Meghan McCabe – Olympus Ambassador from South Africa
Hello Meghan, thank you so much for all your availability for this interview! Would you like to start by introducing yourself to our readers?
Hellooo all my name is Meghan McCabe and I am a full-time photographer and videographer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. I initally specialized in Motorsport and absolutely loved the adrenaline that came with photographing the extreme action, but after spending 6 years in this field my passion started to change. From the smell of racing fuel to the open fresh air of the African bush, from burning tyres to tranquil scences, and I made my change from mainly Motorsport into more wildlife and portraiture. Through these years I became a brand ambassador for Thule, they supply me with my camera and travel bags, and Olympus South Africa.
Could you tell us about your decision to become a professional photographer and how your hobby became a full-time career?
When I started my photographic journey, I was a receptionist for a veterinarian, which fitted in well at that stage as I wanted to go into pet portraiture, but then I went to the racetrack and that all changed. As I got more and more into the Motorsport photography, I needed to travel more and more, this was becoming a bit of an issue with my work… sooo… I made a choice to jump into photography full time, it was nerve wrecking and daunting, but fortunately, I had incredible support from my mom and friends around me. Then the work really started, turning what most people view as a hobby into a career is not an easy task. Long hours, lots of work and an extreme amount of passion pushed me through it all.
What camera system did you use in the early years of your career, and what reasons led you to switch to Olympus?
I initally started off with Nikon and shot for many years on a Nikon D610 which was my workhorse through many gruelling conditions. I got the opportunity to test the Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II in 2017 and fell head over heels in love with the system. I had the camera and the 7-14mm, 12-40mm and 40-150mm PRO for about a month and tested it through all of the genres I am passionate about and it was incredible through them all. I switched brands for a few reasons – The lightweight and compactness of the gear, the in-body stabilization meaning I don’t need to cart a tripod with me, the image quality especially when shooting at high ISO and the in-view finder image review, that was a big one for me, allowing me to check exposure with ease.
Could you describe the camera and lenses setup you currently use?
2 x Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II
M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO
M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO
Among those listed above, which lens do you use the most and why?
I would definitely say the 40-150mm PRO. It is so sharp, lightweight to hold for long periods of time and creates a really gorgeous shallow depth of field for portraiture.
And to transport all that to any location, we understand that you have a favourite brand for camera bags. Could you tell us about it, for how long have you been using their products and what was your choice for a backpack?
I have been using Thule’s incredible range of bags for 6 years, and my goodness they are tough. I put my bags and camera gear through very tough situations including dust, mud and rain and the bags have been perfect through all of those. Last year just before heading to Chile for 3 months I got the Thule Covert 32L and this bag was beyond perfect for all the travelling. And then in Chile, it has a camera pod that is detachable and basically creates a sling bag which was perfect for when I was out exploring.
Currently, you focus on three main genres: Motorsport / Action Photography, Portraits and Wildlife, correct? Each having different requirements, how do you evaluate your camera system in terms of flexibility to adapt to the most diverse situations?
That is correct, opposites much lol. I will be completely honest this is something I never really think about as the camera just does. The other day I had a newborn shoot in the morning and a fire fighting demo in the evening, or some days I have a video shoot for The Bike show and then a portrait shoot. Through all the genre’s the camera is exactly what I need, I am never unsure from genre to genre if the camera gear will cope, it simply does.
What software did you choose to post-process your files? And could you briefly describe the backup workflow you use after an assignment?
So I use both Lightroom and Photoshop for all of my editing… and then this is where I get to sound like a true pro… I don’t have a back up system in place… I keep meaning to but… keep forgetting, all of my work is stored on external hard drives and fortunately, I have never had a single one fail… Hopefully, I won’t but I will definitely be looking into doing the right thing and having a back up system in place.
To conclude, as soon as the world around us regains certain normality, what event do you miss most making its photographic coverage?
Airshows, Covid hit just as we were meant to have a rather big international air show so I cannot wait to get back to capturing planes.
“Hellooo all my name is Meghan McCabe and I am a full-time photographer and videographer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. I initally specialized in Motorsport and absolutely loved the adrenaline that came with photographing the extreme action, but after spending 6 years in this field my passion started to change. From the smell of racing fuel to the open fresh air of the African bush, from burning tyres to tranquil scences, and I made my change from mainly Motorsport into more wildlife and portraiture. Through these years I became a brand ambassador for Thule, they supply me with my camera and travel bags, and Olympus South Africa.