Olympus 12-40 F/2.8 Lens Review

I have read from many Olympus photographers that the 12-40 F/2.8 zoom lens is the one lens people say they can’t live without. When I saw it refurbished for a great price I jumped on it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, as it is much bigger than my kit zoom, but while it is awkwardly large, it’s not nearly as heavy as I thought it would be. Lens flare is well controlled even when shooting into the sun.

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Each lens from Olympus has its own unique profile and so far I’m enjoying the look of my new zoom. So far my favorite lens has been my 25mm F/1.8 prime, but the Olympus 12-40 is incredibly versatile and performs even better in low light somehow. The 25mm prime technically opens wider, but because it struggles to focus in low light I actually prefer either my 12mm F/2 lens or the new Olympus zoom if it’s dark out.

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If you’re on the fence about whether or not to upgrade to this lens I would only do it if you either find a good deal like I did or if zoom capability in low light is a must have for your photos. Otherwise the Olympus 12-50 takes aesthetically pleasing photos in all light conditions (albeit with some focusing difficulty at night). I don’t own the 14-42 lens anymore because I had one break on me a few years back, but I also really enjoy the photos I took with that lens and it’s delightfully lightweight. In short, with Olympus optics you are always in good hands and with the 12-40 lens you can travel fairly light with a capable tool that “does it all” with ease.

Olympus 25mm F/1.8 Review

The Olympus 25mm F/1.8 is my second acquisition in my quest to upgrade from my camera’s kit lens. I was nervous before it came in the mail last week because even though everyone swears by the so called “nifty fifty” lens as a classic and economical focal length, a staple to any photographer’s kit, I felt it was a very narrow focal length to use as a walk-around lens. Perhaps I should have gone with the 17mm? , I thought.

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I was wrong. This lens is amazing. No, it will not give you the panorama view of my other prime lens, the 12mm F/2. It will however give you consistently beautiful and creamy bokeh with very minimal distortion.

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If you need a lens for close-ups and casual snaps of things you want to remember or if you are looking for a versatile portrait lens, look no further. Of course the new Olympus 25mm F/1.2 has just come out. Its mystical image quality is so good that the reviewer Steve Huff has said he’s sold off some Leica gear to purchase it, so that tells you something. That lens is retailing for over $1000 right now which is more than I paid for my camera body. For those that aren’t professionals that’s a huge investment. Also the F/1.2 lens is enormous due to its wide aperture and weather sealing. I’d say if you did portraiture often, you live in a very rainy place like Seattle, or if you know that you’d only use the 25mm lens in your work, spring for the Pro lens. If not the Olympus 25mm F/1.8 is a more than adequate consolation prize.

Love,

Adri ❤

Olympus 12mm F/2 Lens Review

Hello Internet. Long time no see. Today I wanted to discuss the subject of prime lenses, more specifically the Olympus 12mm F/2 lens (24mm Full Frame Equivalent). A few months ago I decided the best investment I could make to grow in my photography would be to try out prime lenses (single focal length lenses). I became paralyzed with the choices available. I knew I loved landscape and architecture photography, but at the same time I also had been taking a lot of close up photos of plant life. After much deliberation and also finding a sale on a refurbished 12mm lens I decided to try out this semi wide angle focal length as my first prime lens.

First impression: Amazing clarity, insane focusing speed, dreamy color rendition.

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Second impression: I am spending a lot of time squatting and contorting in weird angles just to get close to things. I was so frustrated after a while with this limitation that I switched back to my zoom. Still I ended up going back to the prime lens for all the aforementioned strengths it has. It’s okay to miss a few shots every now and then. I had on the 12mm on a walk when we saw some deer. They were closer than deer normally allow you to be but because I had on just the 12mm there was no way to get a decent photograph of the deer family before us.

However, if I would have just had my zoom lens on me I wouldn’t have gotten a great photo because it was dark outside at the time and the aperture on my zoom wouldn’t have been wide enough. This scenario made me realize I should invest in a 25mm prime lens. They’re more affordable and a bit more versatile for everyday snapshots. I’ve been loving the first shots I’ve gotten with it but sometimes I miss the wide field of view from the 12mm. Thankfully for me there’s no need to choose. Both lenses are small enough to carry with me on my adventures, and for times when I don’t have the patience or I’m on a trip there’s always my handy dandy zoom lens.

