Cheekwood in Bloom 2019

This spring has seemed slow. The blooms came later, the rain heavier, the wind stronger. So, spring in Nashville seemed like it would never arrive. Thankfully, this morning spring introduced itself in the most delightful way – a perfect morning at Cheekwood (Nashville’s botanical garden).

It started out with a nice rain and then the clouds decided to stay and the best thing the wind was low which means it’s perfect conditions to be photographing flowers. I kept a light kit this morning with my Olympus EM1mkii, Olympus 12-100 Pro, Olympus 60mm Macro, and Olympus 25mm PRO. I also had a Joby Gorilla Pod – just in case. I loved getting out and spending the morning playing in the gardens!

Image Gallery

I tried to play with different kinds of shots. I wanted to get close and focus on the raindrops and capture color. I played with different angles and focus points. I ended up loving my results. The hardest part was narrowing down my images to the ones that I really loved because I had so many shots that I really liked. So here are the images I ended up picking as my favorites.

I hope you are enjoying spring.

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Olympus Penf

I’ve been using the Olympus PenF with the Olympus 17mm 1.8 for my street photography for about a year but recently, I picked up the Fuji X100F. I keep reading about it being a great street shooter so I was curious. I decided to do a comparison to see which one I ultimately ended up liking more for a walk around camera and ultimately, street photography.

Fuji X100F vs Olympus Penf

Form Function
PenF – I found it faster and easier to switch between color profiles and the super control panel is so much more intuitive than the Fuji menu.

Feel in Hand
x100F – I think the Fuji feels a little better in my hands in its natural state. I have a grip on my PenF because it naturally has no grip which makes it hard to hold after awhile.

Camera Appearance
PenF – This is a tough call and I almost called it a tie but I really like the looks of the PenF. It’s a beautiful camera. Every dial was though out and it just oozes beauty.

Out of Camera JPG
x100F – I have to give this one to the Fuji. One of the things that made me really want to try the Fuji was the thought of shooting just jpg. The film simulations are just beautiful. I love ACROS and Classic Chrome both provide a most please image straight out of the camera. The PenF is no slouch in this area but I find I want to touch up the jpg just a touch more out of the PenF.

PenF – The Fuji viewfinder took some getting used to and even after I got used to it, I still liked the Olympus more. I know the Fuji has all kinds of options and maybe if I had played with it maybe I could have found something I liked more but natively the Olympus viewfinder is more pleasing.

PenF – This one is a no brainer. With the swivel and touch, it beats the Fuji hands down.

Ease of Use
PenF – Both of these cameras have all the dials right on the camera body so there is not much need to go menu diving. I like the Olympus dials more. It’s easier to adjust your settings on the fly. No need to lift anything up and turn – you just turn.

x100F – The Fuji wins only because it has a mic jack (even if you do need an adapter for it). The major downfall of the PenF is no mic jack. It’s one of the main features from keeping the PenF from being my only camera.

PenF – I ended up getting a lot of blurry shots from the Fuji because I have gotten so used to have stabilization that allows me to handhold my camera for several seconds and still get a sharp shot.

PenF – The Fuji is what it is. There are a few adapters to get a wide and a telephoto but as far as being able to “upgrade” your camera with different lenses the PenF is the clear winner. Olympus has some of the best PRO glass on the market.

All-Around Winner

Maybe, it’s because I know the Olympus system better but I also feel the sharpness is better on the Olympus. But I just feel the Olympus PenF is a more thought out camera which is easier to use. If the PenF was weather-resistant and had a mic jack I think it would be the perfect camera. The PenF is a beautiful all-around camera and I look forward to seeing what Olympus does with this line in the future.

Update Since writing this article I sold the Fuji x100f . I just love my Olympus PenF too much.

Example Photos

Photos from an afternoon at Antique Archeology in Nashville, TN. These are straight out of camera jpg and have only been resized and exported for the screen.  I did use different film simulations and color profiles on each camera to get the different looks. The Olympus photos were shot with the 17mm 1.8 though, I wish I had tested the 17mm 1.2 version


Fuji Examples

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Olympus Examples

Olympus PenfOlympus PenfOlympus PenfOlympus PenfOlympus PenfOlympus PenfOlympus PenfOlympus PenfOlympus PenfOlympus Penf


2018 in Review

by Reba Baskett

Continuing my newish tradition of a year in review (2017 and 2016 links), I present the 2018 year in review.

2018 was a much better year than in 2017. I shot more, traveled more, and just enjoyed photography more. Here is my year in review. These might not be the best pictures I took but they capture the essence of the year.

January – What a crazy month. I had a couple of events with Olympus Camera. They flew me out to San Francisco for an amazing weekend. Spending a weekend with fellow photographers and getting pampered by my favorite camera company – win!

