Collin J Örthner – Photographer

June 26, 2012

Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park

Filed under: E-M5, m4/3, Nature, Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm, Travel, Water — collin j örthner @ 12:49 am

Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park is a spectacular destination for anyone in south central Alberta. Driving along the highway towards the park, you would never suspect what you are about to see. The prairie drops off in front of you without warning! Gary Kuiken and myself headed out from Red Deer this morning at 3:55a.m. That is so early, but with sunrise at about 5;15a.m. and an hours drive to get there, we almost should just have just stayed up! It was extremely foggy to say the least and it slowed us down so that we arrived right at sunrise, except that there was no sun to be seen. We stopped at the look-out at the canyon’s edge only to look into a white cloud. There was nothing to be seen, so we ventured down the 400ft into the canyon and set out on foot to do some photography. I relly should have brought my sound recorder along(DOH!!!). The fog was shielding us from any manmade noise and we could only hear birds and coyotes. Fantastic to say the least. A few times, I simply stopped moving for a few minutes to listen. Being socked in by such thick fog and to have such a magnificent aural experience was amazing! I did manage to get a couple of images one of which was made as we were leaving the park and as the fog was mostly lifted. The sun kept poking through the clouds and created some great drama on the canyon walls and along the riverbank. It has rained most of June and everything was lush and green. That, in combination with the early light made for some beautiful colour.



[Olympus E-M5, Olympus 40-150mm M.Zuiko]

June 24, 2012

Storied Knife

Filed under: Abstract, Documentary, E-M5, Hand of Man, Industrial, m4/3 — collin j örthner @ 6:40 am

After visiting the farmers market early this morning, to catch a sausage on a bun, and a cup of coffee, and just some general moseying around, we visited a few garage sales in the area before I had to head off to work. The area we were in had a seniors townhouse complex where about 4 or 5 homes were having sales and I found a beautiful old knife that a woman was selling. She told me it was her late husbands and I couldn’t take my eyes off it as it looked fantastic with many years of patina on it. It cost me $1 and I knew immediately that I needed to do some macro photography showing off it’s beauty! I’m sure it has some stories to tell, but I don’t know what they are, likely just a lot of nothing too special. I find it fascinating to look over a tool like this trying to discover a few angles that can document the artifact via interpretation without it being just a straight up boring document from a museum catalogue. Not that these catalogues are terrible, just that they aren’t really an interpretation of the artifact.

I decided that to keep things consistent all the images would be horizontal. I also wanted them to not feel like they were set-up, so I photographed hand-held at very high ISO.












[Olympus E-M5, Nikon 50mm f1.8 reversed, Nikon PN-11, Nikon BR-2, Nikon BR-3]



June 20, 2012

Storm Passing over East Hills

Filed under: Abstract, E-M5, m4/3, Nature, Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm, Skyscape, Storms — collin j örthner @ 5:48 am

My Olympus E-M5 camera has a few specialty “Art Filters” available for use, one of which is called “Dramatic Tone”. This is certainly not a filter I would use all the time, but I played a bit with it yesterday as some storms were passing through and I like some of the results that can be achieved with the filter.




[Olympus E-M5, Olympus 40-150mm M.Zuiko]



June 10, 2012

April 9th, 1917

Filed under: Abstract, Documentary, E-M5, Hand of Man, m4/3 — collin j örthner @ 4:33 am

April 9th, 1917 was a big day! It’s the day my grandfather Jakob Orthner, and my grandmother Elisabeth Hubich were married in Serath, Saskatchewan. As part of the celebration my great uncle Karl Orthner presented the couple with a German Martin Luther Bible. I now have this Bible and decided to make a small project of documenting this Bible, although the technique I decided to use is somewhat unconventional. These are not meant to be a literal documentation of the Bible, but instead more a “feeling” for the book.

I rigged up my camera with a reversed wide-angle lens attached to an extension ring. This set-up enabled me to photograph at a reproduction ratio of about 3:1. 1:1 is life size, which means that the object I am photographing is the same size as my sensor. My 3:1 set-up therefore is allowing me to make images which are 3 times larger than in reality on my sensor. It is extremely tricky to get the focus and depth of field just where I wanted it and I found it necessary to use a radio remote to trigger the camera in order to avoid bumping the camera during the exposures, which ranged up to 8 seconds. Obviously, I was using a tripod 🙂

The first image is from the front leather cover with gilted printing “Die Bibel”:


Second image is from a frontispiece with the inscription to my grandparents Jakob and Elisabeth from my great uncle:


As you slowly page through the Bible It is quite obviously old and falling apart with some of the bindings coming loose and pages which are torn.



Further in the pages are in amazingly good shape with beautiful clear printing.