Love ❤

Color Me Adri

Book Review: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

After a year of reading (and forgetting to finish) the monstrously comprehensive biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I am proud to say that last night I finally finished the book.

Coming in at 656 pages, this book delves into every epoch of Job’s Apple  journey. I was impressed that Isaacson not only covered Job’s childhood comprehensively but also gave background history of both Job’s birth parents and adoptive parents. These details while seemingly negligent are important to understanding Job’s notoriously combative and at times destructive personality.

Unlike the two movies on Job’s life, this book does not present a one sided analysis focused on his famous tirades. While Isaacson makes sure to include Job’s personality flaws in the book for the sake of realism, he also makes sure to show the more human and vulnerable sides of Job’s life, from his struggles to rekindle a relationship with his daughter Lisa to his fears of leaving his family and of course Apple behind as he struggled with pancreatic cancer.

Reading this book I was at times so inspired by Job’s story that I convinced myself I had chosen the wrong area of study and should go back to school to become a software engineer. After coming back to my senses (and remembering I can’t write error free code to save my own life) I realize now that I probably was just entranced by the effective, whimsical and well organized prose that Isaacson put together in this lovely book.

I would say if you are looking for a book to be your companion for the next year or so in coffee shops, bedside tables and the like, you should pick up this book too.

Happy Reading 🙂

❤ Adri

Mission Declutter: Why Ebay is your new best friend

Hello Friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve discussed the topic of minimalism, since I haven’t spent time focusing on simplifying my life in regards to my material possessions. Over Thanksgiving break I updated camera bodies and used Ebay to sell my old Olympus camera body. When I remembered how easy it is to sell items online, I decided to list a few old video games I had lying around the house. Apparently people very much like Mario, because those old Nintendo 64 games I would list left the market sometimes within only minutes of listing. The success I had with these items encouraged me to list more items and now I find myself selling a few items every week.

Why am I bringing up selling items online? Well simply because one of the hardest steps in downsizing your material possessions is often just figuring out where in the world you are going to take all the items you don’t need anymore. Sure, a few things need to be thrown out if they’re not in good condition. Perhaps you decide you want to host a garage sale or two. Maybe you end up taking some items to Goodwill, but let’s be real here. A lot of the items you want to get rid of in the home are actually worth a decent amount of money when you add it all up, and knowing this makes it very difficult to let go of your items in the end and puts a roadblock in your minimalist journey.

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So what do you have to lose? Try out a site like Ebay. It doesn’t have to be Ebay. Amazon works better for some things. Both sites have very low listing fees and on Ebay I believe your first 50 listings are free.

“What about shipping the items?” you may ask. Well in my specific case, my mom has been selling used books on Amazon for many years, so we’re pretty familiar with the ins and outs of the postal service. However, if you don’t want to be making trips to the post office, I’m pretty sure there’s a way to get your sold items picked up from your house and taken off to ship. On Ebay when you sell an item, you have an option to pay to get a discounted label to put on your package and pay for your shipping right at your computer. We don’t personally ship from home, because it’s nice to have the knowledge and support from the workers at the post office, but if you find yourself unable to keep up with going to and from the post office, this is a great alternative.

I haven’t been having a lot of luck with selling secondhand clothes online, but I’m looking into some sites for that such as Poshmark. I don’t like that they take big commissions on sales and make you ship your items in boxes that they send to your door instead of just letting the seller take care of shipping (which is much faster).

I found a great deal on my favorite brand of shoes the other day. Someone was selling some Ecco biom athletic shoes that retail around $90 for only $20 including the shipping. They’d only worn the shoes a few times before deciding they didn’t need them or they didn’t fit correctly. There is a whole world of options to buy items second hand, so if there’s a pricey item you have your eye on consider taking a little extra time to see if anyone is selling it in Like New Condition online. You’ll save money and ultimately over time if more people did this, we could do our part to use our resources more efficiently and lessen the impact on the environment from manufacturing.

Are you trying to lead a more minimalistic lifestyle? What have your experiences been? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Also feel free to visit my Ebay shop to see if anything catches your eye:

Ebay Shop

 

Mayan Adventures

I’ve been thinking about writing about my recent trip to the south of Mexico, but I’m short of words at the moment. I hope these 20 photos speak to you in their own way. Many are available for purchase. I’ll leave links to those that are, but also feel free to of course just take them in.

