11 cities minus one in 15 days in Europe with OMD-EM5 By Ramon M Flores

11 cities minus one in 15 days in Europe with OMD-EM5

By Ramon M Flores

Warm greetings from LA!

I’m an avid fan of the site. It’s one of my sources to better my photography. I’ve learned a lot from all his postings and enjoyed viewing all the images shared.

I thought I might as well share some of my images though reluctantly because I still find my photography way below par as I want it to be. I’m a ‘point & shoot’ shooter who happens to have a Nikon D700, a Fuji x100 and an EM5. This reluctancy delayed my decision to share. I have been thinking of emailing Steve as early as September last year. Then I thought, this set of photos (though quite ordinary) might be something different because of the story behind it. So here it goes.

July-August last year, there was an opportunity for me and my wife to accompany our daughter to her school band’s Europe trip. She plays the trumpet and their band performed in 4 cities during that trip. I was so excited that I brought with me almost all of my camera gears. It’s a 15-day Europe trip to 11 cities and we jump-started in Paris where we spent 3 days & 2 nights. Took a lot of pictures including some snapshots of the last leg of the Tour de France. My mind was all set and already fixed to a photo trip adventure while still in Paris.

…on the 3rd day, we left Paris. And this is the sad part – I lost my Nikon D700 & Fuji X100 cameras to a thief in Brussels, including my Nikkor 50mm 14.G & 14-24mm 2.8G lenses, and Fuji X100 WCL, hence I lost all my photos taken in Paris during the first 3 days of my trip. I therefore have no photo documentation of our stay in Paris.

Anyway, lesson learned.

All of these photos were taken using my Olympus OMD EM5 with the 12-50mm lens kit which survived the remaining 12 days of the trip. This camera is hanging my neck almost the entire trip. I had then the opportunity to play around quite a number of its feature. What a fantastic camera. It compensated or at least eased my sadness in losing most of my gears. My realization is that, with this camera, I don’t need my other gears in the first place. You may call it ‘justification’. This is my second attempt to share some of my pictures with Steve. I did not get lucky the first time I guess. Hope this time around, my photos would merit his attention. It’s an inspiration to move on with my hobby on photography with the likes of your dad around unselfishly sharing his love for photography.

Presently, I’m still shooting with my OMD and haven’t thought of adding gears though I’ve acquired a 45mm & 75mm lens for my OMD.

The photos below is a sampling for each cities we’ve visited (minus Paris of course). All photos shot at base ISO 200 and aperture priority unless indicated.

Thank you and my warm regards.

Ramon M Flores


Brussels ‘bikes for rent’

14mm, 1/200s, f/6.3


Brugge ‘color block’

12mm, 1/6000s, f/5.6


Amsterdam ‘the red is on’

12mm, 1/100, f/5


Heidelberg ‘hand held night shot’

12mm, 1/3s, f/3.5


Hague ‘experimenting on presets’

dramatic tone preset


Goar-Bingen ‘river cruise’

Pop art preset


Bavaria ‘from the castle’

36mm, 1/80s, f/5.7


Cortina ‘open door’

12mm, 1/80s, f/3.5


Innsbruck ‘my daughter’s trumpet’

37mm, 1/125s, f/5.7


Venice ‘open canal’

12mm, 1/320s, f/8





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  1. More than 4 years have passed and I still miss my D700 & Fuji x100. I now have a Nikon D810 & Olympus EM-1. Meanwhile shooting continues. Thanks again to all.

  2. It’s a little over a year since I lost my gears in Brussels. I still miss both my Nikon D700 & Fuji X100 Limited w/ WCL. I wonder who’s using them now… thanks again to all who did find time to read and browse my photos in this sharing. Thanks Steve for the continuous inspiration.

    • Ramon, thank you very much for sharing this story of how you turned a terrible incident into an opportunity to become more proficient with gear that you might otherwise have overlooked. Although every camera brand has its strengths and weaknesses, it’s good to see that you’ve become more comfortable with the Olympus gear.

  3. Gutted for you on the theft – but Paris is renowned for it. My ex had her phone stolen out of her backpack whilst she was wearing it in a crowd there.

  4. Hi Ramon, so sad your gear was stolen. Great photos! Just wanted to point out that thieves are not everywhere in Europe and I am sure that more than 99.9 percent of Europeans would not steal other people’s belongings. In Scandinavia, there are areas where people leave their homes unlocked still today (it’s getting worse there too, that’s right, unfortunately). In the cities where there are a lot of people, crowded areas and where the gap is bigger between haves and have-nots, the risk is bigger. That’s also true for airports etc. The good news is, drive-by shootings are not as common as in the US and tourists usually don’t get bombed or kidnapped as in Africa or Latin America … we all have our set of prejudices :-). Again sorry you fell victim to a criminal. Hope you come back to discover the nice side of Europa.

    • I will Morten, thanks. I was just in a wrong place at a wrong time. With my limited stay in Europe, I’ve enjoyed its place, its people, culture & food. And beer of course.

  5. I think your photo are excellent, and from a camera which I also own and always enjoy using.
    Your frame of mind must have been very low after the theft of some very expensive and much loved gear, but even so, you made the best of a very bad situation and produced some images to at least give you memories of your trip and also feel confident to share with others, so thanks for sharing.

  6. Great photos! I’m sorry to hear about your gear 🙁 I love Europe, but I absolutely hate the thievery that is rampant everywhere! It’s a huge difference from South Korea where I reside. You could leave a Nikon D4 sitting on a cafe table to save your spot while you go use the restroom and nobody would touch it!

