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Kaua'i 2012 with OM-D

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by thinkcooper, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. thinkcooper

    thinkcooper Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2011
    Mrs. Thinkcooper and I are a few days into a two week stay on Kaua'i. First week we're Poipu, second in Princeville. Been absolutely loving the island. It's photo opp heaven. The OM-D has been outstanding. My primary lenses have been the 12-50 and the m.Zuiko 75-300, both are remarkable travel lenses. Was caught in a few deluges so far, no problems at all with the 12-50 mounted. The camera is muddy and dusty - my favorite look for it. My wife is playing with my EP-3 and digging it as well.

    Here's a link to a collection of sets on Flickr. I'll be uploading new sets over the next week and change. So far there are three decent sets broken down by day by day.

    Kaua'i 2012 Collection on Flickr

    Wailua River Valley

    Waimea Canyon

    Plumeria Lei on the lanai

    Crab cakes?

    Guardian of the beach

    Fern leaf spores

    Edible, not delectable?

    Nice spot for a jungle self portrait
    • Like Like x 13
  2. ptolemyx

    ptolemyx Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 19, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Great shots! My wife and I visited Kauai in December for the first time; loved the feel of the place & we can't wait to go back...

    Speaking of photo opportunities, the Na Pali coastline is something else. Make sure you get there! :) 
    • Like Like x 1
  3. thinkcooper

    thinkcooper Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2011
    We're doing a catamaran trip up the Napali from Princeville next week. Hiking down to one of the Napali overlooks from Waimea was epic. We also got a view of it from the south when we spent the day on Polihale beach.
  4. MattNQ

    MattNQ Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 31, 2012
    Thanks for sharing - a really nice set of images.
    Looks like the OMD & 12-50 is a great combo.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    +1 - A great set!
    • Like Like x 1
  6. thinkcooper

    thinkcooper Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2011
    Thank you! It's been a great surprise to see how practical the 12-50 is. I know my primes in the range old net some crispness, but being on hikes, at he beach or in the rain snt very conducive to swapping out glass. As well at many spots there relaly isn't much opportunity to step back or move in. Add to that a desire to get in close on subjects like birds or distant landform and the 75-300 really shines. With the DR from e OMD I can pull out details in shadows or push down overly bright skies. With the MacBook Pro and my xternal drive I can process first thing in the morning and upload during the day.
  7. thinkcooper

    thinkcooper Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2011
    Glad you like them so far.
  8. davidleetong

    davidleetong Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2012
    David from iPhotocourse.com
    Must've been a great trip! Thanks for sharing :) 
    • Like Like x 1
  9. spinyman

    spinyman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 19, 2010
    San Diego
    Great pics!
    You've probably already been to Anini beach, if not, go.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    • Like Like x 1
  11. thinkcooper

    thinkcooper Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2011
    A few updates - still several more days to go! :) 

    Tropicbird over Makawehi

    Hanalei taro fields

    Self portrait at sunset - Hideaways Beach

    Sunset - Hideaways Beach

    Since this trip was an alternative to being on playa for Burningman, we brought out own to burn


    Love that 300

    Cutest. Feet. Ever.

    300 plus villa in the tree canopy = win!

    Hanalei Bay, our villa is in the background

    Golden Hour - Hanalei School Garden

    Hanalei Bay sunset
    • Like Like x 7
  12. thinkcooper

    thinkcooper Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2011

    Sunset over Poipu's Baby Beach

    Moonrise over Poipu's Baby Beach (looking the other direction)
  13. thinkcooper

    thinkcooper Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2011
    Last round...

    Kalalau Trail - slicker than snot...

    ...with views worth every step

    boards in Hanalei

    last sunset


    fragant plumeria

    another turtle - love that 300 (cropped)
    • Like Like x 1
  14. jsusilo

    jsusilo Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2012
    Really impressive pictures, lots of good contrast, curious are you using any filter or post-processing in them? thx
    • Like Like x 1
  15. thinkcooper

    thinkcooper Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2011
    Thank you! Funny you should ask - I was going to post my workflow in a follow-up, but I'll do that in this reply instead... in short? Yes. A bit of both filtering and processing.

    Equipment edit:Again - all shot with an OMD, RAW. As for filters, I use a circular polarizer for some of the ocean close-up shots, like the sea turtles, or for cutting through distant haze on some landscapes, more often than not I don't use it though. It fingerprints pretty easy. That said. I love that polarizer. Also I shot almost exclusively with the 12-50. We got rained on daily, that lens is a charm for not fretting when on a hike or at the beach and it starts dumping. The m.Zuiko 75-300 is magical as well. With time to experiment, it was fantastic to swap the 300 on and see if details around me emerged worth capturing.

    I traveled with my MacBook Pro and a tiny USB3 external 2TB harddrive, with Lightroom 4.1 installed. Every day I'd copy over the camera's card onto the HD and sync the new images in Lightroom. To keep my images organized I use a folder structure that is Year/Month/Day set up like this: 2012/2012-09/2012-09-01/images from that day. It really helps when going back and chronicling the trip (my wife's project is to journal the details and my daily images help jog what we can't recall).

