It doesn’t matter which camera you use

I was born in Poland in 1968, and when I was 20 years old, I left for Germany. I have been working as a graphic designer for over 20 years. I live in Germany in Leipzig. In the 90s, I bought an analogue Pentax MZ-50. I didn’t deal enough with the technical theory at that time, and nothing really came out of the attempts except family and holiday pictures.

In 2008 I bought an Olympus E-420 cheaply from a friend. I used the camera mainly for my job as a graphic designer. I used it to photograph packaging and products that I needed for my layouts. A couple of years later, I used the camera to photograph Jewellery that my girlfriend made.

In spring 2019, I felt the desire to take more specific photos. It might have become the new hobby after I stopped putting on records. I started watching videos of landscape photographers on YouTube. It took a couple of months, and I decided to give it a try.

I didn’t want to and couldn’t spend much money, so it turned out to be the Olympus OM-D E-M10 II. The kit lens was quickly replaced by an M.Zuiko 12-40mm ƒ2.8 PRO, and it is my most used lens. The quality is excellent. I also added an M.Zuiko 45mm ƒ1.8 (occasionally I photograph people) and an M.Zuiko 75-300mm ƒ4.8-6.7.

An ultra-wide-angle was also on my wish list, of course. An M.Zuiko 7-14mm ƒ2.8 PRO would be perfect, but I wanted to use ND and GND filters, which is complicated with that lens. It turned out to be the Laowa 7.5 mm ƒ2.0, a small and light manual lens with very good image quality.

The decision for an MFT system was ecological, but compactness and weight were also important to me. My subjects are photographed with a tripod, so I have no problems with ISO noise.

Since then, photography was planned on my outings, as I deliberately went to places and always in the morning or evening to take advantage of the good light. The light plays a crucial role for me.

he weather in the landscapes is also very important because I like dramatic clouds. Besides landscapes, I also like the blue hour in the cities to photograph architecture. I still try to photograph different things nowadays, and I don’t work on a portfolio with just one focus.

I can’t afford big trips abroad like Iceland, for example. I try not to find my spots too far from where I live or combine them with holidays. Sometimes I go to the mountains for a few days with a roof tent in the car and try to take a few pictures.

There are many lakes around the city of Leipzig, where I live, and I often go there to photograph the sunrise or sunset. Sometimes you get funny situations there. I found a place with water lilies, and to have them nicely in the foreground, I had to undress and go into the water almost up to my neck with the tripod. Luckily it was summer.

I use GoogleMaps, PhotoPills and the weather forecast maps to plan my photo trips. Sometimes I have my subject in mind and know that I want to shoot it with an ultra-wide angle, for example.

And when I’m on location, I sometimes realise that it’s worth photographing other subjects with a telephoto lens. It’s an advantage of the MFT system, to have everything with you without carrying a too-heavy backpack.

Depending on the light situation, I sometimes use the exposure bracket to save the sky from overexposure, for example, it is then put together in the image development to show the experienced mood and not the limitations of the sensor.

The human eye can distinguish over 20 f-stops, the best cameras about 14. I use GND filters at lakes or the sea to better expose the sky.

I develop my RAW files in Camera RAW in Photoshop. My 20 years as a graphic artist have certainly helped me to get good results quickly. I don’t use presets. Each image is developed separately and individually. The lighting situation is always different, that wouldn’t work with presets and wouldn’t meet my standards.

Pretty quickly, I found that I liked the portrait format. I rarely choose a landscape format, and maybe it’s because I approach composing like a poster and try to find my statement that way.

Milky Way photography also fascinates me a lot. Showing what you can’t easily see is magical. Unfortunately, there is a lot of light pollution in my area, and after a few attempts to gain experience, I went to the Swiss Alps in autumn 2020. The conditions there at 2300 metres were excellent, you could see it very well, even with your naked eyes.

My local photo dealer lent me the M.Zuiko 17mm ƒ1.2, plus I used a mechanical tracker (Omegon MiniTrack LX2). This enabled me to work with ISO 1600 (usual is 3200-6400) and to expose for 40 seconds. The foreground has to be exposed extra in that case, so it’s not blurry. It was my highlight of 2020. Many colleagues didn’t want to believe that I did it with the little Olympus.

On Instagram, where I publish the most, I’m often asked what camera I use. There are still a lot of people who are technophiles and believe that the camera takes the pictures.

In principle, it doesn’t matter which camera you use, and if the light, subject and composition are right, then good results will come out after the image processing. Seen in this way – the photographer makes the picture and not the camera.

"I was born in Poland in 1968, and when I was 20 years old, I left for Germany. I have been working as a graphic designer for over 20 years. I live in Germany in Leipzig."

6 Comments

  1. I see that you often use the 12-40 mm f2.8 PRO. Rightly one of the best lenses from Olympus.
    I myself have hesitated to buy this lens. But I finally opted for the 12-45 mm f4 PRO
    One stop less but the lighter weight of the f4 PRO has been the deciding factor for me.
    128 gr difference is a lot while travelling
    The high image stabilisation of my Olympus camera E5 Mark III also helps me to use this f4 PRO even at low shutter speed
    Greetings from Belgium
    Freddy Van Erp

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