When Photographer and Camera Become One August 18, 2015 – Posted in: Photography

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.