    My morning ritual continues with processing. I'm an early morning guy, so I generally get a two hour headstart on my wife. Perfect window to process. I go through the bulk of images and add the keepers to Lightroom's Quick Collection, then head over to the Develop tab.

    Once the processing is complete, I'll create a daily Flickr collection of everything in the Quick Collection and queue for upload while we are out playing. I also grab a subset of those good dailies for our Facebook Gallery - that had around 170 images total from the whole two weeks. Family and friends seemed to enjoy the daily upload and share our trip...

    As for processing, here's my workflow.

    First - I shoot full resolution 4:3 RAW exclusively. With the OMD I know I can pull at least a stop or two in either direction and correct white balance...

    ...and my philosophy? I want the images to look natural but as electrifying as they were when I was first motivated to capture them. But I want my colors to feel correct, unless I've decided to go artsy. In most cases I wanted the images from this trip to appear "natural".

    I'll look at the day's images and find one that seems to have good exposure with a good range from black in the shadows to white highlights. I set White Balance based on conditions - in Kaua'i it was mostly "Cloudy" setting. I leave Exposure as is, then pull down the Highlights and Whites and bump up the Shadows and Blacks until the image reveals all theimage's details in the outer ranges of dark and light. Then I bump up contrast slightly ~+8 to +10.

    Next I tweak the Presence settings by upping Clarity about the same amount as Contrast, perhaps a little higher if there is a lot of small details like leafy landscapes, then I'll increase Vibrance about half as much, and carefully start upping Saturation to resemble what I recall seeing when I first shot the image. I'll generally go a little further and back it down till it feels right, then see if going back up makes sense or looks too "pushed"

    Then I'll go down to the Noise Reduction controls and add an appropriate amount of Luminance reduction based on what ISO the image was shot at (for me +20 for 200 to +40 for 1600, higher settings - rarely- only if the image was shot in very dark places like inside a cave). I may add a little bit of Detail and Contrast noise reduction too... If I need to sharpen an image, I figure I failed when I captured it.

    Last step is to go in to Lens Corrections and toggle the Chromatic Aberration with a setting about half way +8.

    Then I right click on that starting image in the filmstrip display, Copy all Processing Settings and then select the whole range of photos from that Collection and Paste the settings on each one in bulk. That allows me to at least get into the approximate range for images shot that day, typically of a similar location under similar settings of light and color.

    Next step? I go through each image and further tweak settings individually based on that image's needs, starting with Exposure first, then Highlights, Shadows, etc., then adjusting the Presence. Next I move down to noise to see if that needs further adjustment. Generally it's pretty close unless the image required me to pull up the Shadows a lot. Also skintones take more careful attention to avoid getting smeared.

    Then if needed I'll tweak the individual image's Color if something weird was going on, like a deep night blue sky behind a tungsten lit interior. I'll saturate or desaturate a color depending on how the image feels...

    Last step? Crop and check horizon lines... I hate tilted horizons unless it's on purpose, but vacationing on the ocean gives lots of opps to fix that. :) 

    Once all the imags are processed, Lightroom automatically passes all he adjustments to all the images in my Facebook or Flickr collections. I start uploading to Facebook first - it's a smaller subset of images, and it reduces them so it's quicker to upload to, then when finished, I start uploading to Flickr.

    By this time I've also made coffee for my wife and I, we've had some breakfast, and we head out for the day. And my family and friends have had a day to comment and we get to have fun with responses.

    It was a blast to process and upload each days' shots on site. I encourage doing that - it is wonderful to come home and have nothing to do today but go to our local beach in Santa Cruz, followed by a bike ride in the redwoods...

    Here's an example of why shooting RAW is so critical... Pulled up shadow details, preserved the sunset and caught the moment.

    Why the 300 rules: just sitting around and these little crabs were dodging the surf.

    White balance nightmare that I feel "good" about, not great. Had to desaturate some orange and blues to bring them more in line.
  16. jsusilo

    jsusilo Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2012
    WOW, I did not expecting full report and detail step-by-step processing that was done, but the fact that you're kind enough to write up I'm thankful and really enjoy your approach. Its also tells me 12-50 with some work is a pretty good lens! Thanks for sharing ...
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Infinite

    Infinite Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 4, 2012
    Over the Rainbow
    These are great and I forget how versatile the 12-50 can be. Oops!
    • Like Like x 1
  18. David

    David Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 22, 2011
    lovely set. It really shows how good the OMD is.

    Sunset over Poipu's Baby Beach is my favourite.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. thinkcooper

    thinkcooper Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2011
    I had to clean my OMD and th 12-50 after the trip today. My tools? A damp cotton rag, damp soft toothbrush and a dry glass cleaning cloth. For the clear UV lens filters, a quick wash nd dry with a lens cloth. So practical.
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