WARNING: Stay away from Olympus!

Back in 2015 I was excited to get my new camera: Olympus OMD Em5II. The decade prior to that I used different Canon cameras and before that again, when I started photographing, I used an old Nikon film camera. If it’s one thing I regret when it comes to photography it’s my decision to change systems from Canon to Olympus.

You should be glad that Olympus has pro service (?), because you’ll definitely be going to need service if you get an Olympus.

You can safely say that my initial enthusiasm for Olympus has died. In the beginning I was happy to make the transition from Canon to Olympus. Well, perhaps died is not the correct word to use: I guess it’s more correct to say that Olympus succesfully killed my enthusiasm.

In these past 4 years since making the change, my Olympus camera has been to service 3 times. Can you guess how many times my Canon cameras needed service during the decade+ I used them? That’s right: not once.

  • The first time my Olympus needed service was in June/July 2017: The on/off button stopped working. The camera didn’t shut off, but kept draining the batteries until they were completely dead.
  • The second time my Olympus needed service was in July 2018: Same shit happened again. The on/off button stopped working. The camera didn’t shut off, but kept draining the batteries until they were completely dead.
  • The third time my Olympus needed service was in May 2019: I opened the screen on the back of the camera and it fell off.

Yesterday when I went and got my camera back from service, the Olympus factory (the shop has to ship the camera from Oslo to an Olympus factory in Germany or something, so the process of getting the camera fixed takes several weeks) also sent me a pamphlet together with the camera. The pamphlet contained information on how to properly use the screen on the back of the camera.
I told the guys at Scandinavian Photo here in Oslo: perhaps someone from Canon or Nikon should send Olympus some information on how to make quality cameras?

Other problems with Olympus:
– Make sure to carry enough batteries, because they don’t last long.
– Save your favorite settings, because they’ll be reset to factory settings every time you have to deliver your camera for repair.

My initial enthusiasm for Olympus:


Group Photo Exhibitions

Jerusalem by night. Shot in February 2019.
(not one of the photos that I’ll exhibit).

Here’s a short news update from my part of the world:

«As a selected photographer you are hereby invited to participate to showcase your portfolio at Henie Onstad Art Center 11-12. May and at the group exhibition at Nordic Light Festival 1-5. May.»

«Som utvalgt fotograf er du herved invitert til å delta ved portfoliovisningen på Henie Onstad Kunstsenter 11-12. mai og på gruppeutstillingen på Nordic Light Festival 1-5. mai.»

I will exhibit a handful of portraits and I’m looking forward to it.

Henie Onstad Kunstsenter: http://hok.no/
Nordic Light Festival: https://www.nordiclightfestival.no/
CYAN: http://cyanstudio.no/blog/2019/3/23/juryering-cyan-folio-2019


Today I’ve learned: Cyanotype

Today I attended an exhibition where you could learn Cyanotype – a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print.

The event/exhibition was held by Emma Gunnarsson and Britta K. Bergersen. In the same gallery, there was an exhibition of a few ball-jointed dolls (kuleleddsdukker) made by Therese Olsen and photographed by Britta. I liked the pop-surrealistic style of the puppets and Britta’s photos and presentation of the puppets were smashing: as you can see from the photos, Britta tastefully presented one of them as a Madonna.

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Travel Friendly Tripod

Because I’m going to Italy (my colleague is picking me up in an hour), I decided to buy a new tripod. The one I already have (Induro AKB1 | AT113)  is a very good and stable tripod, but it’s too large for travels and it ends up spending most of its time home alone.

So, this morning I went to the local toy store Scandinavian Photo and bought a Benro IT25. It can fit in a small suitcase, which means that it’s good for travelling. It’s made out of aluminium. They had some lighter carbon tripods there too, but the prices were too high. The aluminum one was something like 400 grams heavier and about 100 Euro cheaper.

In the camera bag I've packed:  
Olympus OMD EM5II
A 45mm, f1.8. Lens 
A 40-150mm, f2.8 lens
One ND8, plus one ND32 filter. 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 with a 12-32mm f3.5

Now I’m looking forward to try out this new tripod.

Specifications for Benro IT25:  
Sections: 5
Maximum height: 1545mm
Folded: 415mm
Weight 1,61kg
Load: 6kg

Enjoy your weekend!

Related posts:

Female Photographers

Why is it that Nikon & Canon focus (pun intended) mainly on male photographers, even if the ‘female market’ obviously is large and fast growing? A huge chunk of the market, regardless of gender, is of course the typical amateur photographer whose main focus is family and holiday memories, while the professional organisations still have more men represented than women.

Grete Stern

Grete Stern

The sentences above were discussed in Leanne Cole‘s blog a while back. I commented on her post and later decided to write my own post about it.

