Date Published 
Fri 18 Jun 2021

What should have been our prize presentation night was handed over to a couple of club members to entertain us. First Ron Brown showed us what he had been up to in the last year. Very much singing the praises of the Olympus E-M1 Mk II camera he explained the potential of it with tele-converters on long lenses. In some case its integral image stabilization abilities further enhanced by lens stabilisation to the extent that in one case he was able to benefit by as much as 7 stops.

He had been quite happy to use this sort of set-up to take macro hand held which all sounds counter intuitive but from the results clearly practical. One has to remember however Ron does tend to know what he is doing - I am not sure if I would get quite such good results but can certainly vouch for the camera and the idea as I too have got one. I tried to take some Intentional Camera Movement shots not long ago and this camera simply refused and got ever so cross with me for trying. Telling me in no uncertain terms to switch the stabilisation off if I wanted to attempt anything so silly. I believe a voice actually spoke to me! Clever these Olympus people.

He was pretty impressed with its photo stacking abilities and reported a lot of this work could also be done hand held. (My experience too). He showed us some smashing images even of moving birds but it was clear that as with all things, especially natural history, patience is a virtue and of course knowing where to go in the first place. To this end he was accompanied on some of his field trips to the Holt area of Norfolk by local David Tipling who was both good company and a great help in staking out locations and times. So much effort can be saved with a little advanced reconnoitring as we all know.

The other part of the evening was spent with our Chairman Terry who tried the near impossible. To explain some of the Photo Shop techniques he uses when ‘adjusting’ the backgrounds behind some of his successful images. Terry himself may have been frustrated that this proved more difficult than he had hoped despite the fact that he had been practicing over and over for same days. This was mostly because of the limitations and intrusions inherent with Zoom. However it was most enlightening to see that there were ways to get around those very intricate profiles like leaves on trees and hair and eyelashes on animals and remove annoying features in otherwise acceptable pictures. I am sure the majority of us were positively encouraged that even he has trouble at times! I would think that would encourage more to have a go than if he had made it look too easy. After all no one likes a smart a***.

There is plenty of potential for such evenings as this in the future if members are willing to experience the not inconsiderable stress of having to explain, in detail, operations in computer software in which they may think they have become conversant. Would be nice if we could eradicate the panel of faces – lovely though they all are – on the right, however that somewhat obscured much of the PS control panel for Terry. David Butler was obviously so helpful to Terry it might be an idea to ask him to try this idea next. In the mean time Ron drew such a large audience that perhaps we should book him officially as a speaker next year.

Dave Hipperson