One day they will fly away by Jeffrey Dam

One day they will fly away

By Jeffrey Dam

Dear Steve,

My name is Jeffrey. I’m a 35-year-old, Dutch newbe teacher in Design, Engineering and Innovation (for 1 year now). Before that, I was a Mechanical Design Architect. I stumbled on your blog about 1,5 years ago. I fell in love with your view on equipment and have been a follower ever sins. Even nagging you with funny Leica pics on your FB.

I stumbled on your site, because I was searching for a camera to give a boast to an old hobby.

I owned a Nikon F50 in my student years. Without really knowing what diaphragm, shutter speed etc. means LOL. In the year 2000 I bought my first digital cam. A Sony Cybershot. Although the quality was not up to the Nikon, the usability was much better. Small, pocketable etc. and the lens (Carl Zeiss) was very decent.

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After that, Sony’s came and went with the increasing number of megapixels and faster startup speed, although the IQ did not improve. When we had our first child, my wife got a hold of my camera to keep memories alive. I didn’t care that much because I was to busy with my music hobby (I’m also an audio enthusiast).

When we had our twins, I bought my wife a Canon D500. She always was making photo’s at that time of our children. But I didn’t like the look and feel of the images of the Sony point and shoot. The Canon was a big improvement, the size was something else… During the same period I also read a blog from Andrew Kim: http://www.minimallyminimal.com/. He shot photo’s with a Panasonic GF1 and 20mm lens and afterword’s with a Fuji X100. We share the same passion and that is Industrial Design.

I liked the size of the camera and IQ of the pictures it took. My web search eventually brought me to reading your reviews. My eye fell on the Fuji X100. I would have bought one, but my wife found it too expensive having three kids and a fourth welcome unforeseen present on the way. Then I found an Olympus E-PL3 with kit lens, on “Marktplaats” (Dutch ebay ;-)). Although being “second” choice I fell in love with the camera and her wonderful Olympus colors. This is almost a year ago. I’ve been pimping my camera from then on, all with second-hand equipment except for the leather skin. Here it is in full glory. The skin is from: http://aki-asahi.com/store/ very nice and helpful person!

Lenses that I use are: kit lens (rarely now that I own the 20 and 45mm), Panasonic 20mm F1.7 and Olympus 45mm F1.8. Off course always wide open.

With this set I made a lot of photo’s. Mainly of our children. Like Peter Prosophos’s life’s little moments: http://prosophos.com/. To capture and preserve time and emotions.

It was hard to narrow the number of pictures down for an entry, so here is my list with some descriptions. I hope you enjoy them and I’m looking forward in receiving (positive) feedback to improve my photo techniques.

At this moment, I only have a Facebook profile,  where I post some photos and you can subscribe. I’m trying to set up a blog, but my time is very limited. Manly because I have another hobby, making jewelry out of Silver. There are some shots on my FB account if you are interested.

Hopefully the text is readable?! English is not my native writing language and Word had to do a great job in spelling LOL.

Walking thru a warehouse with my class (B&W Grainy, Kit lens at 12mm f3.2). This is a photo from a nice set of photo’s. Due to the company secrecy I’m not allowed to mention names or show other facilities. This one I want to secretly share.

 –

Wintertime… I like the diorama effect of my Oly. Making children even smaller. This is the eldest of the twins, 3 years of age. On the photo she is still 2. (Diorama taken from above with the kit lens at 12mm f3.2).

 To smell or not to smell… A day in the shopping mall with wife and kids, smelling soap. My wife is keeping an eye on them behind the pole (B&W Grainy, Kit lens at 12mm f3.2).

 –

Princesses’ and fairy dust. My eldest daughter (she just turned 5) playing with sand on a sunny day in spring (Panasonic 20mm)

 –

From a distance. My eldest daughter in the dunes running towards me on a cloudy day in spring (Panasonic 20mm).

 –

Sand grains united. How we are dependable on all the tiny grains of sand against the brute forces of the sea, living in a country partially below sea level (Panasonic 20mm)

 –

Three in a row. Windy day at the beach. Three kids in a row. Like the colors of their hand shoes against the pail surrounding (Panasonic 20mm)

Good morning beautiful life! My youngest daughter born in march taking a bath in the Tummy Tub for the first time. I think her expression talks a 1000 words! (Panasonic 20mm).

