi Sunny
    Thanks for the question. All images were processed in Adobe Lightroom.


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