GM1 + PL15mm – stitched panorama
As is the case for me every Fall, life found me traversing the blue marble for work. This year was a little different in that Mrs Squeeze was able to accompany me. Our two not so little any more offspring spent the time being doted on by their grandparents, which enabled momma and dada to do some partying.
Full disclosure, by “partying” what I really mean to say is sleeping, maybe eating a meal in one sitting and generally being able to drink a glass of wine or beer before 8pm, and let me tell you dear friends, we partied.
GM1 + PL15 – 6 second exposure
My real job requires a trip to Amsterdam each year to attend the largest marine industry trade show on the planet which normally occupies me for a solid 4 days of meetings, dinners and more meetings. That, combined with the jet lag from covering 8 time zones doesn’t stop me from getting up early to wander the streets. A time often reserved for municipal workers or delivery drivers, this has become my favorite time to shoot whenever I travel and allows me to see a place without the hordes of commuters or tourists.
GM1 + PL15mm – 4 second exposure
GM1 + PL15mm – 60 second exposure
GM1 + Voigtländer 42.5mm – 13 second exposure
GM1 + Voigtländer 42.5mm
GM1 + Rokinon Fisheye – 30 second exposure
This year found me toting around my new Voigtländer 42mm f/0.95 Nokton micro 4/3 system lens on the GX7, and the Pana/Leica 15mm f/1.7 Summilux on the GM1. Just because I didn’t want it feeling lonely, I also brought along the old trusty GF1 with the Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye. These three cameras and lenses easily fit in my converted shoulder bag and weighed no more than my old full frame with my 35/1.4 on it. It actually still amazes me how much weight I’ve lost in my bag every time I travel.
I know I’ve not even introduced the Voigt Nokton on the blog yet, but just know there is a review post in the works. I also have been working long and hard on a comparison between the PL15mm and the two Lumix pancake lenses as well, so stay tuned.
With a few days to ourselves, we chose to take the train down to Bruges for a nice, quiet overnighter.
GX7 + PL15mm
When I have time while traveling, I tend to employ a variety of techniques. I’m not one for a unified style which can certainly be a detriment to a photographer establishing a brand, but being a bit of an explorer by nature, I tend to become fascinated with many different approaches within the photographic spectrum of technique.
In the early morning, I tend to see much of what I shoot being complimented by long exposures. Because there is less traffic and distraction, I can use a tripod without getting in the way, even times in the middle of the street. Setting a self timer, and adjusting exposure to allow for a 30 second or longer exposure, I just wait for elements to align and fire. It also helps if you find a coffee shop that opens early as you tend to have some nice wait time to relax and absorb your surroundings.
GM1 + PL15mm – 6 second exposure
GM1 + PL15mm – 5 second exposure
By getting up early, I can satisfy my photographic cravings without asking Mrs Squeeze to constantly wait for me throughout the day as we explore. While I love taking pictures, if I’m honest, it would be a huge pain in the ass traveling with someone so focused on taking images, they ignored their company while they constantly had to wait. I have been that guy, and we saw quite a few of those guys (and significant others rolling their eyes as they stopped to get yet another shot). Having the phone cameras handy also helped for the passing shot. The other thing that worked well for us this time around was forcing a camera onto Mrs Squeeze. I’ve become good at the casual vacation wandering shot so as not to hold up our journey, and I found myself actually waiting on the Mrs more often than the other way around which made me feel much better about stoping every once in a while to get a shot. She did love the GM1 and PL15mm combo (as did I going by many of these shots). Small, light, discreet and intuitive. If I can get her to provide me with the proper releases and usage agreement, perhaps I can show some of her awesome shots here as well 🙂
GX7 + Voigtländer 42.5mm
Balancing my time photographing my trip, and enjoying the time we had in these beautiful places together was easy to do by finding time to get out and shoot on my own. The light in the early morning or late evening is most always more interesting anyway which gave us time to meander together between without me constantly looking to capture something in an attempt to encapsulate our trip for posterity and memory while not being quite as present while making said memories… See, I have learned from my past experience, so please remind my lovely wife of this if ever you meet her.
So, the gear? I’ve been a big fan of the micro 4/3 system and this trip showed me again why my choice to slim down the camera bag while traveling was such a good one for me. Not having a sore neck and back every night, to me is reason enough. The Voigt and the Leica lenses were (are) awesome, and while I do wish I had a slightly wider (non fisheye) prime for some of my urban landscapes, I found that shooting in portrait orientation on my trusty little travel tripod, and stitching together made up for it in the situations where I had the time to do that, plus it has given me a few nice, really large panorama shots.
Here’s the gear I shot with, along with an article from the past with some shooting and stitching techniques for those interested in panorama shooting. You can click the links to see these at B&H.
Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye (currently $249)
Leica 15mm f/1.7 Summilux ASPH (currently $597)
Voigtländer Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 (currently $999)
Slik Sprint Mini II (currently $80 w/head)
Sirui C-10 compact Ball Head (currently $80, but has been a great upgrade for me)
If you want to see my approach to shooting and stitching large panoramas, you can follow along in this post.
The GM1, as has been said more than once here on this blog, was a wonderful travel camera. It was small enough to throw in the coat pocket while out and about. It handled really well on the tripod, and of course, the IQ is very solid. The RAW files do really well in post, and provide me with all I need for my travel shooting needs. It normally had the PL15mm on it, while as mentioned the GX7 pulled the heavier Voigt duty. All in all, a great one two punch for me. I really enjoyed shooting with both setups throughout the trip.
GM1 + PL15mm
As you may know through previous years, I love visiting Amsterdam. It is a home away from home for me. It was our first time not just passing through Belgium on a train, and Bruges was a wonderful destination for us. A medieval city with a fascinating history of its own, it felt, to us as decently traveled yet culturally stunted Americans to be a blending of the canals of Amsterdam and Venice with the storybook architecture of Prague. Oddly, the weather seemed just like home in Portland, so we were well prepared on that front.
Thank you for the read, and as always, I’d love to answer any questions. As mentioned, some more in depth review posts are in the works for the lenses. Find me on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, or add your email at the top right to stay posted.
Happy holidays to all, and happy shooting!