Walk the line – Someone walking down the pier with flowers (remembrance of a dear one). This was an emotional moment for me losing my mother almost exactly a year ago (Panasonic 20mm)

Garbage in, garbage out  – Sulo is a garbage can brand. Just a fun shot with the Dramatic art filter (Olympus 45mm)

Poles and horses. Old fashioned ride in the zoo this summer (B&W grainy, Olympus 45mm)

Plastic fantastic… the youngest of the twins with Barbie with her new static look (Panasonic 20mm)

Growing pains – My wife comforting the eldest of the twins. She didn’t like a ride in the amusement park and cried (Panasonic 20mm)

Aliens are coming! The youngest of the twins watching a ride in the amusement park coming down, being scared it will fall on her head (Panasonic 20mm)

Santa helper. The eldest eating Cotton Candy LOL (Panasonic 20mm)

Rockabye baby. The eldest of the twins being too tired… she fell asleep at the table while eating (Panasonic 20mm)!

Pic 18: One day she will fly away – The eldest this summer after a dip in the kiddy pool. Makes you realize they grow up very quick in this hectic life. It’s just a minute or so before we also encounter the empty nest syndrome although she is only 5 (Olympus 45mm)

All pictures got some slight PP and cropping thru Photoshop. I usually do not commit to the 3:2 photo ratio as you can see. I don’t know if it’s a shame, but I like it this way.

Thank you for the opportunity Steve! Keep on the good work. Because you seem to nail it every time. It’s not about pixel peeping, it’s about life, love and passion and which camera has the MOJO to capture. For now I found mine. I know it’s flaws, but I also don’t throw away my kids when the get scratched by falling.

Thanks for reading!

Regards, Jeffrey

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57 thoughts on “One day they will fly away by Jeffrey Dam

  1. I don’t think you are gonna find a 12 mm Oly any time soon on Marktplaats, they are just too good and too recent. I got mine via Amazon Germany which made a little price difference at least to some Dutch sellers…

    Are you located in the Randstad?

    1. I think so too! I got my 45mm of Marktplaats just being lucky I guess. The man who affored changed to fuji X1-pro. He also had a 25mm Pany, but for that one I was to late. I’ve got time to wait… more a must, because funds are totally gone. I live in Brabant and you?

      1. I’m in the Randstad, near Haarlem, Amsterdam and Leiden and I would never change to Fuji based on price quality comparisment 😉

  2. Excellent shots, to me this proves you don’t need a very expensive camera to take good pictures nor do you need to travel far to find interesting subjects to shoot.

    And if I were you I would ask Sinterklaas for a 12 mm Oly lens, I think you deserve one ;-))

    1. LOL!! Thank you Proenski!
      I’m scouting Marktplaats for a 12mm Oly… but everybody holds on to this one! Then it must be good ;-). Sinterklaas must be in a very good mood and I think I was a bit to notty to ask for it. We will see what the future will bring us.

      Thanks again for putting a big smile on my fase this morning!

      Regards Jeffrey

  3. Hey Jeffrey,

    you have really MANY amazing shots up there! Congratulations to your good photographic eye, your beautiful children and happy family! Enjoy them for many years to come!

    1. Thanks Laura!!
      I would love to see more of your work too!
      I realy appreciate your comments. Just to get more out of each frame and memory 😉

      Kudoos to you.

      Regards, Jeffrey

  4. Your camera looks great and so do your photos. We are considering a ep-1 with the leatherette to use with an adapted Yashica 45mm F1.7 rangefinder lens. Like this guy’s: http://e-p1.net/non-native-(adapted)-lenses/yashica-electro-35-lens-to-micro-43/msg87060/#msg87060

    Also, feel free to try out some of our Lightroom BW presets for free and let us know what you think: http://www.leicalook.com/4-free-black-and-white-presets-for-lightroom-4/ If you want to try out the Photoshop version, email me and I’ll send you a code.

  5. Wonderful images Jeffrey,

    I am happy to learn my “Life’s Little Moments” approach to photography has inspired you — as clearly evidenced by your work. It’s a treasure for you and your family – and for us.

    Congratulations!

    Sincerely,

    Peter | Prosophos

    1. Thank you Peter, you are a good inspiration to me! It’s the love and passion that realy attracks, next to the beautiful Leica rendering.
      Regards Jeffrey

  6. Love how honest and genuine all your photos are. I love photography as an art but photography documenting moments in life reaches much deeper for me.

    1. Thank you! That is the reason! I love to have a story with each photo I shoot. It is life. It makes it live 😉

      Regards, Jeffrey

  7. Love your work and creative style.
    The children are all beautiful and you have captured their vitality and these will be a treasure in the future to look back on.
    My favourite is pic 18 , like a blossoming rose!
    cheers Ross

  8. Mooi verhaal Jeffrey, leuk om te lezen!

    I own a X100 and I love it and hate it (because of the obvious reasons).