  7. Losing that 14-28 f/2.8 must have been the worst part of it. At almost $2K, it’s a very expensive bit of kit all by itself (though if you’re honest, you probably didn’t miss packing around the weight).

    Traveling with the smallest, simplest kit is usually the best policy. Less attractive to thieves and reduced strain on the body after a long day.

    And the overall IQ of the OM-D E-M5 should be roughly on par with the D700, as the sensor — though smaller — is 4 years newer.

    Eric’s right about Pacsafe stuff; really offers great theft protection. With a small kit like the Olympus, they’ve got several options that would probably be ideal.

    One’s other option is a really beaten looking canvas or leather messenger-style bag of some type that doesn’t draw attention.

  8. Great shots Ramon, you are too modest.

    Would you mind telling us how your gear was stolen? Just so we can learn from your experience?

    Best regards

    • Thank you Huss. The thief who took my backpack is a pro who knows whom to victimized. It just so happened that my bag was the most convenient for him to take at that time (see my reply above to Larry). I’m that dumb guy at a wrong place at the wrong time.

  9. Great photographs. Stolen equipment is so sad.This is a good camera and you have taken some wonderful photographs here. I love the view out from the canal and the reflection on the trumpet … thanks!

  10. Really good, no nonsense photos. After looking at them I feel as if I was on that trip and not you. Awesome.

  11. These are nice photos. As an urban planner who has lived in Europe I must say that European get urbanism right. Notice how comfortable the streets and buildings are.

    One could spend a lot of time in Europe photographing street scenes.

    • Thanks Stephen, I guess 15 days isn’t enough to really feel that European urbanism and capture its true character. It would be a challenge though to see its ‘rural’ areas.

  12. Thanks for sharing. Really like the OM photos you took, especially the canal in Venice. For all of us who worry about someone stealing one of our cameras on a trip (I leave on Wednesday!), it would be nice if you would describe how you lost your cameras and how it might have been prevented.

    • Thanks Larry. My gears (including my wife’s Macbook pro by the way) were all in my backpack which I temporarily left in the hotel’s lobby floor while checking in together with all members of our group. I just went out the door a few meters from the reception to get our luggage outside. The thief just picked up my bag followed me outside and left unnoticed. This was caught in the hotel’s camera. When I came back, my backpack is gone, probably in less than 2 minutes. And my wife is just standing probably 6-7 feet from my bag. The lesson is, just don’t leave your bag unattended, any place, anytime.

      • Wow, that’s really shocking. I’m leaving Wed. on a similar group tour. I have to admit, I’ve been in the same situation you just described, checking in, etc., and it never occurred to me that there would be much risk there. Turns out some thief thought that might be the case too and took advantage of it. Hotels have to look for people that don’t belong there. I developed an old travel technique of setting carry-on or backpack between my legs and either gripped or at least touching them at all times while, say, checking in at airports, etc. I’ll just have to keep doing that everywhere else I go as well. Glad you managed to keep the Olympus separate.

        There’s another nice technique that happened to 4 or so traveling college students in Europe. 3 went to a money machine for cash and left one to watch the suitcases, which also had their passports, etc. Beautiful girl comes walking by and flirting a bit so he quit paying attention to the suitcases right behind them . . . until he turned around eventually and didn’t see them at all. Embassy for new passports, but on the train out of that city some other students on the train said “Did you hear about those dumb guys that had all their suitcases stolen by a good looking girl?” Professionals are tough; they know when you are most vulnerable. That includes stepping up and into buses and trains that are about to pull out and people are starting to push one another.

  13. that sucks to lost most of your equipment on vacation. That’s why when I take a camera or cameras with me on vacation, I only take that that I know i am ok with if something happens with it. But you took 3 cameras with you on vacation? Also what lenses did you use for night time photography, surely not 12-50?

    • I was just probably so excited that I brought those gears and my first time to travel to Europe that ‘long’ in so ‘many’ cities. Another lesson. Re night shots, I used the kit lens 12-50 which is the only lens I have at that time. You’ll notice I’m shooting 1/3s. On the 4th image, I was leaning on a post on the other side of the street holding my breath to take that shot.

  14. Well done, lovely photos.

    Although I have the EM1 and 12-40 kit lens I kept the 12-50 when I sold my EM5. I always knew it was a good lens.

    I also have the Fuji X100s. I love that too. It must have been painful having your gear stolen. I hope you can claim on insurance.

    Thanks for posting.

  15. These were taken with the 12-50mm kit? Wow. Nice exposures, strong lines, vivid colours and some serious visual imagination going on. Sorry to hear about the theft of your cameras – that’s one of my nightmares.

  16. Ramon:

    You are a much better photographer than you think. Really enjoy your photos. Sorry to hear about your stolen equipment and photographs. I travel a lot in Europe myself and because of the vast amounts of petty thieves there I finally invested in a Packsafe photo bag. They are great and come with a combination lock, RFI protection, and metal-cable reinforced shoulder strap. No one can get into that bag unless they fight you for it. Check them out for your next trip.

    • Many thanks Eric. I’ll check that out. Hope I can visit Europe again, and the main lesson here is – don’t leave your bags/gears unattended, anywhere, anytime.

  17. Hi Ramon, I am thinking of pulling the trigger on the 12mm but am hesitant because of the cost. Do you think its worth triple to cost of the 14mm 2.5 IQ wise? I am fine with both focal lengths.

    • The 12mm is my first choice especially for street photography, but you’re right it’s costly. I have no basis though when comparing it to 14mm 2.5 IQ wise. Steve for sure and some of his readers here would be in the best position to give you a comparison.

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