As I promised at the end of my previous post, here are more photos that I took with my new Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera. All but one of the photos in this post were taken using the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 lens, which I ordered as the “kit” lens with the camera.
We left Austin the morning of May 27th, and drove the 500 miles to Roswell, New Mexico, which is only about 70 miles short of our ultimate destination – Ruidoso. We didn’t go all the way to Ruidoso simply because the house that we were renting for 5 days wouldn’t be ready for us to check into until 3:00 PM the next afternoon.
Roswell, NM is famous for pretty much one thing, and that is for the “unofficial” UFO crash landing that occurred there in 1947 – officially known as the Roswell UFO Incident. While we were in Roswell, we never saw any real aliens from outer space, but we did have this friendly looking creature at the entrance to our motel’s parking lot. I took this photo the next morning, which happened to be Monday, May 28th – aka Memorial Day here in the US of A.
Roswell is in a very arid, barren region with an elevation of 3600 feet above sea level. Driving west toward Ruidoso, the terrain remained very desert-like for at least 35 miles, but we did start to gain in elevation. The last 35 or 40 miles quickly changed to green trees and then pine trees as we climbed all the way up to 6950 feet above sea level.
When we arrived in town, we stopped in at the Visitor’s Center, which was on Sudderth Drive.
The very nice, helpful lady there loaded us up with maps and all sorts of information pamphlets for various tourist and entertainment activities that we might wish to do during our 5 day stay. She recommended that we head on over to Village Buttery for lunch on their outdoor patio. That sounded great to us! It was just “a couple of blocks up the road”. Ruidoso was very crowded with tourist for the Memorial Day weekend, and it did take us several minutes to find a place to park the CR-V. We finally got lucky and parked just a couple of spots from the little café.
After we went in and ordered our lunch, we came back outside and got the last table (around the left side of the building in the above photo), and one of the very few that did not have an umbrella, but it was in the mottled shade from the large trees behind us.
At last, since I wasn’t driving, I had a chance to play with my new camera! I pushed the Macro button on the 12-50mm lens and slid the barrel forward until it clicked into the macro mode, which seems to be fixed at 43mm focal length (86mm on FF 35mm camera).
For lunch, I had a garden salad AND a fruit salad. Why not – I was on vacation!
Put the lens back into normal mode and took a photo of the view I had while I had eaten my lunch.
Yes, we were out of the desert now, and into the southern extent of the Rocky Mountains.
One more photo, back in macro mode, before we left the café and headed on down the street on foot. The Image Stabilization of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is outstanding – this macro mode photo was taken while I hand held the camera (but I did have my elbows on the table).
This stretch of Sudderth Drive is loaded with little arts and crafts stores, restaurants, and other shopping opportunities. Barb wanted to wanded around in about half of them, and I was more than OK with that, as it gave me the opportunity to stroll along and photograph all sorts of interesting, quirky sorts of photos, like these fabric flowers.
Sometimes I would go into the shop with Barb, and sometimes I would just hang around outside.
After I took the above photo, I decided that it would be a good idea to put the circular polarizer onto the front of my lens. It remained on for all but the last two photos in this post.
We hadn’t gone more than 5 or 6 stores down the street before Barb said she needed to find a restroom. I suggested that we go into the pottery shop where we were at and ask them where we could find one. They showed her to the back of their shop, while I hung around up front and took a couple of photos of their colorful pottery mugs – which were predominantly lit by the overhead fluorescent lights, but also from both side from the sunlight coming in from both sides due to the front and back doors to the narrow shop being propped wide open. The Auto White Balance on the E-M5 camera did a great job.
After Barb returned, we stepped outside the front of the shop and one of the sales ladies seemed to latch onto us, and insisted in introducing us to one of their artists. He was perched up into the bed of a pick-up truck in the parking lot under the shade of the trees behind the shop, while he worked on his pottery. He we struck up a short little conversation with him – and then he noticed my silver and black Olympus OM-D E-M5, and commented that it had been a while since he had seen any tourists walking around with “a real camera”. As I raised it up to discuss it, he noticed the LCD on the back and instantly realized that it was not a film camera. I asked him if it would be OK to take his photo, and he very kindly agreed. He just went back to his work and I waited a few seconds before I took this photo.
OK, so now it was time to head on up the street.
We went into a very nice looking Irish Pub, named Grace o’Malley’s thinking it would be nice to kill some time and sit and have a beer (remember – we were on vacation!), but it was so busy with the Memorial Day crowd, that we decided we would come back later in the week. (We did and I am certain that I will create a post of the photos that we took inside.)