Upon closing the Bible and turning it in your hands you would notice that the pages used to have a gold gilted edge which has mostly worn off to reveal only the red edges.


A fun project and one which I may continue to explore, possibly even to other books as a way of retaining a “feeling” for them and a way of displaying the book on a wall via prints in some way. Anyone have a book that means something to them that wants a momento, let me know and we could work out a plan to “document feelings” about it. I think it will be fun to do more of this kind of work!


[Olympus E-M5, Nikon 28mm f/3.5, Nikon PN-11, Nikon BR2, Nikon BR3]




June 8, 2012

Wilson’s Phalarope – Phalaropus tricolor

Filed under: Birds, E-M5, m4/3, Nature — collin j örthner @ 3:32 am

Admitedley, this is not one of my greatest images, but, just as I tell people that it doesn’t matter the effort you put into making an image (i.e. hiking 15km through a raging blizzard with  a broken toe and no mitts) it’s the final product that really matters, I am breaking my own rule. Yeesh, these birds don’t stop, they are just go, go, go spinning around and changing directions constantly in their search for food!! I was using my Tamron 500mm mirror lens on the E-M5 (equivalent to a 1000mm lens in 35mm talk), which is a manual focus lens. Well, it was almost impossible to follow these beautiful birds and keep them in focus while trying to press the shutter when I thought that the bird was in an interesting position. I got some better images that were out of focus and nobody will ever see those, so what you get is the best image I managed – rather so-so if I do say myself, but it is my small trophy from the day. Olympus, if you’re listening, or if someone out there knows someone on the Olympus lens design team, please bring out a nice long tele with AF….   soon, please!!




[Olympus E-M5, Tamron 500mm f/8 Mirror]



June 6, 2012

Evening Light

Filed under: Abstract, Agriculture, Birds, E-M5, Hand of Man, m4/3, Nature, Night, Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, Skyscape, Storms, Water — collin j örthner @ 2:39 am

Red Deer County borders the City of Red Deer on all sides and I live only 3 blocks from the edge of town, so it’s a very short trip for me to end up in a rural setting. I set out a couple days ago really to just enjoy the late evening light. Heading out around 9pm gave me close to 45 minutes of sunlight and I was not disappointed with the view. A late day rainstorm had just passed through and was headed off to the east and I noticed a close to full moon peaking out from behind the clouds. I quickly drove to the east chasing the clouds looking for an appropriate setting to frame the storm and the moon. I didn’t need to go very far and the tiny Panasonic 20mm lens performed it’s magic capturing the soft light and delicate highlights of the clouds.



I stayed in this area until the sun set just enjoying the colours as the light slowly faded. The large green area is actually reeds and the ground covered with water, so the sounds of birdlife was everywhere and was great to listen to.

Once the sun set and the colours became muted I headed further south and noticed a Great Horned Owl on a power pole. I didn’t stop until I was quite a ways past and aimed my lens back toward the owl only to have it fly off. I followed the owl as it flew past my location and to my delight it decided the view would be great from another power pole which was facing the northwest towards the oranges of a sky emptied of the sun. I pulled out a Tokina 80-200mm f/2.8 lens which gives me the equivalent to a 400mm lens in 35mm film talk and captured the owl watching my every move or so I thought.



The owl instead was waiting for it’s mate to fly up and then the two flew off together. It was fun to watch the short story!

It was now getting close to 10pm and was also getting rather dark, and so I started to head back towards town. A little slough alongside the road caught my eye where an old fence line had been flooded. I used the same Tokina zoom lens and my tripod and captured a nice abstract with a four second exposure.




[Olympus E-M5, Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, Tokina 80-200mm f/2.8]



June 3, 2012

Growing our Garden

Filed under: Agriculture, E-M5, Hand of Man, m4/3, Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm, Plants — collin j örthner @ 10:45 pm

My family has not had our own garden for a few years now. It used to be we would drive to a friends farm about 25km south of town where he allowed us a small plot at the edge of a grain field. We would plant and weed and hill the potatoes, but we never watered it, instead allowing what nature would provide as being sufficient. We always had a good crop and some years a rather huge amount of extra, although neighbours and friends or a local soup kitchen would always help us to use everything up with no waste. Well, after a few years of doing without, we decided to rent a small plot from the city in one of the community gardens to see what we might be able to grow again.

The first onions and some peas along with at least one cucumber plant are poking their heads through the soil. I made this image with my E-M5 and the 12-50mm kit lens which has an amazing quality in it’s macro mode. This photo is a testament both to the sharpness it is capable of as well as the very pleasing smooth bokeh it can provide. Bokeh, for those unfamiliar with the term is a Japanese word used to describe the out-of-focus areas of an image, in this case a few garden stakes and a nice old barn at the edge of the garden plot.


[Olympus E-M5, Olympus 12-50mm]



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