Don’t groan! I’ll try to be brief. I had some time to kill the other week so I decided to spend a couple of days of it in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. I have no idea why I chose Vilnius; maybe I closed my eyes and landed my finger on a map of Europe. But it easily entertained a short trip. It’s a beautiful, if small, city with resplendent architecture from several periods and the colourful rendering typical of buildings in Central and Eastern Europe.
Wait…wait…nope, it’s gone. I really can’t remember what spurred me to purchase a fisheye lens of all things. Alpha Whiskey’s the last person on Earth to suffer GAS (or even gas) and I spend not a single, solitary second of my day salivating over gear. Heck, my camera is 5 year-old technology, positively prehistoric to the insecure masses scrambling over each other to reach the latest product rumour. (Run faster!)
Don’t worry folks, I’m not really back. This is just a random post on the fly. The new Olympus EM-1 Mark II has apparently been tested in Iceland recently by various review sites and as I was (coincidentally) recently in Iceland myself shooting with the four year old E-M5 Mark I, I thought I might demonstrate that one might not need the latest and greatest gear to return half decent images.
When Olympus first announced the M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO telephoto lens for the micro-four thirds format there was understandably much enthusiasm for its arrival. After all, it would give users the equivalent field of view of 600mm at F/4 in a far more compact and lighter lens than a DSLR equivalent. I wasn’t personally that aroused by the prospect but curiosity prompted me to ask Olympus if I could borrow the lens to write up a user experience and they very kindly lent me a copy.
Or at least a longer focal length than conventional wisdom suggests. I’m always reading that so-called street photography is best undertaken with a prime lens within the 35mm to 50mm range and I understand the merits of this range for reasons I will elaborate on further down. But convention is naturally a gauntlet that Alpha Whiskey cannot ignore. So before meeting my date I decided to kill an hour in town the other night shooting with a telephoto zoom and mostly at the maximum focal length (210mm: 420mm equivalent field of view).
To be honest, it’s not a deal breaker for me. I’m perfectly happy wherever I sit on a plane, as long as it’s not in the cargo hold (although I imagine the luggage could be quite comfy to lie on). I don’t specifically request a window seat. More often than not I’m fast asleep before the plane takes off until after it lands. That usually helps me be rested enough to go out shooting as soon as I’ve checked in to my accommodation.
Summer is usually the season for air shows and that means yet another reason and opportunity to go out shooting. I had intended to visit the Farnborough Air Show this year but unfortunately an exhaust muffler decided to divorce itself from the underside of my car and reconciling the two became my whole day instead. Undoubtedly there’ll be other air shows for me to visit this summer but for now these images here are from previous shows, including the one at Farnborough.
For the past few weeks the United Kingdom has been undergoing a period of turbulent, momentous and mesmerising political events. Rest assured I have no intention of discussing politics here; this site is not for that. But there are decades when nothing much happens for weeks on end and then suddenly a week when a decade’s worth of events thunders down in a blurry, breakneck deluge. Instead of trying to keep up with the speed of our evolving future I felt like taking a moment to revisit the past and seek contemplation and reflection in the company of some of the architects of our history (you can tell I’m a simple guy).
I know flower posts have been submitted here before and I surely have nothing original to offer but they do make a versatile subject, allowing an appreciation of colour, texture, form and placement. These were all taken inside the Walled Garden at the stunning Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire just before my Eastern/Central/Somewhere In Europe trip. The vivid specimens are a fitting testament to the diligence and vision of the team of gardeners there who braved the heat to maintain the beautiful flowerbeds.
Well, it was a pretty long drive back but my friend and I made excellent time. From Eastern Slovakia (where most of these shots are from) through the Czech Republic (where my friend is from), Germany, Holland, Belgium, France and then finally back home in the UK, we made it back home in just over 15 hours. And when you’re speeding along endless miles of motorways that all look the same there isn’t much opportunity to shoot anything.