The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts from the ‘Hobby’ category

Includes such things as Reading, Photography, Blogging, Walking, Bicycling

Never Say Never

When I purchased my Olympus OM-D E-M1 mirrorless interchangeable-lens compact (MILC) camera in September 2014, I said that I would not buy another camera ever again.  Never say never!

I ordered a new camera on Sunday, March 3rd.  My new camera is the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, which arrived this past Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 pm.  See how exact I am about the arrival time?   

This was me, waiting for Federal Express (photo obtained at https://pin.it/uonmz5b7tkrdwk)

My new camera, before the unboxing

My new camera has been around for awhile.  It was released in November 2016, about 3 years after its predecessor.  I am keeping my Olympus OM-D E-M1 — as a second body.  

Here is a comparison between the two cameras.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 vs. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

My new camera has several improvements, compared to its predecessor.  I am looking forward to photographing birds with my new camera.  I should have more success with birds-in-flight, given the faster auto focus capability.

There is a ripple effect, when a new camera is purchased.  Since purchasing the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, I also made the following purchases:

• the Kindle Edition of “Mastering the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II” by Darrell Young,

• a Lexar Professional 128GB Memory Card, and

• a second Olympus BLH-1 Rechargeable Battery

I anticipate the purchase of additional memory card(s).

I plan on my new camera being the last camera that I purchase in my lifetime.  I won’t say never, though!

Flickr

On April 23rd I received an email announcing that Flickr has agreed to be acquired by SmugMug.  I was informed that nothing would change immediately with regard to my Flickr account.

On September 19th I received an email notice that my 1 Year Flickr Pro subscription would renew on October 19th at the current price of $49.99 billed annually.  I had been a Flickr Pro subscriber since October 2008 and had paid $24.95 annually for the subscription.  The last time Flickr changed Pro pricing was when it re-introduced Flickr Pro at $49.99 in July 2015. At that time Flickr rewarded Pro members with a promise of a two-year protected price. The current subscription price of $49.99 is not an increase in price. Flickr is merely bringing grandfathered Flickr Pro members to the current Pro rate. It was nice, as a Flickr Pro customer for a number of years, to be grandfathered in 2015 for 2 years at the price I had been paying ($24.95).

As of September 19th a Flicker Pro account provided unlimited, full-resolution uploads; ad-free browsing for both myself and my visitors; advanced stats; industry discounts including 15% off Adobe Creative Cloud; the Flickr Auto-Uploader that allows me to automatically back up my photographs both on my computer and on my Apple devices.

A Flickr Free account at that time provided 1TB full-resolution uploads.  In September I was using only .22 TB of storage. Once I reached the 1TB storage limit, there was nothing stopping me from opening another Flickr Free account and making use of the 1TB full-resolution uploads.  A Flickr Free account did not include ad-Free browsing, advanced stats, an auto-uploaded or industry discounts.  None of the limitations of a Flickr Free account bothered me. At first I thought the Adobe Creative Cloud discount of 30% would be useful.  The discount is for the more expensive Adobe CC plan (approx. $50/month) that includes programs I have no use for.

I cancelled my Flickr Pro subscription on September 19th.  I would get along fine with the Flickr Free account.

Not having a Flickr Pro subscription was short lived. On or about November 1st Flickr announced a change that would directly impact me.  Beginning January 8, 2019, free accounts will be limited to 1,000 photos and videos. Flickr Pro will continue to provide unlimited storage. I have several thousands more pictures and videos than the 1000 picture limit of a Flickr Free account. Additionally the photographs contained in this blog are linked to Flickr. It would be an impossible task for me to remove thousands of pictures from Flickr and maintain my blog and Flickr connection.

I renewed my Flickr Pro subscription on November 1st.  I am certain there will come a time when my blog will no longer exist.  I can’t see myself (or my heirs) paying indefinitely for Flickr Pro and my WordPress blog.  Until that time arrives, though, it is business as usual!

I obtained the following screen shots from Flickr.

 

New Camera Accessory

I purchased a new accessory for my camera, a RPS Studio Mini Soft Box.

rps-studio-rs-3500-softbox-l

a RPS Studio Mini Soft Box

I purchased the mini soft box from Amazon.com.  I was going to build a do-it-yourself diffuser but thought for the price I would try the RPS Studio Mini Soft Box.

Example of Use of RPS Studio Mini Soft BoxI took a self portrait, without the mini soft box (left) and with the mini soft box.  I used the exact same camera / flash settings and post processing edits for both photographs.  What a difference!  The RPS Studio Mini Soft Box is an excellent addition in my camera bag.

Ava and Macy

This past Sunday afternoon I photographed two adorable girls. Ava and Macy are 6-year-old identical twins. Ava and Macy’s mother and I met on a Facebook garage sale site. Anissa’s garage sale items are of interest to me, as I have twin granddaughters who are 4 years younger than Ava and Macy.

Ava and Macy’s photo session took place at my house, both indoors and outside. I took the indoor pictures in front of a green screen backdrop. It was the first time that I used the green screen backdrop (or any backdrop for that matter) during a photo session. I replaced the green backdrop with a variety of digital backdrops, using Adobe Photoshop as an editing tool. I was very pleased with the results, as was Anissa!

The Beauty Around Us

TheBeautyAroundUs

I have been busy.  For the past few weeks I have been working on the creation of a new website.  “The Beauty Around Us” is that new website.  It went live last night.  “The Beauty Around Us” will showcase scenic photographs taken during my travels.  In addition, my website will showcase nature photographs.  My goal is to display these photographs in an organized manner via photo galleries.  “The Beauty Around Us” includes a blog, which I plan to utilize on a weekly basis.  I envision my blog posts taking the shape of one photograph accompanied by a pertinent quotation, saying or poem.

Whenever a new blog website is announced, the question always comes up whether or not the blogger will maintain two blogs.  I intend to continue the “Days to Remember” blog, which I began in March 2009.  “Days to Remember” is a photo journal blog that provides a glimpse into my life both at home and on the road.   “Days to Remember” is a much more verbose blog website than “The Beauty Around Us”.  I hope that each of you will follow both of my blog websites.

UPDATE:  When I wrote this blog post, I did intend to maintain two blogs.  Somewhere along the way that intent changed because maintaining two blogs just wasn’t working.  I moved the “Days to Remember” blog, as an integral part of the “The Beauty Around Us” website. 

My Stepdaughter and Her Family

Yesterday I took photographs of my stepdaughter and her family at a park in our hometown.

Family Photo Session at Betts Park

Family Photo Session at Betts Park

I am so very happy that our granddaughters live close by so that we are able to see them in person, as they grow up!

A Walk in the Park

I conducted a family photo session at Crescent Park in my hometown of Warren PA late yesterday morning and into the early afternoon. The photo session lasted about 1 ¼ hours.

The photo session was easy going, little more than a walk in the park.

The main subjects for yesterday’s photo session were my friend Mandy and her son Addison, along with Mandy’s cousin and her cousin’s daughter.  Accompanying Mandy and her cousin were Shawn (Mandy’s boyfriend), Mandy’s mother and Mandy’s aunt.

After our walk in the park, we went to the playground where I took even more pictures.

As you probably noticed in the photographs that I shared, sweater weather has returned!

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