    Your story makes me wanna hold and try your Olympus.

    Thanks!

    Pieter
    Leidschendam, The Netherlands

    1. Dan moeten we een keer afspreken!
      My inlaws live in Leiden, so not far away from you.
      Love to talk about photography and life!

      Funny thing: I worked together with Pieter Pennings, but he was een engineer 😉 Name dubble?

      Regards, Jeffrey

  9. Goed gedaan jongen 🙂
    Nice work! My personal favourite is the first one. If you’re looking for an affordable way to expand your system, you might check the adapters made for the MFT-system for Minolta MC and MD lenses. These lenses are good and cost next to nothing.

    1. Hi Joeri,
      I also have seen your photos a while ago! Also very good! Love your style.

      This is the next step I want to make… manual focus and aperture. Going to be a chalange 😉

      Regards, Jeffrey

  10. I love this Jeff. Heartwarming and wonderful work. The last portrait is a stunner. It struck a nerve for me as I have a shot of my daughter on her 3rd birthday this year where she looks 6. Moves so quickly. All the best to you and your lovely family. BTW, 5 women in the house? Man you are braver then I lol.

    1. Thank you Dan,

      It’s not bravery! It’s taking a deep breath every morning, hoping they wont jump at eachother, and releasing that breath wen you go to bed. Hopefully puberty will not be worse 😉
      But there are a lot of great moments as you can see! We really enjoy our very full life.

      Regards, Jeffrey

  11. Beautiful pictures, Jeffrey.

    I also have the E-PL3 with the VF-2 and use it to document our family life, with our two kids aged four and (almost) two.

    There was some other article here a while ago, and the author said something along the lines of “Your family deserves the best camera you can afford” – true words. How many families these days will have nothing but camera phone pictures to remember their kids childhood?

    The PL3 is the best I can afford and it does a great job when paired with a good lens. So, as much as I enjoy reading about Leica cameras and lenses, and other gear I could never ever afford, it was refreshing seeing a “daily inspiration” about a more “common” camera.

    For taking pictures of children, I think the PL3 is a great choice, because – again, with the right lens – it is lightning fast. I have captured many great moments of my kids other cameras would have missed. I tried both the Panasonic 20mm and the Olympus 45mm, and while both a great lenses, I found the Panasonic too slow to focus when taking pictures of my fast moving kids, and the Olympus simply too long – i will in most cases not be that far away from them for proper framing.

    I found the perfect solution for my needs in the cheapest lens I found which also turned out my favorite in terms of picture quality – the Sigma 30mm f2.8. It’s great for portraits, but at the same time not too long – I found it’s great for almost any situation but when you are shooting in a very tight environment. Ouside, i use this lens almost exclusively. It’s pin sharp and has great colours – I find that paired with the Olympus camera it renders colour not unlike Kodak Portra film – I love it and cannot believe it comes this cheap. The pictures it gives me have the most film-like appearance of all the lenses I have tried on the Pen. Also, it focuses instantly on the PL3; it’s autofocus is as fast as the kit lens. Overall, it’s made my Pen a new camera, showing me what the sensor is really capable of.

    cheers,
    Mathias

    1. Thank you for the good advise Mathias, I will try one out if I get the chance! What you say about the pan and oly lens is true. But how is the bokey of the Sigma? I realy love DOF. The Pan and Oly even don’t have enough for me 😉
      I also read the article you are referring. Very true words. I don’t like iPhone photo’s, but sometimes it’s the only thing I have with me. The capture of the moment is more important.

      Regards, Jeffrey

      1. The Sigma’s bokeh is very pleasing to my eye, though I must admit I’m not a total shallow DOF nut (I prefer to at least get an idea of a subject’s surroundings – total “bokeh cream” that only consists of colour blobs are not my cup of tea), so f2.8 is really enough for my needs.

        However, I do not like “busy bokeh” that makes you dizzy, and in that regard the Sigma is very much to my taste.

        Here’s an example, albeit not a very good one. Don’t have a better one on hand at the moment, though. Shot with the E-PL3 and Sigma 30mm, straight out of camera JPG, no PP:

        http://i.imgur.com/kUHz7.jpg

        And you are right, capturing the moment is is fact the most important thing. So better use a phone than no camera at all.

