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E-M10 Mark III • M.Zuiko 17mm 1:1.8 • 1:1.8 • 1/25s • ISO 1000
Day starts. Coffee, cigarette and hit the shower. Get dressed and grab gear. Take my battery from the charger, stick it in the body, card and lens check. Let’s get to work on thestreets.But today is different, usually street photography is my relaxation. No, it’s even more. It’s my therapy, my way of making sense of this world. But not today, today my palms are sweaty,knees weak and arms are heavy. It feels like I am carrying a brick in my stomach and this voice in my head endlessly repeats: “48 hours! 48 hours! 48 hours!”…
At the end of July I was asked by Olympus to use and test the brand new (and at that point still unannounced) OM-D E-M10 Mark III, an honor and a challenge I was very excited to get to work for.
First week of August this brand new tiny beast arrives at my home in The Hague, Netherlands. Excited I open the box as quick as possible. First thing I notice is how good itfeels in my hand for such a small camera, even though not one centimeter or gram is wasted. My hands aren’t the smallest, but still, my fingers fall where they should and holding the camera feels completely natural.
Get the battery in that charger, can’t wait to start playing with this camera, the streets are calling. For the next three weeks, the sun shines on me and my life. I have commercial gigs where I can get some good shots of partying crowds and the mayhem in the mosh pits. And I’ve reserved a good amount of time this month to roam the streets.
E-M10 Mark III • M.Zuiko 17mm 1:1.8 • 1:1.8 • 1/200s • ISO 2000
First things I notice while working with this version of the E-M10: the sensor in combination with the amazing IS-system is a world of difference in low light conditions. Longer exposures with a lower ISO being shot from the hand bring us crispy beautiful, atmospheric night shots without the hassle of dragging a lot of gear around. Everything you see in this series was shot with the OM-D E-M10 Mark III in combination with the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm 1:1.8, and nothing else. No tripods, no flashes, nothing but the bare essentials to even make a photo. This was a challenge I had set for myself to be able to show you how much is possible with such minimal gear.
Another great new feature is the 121 point AF-system. The amount of control and the speed we can now shoot at is a delight to work with. The flip screen with touch functionality makes for well controlled hip shots, the peaking function brings great accuracy and speed to focusing manually and shooting through the Olympus. Even the built-in flash amazes me with its strength and speed.
And so I spent three of the four weeks I had for this project very happily, looking back at what I had already shot, I was proud and happy about what I could send in but the selection can always still get better with time on the clock. But as said, I was pleased with how everything was shaping up.
E-M10 Mark III • M.Zuiko 17mm 1:1.8 • 1:5 • 1/320s • ISO 2000
And then on a lovely Friday summer evening the unthinkable happened, every artist's worst nightmare…The drive that had the entirety of this project on it, and next to that many of my original works on it too, decided it’s time on this planet was done.
And so it died. You’d never give me up, you would never let me down. You wouldn't run around and desert me. But you did, you definitely did.
At that moment my world stopped turning. Through my head fly the clients I am about to disappoint with very late work, the upcoming exhibition which I might not make in time but even worse. I don’t think I have ever felt a desperation like this before...
Defeated I go to bed, nothing I can do now…
Next morning I wake up, check the calendar, keeping in mind that I will need some editing time as well I realize…
I now have 48 hours to re-shoot this entire project, it feels insurmountable, but I refuse to be defeated. I was asked me to test this camera and truth be told I couldn’t think of abetter test than having to shoot such a big project in such a ridiculous small amount of time. And so the day starts. Coffee, cigarette and hit the shower. Get dressed and grab gear. Take my battery from the charger, stick it in the body, card and lens check. Let’s get to work on the streets. And even though today my palms are sweaty, knees weak and arms are heavy. I feel like I’m carrying a brick in my stomach and a voice in my head endlessly repeats: “48 hours! 48 hours! 48 hours!” I refuse to lose composure.
Out on the streets I check the weather, look at the position of the sun and think of which streets would be capturing good light. Wipe down my 17mm, re-check my memory card and check my settings, for those interested, I always work on M setting. Try to keep my ISO down low. And either work with S-AF with single focus point or MF. No bursts, nothing on auto. It might make my work a bit more difficult to make, but the reward is so much bigger when you do get a great shot. Then you know it was you, your eye, your knowledge and your imagination that made the picture.
E-M10 Mark III • M.Zuiko 17mm 1:1.8 • 1:6.3 • 1/1000s • ISO 200
Kick off on my skateboard towards the first location and start shooting. While riding I take a few shots of people passing me. On every location I take some shots and move on again. Roaming the streets of my hometown The Hague I feel back in my element.
Nothing in the world except for my camera, my skateboard and myself. Sleep and food have lost priority in my life, all that counts right now is getting this series for Olympus. I’m in the zone, focused and comfortable on the streets, using tried methods but also playing around with new ideas and functionality on the camera. Fast forward to deadline day.
Putting the last finishing touches on my photos and send them through to Olympus. A weight drops from my shoulders, I can breathe again. It’s out of my hands. Looking back on the series I feel I’ve taken diverse shots that embody a big chunk of the amazing functionality of this little beast, but also, and for me personally even more important, I was able to shoot a series of photo’s in such a small time frame that I am proud to attach my name to. Now I’ve chosen to share this story because I feel there’s a few things you can take away from it:
First of all, and probably kind of obvious: back-up!!! But next to that, I am amazed at what this camera and I have made together in those hours. Only going home for battery recharge, and as long as my battery is charging I can jump in my charger and get a few hours of sleep. It is amazing how Olympus has again managed to hide such a beast in such a small and elegant body.
And unlike that hard drive, the camera never let me down once. From harsh summer light in the middle of the day to mosh pits at grimey parties in the depths of the night. We were ready to rock.
But the most important lesson in this story is this one, and please, however bleak things might seem, always remember this…Follow your dreams, never give up on them and as long as there is even the tiniest chance to win, never admit defeat. Fortune favours the brave and always shoot first and ask later. Thank you for joining me on this stressful adventure, I hope you enjoyed reading along withme.
For any questions or comments, please drop me a line through MyOlympus or through my mail: email@example.com
E-M10 Mark III • M.Zuiko 17mm 1:1.8 • 1:1.8 • 1/30s • ISO 200
Love this one!
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