Wildlife With the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

This is an excuse to share something a bit different for me, aside from documenting family and travel, I typically pick up my camera for street photography. At the end of 2017 I took a one-on-one workshop on landscape photography, not only did this stretch me, it also taught a lot of transferable skills. I recently missed a natural light portrait workshop - hoping to reschedule that shortly, but in the meantime I had a photography masterclass with my eldest son (14) at Paradise Wildlife Park this weekend.

Again this is another genre that I have never really thought about but in fact it was good fun, as much as a result of getting so close to the animals as for the photography itself. The masterclass is structured as a full day at the zoo, starting with an hour and a half discussion and introduction from a professional photographer, followed by guidance as the small group of us made our way around the animal enclosures, with generally closer access than the public would get. I think in terms of learning, whilst there are skills to build on in anticipating movement, composition etc., the workshop “learning goals” were at a very basic level predominantly around exposure and getting out of “auto” mode. For me in terms of learning it was actually on a technical level using my camera in a very different way to how I normally do, specifically tracking focus and moving focus points, rather than my usual manual zone-focussing or AF with a single central focus point.

I guess it taught me more about my Olympus O-MD E-M1 mkII - I continue to be impressed by its versatility. I just used the 12-40mm f2.8 PRO zoom - I normally reserve this for bad weather use and in fact haven’t used it since I bought the 17mm f/1.2 PRO as this is also weather sealed, but I wanted the longer focal length for the day. I was reminded of the terrific sharpness across the frame wide open, it really does compete well against the regular Olympus f1.8 / f2 primes, even wide open, I am not used to this from a zoom. The tracking focus is also very impressive, equal to the Nikon D750 to the best of my recollection.

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