Monday, 23 January 2023

Second Outing with the OM-1

OM-1, 40-150 f4 Pro

It took long enough, but I finally managed to get out and shooting last week after being essentially stuck around home since early November for various reasons.

I got a little greedy with my plans, intending to chase a sunrise and sunset as well as do some hiking. I got the sunrise and half the planned hiking before realizing I was too tired to continue without a nap, and was not properly equipped to be napping in the truck in the winter. 

I got up along Highway 522 before dawn and chased the sunrise from a little before Loring to Golden Valley, then some golden hour shots on 522 east then 534 until I made it to Callander mid-morning where I stopped for an easy hike of a decent distance, ~5km on the Cranberry Trail. After that I drove up to North Bay for lunch, then east to Corbeil and started south. Somewhere south of Corbeil I decided that the right choice was to head homewards rather than stopping and napping before another hike and/or a sunset attempt. I've simply been so inactive since the summer for various reasons that I need to build back up to these long days if I'm going to be hiking and trying for sunrise/sunset on the same trip.

Photographically, I came home with a ton of images, 951 to be exact. That is in large part because I encountered Chickadees and feeding stations on the Cranberry Trail and decided to try out a few OM-1 features I'd never played with, namely ProCapture, the SH2 drive mode and Bird Tracking AF.

ProCapture is a pre-shooting experience, it starts recording images when you half-press the shutter and writes the current buffer when you full press. This allows you to control the end of the burst instead of the beginning and therefore force a write the moment after the moment you wanted to capture, and still get the shot. It's also a guaranteed way to come home with a full card.

SH2 drive mode is the fastest full-AF/AE drive mode on the OM-1 (SH1 is twice as fast, but AF/AE lock on half-press). With my 40-150 f4, SH2 operates at 25fps, but it can go to 50fps with a supported lens. Between those two features, I managed to shoot around 700 shots alone. 

Bird Tracking AF is exactly what it sounds like, an automated subject recognition mode for birds. The OM-1 has several such modes, although confusingly eye detect AF for people is a completely different AF tracking mode. OMDS does need to sort out the control system for these modes, they're too time consuming to switch between unless you put them on a Custom menu slot. 

Being a newbie to bird photography I also made one big mistake, I left the camera in Aperture Priority mode, which meant my shutter speed stayed WAY too low for small, fast moving birds, at 1/320 vs the 1/2000 or so I actually needed. I have a bunch of nicely focused blurs from whenever the birds took off. I did figure out my mistake afterwards and now C4 on my mode dial is Bird mode. Maybe next time I'll get 700+ usable shots instead of a lot of motion blur.

In terms of landscape, I definitely did better, although my route wasn't as scenic as I'd hoped. Just a lot of tree-lined rural highway with a handful of really nice winter morning views. I'm pretty happy with what I came home with, but also want some more soon. Might have to go up east of Algonquin, I haven't done that in the winter in a couple years.


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