I’m not a camera salesman, so for me the market part of photographing isn’t interesting: who’s buying most cameras – women or men? This doesn’t concern me. The only thing that concerns me is what they produce with the cameras. The big majority of people take pictures to produce family memories, boring pictures of their cats, plants and so called ‘Facebook-moments’ (previously known as Kodak Moments). They’re also using their phone cameras to document whatever they’re having for dinner at some restaurant.

Many professional organizations largely consists of press photographers and in this line of work, the photographer is often ‘out in the fields’ in different war zones – a job where you’ll mostly find men, probably because of mental and physical differences between the sexes (men are often more adrenaline seeking, careless and violent than women). A lot of war photography is just about being at the right place at the right time or faking a scene – and it’s more often than not political propaganda. Of course this is just a matter of taste, but in my opinion male photographers such as war photographer Robert Capa and street photographer Henri Cartier Bresson are wildly overrated.

Many (most) of my favourite photographers are women.

  • Daniela Rossell:  I wrote an article on Daniela Rossell’s wonderful series «ricas y famosas». I really love her her ethnographic look at the Mexican upper-class’ tastes and lifestyles: she has a closeness & intimacy with her subjects. https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/daniela-rosell-the-rich-andfamous/
  • Graciela Iturbide: Another great Mexican, female photographer is Graciela Iturbide. Some of my favourite works are Zihuatanejo, Ciudad de México, Desierto de Sonora and Juchitán (from the series named after the photo Juchitán)
  • Grete Stern: a lot of great surrealist works and double exposures. She made 150 photomontages, called Suenos (dreams). Fantastic!
  • Herlinde Koelbl: German photographer Herlinde Koelbl had some interesting photos in her exhibition “mein blick” where she took portraits of people in their apartments: a wonderful glimpse of homo sapiens in their natural habitat.
  • Madame Yevonde: Madame Yevonde’s portrait of Lady Bridgett as Arethusa. A classic!
  • Wanda Wulz: Another of my blog posts was inspired by another female, Wanda Wulz. Her photo «The Cat and I» is double exposure at it’s best! I made some double exposure collages inspired by that photo: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/when-the-kitty-gets-the-cream/
  • Shirim Neshat: Iranian born Shirim Neshat has some interesting photos as well. Rumor has it that her photos are very provocative in Iran.Then again most things seems to be very provocative in Iran. Unfortunately I don’t know her works that well and I’ve never been to her exhibitions, but what I’ve seen so far has been very interesting.

Enjoy this gallery with some selected photos of the mentioned photographers. Disclaimer: I have no rights over these images. I tried to contact the photographers that are still alive to get permission to publish these photos, but some didn’t answer and I was unable to find contact information for the others. I’m assuming that they won’t mind having their photos published in a non-profit, personal blog like this.        


My Best Photos 2013?

My blogger friend Paula suggested that I should make a post with my best photos of 2013 – one for each month. I found it difficult to pick out the best photos of the ones I posted in 2013, but I gave it a go. 

Some of the months were easy, because I didn’t have that many photos to choose from, while other were more difficult. For the most difficult ones I chose to add a “runner up photo”. Most of these photos were shot in 2013. Some of them are older, but they were all posted in 2013.

It’s with great joy I present you this gallery:  

I know you probably won’t sift through this endless list of links, but for those few who are specially interested – the photos are from these following posts:

  1. January: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/sorenga-bjorvika-ii/
  2. February: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/gamlebyen-then-now-oslo-hospital/
  3. March: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/we-used-to-visit-grenoble/
  4. April: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/c8h10n4o2/
    – Runner-up: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/enjoy-the-ride/ (Runner-up because of personal reasons, but also because the photo tells a story.)
  5. May: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/taking-it-easy/
  6. June: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/the-barista/
  7. July: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/scale/
    – Runner-up:  https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/sommernatt/ (Runner-up because it won me a prize.)
  8. August: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/focus-sleepy-in-jerusalem/
  9. September: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/weekly-photo-challenge-inside/
  10. October: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/natalia-kuternoga/
    – Runner-up: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/photography/ (Runner-up because it was connected to one of the pages – not to a post. Also because it has been previously published in the blog)
  11. November: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/weekly-photo-challenge-eerie/
    – Runner-up: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/updated-flickr-gallery/ (Runner-up because it was a part of a post about my flickr gallery. Originally the photo was published in 2012)
  12. December: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/resting-leaves
    – Runner-up: https://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/weekly-photo-challenge-grand/

See more photos at WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge: dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/weekly-photo-challenge-joy

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

With our newborn son safely installed at home I can safely say that it’s busy days lately, so I’m not that active online as I used to be. There’s not enough time to comment, read blogs, write posts and process photos in between the diapers, feeding, house chores and work. I won’t excuse myself and say that I’m sorry, because I’m not. Anyway, Weekly Photo Challenge at WordPress again. The theme (apparently for the second time) is: up. This is my interpretation, a photo of some roses we got from a friend when our son was born:


Negative Space – Akam Photo Challenge

There’s a Norwegian photography website (www.akam.no) that has a forum for photographers. Every second Sunday they have a theme (similar to the Weekly Photo Challenge on WordPress) and for the theme on Sunday the 25th of November they asked me to be the host. The theme I chose was Negative Space and this is what I wrote (and the photo I posted):

A form of negative space is silhouettes. In this photograph we see the silhouette of an earlier building.

