Photographic travels in Malta, Gozo and Comino

Hi everyone,

As regular visitors to my blog will know I’ve been itching to get away to somewhere hotter and more photographically interesting for a ย considerable while, eleven years actually!. After a very heavy year fraught with all kinds of problems and worries we set off for one of my most favourite countries, Malta and its sister islands of Gozo and Comino. I’ve been there several times over the years but it has been more than twenty years since my last visit. I love Malta, the Maltese people and the climate so I’ve been looking forward to our visit ever since we decided on visiting.

Below is map showing some of our travels around the island recorded on a great little GPS data logger from Holux. This thing is about the size of a match box and worked brilliantly. It’s so small and light and has storage for 200,000 track points. I bought it prior to our visit to record our travels and to geotag my shots on returning home. I took nearly 2,500 shots during our visit and I knew that my poor old memory wouldn’t remember where some of them were taken. I set up the logger to record the position every three seconds and switched it on before going out and off again on return. The internal rechargeable battery lasted very well. They claim 20 hours per charge, I don’t know if that’s correct but I know that it certainly kept recording for at least 12 hours on one of our longer trips. Another nice thing about this device is that it has bluetooth and can simultaneously provide offline cost-free GPS navigation to a compatible hand-held portable tablet device. I won’t pay data roaming charges :).

Malta Tracks

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I’ve never considered myself to be a zoom guy and I love my M.Zuiko prime lenses but I really didn’t fancy carrying a range of lenses around in that heat. I also didn’t want to miss shots changing lenses all the time and I wanted a weather-proof lens to compliment my Olympus OM-D E-M5 body and offer some protection from dust and water splashes on beaches and boat trips. I did a lot of research before investing in an M.Zuiko Pro 12-40mm 1:2.8 zoom lens. It weighs about the same as the combined weight of my most frequently used 12mm, 17mm and 45mm M.Zuiko primes. I am very impressed with the performance of this lens and I can see it getting a good bit of use. Whilst on the subject of optics I took my small, lightweight pair of binoculars with me as they are so very useful in spotting interesting landscapes and views and saving the old legs and dehydration from walking in the heat.

Two things that I did was to change the lens cap for a cheap center-pinch one as loosing the original Olympus cap is a very costly replacement exercise and I wasn’t overly happy with the looseness of fit of the Olympus one. I don’t care what name is written on my lens cap, or for that matter if there’s a name on it at all, it’s the lens quality that matters.ย I also changed the lens hood for a cheap after-market one from JJC. This hood has the advantage of having a small removable sliding “window” allowing the rotation of filters much more easily as I knew that I’d be using my circular polarising filter a fair bit and of course it’s also better to loose this than have to buy a costly replacement from Olympus.

On a humorous note it’s amazing the number of people that you see taking photographs in blazing sunshine with the lens hood fitted in the reversed position, maybe they don’t care about lens flair!. :). I remember seeing one guy walking around with a big, heavy DSLR fitted with the sort of huge zoom lens that you usually see being used by sports and wildlife photographers happily taking shots with the lens hood in the reversed position, ho hum, made me smile. ๐Ÿ™‚

M.Zuiko 12-40

Lastly I bought a few new USB travel chargers to keep all my gear charged up. I stumbled across two very reasonably priced and well-designed chargers from Anker,theย Astro E1 5200mAh Portable Charger which is great for charging and powering the GPS logger, mobile phone, ipod etc. on the go. The second Anker product is a small solid brick of a charger theย 40W 5-Port USB Charging Hub. This is a great product which can simultaneously charge a total of 5 USB devices, including the portable charger, at the same time and was a real space saver and very useful back at base for charging up the gear at the end of the day. I didn’t want to take my Olympus charger as it is quite big and bulky and ties up another wall power outlet, something that usually comes at premium in hotel rooms, so I bought a cheap Newer USB charger from Amazon so that I could charge up my Olympus batteries from the Anker hub or even the Anker portable charger on the go!. All of these chargers performed extremely well and I particularly liked the ability to charge and or power USB-powered devices on the go.

USB chargers

I’ll be working my way through my shots and posting them here and to my Flickr page over the coming weeks.

Kind regards

leigh sig 2

PS. If I could change one thing from experience it’s that I probably should have bought a portable USB charger with more than one USB output as there were a few times when I could have done with the facility to simultaneously power/charge up more than one USB device on the go. So for future trips I’d definitely consider getting another model from Anker with two outputs like this one. The amperage capacity of the charger was more than adequate for my requirements but another USB output would come in handy.

 

Eastbourne Seafront

One year ago to the day I bought my OM-D E-M5. I’ve had for a great year with this camera and lenses. This shot was taken with an M.Zuiko 25mm 1:1.8 lens.

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Ten months with my Olympus OM-D E-M5

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I know I’m VERY late to the party in writing this but I don’t really post much about camera equipment. Back in March of this year I purchased my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera. Photographically speaking this has been somewhat of a life-changing event. I’d compare it to meeting an old friend that one hasn’t seen for years, a mixture of nostalgia and the re-discovering of old interests but with a contemporary twist. I’m part-referring to my Olympus OM film camera days but also to enjoying the latest in technical innovations like the amazing five-way image stabilisation and electronic viewfinder .

