Daily Inspiration #344 by Simon Cross

Dear Steve,

I am writing to see if you would care to consider the following content for one of your daily inspiration pages:

My name is Simon and I live in England. I have recently got the photography bug so bad. Once I get “into the zone”, that’s it, no one can distract or for that matter get any sense out of me until I’m done. A few months back I came across your website and have been hooked ever since.

I am a very interested amateur and now always have a camera to hand, one of my weaknesses is my addiction to the Flickr website and adding photos to it.

I originally had a secondhand Nikon D90 for many years but never really used it to its full creative potential and it is only in recent times that I have been able to be more creative, after first purchasing a Sony NEX 5 then a NEX 7 which was eventually sent back a few weeks ago, replacing it with a Olympus OM-D E-M5.

I must say that I am SO IN LOVE with the new OM-D. Steve, I took your advice and purchased both the Zuiko 45 1.8 and the AMAZING Zuiko 12mm f/2 lenses they are first class. I also have the kit lens that came with the camera. I feel so comfortable with this little camera, its amazing.

I recently just got back from a holiday on The “Silver Coast” in Portugal with my wife and kids and took the OM-D with me to get to know it a bit better. I added a KOOD Circular polarizing filter to the 12mm lens to get some punchy sky cloud shots and ended up not taking it off.

Currently I am thinking about purchasing the battery grip for the OM-D, the NEX had a superb hand grip and the OM-D from what I have read certainly seems to benefit from having one retrofitted.

I attach three shots. The first one is of my son Richard in a swimming pool. (Zuiko ED 12mm at f/4.5)

The second is a view over looking a old medieval town called Obidos (Zuiko ED 12mm at f/5.6)

The third for a bit of fun is a random guy I saw shouting at the sea (Zuiko 45mm f6.3)

If you are interested in viewing more shots of the holiday, please take a look:-


My very best regards to you. Simon.



  1. Very nice photos. Nice one to put the boy upside down.
    Have you used any of the art filters of the OM-D for those photos or are those b/w pictures rendered in post?
    Could you post a link to the KOOD filter you used? That would be nice.

    • Hello Patrick,
      Thanks for the compliment. The Art filtersI used in the camera for some of the shots were Dramatic tone b/w- those are the very high contrast grainy pics. The others were shot in raw and then converted to Black and White or just left in colour. The Kood Polariser filter I ordered was “KOOD Circular PL 46mm” for the 12mm lens.
      Best regards,

  2. Marc, sorry I forgot to elaborate that I have been selecting the NIK software SILVER EFEX filter in Photoshop which was purchased separately but installed to run in Photoshop.
    Regards, Simon.

    • Right on Simon. That 12mm is on my wish list to bring on my trip to Paris and NYC. Never thought about using a polarizer until you mentioned it and will def get one to play around with it. Thanks so much for sharing you workflow. Keep up the inspitation. Warmly, Marc.

  3. This is the first set of photos that I felt the need to comment.

    The pool shots are really very well done.

    Alone at Last is a gem.

    I would love to know how much you have to process using the OMD? No amount of processing can take the place of having the ability to see. You have that ability.

    • Dear Richard, your comments will further inspire me and are very much appreciated – it really means a lot to me. I try not to process too much, on the odd occasion where I do get carried away, I usually end up starting again so I try to keep it minimal. I loved taking the pool shots and have several more to hand which I hope to get round to uploading to flickr. There is something mesmerizing about the reflective moving light, on water constantly on the move, the ever changing patterns, ripples and wakes that make you want to stand there all day and take shots. My very best regards. Simon.

    • Good evening to you Mark, thanks very much for the compliments. Most of the b/w shots in this set are taken in RAW format and quite a few of them have been tweaked using some of the filters I have in Photoshop after that there were saved as JPEG format. I do feel that the Polarising circular filter on I fitted to the 12mm has added a bit more punch to shots incorporating the sky and clouds. Some of the others are shot in JPEG using Art filter “Dramatic tone b/w, which is directly selectable on the camera. Best regards Simon.

  4. Nice pictures Simon. Did you turn the first picture from the swimming pool 180 degrees on purpose? Interesting effect anyway.

    • Hello Anders, many thanks. Yes I did indeed, turn the picture 180 degrees on purpose as I much preferred the look.
      Kindest regards,

  5. Dear Ivan, I do appreciate your kind comments and observations. Thanks for adding me as a contact, I look forward to viewing some of your work on flickr too. My very best regards to you.

  6. Great shots, I’m a newbie to the OM-G, so can you describe how you initially programmed the camera? Also, were these Jpeg or raw files and was there any post production involved (I.e., Photoshop)?