February – I did more street photography this month. I loved this capture of this sweet couple. I wish I had framed it slightly different but I love it regardless.

March – Spring means tulips in Nashville. The local botanical garden, Cheekwood, plants thousands of tulips. It’s a photographers wonderland.

April – More street photography. I just love this shot – it’s so Nashville!

May – I headed north to Alaska! What a beautiful country. I was so happy with all the shots I got and it was hard to pick one that captured the feel of Alaska but I love this shot. It makes me feel the wonder of the area.

June – The fireflies were so abundant this summer. Every night while walking my dog they would be flying everywhere. One night I decided to try to capture them. I set up my camera in the grass and turned on Live Composite so only new light would be added to the image. I don’t know how long the exposure but I was happy with the end results with all the dancing fireflies.

July – It was a hot hot summer and I did not shoot a lot in July so pickings were very limited.

August – Fair! I love the fair. This shot sums un August for me. Fair rides!

September – The only event I shot all year. Sometimes I miss shooting concerts so I like to shoot at least once a year to remind myself why I don’t like to do it anymore! This was a fun event but crawling around with all my camera gear is just not as much fun anymore.

October – Another trip north! This time to the Northeast. It was so hard to pick an image. I visited Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. A lot of beautiful places in a week. I landed on the Portlandhead Lighthouse because this shot just makes me happy.

November – I was sick with allergy stuff a lot of this month so I did not get to shoot as much.

December – I was out shooting street photography and stumbled onto this quirky scene. It made me laugh.

Did you do a year in review? If so I would love to see it. Please drop me a link to your blog in the comments.

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Day trips are an essential part of improving your photography skills. I love travel photograph but I’m not able to jump over to Europe every month so instead, I take day trips all around my area. So here are a few reasons I like to do day trips.

Day trips allow me to practice shooting in environments I don’t know. 
One thing about travel is no matter how much planning ahead you do there is always going to be something wrong. A car is in your shot, it’s raining or it’s sunny. If I’m putting myself out into the “wild” I get used to my camera in different environments and conditions. Practice, practice, practice.

Day trips allow me to practice composing shots on the go.
When traveling you may not have a lot of time to get the shot you need and training your eye to quickly see the best shot is imperative. Constantly putting yourself in situations you don’t know help train your eye so you are ready for that shot.

Day Trips are fun
Let’s be honest –  getting in your car and just driving is fun. Take another photographer friend and pick a direction. See what you can find. Take back roads, get lost on purpose. It sounds funny but having fun with your camera. I find the more I shoot, the more I want to shoot.  Also, day trips are cheap vacations – the cost of gas and food.

Do you take photo day trips? If so do you plan them or do you let yourself get lost?

Here are some pictures from a recent day trip I took. A friend and I hopped in my Jeep with my dog and headed North. We took back roads around Kentucky and found some interesting sites.

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It’s the time of year when you can smell corn dogs and deep fried snickers on the air. The time of year when you get to put aside being an adult and take a ride on a tilt-o-wheel….fair time. The fair is always one of my favorite places to shoot photos – you never know what you will find!

Last week I went to the Williamson Country Fair here in Tennessee. The Williamson County fair is a small fair that reminds me of the fairs of my youth. Lots of agricultural exhibits and a very local flavor with bluegrass stage and a fried green tomato (yum) food truck!

I went on a weeknight when the traffic was light and there was also rain in the forecast. I thought the rain might keep people away and I was right. While I did want to photograph people I also wanted to get an empty fair feeling. The feeling of what happens when the crowds go. I got my wish! It was an amazing night. At one point big raindrops fell and lightning circled and all the rides shut down. I was able to capture my empty feeling and I was happy! But not every fair is going to give you that feeling. So here are some ideas of what to shoot at a fair.

Empty Fair Feelings

5 Things To Take Photos Of At A Fair

The Rides

This is obvious. Bring a tripod and do some long exposures at night. Capture the motion. Play with your shutter speed to capture different levels of movement.

The entertainment

I loved this fair had an escape artist. I’ve always wanted to shoot an old school circus with clowns, bearded ladies, and escape artists. It was amazing to watch Lady Houdini escape from the water torture chamber.

The People

Don’t be afraid to take pictures of people having fun, enjoying the food, and riding rides. I walked around three hours and not one person asked me why I was taking photos.

The Music

Most fairs have live music. Usually local bands but sometimes national bands. The fair is a good venue to try your hand at concert photography. Usually, you can walk right up to the stage and snap your pictures.

 The Games

I love fair games and they offer an endless supply of amazing pictures.

No matter the reason for attending the fair just make sure you take your camera along for the fun. If you go with your family or friends you will capture amazing pictures of them laughing and enjoying time together. If you go alone and just want to explore with your camera you can take your time and capture all the cotton candy glory around you.

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