I am excited to share pics from my last week of travel. My wife and I celebrated our sixteenth year of marriage. This trip was a year in the making and really started to celebrate our fifteenth but that is how life sometimes goes. We were thankful though that we could make this trip work. We sent our kids to grandmas in Colorado and we went west to Seattle and the greater Seattle area.

For this trip my main point to consider was no checked bags, simplicity and lightweight. I also needed some reach given we were going whale watching out of Anacortes, Washington. My kit consisted for the entire trip consisted of an OMD EM5ii, the 7-14 f2.8 Pro, Panasonic 25mm f1.4, Olympus 45mm f1.8 and the 40-150 f2.8 pro. I also brought the 1.4 teleconverter to get that extra reach for the whale watch portion of the trip.  

That entire kit along with an extra battery and SD card fit in one small messenger style bag. Just what I wanted. Many times I left with just the camera and a single lens attached. All in all, it was perfect. I shot everything RAW but while traveling I often converted some files in camera to JPEG and transferred them to my phone so I could share socially and with family.  Many of the shots are typical tourist shots. I tried to take images of the common tourist photos that were different or at least interesting. 

I did run into a couple of issues and wish I had made a couple of different choices in my kit.  First, I just miss my old EM1. The speed, controls and the buffer depth are what I expect in a camera. While whale watching, I often hit the buffer depth and given our experience of only seeing 1 whale in 6 hours I needed the camera to perform. I got the shot, but it was frustrating. The EM5ii is also much slower to turn on and be ready to shoot. My last issue was a bug in the wifi where the camera would not turn off and it would lock in the wifi transfer mode. This was true even if I disconnected from the phone and used the menu button to exit. Nothing worked except removing the battery and starting over. One time, the camera stuck in wifi and restarted in wifi even after removing the battery. Given my experience, the EM5ii is out and I will be replacing it with an EM1. Period. I love and miss that camera like no other. 

The rest of the kit was dialed. I only used the 45mm f1.8 once and it was on a day hike where I brought only the 7-14 and the 45. What a light and capable combo.

So to kick this off, I will share just a few of my absolute favorite photos from the trip along with a bit of dialogue about them. I'll then finish with a gallery of about 40 images, my largest shared image dump on Oly All the Time ever!   Hope you enjoy. 

This is from the Chihuly Glass Gardens. This was no doubt my personal favorite spot we hit while in the city. Simply beautiful and incredible. That is my wife looking up. The sun had just come out and was lighting up the glass flowers. I wish I had brought my little flash to just pop a little more light, but regardless, it is still one of my favorite shots from the trip.

This is shot with the 7-14 walking down from Wallace Falls. I love images that make you look and keep you engaged. This one has it all for me. Depth. A path downward. Motion. Natural framing. I just love it. 

This is Deception Pass on Whidbey Island. This is quite possibly one of the largest tourist destinations in the Pacific Northwest. The bridge has been photographed in so many ways yet most of the photos I have seen don't show the fun had on the beaches below the iconic bridge. My wife and I found a natural teeter totter formed from washed up logs and had some fun.  Travel is about fun isn't it? 

One of the must do things in Seattle is walk down Post Alley and through the Gum Wall. I shot down below as well as it really is something grotesquely awesome to see, but my favorite shot is this one from above shot through the skyway window above. 

A walk in the woods. I saw this shot and told my wife to go walk ahead. I wanted to shoot through the trees and intentionally center weighted this shot. It is my only shot from the Olympus 45mm f1.8 and I was glad I had it to get some depth and some subject isolation along with just a hint of compression. I think this shot really represents hiking in many parts of the Pacific Northwest, total beauty among giants in the forest.

My final shot here with a bit of story is the hump back whale. We went out on a tour that lasted over six hours. Much of the trip was in heavy fog. It was windy and cold. We couldn't see very far so it was hard to spot wildlife. This whale came up 3 times all around our boat and I was able to grab shots in 2 of those three situations. It was incredible. The guy next to me was shooting a Canon 7D mark ii and was having focus issues with the fog. Not my little Oly EM5ii with 40-150 and 1.4 TC.  6 hours for 1 whale sighting and two sequences of surfacing and fluking. I got the shots I wanted though and I am both thankful and stoked. 

Honestly, I could go on and on about each and every photo. I'm just going to put up the gallery. If you have questions about any of the shots, leave me a comment or shoot me anemail at GNAT at LIVE dot COM.  Happy to respond. 


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