A couple of weeks ago, on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012, the temperature was pleasantly mild, and the sky was bright overcast. So just before I went for my usual Saturday morning walk around my neighborhood, I decided to bring my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera with me.
I have noticed that the vast majority of the photos that I have taken with this camera always seem to require me to “add some exposure” (brightness) to them when I process the RAW files on my computer. I had already decided that the next time that I used this camera, I was going to not just accept the default meter readings that Olympus thought were appropriate (using their Digital ESP metering mode that they recommend for general use).
Instead, I was going to increase the exposure compensation until I had visual indication of some highlight clipping, and then I would back off the exposure compensation by 1/3 of a stop. I believe that this method is commonly referred to a “shooting to the right” – in regards to the histogram.
When I first stepped out of my front door, there to greet me are the bed full of flowers shown above. In the past, I have simply referred to them as Dr. Seuss flowers, but now I know that they are actually called Fireworks Gomphrena.
The photo above is the only photo that I took that morning that I include in this post or 22 photos that did not increase the exposure compensation setting in the camera.
For the photo above, and the vast majority of the following photos, I had increased the exposure compensation to +2/3 of a stop.
Reminder: You can always view any photo at a larger size by just clicking on it. You will then need to use your browser’s “Back Button” to return to my story.
For this next photo, because the flowers were white, I increased the exposure compensation to +1 full stop.
There were lots of reoccurring colors, but purple seemed to be rather rare.
I was glad that I had brought the Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens along with me for this walk. It has a built in macro mode that allows you to get pretty close to your subjects. When the lens is in the macro mode, the focal length is fixed at 43mm.
There seemed to be several different color variations of the next flower. I wish I could tell you what type of plant it is, but I don’t know what most of these plants are….
I can tell you that this next photo is of some buds on an Oleander plant very close to our community mailbox. I only use +1/3 exposure compensation for this photo.
I probably could have improved the composition of the next photo by simply pulling back a couple of inches, and not cut off the flower at the top and near the bottom corners – but I can’t remember what else that would have included in the photo.
This red rose was the largest flower that I saw that morning, on October 20th.
(I seem to have a problem with the red colors appearing much more saturated in the photos on my web site than they appear on my calibrated monitor. I am still slowly working through some experiments to properly determine the root cause. I invite you to right-click on the photo above and download it to your computer and let me know how it appears in your photo viewing program, as compared to how it appears here.)
Since the next flower was white, I took the exposure compensation back up to +1 stop.
Here are a few more color variants of the flower that I mentioned a few photos ago.
The yellow and salmon colors of this one are nice, so I wanted to include it, even though the photo is a little blurry (due to the focus being at the base of the flowers). The depth of field (front to back focus) is very shallow when the lens is in macro mode. The exposure compensation was only +1/3 stop.
When you back up a little, and move the lens farther from the subject, you get more objects in the photo, but the depth of field also increases.
I hope that the gentle color of this next flower looks as good on my web site as it does in my photo processing program on my computer.
You get a sense of just how small these flowers are when you compare them to the strands of the spider’s web that are attached to them.
I don’t know what these spindly lavender colored flowers are, but they were the only specimens of them that I saw on this shortened 2 mile long walk.
Although I normally put a circular polarizer on my lens whenever I will be outside photographing, this time I intentionally did not, as I wanted to compare the results to some of my earlier outings.
I like the results that I got without the polarizer, but I also usually like the results that I get when I do use one. I suppose the only real test would be to set up a tripod and shoot the same photo both with, and without, a circular polarizer.
Besides, I was out experimenting with “shooting to the right” on this little outing.
The photo above almost appears to have some highlight clipping, where the yellow petals of the flower are so overexposed that they are about to “blow out” to white. That’s not really what’s happening here, though. Evidently this bush full of flowers is past its peak, and is starting its decline.
When the flowers begin to fade away, they start by turning white around the edges of their petals.
This yellow flower was also one of the largest flowers that I photographed that morning. That plant was also unusual, as the long “string beans” that the plant produced was also worth including in the photos.
I really didn’t feel that I had much to say about this series of flower photos, other than I was experimenting with my exposure compensation and “shooting to the right” of the histogram. That technique seems to be a great success, and something that I intend to utilize in any future use of this great little Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera.