My Personal History with Photography: From Point and Shoot and beyond

These days I’ve been doing a lot of camera day dreaming. I plan to do a separate post about cameras that I love but are beyond my price range. The more serious part of me is pretty sure that my next camera is going to be the Olympus OMD-EM10, which is more suited to my needs and desire to have manual control dials.

Photo from getolympus.com

While researching different camera brands I came across a number of comparison sites and photo blogs that I love, so I figure I’d share those links:

http://cameradecision.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/DigitalRevCom

Mathieu Gasquet (youtube)

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/

This list could extend on forever but I’ll just end it right here.

It’s no secret to those who know me that I’m very brand loyal to Olympus. I understand that they don’t necessarily stay on the cutting edge of technology in the imaging side of things, but quite frankly I’m just used to using these cameras and their stabilization and focusing capabilities are quite fast. Olympus produces lightweight cameras that are durable and relatively inexpensive compared to other pricier brands like Nikon and Sony.

My first ever camera was one of those old Nikon Coolpix point and shoots. I don’t remember what the model was even called, but since it shot at anywhere from 3-6 mega pixels depending on how far it was zoomed, the model name isn’t even worth the mention. Regardless I loved that camera. I loved having the option to take snapshots wherever I went. I was ecstatic at the time that I could take more than the 25 photos I would have otherwise taken with a disposable film camera from the grocery store. I could even print the photos at home on our printer, which was cool because we’d just recently upgraded to a color printer.

When I began painting in middle school I used these poorly pixellated paper printouts as reference photos for my equally bad quality landscape paintings. (You’ve got to start somewhere right?) Initially no one foresaw that digital cameras would ever surpass film in definition, color depth, and so on. Even as large digital SLR’s began to enter the scene I always assumed I’d continue to take snapshots on crappy 6 megapixel point and shoots, simply because SLR’s were quite costly and much too big for me to hold up for longer than 5 minutes at a time.

Enter the Olympus EPen 1, which I believe came out around 2008. It was one of the first mirrorless 4/3 digital cameras. It took a while for people to understand that this technology would soon take over the digital photography world and make it less and less attractive to own a bulky, boxy SLR.

My first high quality camera was the famed Olympus EPL1, which my parents graciously bought me in the fall of 2011. When I think back, having a decent quality camera really boosted the quality of my paintings as I could now actually see the details in my pictures. The EPL1 shot at 12 mega pixels and retained these pixels even with zoom, since mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras typically are used with optical zoom lenses instead of digital zoom (which crops to the center to zoom and thus cutting out digital data as one zooms further and further).

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Beautiful Low light performance from the Olympus EPL1 (Seattle’s Discover Bay in Winter)

It was a beautiful camera and it turned out beautiful Jpeg files, even more beautiful than any of the Olympus cameras I’ve used after it. It did lag quite a bit so when I got to college I decided to sell it to buy a camera with faster performance. My next Olympus camera was the Pen-mini 1, which was indeed a very quick and small camera. Even though the specifications for this camera looked similar on paper to the Pen lite 1, the mini had horrible white balance issues. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t anything I couldn’t fix in iPhoto but I hated just how much editing I had to do to each file just to get the picture to look normal again.

Even with its small size the Olympus pen mini is still able to create amazing results. I loved having my pen mini with me in Europe (even when my kit lens broke on me in Zürich).

This past spring I sold my mini to get an Olympus Pen Lite 5, which is an amazing camera. I barely have to edit the files unless I took them in weird lighting or at night. This model gave me an extra 4 megapixels which allows me to sell a considerable variety of print products on Society 6 and Redbubble. I couldn’t have enabled nearly as many products with the 12 mega pixels on my pen mini or my iPhone (which has honestly become my second favorite camera since it is the one I’m almost always guaranteed to have on me.)

