Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human

Posts tagged “Birds

Olympus 40-150mm Lens

As I said, the Olympus 40-150mm is one of the two lenses for m4/3 that I decided to get for my birthday.

It is to provide a telephoto lens for my OM-D and since the lens is cheap (as far as lenses go), I decided to get it.  I’ll probably get the 75-300mm II in the future when it becomes available (the version I is really expensive for what it is).

As in my previous post, I said that the lens is almost the same as the 12-50mm kit lens but it is not of the same build quality (same asthetics but the quality is obviously not the same.  They are almost of the same height but the 40-150mm is a little fatter and lighter.  Also, the 12-50mm has internal zoom compared to the 40-150mm which almost doubles in length when zoomed (see picture on the left).

I didn’t have high hopes for this lens due to price and build quality.  When I took it to the province during the holy week, I made some test shots of birds on an electric post just beside our house.

I was extremely surprised.

Just look at the two pictures below:

Olympus 40-150m @150mm, full shot (cropped to 3:2) in the left and an extreme crop (right).

I was taken aback by the extremely high levels of purple fringing!  Even in the 3 inch display of the OM-D, I could tell that there is a high amount of the fringing.  To be fair, the scene is of extremely high contrast and I needed to apply +3 or higher exposure compensation.  This was also shot at the extreme telephoto side of 150mm (300mm equivalent).  Zoomed in, it appears like a purple marker was used to trace the outlines of the bird and the post.

But, for the price and the size and weight, it provides a good telephoto lens since it resolved details well enough that most of the texture of the post wood is visible (no such luck on the fine details of the bird feathers but consider that this is at 150mm and most lenses do not perform well at the long end of their zooms.

Also, the pictures cleans up nicely in post processing but the contrast and details of the areas affected by the fringing is noticeably lower than those areas not affected.  See the electric wire below, in area located in the electric post, contrast and details is good but in area outside of it (the ones directly against the background, the contrast and details are much much lower).  Also, when shot at camera-metered exposure, the fringing is less noticeable but of course this only resulted in a silhouette.  Pushing the shadows to reveal detail shows the chromatic aberration just as much as when the shot is exposed for the shadows.

Left: Post-processed image to remove purple fringing. Shot at 150mm and cropped to about 50% of total image area. Contrast, clarity and details enhanced in Lightroom.
Right: Camera-metered exposure with less fringing but due to extreme difference in luminance between subject and background, this resulted in a silhouette.

I also tried using the lens in shooting action (wakeboarders going towards or away from me) and sadly, it could not keep up.  Probably this is my fault since I did not change the focus drive to continuous (used default single shot) but I do not have great expecations for this as probably the contrast detect AF will not manage as well as DSLR’s phase detect.  I must give it more tries though.

For the price, it is a good and usable lens and I’m excited to use it this weekend when we visit again Lake Mapanuepe again.


Some More of Vigan

Last February, my family and I visited Vigan.  My second time there and their first.  Here are some of the pictures taken there.

Clay Jars

Taken in the pottery business in Vigan.  These are jars made in the barn and are just stored outside.  I love the light falling on the jars and the way the jars are arranged (or not arranged).  [Olympus OM-D + 12-50mm]

Portrait of a Tiger

This was taken in Gov. Chavit Singson’s Baluarte.  He is the most famous tiger there (I think named Romy or something).  When it was still a tiger cub, visitors can have their photo taken while nursing the tiger cub (with milk).  When we visited, he is the only tiger not in a cage (but with thick metal chains).  [Canon 7D + Tamron 70-300mm VC].


Taken again in Singson’s Baluarte.  Maya is a common bird here in the Philippines.  The tree is beside an orange wall (part of a structure) and the orange wall provides a nice background (blends well with the color of the birds).  [Canon 7D + Tamron 70-300mm VC].

Singson’s Baluarte has a butterfly enclosure and this is one of those butterflies.  Shot with the Canon 7D and Tamron 70-300mm VC (love this lens as it can do close ups with a long working distance – will never beat the 100mm macro though).

My beautiful niece and my father.

Both of these pictures were taken inside the Sy Quia mansion – a must-visit site in Vigan.  It displays the grandeur of a rich life during our colonial past.  My niece was imitating one of the statues/sculpture in the house.  The shot of my father is taken inside the house’s  dining room.  The large open windows, color of the walls and wood and the reflected light from the red roof beside the house (outside the windows) provides beautiful light for taking portraits.  [Olympus OM-D + 12-50mm].

My brother and his youngest some * Looking at souvenir items.

