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Brief Summer Recap

Generally people do these in the fall. Like, early in the fall. Though, technically it is still fall, so I may be a couple of months late, but not a season late!

This summer was kind of crazy. My brother-in-law was on the cusp of getting married (which happened in October), so there was a separate bachelor and bachelorette party my wife and I attended. Tons of time at the beach. There was prepping for back to school WAY too soon. On and on. I did manage to squeeze in some opportunities for pictures, but in the interests of not boring everyone with a trillion pictures of my family, I’ll keep it simple.

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Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/5, 1/2000s, ISO200

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Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/3.2, 1/4000s, ISO200

Not dead (yet)

I know it has been the better part of a year since posting and writing a new page. I guess things sometimes wax and wane with interests. I haven’t lost (much) zeal for photography, but my life has just been so busy that blogging has always seemed to take a back seat to everything else going on. I won’t make any false promises about getting better on blogging, but it is at least what I’d like to do. Things seem to be getting exciting in the m4/3 world, at least for me. There is a 12-40/2.8, which sounds amazing (even if I am not big on zooms). The 40-150/2.8 just came out and whether or not I am a fan of zooms, I am extremely interested in it. Though it might be more of a “bucket list” purchase for a “bucket list” trip. It plus the 1.4x teleconverter seem almost perfect as a wildlife combination. Also Olympus has announced a 7-14/2.8 and a 300/4.

I am not sure if, when or ever any other long/medium telephotos might come along, but I really do hope eventually someone will do something like a 150/4, or 40-150/4 or something like that (maybe even a 50-200/4). Something a lot more affordable, but in the medium to long telephoto range. There appears to be plenty of time. m4/3 seems to be thriving, which can only be a good thing.

Money is tight, but I am certainly hoping to replace my Olympus 17mm f/2.8 with the 17mm f/1.8 sometime soon. I have a big family trip coming up and it plus the 45/1.8 and a tiny camera bag would be a perfect walk-around kit to simplify things. Also with the strong rumors (confirmed?) about the E-M5 replacement coming in February, it has me nearly giddy. The E-M5 has treated me very well, but I can see some nice features in the E-M1, and my hope is after a all this time, that the E-M6 (or whatever it’ll be called) will have certain improvements over even the E-M1 (higher MP? Better DR? Better high ISO noise?). Even if its quality is no better than the E-M1, a package closer to the size of the E-M5 and price would be a nice upgrade (faster shutter, slightly better DR and noise, better EVF, check, check, check and more check). Sadly, it won’t be a run out and buy thing for me like the E-M5 was…but maybe Christmas next year?

I have lots of catching up on blogging from the past 8 months, which I have every intention of doing (the road is paved). Until then, at least one small picture.

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Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/1.6, 1/4000s, ISO200

The long winter

I apologize for not posting at all in months now. My only excuse is that it has been a longgggg winter. I am not sure if it was the weather or having two kids in school now, but myself and my whole family seemed to be sick every three weeks since Halloween. Typical pattern would be one person would come down with something and then it would run through the entire family for the next week, a week of everyone feeling like crud and then a week of everyone feeling better, rinse and repeat. Mostly colds, some sinus infections, pink eye and a really nasty stomach bug that happily coincided with an ice storm and a two-day power outage.

Fortunately, we had the chance to get away from most of the misery for a few days in mid February and drive to Florida for a family reunion. Unfortunately THAT coincided with a massive winter storm that blew through the East coast…the ENTIRE East coast. We timed it about as well as we could, hitting only really nasty weather through southern Virginia, hitting North Carolina and South Carolina after the freezing rain had melted from salting and before the really heavy snow hit Virginia and Maryland. Still, the 17 hour drive turned in to a 22 hour marathon.

A few pictures from that nice getaway and hopefully I’ll have more over the next few weeks as the weather warms, and I hope, life returns a bit more to normal.

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Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/2.8, 1/2500s, ISO200

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Olympus 12mm f/2: f/4.5, 1/1000s, ISO200

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Olympus 12mm f/2: f/2.8, 1/2500s, ISO200

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Olympus 17mm f/2.8: f/3.5, 1/1000s, ISO200

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Panasonic 25mm f/2.8: f/4.5, 1/400s, ISO200

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Olympus 45mm f/1.8: f/2.8, 1/4000s, ISO200

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Olympus 45mm f/1.8: f/2.8, 1/2000s, ISO200

A late Renfest post

I know I promised it many moons ago (two I think), but here is my follow-up Renfest post. More coming soon[er or later] from a recent trip to Gettysburg and Thanksgiving. Review of the 12mm f/2 should be up soon (maybe today) and the 60mm f/2.8 in the not too distant future.