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Society 6

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I made an Official Portfolio :)

I’ve been getting some questions lately about whether I had a portfolio for my photography and my paintings. The previous answer to that question was no, but now I’m happy to say that last week I put one together.

If you enjoy my work (and/or like me as a person) you should check it out and maybe give the page a follow, share, like, or a Pin.

Official Portfolio

Also feel free to follow my instagram as I update it fairly regularly:

@colormeadri

 

Have a Nice Day 🙂

Collaboration with Girls Rock Socks and Sandals

Hey Ya’ll,

Just got back from an amazing vacation in the south of Mexico with relatives. Shortly I will be putting up a few posts about the trip, but for the time being I just wanted to let you guys know about a collab I did with another blogger Girls Rock Socks and Sandals

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The blog creator, Alex, is an outdoor loving girl from Maryland who interviews people about how they like to style themselves when they where socks and sandals and also about their general lives and interests. The blog is a lovely exploration of individuality, style, and the bravery to be oneself. I see great things coming in this bloggers future so be sure to check her out at her blog:

Girls Rock Socks and Sandals

@girlsrocksocksandsandals

And of course if you aren’t a subscriber to my instagram you can follow my photographic adventures at:

@colormeadri

Stay creative!

Olympus OMD EM5 II Camera Review

Over Thanksgiving Break I was able to get an incredible deal on an Olympus Omd Em5 Mark ii camera. I’ve been looking to switch to the OMD line for a while now. I loved my Olympus Pen Lite 5 Camera and hadn’t owned it for all that long, but because it didn’t have dedicated controls for ISO, Exposure Compensation, Aperture, Shutter Speed, and White Balance I felt I had outgrown my Pen Camera. I was hesitant to make the switch because I had been using a few different models from the Pen line since 2011 when I bought my first camera. I sold my Olympus Pen camera now and have no regrets. To learn more about my personal history with taking photos you can check out my previous post: My Personal History with Photography: From Point and Shoot and beyond.

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Here are some basic specifications for the Olympus Omd EM5 MII (taken from Cameradecision.com )

Olympus E-M5 II Key Specs

 

  • Announcement Date: 2015-02-06
  • 16MP – Four Thirds CMOS Sensor
  • ISO 100 – 25600
  • Micro Four Thirds Mount
  • Sensor-shift Image Stabilization
  • 3″ Fully Articulated Screen
  • 2360k dot Electronic viewfinder
  • 10.0 fps continuous shooting
  • 1920 x 1080 video resolution
  • Built-in Wireless
  • 469g. 124 x 85 x 45 mm
  • Weather Sealed Body

(Stock Photo from PCWorld.com)

The LCD screen swivels out like a camcorder and the touchscreen is even more responsive than the one on my Olympus Pen Camera. I haven’t tried out the camera in the rain yet, but if I did, it’s great that the LCD screen can be turned inwards towards the camera body for extra protection against harsh weather elements. I purchased the 12-50 mm weatherproofed lens to go with my camera body so I’m very excited that rain and snow are no longer limitations for my future photographic endeavors. The 12-50 mm lens works brilliantly and even has a macro button for extra stabilization on close up shots.

 

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I love the degree of control I have over my photos with this camera. The dials have a smooth but firm feel when operated. Best of all is this camera’s Electronic Viewfinder. I never used to enjoy using viewfinders, but I love the one on this camera so much. You can see everything you could see on the LCD screen and I feel like sometimes the view from the viewfinder looks more real than real life due to the high screen resolution. There is absolutely no lag. I don’t know how they did that but Olympus is amazing and this is why I love them.

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One of this camera’s big strengths is its stabilization system which renders clear, sharp shots even in lower light. I’ve been told that supposedly that, in this department, a four/thirds sensor will never be able to match an APS-C or Full Framed Sensor, but to be perfectly honest I am already blown away by the EM5 II’s performance in low light and don’t really need much better performance in low light.

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We were taking down wallpaper in the bathroom and I just thought the torn edges looked artsy.

I can’t wait to take this camera on trips and hiking adventures. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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Goodnight Beautiful Hills

Till Next Time,

Adri

Follow me on instagram: @colormeadri