A form of negative space is silhouettes. In this photograph we see the silhouette of an earlier building.

«Negative Space – the gap around and between the object / subject in an image.  

When you compose a photograph, there are a number of rules (or ‘loose guidelines’ as I prefer to think of them as) that you’re supposed to keep in mind. This is in addition to the purely technical aspects of photographing. Typical examples of such rules are: lines, shapes, colors, the Rule of Thirds and vanishing points.

A useful tool that is often overlooked when talking about compositions is what’s called ‘Negative Space’. Negative Space is, simply put, the air filling the picture. Such air / empty space can be useful to guide the eye, or to emphasize details in a picture.

So, now I hope many of you go out with your cameras to think really negative (pun intended) and record your contributions.»

– – – – – –

If you want to see how other Norwegian photographers interpreted «Negative Space», you can follow this link:


Feel free to come up with your own photographic interpretation of Negative Space and leave me a link here in blog.

Color VS B/W

The only thing I did here was to add vignette using the raw file in Photoshop

The only thing I did here was to add vignette using the raw file in Photoshop

I decided to try out Silver Efex for this black& white  photo. Normally I use Photoshop for my editing, but Jeff mentioned Silver Efex and then I suddenly remembered that I have a version installed. I’m not so familiar with the S.Efex software, so I can only do basic stuff, but it’s quite easy to maneuver and the GUI is user-friendly.
In my opinion both the results are pleasing and Silver Efex was easy to use (even for a Photoshopper like myself).

I chose a photo that I shot in the botanical garden here in Oslo. The color version has been edited in Photoshop and the only thing I did was to add some vignette using the raw file.
For the B/W version I changed the structure and contrast in Silver Efex Pro, then I Used Photoshop to add a brightness/contrast layer and a small touch of vignette with the Lens correction filter.

- Changed the structure and contrast in Silver Efex Pro. - Added brightness/contrast layer, plus a vignette with the Lens correction filter in Photoshop.

– Changed the structure and contrast in Silver Efex Pro. – Added brightness/contrast layer, plus a vignette with the Lens correction filter in Photoshop.

Now I’ll try to catch up on some commenting and blog reading 🙂

Panning a moving subject

Just after I bought the new camera my mother-in-law wondered why I shot so many pictures of cars as we were driving from place to place. I tried to explain to her that I was practicing the technique of panning a moving subject, but she didn’t understand what the fuck I was talking about.

This is what I was talking about:

If you want to try this technique, experiment with the shutter speed on your camera. Set it somewhere between 1/15 sec or 1/30 sec (sometimes even faster or slower). These are shot from a moving car, which makes it more difficult: it’s easier if you’re standing still, while the object you’re shooting is moving.


Richard Guest (The Future Is Papier Mâché) was wondering about which musician he should choose because he wanted to name his posts/photos after songs. Someone suggested Frank Zappa, which was an excellent suggestion, because Zappa had a huge repertoire: a lot of titles to choose from and many of them are extravagant.

I suggested David Bowie so this week Mr. Guest decided to go for a David Bowie theme. I quickly decided to join him, so today I’m posting Quicksand (a song written by David Bowie in 1971 for the album Hunky Dory), while Mr. Guest posted Hello Spaceboy.

Photo shot in Grenoble, April 2011, by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com

Photo shot in Grenoble, April 2011, by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com

I’m torn between the light and dark
Where others see their targets
Divine symmetry
Should I kiss the viper’s fang
Or herald loud the death of Man
I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thought
And I ain’t got the power anymore

Don’t believe in yourself
Don’t deceive with belief
Knowledge comes with death’s release

I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thought
And I ain’t got the power anymore

David Bowie

A day in Oslo – part 2

This is the continuation of yesterdays post where I went around in Oslo on my bike and pictured things, not paying attention to photographic nerdy stuff like composition, cropping or anything else.
All these photos were shot on Saturday 02 June in Oslo as a project inspired by Miss/Mrs Rosso over at the dailypost.wordpress.com.

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No Challenge? Enjoy a Guinness instead!

