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When Photographer and Camera Become One

Picture by Derrick Story

I had a magical experience in Las Vegas last week. No, it wasn’t winning at the black jack table or seeing a great show. My moment was photography related.

I was street shooting on The Strip when I noticed that I was working my OM-D without even realizing the adjustments I had made. If I needed more exposure, I rotated the knurled ring that surrounded the shutter button. If I wanted to shoot an HDR, I moved my index finger to a button on the top deck, then fired off three frames. It was all so natural.

This experience of falling into the zone, those moments when I only think about the composition in the viewfinder, happen when I’m throughly comfortable with the camera. The OM-Ds facilitate this because they are highly programmable.

In my case, the Fn2 button activates the 2X digital zoom, the record button is set for monotone capture, Fn1 is for keystone compensation, and the depth of field button has been reprogrammed to enable manual focus. I can make all of these changes, and more, without ever removing my eye from the viewfinder.

My evening walks are like this sometimes. I travel the same route every night, through a quiet neighborhood in Santa Rosa, CA. Every now and then, I look up, and I’m already back home. I had completed my journey without even noticing that I went down this street and looped back up another. It was like my body just knew what to do.


This works because I’m so familiar with the route. And that’s what’s happening with my camera too. Because the OM-D is so customizable, I can conform it exactly to my shooting style.

The only catch is, although the Olympus menu system is powerful, it’s not exactly intuitive. Anyone new to OM-Ds will back me up on this. Fortunately, help is available.

Darrell Young and James Johnson’s book, Mastering the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is precisely the guide we need to configure our camera – 528 pages of insights and instructions. It’s like having your own Olympus engineer right there beside you.

Once you have your OM-D customized for your tastes, the process of melding with it becomes natural. And soon, you may find yourself in the enviable position of becoming one with your camera.

Oh, and just one other thing… whether you’re taking street photos or going for an evening stroll, stay safely on the sidewalk while you’re in the zone. Pavement and enlightenment are not always a good mix.

Derrick Story is the photography evangelist for Rocky Nook Publishing.

2 Responses to When Photographer and Camera Become One

  1. Lydia Weber - Reply

    August 26, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Please put me on the list. I just purchased the OMD Mark II. I have found that the camera is slow to start up and focus the first time after being turned on.

  2. Luis - Reply

    October 17, 2015 at 12:19 am

    Insightful, Inspirational Dean,Your blog encouraged me to self-publish my debut novel this past weneekd. Thank you. I already feel empowered. This morning, I bought your second edition of Think Like a Publisher, eager to get past Chapter Four available here. I was not disappointed! You broke down the sales process with ease and took out the mystery of how I can get traction. Thanks. I want to bounce my production schedule off you:I have 3 novels of my coming-of-age series ready. My 4th novel is in an extended outline form (about 40 pages). This is the novel that rocked the big six publisher and why I was offered the series deal which I rejected. I did my own temporary cover for the first novel, Loved In Pieces, but I don’t want it for the series. I want the 4 novels to have a similar look and feel, even though they cross genres. Book one is coming-of-age/teen romance. Books 2 and 3 are women’s contemporary fiction. Book 4 is mystery with romantic elements. I contracted out the cover designs/photography and will re-release Loved In Pieces in December (book 1 is only on Amazon POD and Kindle) with the new cover when I release Book 2 in December. I figured I’d get Loved In Pieces out to Smashwords, Pubit, etc. in December, and follow a three-month launch program for the first 3 novels. This gives me until January to finish writing the forth book, Reclamation. Jan-April for editing. May for copyediting. June 1 for launch. Yes?

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