For some years I sort of existed in what I’d describe as a photographic “limbo”, caught somewhere between my lightweight, go anywhere, Olympus OM film camera days and what I’d consider to be a true digitalย  camera system successor. During this time I abandoned my film cameras and was an early adopter of digital cameras but I could never find one with which I was truly happy. One prime concern for me is weight, that’s one of the things that I best-loved about the OM cameras and lenses but, even so, carrying half a dozen or so lenses and a camera body with winder was still tiring after a day out and about, that’s a lot of heavy glass but, putting the clock back, I was twenty-five to thirty or so years younger at the time and considerably fitter and stronger than I am now so this was, at that time, a good solution..

So, when I discovered that Olympus had produced the Micro Four Thirds OM-D system I became excited at both the concept and the prospect of re-experiencing my OM camera days. I certainly haven’t been disappointed in any way. The E-M5 perfectly suits my style of photography, I guess theย  auto focus system in E-M1 is a lot better suited for those with an interest in sports or action photography and it has many more programmable dials and buttons if that is of interest but is also heavier and I only require three programmable buttons to satisfy my tastes, one for exposure compensation, one for ISO adjust and one for depth of field preview.

Throughout the course of the year I’ve steadily expanded my range of fast prime lenses which primarily consists of Olympus M.Zuiko 12mm f/2.0, 17mm f/1.8, 25mm f/1.8 and 45mm f/1.8 as well as Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 and Sigma 60mm f/2.5 lenses. In 35mm/full frame sensor terms 15mm fisheye, 24mm, 34mm wide angles, 50mm standard, 90mm and 120mm telephoto focal lengths.Here’s the great bit, the total combined weight of all these lenses plus the OM-D E-M5 body with HLD-6 grip attached with memory card and battery fitted is, quite remarkably, only 1.5 Kg (3lb 6oz)ย  or 1 1/2 bags of sugar!!. Throw in a few extra memory cards, spare batteries, filters, lens hoods and my Gorillapod Hybrid (holds up to 1Kg) and you still have an extremely portable lightweight camera system which I’ve carried around all day without being overly fatigued.

Of course although I’m very concerned about weight it would all be totally pointless if the camera equipment wasn’t capable of producing extremely high quality photographs and the OM-D system excels in that department. Cameras come and go with every new innovation but I think it’ll be a long time before I find a better quality more versatile system that meets my requirements so well.ย  In the last ten months I have taken hundreds of photographs with this camera and lenses and the quality of the results has been consistently excellent.

PS. I have no association with any of the photographic equipment manufacturers referred to in this post.

Yesterday’s Newspapers

When I was younger there was a saying “yesterday’s newspaper is today’s fish and chip wrapper” or words to that effect. Of course that was when fish and chips used to be sold wrapped in newspaper and the ink was black and not today’s toxic colour inks. I’m reminded of the saying when thinking about blog posts, tweets etc, what’s the shelf life like on a blog post let alone a tweet?. Blog, Tweet and Flickr sounds like it should be the name of a firm of solicitors doesn’t it! :).

Oh, I nearly forgot, a new photo “Black Cat on a Wall” :).

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A few fun shots from 2014 that made me smile

I thought I’d share a few of my more lighthearted fun works taken this year :). “Angels Twenty” :ย  Biggles the Bear Takes to the Air!”, “Face Off!”, “Noddy rides again”, “I said right!”, “”I’d have chosen a Chardonnay!” (including THAT seagull again) ๐Ÿ™‚ and “Cat Critique”.

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Two different works : “The timeless art of vandalism” and “It’s a living thing”

Good day,

Thought I’d post a couple of different works this morning. The first is a black and white work entitled “The timeless art of vandalism” lines scratched in a bus shelter window and the second is entitled “It’s a living thing”, an abstract work which started life as a shot of a gnarled tree trunk.

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Have a great day,

Leigh

Another nautical-themed abstract work and THAT Seagull

Another nautical-themed abstract creation. Somehow it doesn’t seem to matter where I go that seagull keeps following me around and sneaking in to my shots :). Been raining heavily since early morning and thought I’d concentrate on processing work today..

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Sometimes that bird gets in on the act very obviously like this.shot “Birds’s Eye view”

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or like this shot “SurrEAlgull”

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whilst other times like this shot “Less is More” he sneaks in less obviously ๐Ÿ™‚

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and even more subtly perched on the breakwater in this shot “Stranger on The Shore”

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.I could be in the middle of the Sahara Desert and take only one shot and THAT bird would find me!! ๐Ÿ™‚

PS. I hope you like the new blog theme.

York House Gardens – Statues

I took these photos of the statues at York house and Gardens in Twickenham, U.K. This is a beautiful spot and well worth a visit. I wanted the HDR to bring out the detail and decided whilst processing to bring out the lushย vegitation.

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Bric ร  Brac

Hi,

Five different work today, “Hommage au Toblerone”, “Wheels of Wood”, “Spark Art”, “Bike Ends” and “Keep and EyE on Your Money”. Sometimes when I cannot get out and take photos I have to look for inspiration at home. Fortunately having eclectic tastes in ornaments etc. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/leighkemp/13935884224/in/set-72157644433630352/lightbox) I can usually find something to photograph :).

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Best wishes,

Leigh