    • Hello Elliot, thanks. Most of the b/w shots in this set are taken in RAW format and quite a few of them have been tweaked using some of the filters I have in running in Photoshop for example (NIK SILVER EFEX), after that they were saved as JPEG format. I do feel that the Polarising circular filter I fitted to the 12mm has added a bit more punch to shots incorporating the sky and clouds. Some of the others are shot in JPEG using Art filter “Dramatic tone b/w, which is directly selectable on the camera. Most of the colour shots are straight from the OM-D and just re saved as JPEG afterwards as I didn’t feel they needed any tweaks. Best regards Simon.

      • Thanks for your response. I noticed that you tagged each of your pics on Flickr…shot with OM-D, but it would be great if you added whether you used the 45mm or 12mm since many seemed to be cropped (also details about post production would be great too, for newbies like me who want to learn some of the tricks). Cheers

  7. Really good stuff on flickr, Simon. I think the girl and the white dove stands out, and some others.
    I think some of the flickr shots are stronger than the pictures you present here, But I like the last one. Good depth where you have the standig persons, looking in the same direction. Good stuff. Strong composition.

    Added you as a contact on flickr, see you there 🙂

    • Dear Twitch, thank you for viewing the photos and for your comment about recommending my flickr stream, it is really appreciated. Best regards,

  8. Nice work. I especially like no. 3, its a great candid and has a rather odd “rene magritte” sureal atmosphere to it. I think its the repetition of figures standing exactly the same way. Fantastic!

    • Dear DJDLV, thanks for looking at my pictures and your kind comment. I know what you mean about the “Magritte look” I couldn’t believe the line up of these figures as I peered through the viewfinder but managed to catch them in the nick of time before they moved out of their positions.
      All the best Simon.

  9. Great pictures Simon, as Ross said, I enjoyed your images on Flickr even more. I have exactly the same kit as yours, and after several months of usage, the camera and the two lenses (12 & 45 mm) amaze me every day. I ordered the new 75mm, but I’m afraid I will have to wait a long time for it’s arrival 🙁

    I could recommend you the 7,5 mm fish eye from Samyang (the same lens is sold under different names, so I’m not sure if it’s called Samyang in your country)
    That is an incredibly fun lens. And very very cheap. You sure get a lot of bang for your buck!
    Solid metal construction, great optics and still very small and very lightweight. It is manual focus and manual aperture though… Focusing isn’t a big deal, because everything beyond 30 cm is in focus 🙂

    Before I wasn’t a great fan of fish eye lenses, but during my last stay in the South of Spain, I was able to take some extraordinary shots with the camera mounted on a gorilla pad and using the tilt screen for some very special angle of views. The Cathedral, the Alcazar, the very narrow Moorish streets, the Mezquita in Cordoba, Granada… All very impressive architecture, you walk from one “wow” feeling to another. And the cheap little Samyang did an amazing job to capture that “grandeur” experience in a 3/4 picture.

    So if you ever should have the occasion to try this lens, I’m pretty sure it will be a keeper 🙂



    • Hello Kris, thanks for your comments and for clicking on the Flickr link! Yes these little lenses are amazing. I am very interested in the Samyang fish eye and have already read up on it so I will save for that one then add it to my collection. All the best to you.

  10. Simon- Nice work, good eye! I am suffering from the same bug as I re-explore life from the view through a lens. Your choice of the E-M5 is one of my finalist also thanks to Steve’s influence. Just waiting to see what comes from Fuji at Photokina next month- either way I will buy from B&H via Steve’s site….. ciao

    • Dear Sterno,
      Many thanks for taking the time to look and for you nice comment. The E-M5 is a beautiful little camera, what ever you opt for in the end, I hope it brings you as much joy as this camera has brought me. Best regards,

  11. Wonderful flickr set. Not sure if the three you’ve put up here totally do it justice!!

    Especially loved the crepe man, and some of the other people shots. Especially excited as I just ordered the 45mm last week and am waiting for it to arrive. Were all those taken with the 12 and 45?

    • Hello Peter,
      Thanks for your kind comments, with the exception of the odd one using the kit lens, they were 95% taken using the 12mm and 45mm, these two lenses are truly magnificent little gems and look beautiful on the camera. The 45mm is such a good buy and I totally recommend it. Wishing you all the best with your new 45mm when it arrives!

  12. Simon,
    I greatly enjoyed your series of photos on your flickr site. A wonderfully varied subject matter and intelligent use of the POL filter. I also liked the atmosphere you captured in the contre-jour shots with just the right exposure.

    • Dear Terry, many thanks for your kind observations and comments, I can’t believe Steve actually posted my request! My best regards to you.

    • Great stuff, very inspiring to me as a new amateur also. Having read Steve’s review online I just bought the RX100 and so far I love it. Will post some images on flickr and instagram soon. Fantastic site Steve, all the best to you.

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