Today marks my one year anniversary as a mu-43 member! It has been a little over a year since I bought the brand new Olympus OM-D E-M10, the first new camera I have owned a very long time. I had been using a 10 year old hand-me-down Canon DSLR, and when it lost the ability to autofocus, I knew it was time to buy a new one. This time I was determined to really learn all the features and capabilities of the new camera and to finally invest in better glass than a kit lens. In the course of my camera research I was introduced to the idea of mirrorless cameras and liked what I read. I explored the various types, and eventually settled on micro 4/3 when the E-M10 was announced and had all the features I wanted in a small size in the target price range, as well as a great lens lineup. If you had told me a year ago how many lenses I would purchase in the first year, I might have been scared off from getting started! On the other hand, I can honestly say that I have learned a great deal from every single lens I have purchased. There is a certain educational value to GAS for a newbie. I bought almost all my lenses used, refurb, or at least $100 off retail, so in most cases I can recoup most of my money if I decide to sell anything. Because my most photographed subject is my own garden, it is very easy for me to bring out my big camera bag that contains ALL my gear and use whichever lens suits the subject and situation at hand, so everything I have gets used. To say that my photography has improved in the past year due to a modern sensor/camera, good lenses and improving skills would be an understatement. I am still learning all the features of the camera, but I have come a long way. Last month I entered my first photo contest, the annual photo contest sponsored by my local gardening magazine, Washington Gardener. I figured it was a low risk place to start given my preferred subject matter. I found out a few weeks ago that three of the seventeen winning photographs were mine. They will be included in a photo exhibit at one of our local botanical gardens this summer. These were the photographs that were winners: Trumpet lily in bud, aerial view Two clematis Autumn light shadows and light on switchgrass after the rain Anyway, here are just a few of the many things I have learned…. The mu-43 community is wonderful, inspiring, and kind to newbies. I have learned a lot by shooting the same subject in my garden with different lenses, consecutively. It has helped me train my eye and understand perspective and composition much better. Blinkies and EVFs are GREAT for helping one learn how to control aperture and shutter speed manually IBIS is amazing and I don’t know how I lived without it There is a reason they call it the golden hour! I am no longer satisfied with a kit zoom. The Oly 14-42 EZ is the only lens I have had and sold. I did not need the extreme portability, so I sold it and put the proceeds toward my 12-40. I regret that it took me so long to try prime lenses. I literally gasped when I opened Lightroom and saw my first shots with the Oly 45. It was a lot like falling in love. There is a reason why good glass costs a lot. The Oly 12-40 was a yet another revelation. Enough said. There are bargains to be had in the Oly refurb store if you are patient The garden has been a wonderful subject for learning photography. I know its curves and angles and light and perspectives well, yet it is constantly changing. For most of the year there is always something interesting going on. My Oly 60mm macro lens has allowed me to see parts of plants and insects that I couldn’t even see with my own eyes. There is a whole world there I didn't know about. A monopod is a surprisingly useful thing (I use the MeFoto Road Trip tripod which converts to a monopod) Some of my photography goals for my next year with mu-43 include: experiment with some of the features of my E-M10 that I haven't tried yet, such as live bulb and live composite experiment more with slow shutter speeds and ND filters print and display my favorite photographs get more experience with low light conditions to learn the appropriate settings take more pictures of people, especially my teenager, when he will allow it - he’ll only be at home for a couple more years try to capture the flavor and personality of colleges we visit with our son, to help him remember the visits and what he liked about them Acquire a second body if I find a good deal - I will be shooting many public and private gardens this summer as part of an ongoing project with some gardening friends, and the extra body would be helpful Thanks to all of you for helping me find a photography home on the Internet! And special thanks to Amin for all he does. I have experience running forums and understand completely what an immense undertaking it must have been to switch us over to Xenforo. It is much appreciated.