My youngest nephew seems to have changed from last year.  Last year, he was the one who was always in front of the camera smiling and making cute poses.  Now, he’s the one holding a camera (an Olympus bridge camera) and is not too keen on being photographed.  Calle Crisologo is the main attraction of Vigan – a street full of old houses, most of which are now stores selling souvenirs (the lower part of the houses as old houses use the lower floor for storage or a garage).  [Olympus OM-D + 12-50mm].

Family Picture.

Yes we have a souvenir uniform tshirt which we wore on our second day there.  My two older nephews did not come with us.  I’ve also gained a lot of weight in a span of a year (I’m the fat guy in the left).  [Olympus OM-D + 12-50mm].

Random Photos: Brown Seabirds

Some brown birds in Cagbalete Island.  Shot with a Canon 7D and Tamron 70-300mm VC at 300mm and then cropped.  For shooting birds, you really can never have too long a lens.  The birds would fly away whenever I get closer.

White Bird in Calaguas

This is one of the migratory bird in Calaguas. The bird is on top of a cow or a carabao and the blue foliage makes the picture very busy and the green foliage takes away focus from the bird.  I converted the picture to black and white using a blue high contrast filter which basically blackened the green leaves and made the bird stand out.

Same bird but this time in flight.  Not a very easy picture to take.  My limited experience with shooting birds in flight makes me admire more those who take wonderful shot of bird photographers.  Tracking a bird with a 300mm lens is not easy and most bird photographers shoot with 600mm or longer.  Granted they’re using lens with better and faster focus but just getting the bird in the lens’ sight is hard, what’s more tracking it.  Image stabilization (vibration compensation on my Tamron) really helps – a lot.  Anyway, I need more practice and a more bird abundant location.

Random Photos: The Crows of Borawan

These are photos of crows in Borawan Beach, Pagbilao, Quezon. One is probably injured before and one is fine.

Photowalk: Paco Park (Before Fort Santiago)

April 22, 2012

Last Sunday, we went on a Manila daytrip.  The original plan only includes Paco Park (a place I’ve wanted to visit for quite sometime) then lunch at Binondo.  We met in Jollibee Times Plaza in UN Ave. cor. Taft [though one doesn’t know how to follow directions 🙂 ].

One of the gates in Paco Park (above).

Tiny behind the circular chapel (left).

Tiny, Jason and Oyet in front of the gate to the inner circle (right).

Tiny, pretty woman walking down the cemetery (left).

Friends who attended the Sunday mass inside the small chapel (right).


Paco Park is an old municipal cemetery during the Spanish colonial period.  It consists of two circular walls and two or three adjoining smaller circles/half-circles.  The dead were buried inside the walls (niches) one on top of another.  However, all remains were removed from their tombs and placed somewhere.  Jose Rizal, Philippines national hero, was briefly and secretly buried here before being moved to another location.  Padre Burgos, Gomez and Zamora (three Filipino priests martyred during the Spanish times) were also buried here.  There is also a small circular fountain in the middle (probably a later addition to the place).

Right now, the cemetery is now a park that is popular venue for weddings.  (When we went there, there were preparations for a wedding that afternoon).

A dead leaf on one of the stairs going up the wall (left).

White leaves on a tree with a caterpillar (right).

Flowers of a tree (above and below).

In terms of photographic subject, there aren’t many except for the place, some plants and white doves (probably from weddings).  I guess the place will be an ideal place for a prenuptial photoshoot (if the couple wouldn’t mind the slightly morbid theme).

White doves at rest and in motion.

This is the first time I tried to capture several shots of bird in motion and upclose.  Though my camera body can keep up with autofocus (I think 7D will do), the lens attached (18-135mm kit lens) cannot keep with birds in flight, hence, most of flight shots were blurry.

After we got tired of Paco Park, we then rode a taxi to Binondo to eat lunch.

(to be continued in part 2).

Random Photo: Bird, Embracing CA

Canon 7D with 100mm Macro (cropped).

This shot was taken during our photowalk last Sunday in the Chinese Gardens in Luneta (Rizal Park).  100mm is not long enough for birding (the image is heavily cropped) and the extreme backlight meant I had to use spot metering for the bird.  This resulted in chromatic aberration (CA) on the branches so instead of removing it, I decided to embrace and enhance the CA.

Random Photo: Parrot at the Zoo


Shot with Canon 60D and 100mm macro. This shot was taken during my first photowalk in the Manila Zoo.

Note: At first I was afraid that my free storage quota of 3gb would soon run out but my friend taught me a simple trick of editing in HTML and using my facebook account as image source. I can now share more photos without fear of running out of space.

Random Photo: White Bird in Cagbalete


Shot with Canon 7d and 100mm macro then cropped. A stork, heron or egret in Cagbalete Island. I don’t have a telephoto lens yet so I make do with a 100mm macro then cropping the pic (this picture is about 30% of the whole picture).