Friday usually means another WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, but this Friday there was none because of reasons unknown. I’m pretty sure that the WordPress team have a legit reason for not being able to post the WPC exactly on Friday, so instead of waiting for the WPC to be posted, I decided to join Pseu’s “No Challenge” post:

There’s nothing like a Guinness on a Friday night after work!

There's nothing like a Guiness after work on Friday night!

There’s nothing like a Guinness after work on Friday night!

Cheers! Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S: If you like my photography posts, I’ve made a new page on the blog dedicated to the all my posts on the subject.

More people have decided to join the party! Jude also brought a beer!

The Alligator – lens blur effect

I shot this photo two years ago, but I wasn’t pleased with the result so I had to take it to my digital darkroom. (Digital “darkroom” is the hardware, software and techniques used in digital photography that replace the darkroom equivalents, such as enlarging, cropping, dodging and burning, as well as processes that don’t have a film equivalent. – Wikipedia).
Here’s the result:

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Blogging Tips: Crop & Resize your Photos

These tips are intended for bloggers that enjoy sharing their photos online. Most bloggers out there have a digital camera and adds pictures to their posts. Many bloggers, like myself, also participates in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge. Some of you have pure photo blogs, while others add photos to a post – a trick that can help your readers make the text more easy to read.
This post is my attempt to help those who are interested in learning more on the subject.

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Sun & daily drama (Weekly Photo Challenge)

The challenge for WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge this week is “Sun”.

We’ve done sunset before, but what about when the sun, in its full glory, is the feature of your photo? Here’s a picture of a Roman alleyway, and the sun transforms this normal scene into something magical with its rays.

To me playing with lights & shadows is an integral part of photographing and in my opinion you’ll find the best natural light during sunrise & sunset. Don’t get me wrong: this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to shoot some nice photos during broad daylight. Remember to keep your camera with you & keep your eyes open for that next shot.

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Bollywood Dancers

These two photos are heavily photoshopped. The first photo is not one, but two images combined together, and on both of them the background has been tampered with. I shot these some years ago when I was hired to do some shooting for a film festival called Bollywood Filmfest in Oslo.

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Chateau d’eau, place Grenette, Grenoble.

When we went to visit our dear friends in Grenoble this Easter/Pesach/Days-off-work, and I promised you that I would keep you updated with some photos from Grenoble. I’ve already posted two in a post called Evening in Grenoble, and today I felt that the time was right to post another photo: this one slightly more photoshopped than the other two 🙂

Here’s one of Grenoble’s many fountains – one of countless charming features to this charming city.

Chateau d'eau, place Grenette - Grenoble. By CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com

Chateau d’eau, place Grenette – Grenoble. By CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com

(Needless to say, but as always you can click the image for larger version).

Any feedback (positive/negative) or questions is highly appreciated.

Two Subjects (Weekly Photo Challenge)

I think WordPress came up with an interesting subject this week. In fact so interesting that I think I’ll post a second post for this challenge later – I still have a lot of photos from France that needs post-processing and some of them might be suitable.

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Evening in Grenoble

Evening in Grenoble, France. Photo by CardinalGuzman.WordPress.com

Evening in Grenoble, France. Photo by CardinalGuzman.WordPress.com

Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère. The proximity of the mountains has led to the city being known as the “Capital of the Alps.” (source: Wikipedia)

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Journey (Weekly Photo Challenge)

“Share a picture which means JOURNEY to you!”

Recently I translated this travel article I wrote from Nepal. Now I’m on a journey to the French Alps, so I don’t have time to write. But I’ll leave you with these two photos from Oslo:

B/W Close-up of Aloe Vera

I’m not much into photos of plants & flowers – normally I find them boring, but today I felt like taking some photos and after I came home from work I neither had the time or the energy to go on a motive hunt outside.
So, I had to improvise:

B/W close-up of an aloe vera plant

B/W close-up of an aloe vera plant. Click for larger image (No shit Sherlock!)

Useless trivia: This plant is actually the son/daughter of a “mother plant”. The mother has also produced 3 other babies – one which I gave to a friend.

According to Wikipedia Aloe Vera “are widely used in the cosmetics and alternative medicine industries, being marketed as variously having rejuvenating, healing or soothing properties. There is, however, little scientific evidence of the effectiveness or safety of A. vera extracts for either cosmetic or medicinal purposes, and what positive evidence is available is frequently contradicted by other studies. Medical uses of aloe vera are being investigated as well.

Jerusalem Street Photography

I wanted to share this photo from Jerusalem that was shot last summer. This a typical case of “shooting from the hip”.Jerusalem Street Photography by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com

Jerusalem Street Photography by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com

Shooting from the hip means taking a risk, as it is unpredictable, yet it can yield good results and I’m quite pleased with this particular photo.

Shutter Speed: 1/800 sec
Aperture: f/5,0
ISO: 100