As we stood on the steps of Grace O’Malley’s these two real photographers saw me taking their photo, but since I didn’t have “a real camera” they ignored me as they walked on by.
Now this was really interesting! A few minutes ago an artist initial thought my camera was cool, and now these DSLR toting photogs effectively snubbed their noses at me once they saw my silver and black “toy camera”. For some reason this reverberated strongly with me – and I liked it!
We passed by some pretty corny art as we walked further up the street.
Since it was Memorial Day, lots of the stores had the American Flag on display outside their stores. While Barb went into a little shop known as Rebekah’s, I stopped to take a photo of their flag.
As I stood there, I noticed how the flag moved with the breeze, sometimes the sunlight was hitting the side of the flag that I was on (front light), like the photo above. However, what really caught my eye was how beautifully the flag seemed to glow when the sunlight hit the back side of the flag (back light). I waited and waited for it to occur again before I finally got a chance to take this photo.
As it turns out, Rebekah had been watching me from inside of her shop, and when I went inside to see what Barb was up to, Rebekah started talking to me about her flag. She had bought it from another vendor at a show she was selling items at in Las Vegas. Supposedly it would never get wrapped around to pole, due to the way it could rotate around the shaft. She asked me if I would send her a photo of her flag, and I said that I would, if she would write down her email address.
While Rebekah was writing on the back of one of her business cards, her sales helper asked if I would take her photo. Heck yes! Sharon jumped up onto the stool behind the counter and mentioned that it would be really cool to have their old –timey cash register behind her. I said “oh, of course”, but was much more interested in using the large window to my right to light the side of her face, and not have it blow out the highlights in the background. (There was also a large window to my left, but it was 10 feet away from Sharon.)
The lens was all the way out to 50mm. The exposure was 1/6 of a second @ f/6.3, ISO 200. The maximum aperture opening for this lens at 50m focal length is f/6.3, which is pretty “dark” and is what caused the slow shutter speed of 1/6 second. The in-camera Image Stabilization of the OM-D E-M5 is very, very good, but I am glad that I took two photos of Sharon. Both were hand-held. The first is noticeably blurry when viewed at 1:1, but this 2nd shot seems to be razor sharp to me.
Note: a few days later I did email Rebekah the photos of her flag, and also of Sharon.
Moving on down the street, I just continued photographing anything that looked interesting to me – and continued playing with the settings on my new camera. Some photos were of objects in the direct sun – because I had no other choice.
About this point, we had gone 7 or 8 blocks, and decided that it was time to turn around and head back toward the car. This would be on the “sunny side” of the street……
This colored necklace was taken through a storefront window. Fortunately I had put a circular polarizer on the front of the lens by this time. I am pretty sure that I put the lens into Macro Mode to take this photo.
I like colorful objects, and can’t resist photographing them.
Here we passed by Grace O’Malley’s Irish Pub. We’ll be B-A-C-K!
At this point I noticed that my “low battery” indicator was flashing on the back LCD monitor. I think that the camera uses a lot of battery power when you wear it around your neck, and the sensor that detects an object close to the electronic view finder (EVF). That would be my belly. A valuable lesson learned about how to use the OM-D E-M5 efficiently – turn it off when you don’t need it to be on.
We got into the car and drove further up Sudderth Drive than we had walked. We went to a wine store that our friends had recommended – a place called End of the Vine. While relaxing there, we did a tasting of 4 New Mexico wines. While vintner Steve Willmon poured our wines and visited with us, I changed the lens on my camera the 45mm f/1.8 and took this photo of Barb under some pretty funky lights. I did use the gray portion of my ColorChecker Passport to correct the white balance setting in Lightroom 4.1.
After putting the two bottles of wine that we had purchased into the ice chest in our CR-V, we still needed to kill another hour before we could arrive at the house that we were renting, so we walked through a few shops in the same area. I put the 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens back onto the camera.
While in one store, Barb found a very pretty little sun dress that she will be wearing to our niece’s wedding two weekends from now. While she was trying on dresses, I thought I’d take this photo of the decorations near the ceiling of the store, just to see how the Auto White Balance would perform under these strange spot lights.
It was now time to head to the house that we were going to spend 5 nights in, so we got into the car and headed on out.
I know that these photos are just “vacation snapshots”, but I was very pleased with the results that I was getting from a camera that I now had been out with for a total of only TWO times!