I spent 5 days in Poland with one of those in Warsaw and the rest in Łódź. For Americans, you can poorly pronounce the city as wooej. My company has an office here and there were meetings to be had. First of all, Poland is an inexpensive country to visit, not much to do or see if you’re a beer lover but a lot to take in if you have any interest in the 20th century history of Europe specifically World War 1 & 2 and the cold war along with the super power of Communist Russia. Everything about this area feels like you’re back in time.
Unfortunately, work was 8AM to 7PM almost daily with after work dinners planned so the time I was able to actually go out and photograph was extremely thin. I spent in total 3 hours by myself roaming around and the weather was 35F, I didn’t see the sun at any time as it was low-level overcast, clouds and fog with bursts of rain most of the time.
It reminds me of winter in San Francisco but the sun never comes out. I’ll probably come back but not any time soon so that’s why taking as many photos as I could was so valuable.
Here are a few of my favorites and as always, the rest are on Flickr.
View from my Hotel room, DoubleTree Hilton. An active nuclear plant in the background
Breakfast at the hotel, runny eggs pickles, cottage cheese, salty ham and sausage.
Bikes are not as common here as in western Europe but still there are dedicated lanes.
The Soviet style buildings are literally everywhere. Beautiful but also cold.
View of the massive public works project for a city center, train station, bus depot and museums.
There are hundreds of abandoned textile factories with overgrowth of vegetation
Beats, Potato, Mayo and Pickled Herring
Making soup with Ham, Pickles, Sauerkraut and other veggies
Meatballs (made by yours truly), very fatty beef with bread crumbs, picked and various cheeses
Our team had an outing and found this awesome mural.
Aside from the fact McDonalds is everywhere, you have to really love Fish, Beets, pickled veggies and Pilsener beer to like this country. Most fish is pickled or heavily salted. Fish Pate is everywhere. Most of the sandwiches are very cheap in ingredients with bologna and maybe some cured ham. I enjoyed eating the food but my body did not
It was a fun place to visit. I hope that next time I have a weekend to explore and some more sunshine.
I’ve taken close to 8,000 photos this year with the Olympus EM-1 since it’s arrival in February. I ordered a few lenses for it which were added to my previous collection of lenses (outlined in this post).
There are a few annoyances discovered after so much intimage use with a camera like this that you rarely pick up in a review. Without a lot of planning or notes, I’m documenting a few here and I believe most of these can be fixed via software updates. In fact, some of these issues were supposedly already fixed but are recurring almost daily.
The biggest annoyance comes with the AF (auto-focus) system. It is an issue with every single M43 lens. Scenario:
- Turn on camera
- Hold shutter half-way down
- …no auto-focus
- Take photo, no preview is shown of the photo (despite having 2 second previews enabled)
- Disable and re-enable AF, still no auto focus and then power cycle camera 3 times and eventually it works.
This issue occurrs once per day and usually I’m getting shots as I see them with no time to spare.
Second is a problem ocurring a few times which is an error on screen that my SD card is “Write Protected”. I usually confirm it’s not and the only fix is to enter the camera’s menu and format the card which of course leads to a deletion of photos so without a laptop present, I’m unable to save the photos already taken. I heard this is due to turning the camera off while wrting photos to the card. The EM-1 will remain on with off switch toggled while writing the SD card so it looks like a serious bug that needs to be resolved. This has only happened 4 times this year.
The Battery grip & using both batteries installed. I have the menu setting confirmed to use both of the batteries that are installed (one in the body and one in the battery grip). However, after a few hours of shooting, my camera reads low battery and turns off. I remove the battery grip and it shows full bars again. Basically, it’s using the grip battery and not the one in the battery. Not a big deal because the grip is mostly for comfort, not for long-life (I’d just carry 2 batteries if I didn’t want the extra grip). It’s just a minor annoyance.
UI Lattency and sluggishness. Boot time varies almost daily and changing settings on the fly rarely feel smooth and reliable. This should have been tweaked quite a bit for a product nearing 18 months old but it’s not and Olympus really needs to step it up and make the interface much faster.
Another note on Auto Focus. Yes, I can select the AF Point that I’d like to focus on or switch to manual focus but you’d assume AF would work fairly well nearly all of the time. Canon and Nikon nail this down very well. The EM-1 rarely focuses on faces and even when doing the classic…point directly at subject to focus then move to the right (for rule of thirds). Most often, it focuses on something not in the center and I have to delay my subject’s smile or pose to try AF a few more times before finally giving up and choosing the focus point via the D-pad. It takes a lot of time and I imagine if this was a sport photography situation, I’d miss a ton of opportunities for shots.
The camera takes fantastic photos and it’s very comfortable. The glass so far is high quality (from Olympus and Panasonic) but it seems that mostly it’s Olympus software that really needs a lot of work. If they can work out these bugs, the camera will be a joy to use. Fortunately, it’s only in high-stress situations that these problems cause an issue. If I’m out with a group taking many photographs and changing settings every minute, it counts quite a bit an failure rate seems to go up exponentially. Either way, it shouldn’t matter what situation I’m in. The camera should just work reliably all of the time. AF issues would make more sense if I was using non-standard lenses but these are Olympus made M43 lenses on an Olympus M43 body…in fact, this is the flagship Olympus M43 body. It should behave like one.
Imagine if Canon’s 1Dx had these issues. It would be catstrophic.
For the past 4 years, I’ve been to Belgium twice a year. It’s a wonderful country to visit. The amount of photos I take drops every time I visit but there was still a lot to capture.
Belgian Stew with Salad and Frite
At a beer tasting in Gent
After a year of bi-weekly rentals with Hertz, I reserved the cheapest car they had in Brussels but they gave me this instead.
We went to West Flanders and drove around in a beat field. The car was pretty filthy
The #1 Beer in the world in a Beer-Float
Steak dinner with Frite, Endives and great beer.
Great trip and only 5 days but I’ll be back next year. That much is certain.