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Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/3.2, 1/500s, ISO200

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Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/1.4, 1/2000s, ISO200

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Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/1.8, 1/800s, ISO200

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Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/2, 1/3200s, ISO400

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Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO400

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Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/3.5, 1/640s, ISO800

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Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/2.8, 1/320s, ISO200

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Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/3.2, 1/500s, ISO200

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Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/1.4, 1/500s, ISO200

Its been longer than I had planned between posts (a common refrain the last year or so). As it turned out my plans to do a post early in the month were waylaid by congressional inaction incompetence idiocy. With the gov’t shutdown I am now out of work until our lords and masters can get off their royal butts and decide to do their jobs. The last couple of weeks have been stressful and even though I’ve had much more time on my hands, I’ve been trying to bury myself in a combination of spending as much time with my family as I possibly can and doing as much free/cheap work around my house (and maybe a slight bit of foxhole religion creeping in now and again).

This past weekend I had a chance to go the Maryland Renaissance Festival with just my wife, leaving the kids at home with my parents who were visiting from out of town. It has been raining for the last several days and it rained for the first couple of hours there.

Out of my usual trend, I’ve decided to narrate this series of pictures.

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Enchanting melody: Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/1.8, 1/200s, ISO400

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When the King smiles, everyone smiles. When the king grimaces… Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/2.8, 1/500s, ISO400

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Fairy fire. No, really, it’ll be a fairy. Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/3.2, 1/160s, ISO400

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Colors of the rainbow. Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/3.5, 1/125s, ISO400

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Pinch it off. Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/3.2, 1/200s, ISO800

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Puddles in the rain. Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/2.8, 1/2500s, ISO200

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Signs of fall. Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/2.8, 1/1000s, ISO200

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Where have all the drunkards gone. Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/2.8, 1/80s, ISO200

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Royal Ungulate. Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO200

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Steaming pile of kiln. Olympus 17mm f/2.8: f/11, 1/10s, ISO200

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Merry Gentleman. Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO400

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Skirting the issue. Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/1.4, 1/125s, ISO200

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Cathedral of wood. Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/2, 1/15s, ISO200

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Now that’s a ridge vent[ing fire]. Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/3.2, 1/400s, ISO200

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Help, I’ve married a Reny! Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/1.4, 1/400s, ISO200

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Magic! Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/2.8, 1/320s, ISO200

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Bonnie lass. Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/4, 1/125s, ISO200

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Ivy out of control. Olympus 12mm f/2: f/3.2, 1/500s, ISO200

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It emerges! Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/3.2, 1/160s, ISO800

And that’s a wrap for now. Hopefully I’ll be back to work soon. Either way, I am going back to the Renaissance festival next weekend with my whole family and family from out of town (as we had two day tickets and the kids are free). I am sure I’ll have at least a few more pictures to blog with after next weekend. In addition, I still haven’t forgotten about doing a review of the stellar Olympus 12mm or the Sigma 60mm. those are coming, maybe during the week this week if I feel up to it.

Starlight, star bright

Friday night was the launch of the LADEE satellite to the Moon. It was momentous because it was the first launch from Wallops Viriginia of a mission beyond Earth orbit and, I think, only the second launch of a payload bearing Ares rocket from Wallops. Almost as important as those, is the fact that Wallops happens to be only a 20 minute drive from my in-laws and less than 3 hours from my house. You can actually see the rocket heading up from my house! Downside, the trees near my house block most of the view, so all I could see was the rocket motor twinkling between branches a few times and then for about 45 seconds between two trees was an unobstructed view. Sadly I had my 12/2 mounted instead of something like my 60/2.8. I got the picture on a 25s exposure, but it isn’t anything to write home about at all. Still very cool and there is a field about 200yds away that probably would provide a much better view. I really need to go see a launch there though. I was born post-Apollo, but I am still a space nut.

I did take the opportunity to snap a few celestial pictures though. The 12/2 is really great for it with the snap focusing ring making it pretty easy to make sure that it is set to infinity. I still have some sky glow where I live (only 20 miles from Baltimore), but the skies are still pretty clear so long as you aren’t looking right by the horizon. I am sandwhiched pretty much inbetween Baltimore and Frederick with Washington DC to the south, so lots of skyglow, but I have probably the clearest skies around without going west another 30+ miles or heading north (but too far and you start running in to York and Harisburg sky glow).

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Olympus 12mm f/2: f/2.8, 25s, ISO200

An ISO800 picture probably would have pulled significantly more stars, but it also would have enhanced the skyglow significantly around here. For where I live, unless you want to shoot straight up, 25s at ISO200 (and f/2.8) is about the best you can do to balance skyglow and star luminance.

Hyperbole aside, the Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN is just a sweet, sweet lens. That and I figured it fit with today’s topic. I took a bunch of pictures visiting a replica 16th century Spanish Galleon (El Galeón) while it was in Ocean City, Maryland.

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Olympus 45mm f/1.8: f/4, 1/640s, ISO200

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Olympus 12mm f/2: f/2, 1/800s, ISO200

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Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/2, 1/2500s, ISO200

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Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: f/2.2, 1/200s, ISO200

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Olympus 12mm f/2: f/2, 1/50s, ISO200

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Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/4, 1/640s, ISO200

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Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO200

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Sigma 60mm f/2.8: f/2.8, 1/320s, ISO200

Next week I’ll get a few pictures from the actual beach up from the Sigma 60mm and then it is probably silence from me until I get up the m.Zuiko 12mm f/2 review, or post Reniassance Festival in October, whichever comes first.

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