Steinplatte

Almost on a whim last week I decided to sign up for a day trip down to Austria with the ski club at work, since some local pals were going, and it had been a while since I’d hit the slopes (can it really have been six years already?!). It was sponsored by Radio Charivari and Reisebüro Venus here in Regensburg. The price was €40,50 for transportation down to the mountains and back and an all-day lift ticket. Not bad, I thought. Then when we arrived at the gondola to take us up the hill, I saw that the going rate for an all-day lift ticket was €37. Meaning, essentially I got a ride down to the mountains and back for €3,50 — can’t beat that!

I took a few pictures while there. Still digging that Olympus E-PL2 (and its art filters) and the f/1.7 aperture lens I bought for it. Renewed thanks to Herr J of Ye Olde Schnitzelbahn.com for both those recommendations.

P1142366 sP1142367 sP1142371 sP1142372 sP1142373 sP1142377 sP1142378 sP1142380 sP1142381 sP1142385 s

I got a new camera; I think I’m going to like it.

I got a new camera recently, thanks in part to some recommendations from the fine folks at residentevilonearth.com and schnitzelbahn.com. I had an Olympus E-500 before (still have it, looking to get rid of it, leave a comment if you’re interested in an aging DSLR with moderate use and a fair number of accessories) and really like setting up shots. But, even as one of the smaller DSLRs on the market (at the time in 2007 and even now), the schlep factor was starting to get to me. I wanted DSLR-like control over exposure and aperture and white balance and stuff, but without having to wade through an endless mess of menus and scrolling, and without all that weight on my neck. The Micro Four Thirds format is really a great compromise in that regard. I’ve known for a while that I wanted to upgrade downgrade modernize my camera. But I wasn’t ready to commit to more Olympus gear, and I wasn’t ready to jump into a whole new line of other gear (most likely Canon or Nikon). I definitely wanted some better high-ISO performance than what the E-500 could offer and wasn’t opposed to the dimensions of a full-blown DSLR; but those Micro Four Thirds cameras were another class smaller and though I am loath to admit it, those PEN models sure look slick. And I’ve discovered

  1. my Metz 48 AF-1 flash works with through-the-lens (TTL) metering on this PEN, and
  2. one of the kit lenses for has a threaded diameter of 58mm, the same as the lenses for my E-500, and matching my circular polarizer

both of which mean I get some re-use of previous equipment purchases.


So I pulled the trigger on an E-PL2 after pricewatching at amazon.de for a few months and pestered Herr J and Frau A at schnitzelbahn.com about low-light performance, lack of a viewfinder, and other stuff like that. I am seeing much better (though still not excellent) low-light performance, and playing with the art filters (for example, Dramatic Tone, like in the two larger shots above) is pretty fun. I like that I get that effect in-camera or by applying it to the RAW images in the supplied Olympus software. And the video quality seems great (to me, because I’ve never had an HD-capable video camera before, much less as a secondary feature on a DSLRish camera).

I think this little camera and I are going to have a lot of fun together.

Henry & Pete



These are some of Sarah’s cousins. We don’t get to see these guys very much, but on our trip to the U.S. last month, we did a three-car caravan road trip down to Oklahoma City from Kansas City for a wedding in another branch of the family. We have pictures of them as near-babies on our family picture shelf in our apartment and I still think of them as being that size.

I was hoping to get my photographic tech nerd on and do something nice for my wife’s family simultaneously at the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, but the flash sync to the camera wasn’t working correctly. I have an external flash made by the Metz company (and a mounting bracket) for my Olympus E-500 and for whatever reason, the camera’s shutter speeds were way longer than necessary with the flash, which washed (almost) all the images out. The flash also appeared to fire at random intervals, even without pressing the shutter button.

These images were pretty much the only two I managed to salvage (applying a little saturation adjustment and red-eye reduction thanks to UFRaw and the GIMP). I think I resolved the problem of the flash and camera synchronizing improperly only by making sure to do these steps in the following order:

1. With both devices off, connect everything.
2. Turn on the camera.
3. Turn on flash.

Then it seemed to work normally. Unfortunately I figured that out too late. Incidentally, the instructions specify that you shouldn’t connect/disconnect the flash and camera while either one (or both) of them is switched on, but they don’t say the camera should start up first.