Photo Blogging Challenge – Different Gear (June 2017)

The challenge this month? Step away from your favourite camera/lens and work with something different for the month – maybe a rental lens, a film camera, some glass that’s been buried deep in your camera bag for a while, gear-swap with a friend or another change that gets you thinking more than usual.

Since June is the start of wildflower season in Alberta, my first thought was to dig into my camera bag and pull out the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro Lens that I added to my kit back in 2012. To make sure this was a significant change, I checked some numbers. I used the 60mm* for more than 10% of my 2013 images and for about 5% of the photos I shot each year from 2014 through 2016. But in 2017 I’d used it just twice – one day in April and another in May. So yes, my photos for the June PBC would all be made with the 60mm prime. And yes, my primary subject was wild flowers!

1. Galearis rotundifolia

The small, round-leaved orchid is one of three types of orchids we’ve seen in and around Canmore, most frequently along the Riverside Trail. This month, I found a patch growing about 50 meters equidistant from the Bow River and Three Sisters Creek. It was nicely shaded by the mixed forest, which explains the beautiful, even light. Each stem can have up to 18 flowers; I opted to focus on the one nearest the trail, which had 5 open flowers and three buds. This image shows off how the lens creates lovely, soft bokeh.


2. Tachycineta bicolor

Would have preferred a longer reach, but as the saying goes – the best camera/lens is whatever you have with you! While out in search of wildflowers, I walked a long fence line which has a wooden bird house attached to every second or third post. Many were occupied by tree swallows; they didn’t seem especially perturbed by my presence. Mount Lady MacDonald is across the valley.


3. Aquilegia brevista

Photos of Columbine blossoms typically show the front of the flower or a side profile. Given the sun angle/time of day it made more sense to go with the more unusual, rear view perspective, which I think highlights how Columbine flowers are extremely 3-dimensional (similar to wild orchids) vs. more two-dimensional flowers like the Alberta wild rose, wild blue flax, fleabanes, etc.


4. Red and Green

Next time I walk past the neighbour’s yard in Canmore, I will take a closer look at this evergreen shrub that was sprouting it’s 2017 growth in early June. It struck me at the time that it looks more Christmas-y in June than it does in December!


5. Do You Eat the Red Ones Last?

I set this one up as one of several possible entries for the Beakerhead Photo Crew monthly photo challenge; June’s theme was Canadian Food, and I opted to do something with red Smarties: red because the Canadian flag is red and white and Smarties because Smarties in Canada are not the same as Smarties in the United States. Smarties in Canada are more like M&Ms, except the candy coating does melt in your hand and there’s no risk of cross-contamination with almonds or peanuts. In the end, I went with a different red Smartie photo for the Beakerhead Photo Crew competition, but this was a close second.


That’s it! Time to switch back to my daily carry lens – the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f4.0 IS PRO. But the 60mm prime is not going back into the bottom corner of my camera gear storage bag. I’d like to get back to using it at least a few days each month, so for the rest of the year, it’s going to be in my day pack.

To discover what gear took other participants out of their comfort zone, check the link-up over at A ‘lil Hoohaa.


Thanks PJ, for continuing to host the monthly photo blogging challenge, which I treat like a photo assignment. The one-month time frame makes it a low stress motivator to keep improving my photography skills. New participants are welcome any time, so please join us! The July theme will be posted at a ‘lil Hoohaa tomorrow.

* For those of you shooting Canon or Nikon DSLRs, that’s equivalent to a 120mm.

7 thoughts on “Photo Blogging Challenge – Different Gear (June 2017)

  1. What a great and sharp lens. I think my next purchase, eventually, is a macro lens. I have a goal of taking a photo of every geocoin and pathtag in my collection and turning it into a coffee table book. So a good macro lens is going to be a must! Great images for this month!

  2. Pingback: PBC – July 2017 – Point of View | Lightwalkers Blog

  3. Lovely selection. It is fun to play with a different lens. I am glad you will be using this one more often. The Columbine is a beauty. You are right, it is nice to see it from the backside. The happy face red smarties photo is very creative. It demonstrates your skill and your ingenuity. Of course, it is my favourite. In love and light Cheryle

  4. cmiked

    Lovely! Primes are always fun and can really make you bust out of the box in your vision. The smarties photo is super clever. I’ll have to try that some time.

  5. Fantastic photos! I like the results with your Olympus 60mm lens..espeacially the flowers. The composition of including the fencing in youir bird image really adds more to your photo. The including the environment even when it’s man made and not nature gives the image more of a story and adds more interest for the viewer.

  6. Oh wow. A macro lens was aways one of those coveted lenses I never had with my SLR. And your photos are exactly why! Your macro shots are stunning. And, wildflower season in Alberta is gorgeous! xo

  7. OK, so the flowers are pretty and all, but I’m sorry, my favourite are the Smarties! So adorable. Happy Canada Day, I understand you are celebrating 150 years; make it a fabulous party this weekend!

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