Hartsholme Park with OM-D and 1.4x Converter

When I purchased my Olympus OM-D E-M1 in November last year from the LCE Photo and Optics show I also pre-ordered the 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens and 1.4x teleconverter too. A few months later I got my 40-150mm lens and then soon after the teleconverter. What I have not really had an opportunity to do is use the lens and teleconverter combo at Hartsholme Park or any venue for that matter. I decided that this weekend I would make the effort to go to Hartsholme Park and try this out; I also invited Richard Brown and met him at our usual vantage point. Richard had his Nikon D800 and Nikkor 300mm f2.8 lens with the Nikon 1.7x teleconverter; this gave him a slight field of view edge over my combo.

As soon as I got there I noticed that we had some Grey Heron clearly visible in the trees on the central island, although the Grey Heron’s were mostly building their nests one of them in this nest had different colouring so may have been a young one:

Every now and then the Heron would bring a twig back to their nests:


Occasionally they would land in the wrong location and were chased off by the current occupants:

Although the Heron are the most interesting bird around, the most common were the Black-Headed Gulls:
Although the one above has its spring/summer plumage, there were many others in varying degrees of head colour from almost pure white to the black head of this bird. There were also a number of Herring gulls around too.

It was mostly the standard occupants of the lake, such as the Mallard Ducks, the difference is that they (like most of the birds around at this time of year) are starting to pair off:

We had a few Canada Geese like usual:

But they were outnumbered by the Greylag Geese, who were in flight quite a bit

This is one of my favourites even though it isn’t perfectly in focus:

Like the ducks and the Heron, the Greylag were starting to pair off too:

Unusually there were quite a number of Great Crested Grebe around sharing the lake with the Greylag Geese:

These two were performing some kind of ritual, unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of reach to get them and this was cropped quite heavily:

Finally we had some Moorhens, Crows, Common Coots:

And as usual, the Wood Pigeons were quite vocal and friendly too:

Thoughts about the Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 lens + 1.4 Converter:
I have a mixed reaction to this combo, anything that was relatively close (a few meters) came out nicely in focus and not soft, the colours were vibrant and very little editing or cropping was required. However anything that was far away came out not so good and this is where I had a problem; whether it was incorrect focusing or simply a factor of the subject being (too?) far away I wasn’t that pleased with the results. Not having clear sunshine behind us for more than a few minutes during the morning’s exclusion didn’t help. I think more practice is needed before I can come to any concrete conclusions though.

Did Firmware 3.0 help?
Again I’m not sure, it did seem slightly more responsive but all of the various focusing modes I tried had strengths and weaknesses. More practice is needed and there were a few things that I didn’t try that I would like to play with. Hopefully I will be able to try them out during one of my lunchtime breaks this week.

Final points to note:

  1. I tried Aperture and Shutter priority but in the end I switched to manual exposure mode as the light kept changing and the amount of exposure-compensation needed for the A and S modes varied all of the time. Having a histogram in the viewfinder certainly helped.
  2. I used GPSCam to capture the GPS coordinates via my iPhone 6+, this is still the best way to do this short of using a dedicated device such as is available for Nikon and Canon DSLR bodies.
  3. Heavy cropping of images form the OM-D cameras is not recommended as the detail goes southwards very quickly especially if you are above ISO 200 which I had to be due to the light levels during the day.
  4. I tried taking a picture of this friendly Crow that came quite close to us and all of my pictures had camera shake so not sure why that happened as the shutter speed wasn’t too slow and the IBIS is usually excellent. I think that when you use continuous AF and/or drive the amount of image stabilisation is reduced – I need to investigate this a bit more.
  5. I did get some nice shots so all in all it was a productive morning. 🙂

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