It amazes me how far digital cameras have advanced technologically since those first micro 4/3 cameras came out. Sometimes I wonder if my pictures would be better if I bought the fanciest camera on the block or some extra lenses but new products are always coming out. There’s no need to go chasing after the next new thing. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to have the latest gear, but for now I don’t necessarily want a bunch of high res ultra focused shots. I don’t want to distract my eye from the compositions and the colors of nature that first drew me to photography. I’d rather make small upgrades in cameras then jump up to some ultra capable camera right now when all I’m used to is small mirorless models with the kit lens the camera was sold with. I am excited though to see how these technologies progress over time for when it makes more sense for me to own a fancier camera.

Stay tuned for subsequent posts and if you’re into instagram follow me there at: @colormeadri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Swiss Obsession Expressed in Art

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View from Haslital, Switzerland. “16 x 20”. Acrylic on wood panel.

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Lucerne
Acrylic. 16″ x 16″

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Lucerne, Swtizerland
16″ x 20″. Acrylic on Canvas

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Happy Cows in Engelberg, Switzerland
Acrylic on Canvas. 9″ x 12″

 

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Engelberg, Switzerland
14 ” x 18 ” Arcrylic on Masonite.

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Engelberg, Switzerland
Acrylic on Canvas. 11″ x 14″

 

Engelberg, Switzerland

Mariya and Liz in the gondola.

Mariya and Liz in the gondola.

We were obviously all happy to be here...

We were obviously all happy to be here…

Witt in his natural state.

Witt in his natural state.

Just testing out the playground equipment.

Just testing out the playground equipment.

Can I stay?

Can I stay?

Alpine Flowers

Alpine Flowers

Lisel made friends with a cow, and then when I went to go pet him he licked my pants! He got scared and ran away. I really wish I would have worn pants he wasn't scared of so I could keep petting him since he was so soft. I had never pet a cow before, but of course there's a lot of things I hadn't done before coming to Freiburg.

Lisel made friends with a cow, and then when I went to go pet him he licked my pants! He got scared and ran away. I really wish I would have worn pants he wasn’t scared of so I could keep petting him since he was so soft. I had never pet a cow before, but of course there’s a lot of things I hadn’t done before coming to Freiburg.

Bern, Switzerland and the Alps

Last weekend I went with a friend of mine who is studying abroad in Denmark to go to Switzerland (unfortunately I don’t have a picture of her. We took all our photos of us together on her phone.) It was every bit as beautiful as I would have imagined it to be. Walking through the Alps was incredible. It took our breath away. I mean it literally took our breath away. It was hard to breathe up there!

We went to Bern for a few hours, a city full of luxury, blue waters, and lots and lots of tourists. We stayed at a small mountain Inn in the village of Wilderswil. The next morning we took a train up to Lauterbrunnen and then went to a small lake town called Iseltwald. The sights I saw can not be translated quite right into photography, but I’ll put some pictures up.

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Easter Break Freiburg Study Abroad

On Saturday night I went to the Holy Saturday mass at the church closest to my dorm. I hadn’t gone there yet because I had been going downtown to the Münster for mass, but I enjoyed the mass. There were a lot of adorable children with big candles that their parents had bought them. I didn’t really notice many differences between Holy Saturday in Germany and America other than the service was shorter and the candle lighting faster (gotta love that German efficiency).

On Sunday I went to Titisee, a black forest lake nearby, to go to their relatively new indoor waterpark, Badeparadies. It was awesome! They had a pool with waterjets that had a revolving door leading outside. You paid for food, locked and unlocked your personal locker and gained access to the various parts of the park all with a wrist band they gave you at the door. I was a little confused at first as to how people were paying for drinks at the poolside bar without money until I realized our wrist bands worked for that purpose.

Titisee is a beautiful town (even though it is very touristy):

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Yesterday I went to Basel, Switzerland for a day. It was really beautiful but for some reason overwhelming. I didn’t think it would look and feel so different from Freiburg even though it was so close. Also, I understood about zero German that anyone was trying to speak to me the whole day. Swiss German is bizarre.

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I’m not quite sure where I’m going for the rest of my break yet, but I’m glad I decided to make day trips near Freiburg instead of planning out a huge trip. There’s lots to see in the region.