Essentially, my telephoto zoom is now my legs.

Exploring the on-board art filters in an Olympus Pen-F camera, using a 17mm prime lens, for landscape photography at Lower Laithe Reservoir near Haworth.

Playing with photography

Photography is a playful enterprise for me. In the past, I have enjoyed the post-production image processing element almost as much as the original capture. But if I have a new piece of photographic equipment, be it camera, lens, tripod or whatever, I’m like a kid in a candy store, exploring all its capabilities and quirks.

Here we have a photoshoot at Lower Laithe Reservoir, a short walk from my home in Haworth. It was taken with an Olympus Pen-F mirrorless camera, using the stock (but highly commendable) 17mm prime lens, and virtually no post-production at all other than a little extra contrast where required (and obviously the resizing and the addition of a watermark). The camera has some on-board art filtering options that I hope will mean less time spent fiddling in Lightroom or Photoshop and more time with my boots on.

Some of the colour filters seem a lot more punchy than the usual ‘vivid’ setting. In fact with one of the Pop Art modes engaged, the beautiful yet subdued winter colours of the Haworth moors appear to be drawn out nicely, without becoming as garish as the mode’s name suggests they would. Perhaps the same images taken in summer might be unbearably saturated.

I also played with some of the black and white modes. Film Grain mode didn’t seem to work so well in these vistas, but I will certainly try them later in an architectural or urban context. The monochromatic mode that delivered on this outing is called Dramatic Tone, and you can see from the gallery that some moody, almost angry, highly contrasted images resulted. Skies look incredible, but the foreground subjects are also treated to a great roar of detail and interest.

The Pen-F is fast becoming my go-to camera for out-and-about photography (I think they call it ‘shooting from the hip’). Remarkably, I’ve never used a prime lens before, so I’m also learning afresh how to frame shots. Essentially, my telephoto zoom is now my legs.

I can see how this might end up frustrating and limiting, especially in the pursuit of great wildlife photos. On the other hand, I found it quite liberating. It relieved me some of the burden of choice by compelling me to accept the frame in front of my face. It just requires a different mindset and the burning of a few extra calories, which can only be a good thing.