        It’s just that these days, it seems most people do not even own a “good” camera. that’s okay, of course, everyone has their own priorities. I’m just glad there are so many memories of my own childhood captured on film with my father’s Praktica SLR. In no way considered a premium product, but even with my father’s limited skill (has was never that much “into” photography, he just used what he had) the pictures have a quality that’s missing from today’s standard P&S, or camera phones.

        cheers,
        Mathias

        1. Hello Mathias,

          Thank you so much for sharing! The photo is gorgeous. Bokeh is nice and soft. Your son? When I get the chance I’ll defenatly try one!
          I’m glad your father took pictures. Mine also did a great job. I’ve tons of hours of movies. Only bad part… try to find the right moment 😉
          I also try movie now and then, but it’s so time consuming to edit. Taking pictures also leaves something for the viewers own emagination. That’s what I love.
          Thank you again for the good advise and good conversation!

          Regards Jeffrey

          1. My pleasure, Jeffrey!

            Yes, that’s my youngest, 21 months old. 🙂

            I think you will not be disappointed with the Sigma. i find it great for child photography because of the super fast AF. Only downside is that with the Sigma the camera is slower on startup and “wake up” from sleep mode. It takes about 3 seconds until you can take your first shot. But it’s a small price to pay for otherwise great performance.

            As for video,I rarely shoot any, because i prefer still pictures. I plan to do more though, as my children, when they are grown, might enjoy having some moving pictures from their childhood.

            Again, you pictures are gorgeous and your kids will be so thankful to have them when they are grown and able to fully appreciate them. Keep it up!

            cheers,
            Mathias

          2. The startup issue could also be the sd-card. First I hadn’t had this problem with the panasonic. After a while and also with the Olympus 45mm I have this problem. I guess it could also be my card… first have to backup my files, then a good format and see if it will solve the problem.

            Thank you again and keep in touch! Invite/ send a message via Facebook?

            Regards, Jeffrey

    1. Thank you! They put a smile on my fase and a warm place in my heart every day, I wanted to share.

      Regards, Jeffrey

    1. Thank you Kendrick! The picture with my daughter in her hands has a wonderful story… when you look closely you can see a mark on her head just under her curly hair. That’s from the table rim she laid her head on in the beginning. We started supporting her afterwords, eating our dinner meanwhile 😉

      Regards, Jeffrey

  12. Jeffrey, i love your enthusiasm, it kind of blow extra life into your pictures 😉

    I also take alot of fotos of my children, and they just love to see them afterwards, especialley the ones from their birth and early babyhood. They really get all nostalgic about it…

    Like you, i prefer to use my lenses wide open. The character of of the Panasonic 20/1.8 is perfect to my eyes. That one will be my next purchase for my Om-d.

    Best Regards,
    Hans Elman

    1. Thank you Hans! I love the Panasonic lens, being so tiny and good for its mony. The kids are so used to get photographed, it’s almost hard to not get a smily face in front of the camera, but a true moment of emotion.
      Regards, Jeffrey

    1. True! The eldest just turned five beginning of august. Then comes the twins, they’re three years and the youngest was born in april. It is a very, very busy, busy life LOL. In the evening I sometimes forget that my buttom is also part of me! Being able to sit down.

  13. The best photographs are of your loved ones. Yours are lovely Steve, you have a beautiful family. As a photographer I know said ‘It’s not about the gear its the vision’. I own a Pro DSLR but I use my Pen PL3 at least half the time. It’s a great little (micro 4/3) camera and very discreet on the street. Most people don’t recall this but Olympus made the OM 1 which was a great hard working (film) camera. Thanks for your posting of these lovely photographs.

  14. Jeffrey, great photos you have here! Your photos have a special shine to them because I can tell that you are taking the photos of the ones that are most precious to you. In my opinion, when you take photos that has personal meaning, the artistic merit of the photos lose importance – the thing that takes priority is the feelings you felt when you take a photo and how you will be reminded when you see the photo again.
    Again, I really liked these images especially the colors. Cheers!

  15. Hooray for kid pictures! These are great! I especially like the diorama shot and the final “One day she will fly away” shot.

    Often, kid pictures get treated with disdain because many photo-enthusiasts don’t see any “art” in them. They tend to find more artistic merit in black and white photos of random strangers under the auspice of “street photography”.

    Photos of your kids are extremely important as memories and history, and it’s great when kid photos are done well in an artistic style that others (that don’t know your kids) can enjoy. Keep up the great work, and enjoy your family!

    1. Thank you! Truely spoken! I love street style, but it looses it’s power after a while when memory is fading. Photos of your beloved keeps the memory alive.

  16. Beautiful family pictures Jeff!! Amazing shots!! Especially love the last portraut of the eldest daughter, very pretty! What an angel.

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