Daily Inspiration #428 by Luke Carl Thompson

Hi Steve,

I’ve been following your blog for some time and really appreciate all the great info you have on there. It’s been very helpful for me in the past and I’m sure will be in the future too.

I discovered you whilst searching for rumours and reviews about the latest in Mirrorless cameras.

Ending up buying a Panasonic Gx1 and then selling and upgrading to an OMD the moment it was announced. I have not regretted that decision one bit. The OMD has helped reignite my passion for photography and I’ve been slowly using it for bigger and bigger jobs. I’m now about to sell the rest of my Nikon gear and rely on mirrorless systems for my work and fun photography. A little bit scary but I think it is the right thing to do.

I’m a full time pro. By that I mean relying on photography for my main source of income.

I started shooting on film and been through many many cameras. Always searching for a camera that was a pleasure to use and still delivered great quality. The OMD and Fuji X100s are the closest to that perfect camera I have found.

I thought I’d submit some of my skateboarding images because I feel like I’m pushing against the limits of what the OMD is capable of here and it seems somewhat unique to choose to rely on a mirrorless system when shooting action like this. I often use it with pocket wizards and several off camera flashes too. I’ve even discovered a technique to cheat the flash sync in certain situations and shoot action in full sun with flashes at any flash speed, which is exciting. Still trialling it, but it’s looking very promising and will be useful in specific circumstances.

Also the fact that I can buy a cheap tilt adapter then use a nikon 50mm as a tilt lens is incredible. It’s just such a small kit and so cheap compared to a real tilt/shift lens on a dslr.

I’ve numbered the images 1, 2 and 3 then written all the info about each one below for you.

 

Image 1.

Pekka Rousi, ollie over some old nautical artifacts.

Shot on Olympus OMD at 1/1600 of a second iso 200.

Using a tilt adapter off Ebay (about $100 if I remember correctly) with a Nikon 50mm f1.8 AF-D attached. It was shot at about f2.8 I think, fstop data not record in exif. Pretty amazing to be able to get an effect like this from such a lightweight camera bag if you ask me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image 2.

Scott Hetherington, tre flip.

Shot on Olympus OMD and Samyang 7.5mm f3.5 fisheye lens.

iso 1250 f3.5 at 1/1000 sec

The sun was fading and I didn’t have my flash equipment with me as I didn’t expect to be shooting that day. But I brought the OMD and a couple of lenses along anyway because it’s not a burden to carry it around all day at all. I would never have done that with a DLSR.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Image 3.

Tex Hadley, crail grab on a backyard mini ramp.

Shot on Olympus OMD and Samyang 7.5mm f3.5 fisheye lens. iso 250 f5.6 at 1/60 sec

For this one I used pocket wizards and three off camera speed lights. One with a shoot through umbrella above my head and slightly behind me. Then another at ground level to my lower left, lighting up the ramp and the underside of Tex. With the third actually in frame with a grid on it, pointing towards the group of spectators on the other side of the ramp. The grid helped hide the flash somewhat so I didn’t mind it being in frame for this one, usually a no no of course.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I’ve been using the OMD and Fuji x100s for all kinds of jobs lately. Having shot fashion editorials and a lookbook with the kit as well. So if you’d be interested in something like that I am more than happy to send them through for a look. Just thought the skateboarding might be more interesting for your readers as it’s a bit different.

Hopefully these are useful for you. I’d love to see one or all of these images on your website.

Have a great day and I look forward to enjoying more great content from you in the future.

Best Regards

Luke Thompson – Photographer – My website is HERE, Facebook HERE  and Blogger is HERE

 

18 Comments

  1. Please, Luke, put down your skateboard and let us know you will give us a tutorial on off-camera lighting. : )

  2. Hi Luke! That is perfect freeze frame action you’ve got! Very good timing to take the action. Framing on the object also nice! Well done mate! Haven’t got a chance to use my OMD on the same situation like yours. Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Luke – awesome work! I have so much wanted to read here about the use of mirrorless cameras, pocket wizards, and speedlights. So little about this topic has been written about.

    A mentor of mine told me one day, “Whenever anyone says they only shoot with natural light what they are telling me is that they don’t know how to control light.” This is what photography is: controlling light. You seem to have mastered it.

    Please, if you could, I would just love it if you wrote a detailed tutorial on how to use speedlights with mirrorless cameras. I am crossing my fingers that Steve would publish it too. You can even create a video siminar on Creative Live. I so much want to learn about this aspect of photography. Thanks for posting.

    • Thank you very much David! Also thank you for reaching out to my via email. I will reply as soon as I get a chance.

      Well there are many ways of controlling natural/available light as well, so just because someone doesn’t like using strobes does not always mean they don’t know how to control light. Also recognising and seeking out good light is a very valuable skill to have as well. Something I am constantly learning more about and trying to improve on.

      I think using strobes with mirrorless cameras like the OMD is very much the same as using strobes with pro a DSLR because of the same 1/250th sec flash sync. The Fuji is a little different because of the leaf shutter and flash sync working differently. But really light is light and the camera and lens combo is just an way to record the light you have either found or created in front of you.

      I’d love to do more tutorials because I am so grateful for others that have shared knowledge with me along the way and I enjoy sharing what I know as well. A video on Creative Live makes me a little nervous because I am a bit camera shy. Funny seeing as I have no problem pointing cameras at people all the time, haha. I might just have to try get over it with some practise.

  4. It’s wonderful to see a mirrorless camera used for action and sports photography. I’ve grown pretty tired of DSLR users looking at my camera and saying things like “But you can’t shoot sports with it.” As if they spend their Sundays snooping around the stadium with a 300mm lens.

    • Yes it’s definitely possible and the first choice of camera for me. I really grew tired of carrying excessively heavy gear around as well. It’s important to realise that my style of shooting these involves pre planning and good communication/co-operation with the skater, so I know exactly where the will be in my frame before it happens. I use full manual settings including manual focus to minimise shutter lag because the timing is critical for this stuff.

  5. Great stuff Luke!

    I have an appreciation for how difficult it must be to set up these shots so consistently. I’ve tried to get action shots with the OMD and have had very few keepers. I even managed one decent one of a snowboarder in a terrain park this Spring with the Fuji X20, but only because the sun was perfect and I had 9 frames a second going with an ideal aperture and shutter speed.

    Keep up the inspiring posts, I would love to see more. BTW, the fashion gallery on the first page of you site is really impressive. Was that done before the OMD switch?

    Thanks

    • Thanks you! Yes most of the work on my website is a year or two old before I discovered the OMD. I’m excited for when I get the chance to update it. One thing to take in to consideration is that even though these are action shots they are pretty well planned with the skateboarder and I know exactly what they will be doing and where they will be in my frame before it happens. So to capture the precise instant I set exposure and focus manually to minimise any lag.

  6. hello Luke
    in your first picture the building in the background is very blurry on the right of the picture, but not on the left: is it your post treatment, or some kind of miniature filter ?

    • It is the tilt adapter he bought to use with the Nikon lens. By tilting the lens, he tilted the focus plane to intersect with the sensor plane. This creates the effect seen above.

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