Luminar 4 and AI Sky Replacement are nearly with us!

I have been working with the same photo editing software for years and am looking for something different.

That is why it is such good news that Luminar 4 and AI Sky Replacement are nearly with us. Why am I so excited about this? I have been playing around with the beta Luminar 4 for a while now and am loving the Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement tool. There is lots of other stuff in Luminar 4, but this is the thing that I am really excited about. In this post I will tell you why I am so excited about Luminar 4 AI sky replacement and why it is ok to use this tool.

What is Luminar 4?

Luminar 4 is the update to Luminar 3, image editing software from Skylum, formerly Macphun.

Luminar 4 has lots of exciting new features and a brand new interface – more on that later.

Luminar 4 screenshot 1

Luminar 4 screenshot 1

Pre-order Luminar

Final Pre-order of Luminar 4 starts right now, and you can get your copy using my affiliate link here. More on the pre-order offer later on in this post.

When is Luminar 4 being released?

The general release of Luminar 4 is the 18th November 2019. As a Skylum Affiliate I have been fortunate enough to be able to trial the Beta version of Luminar 4.

And I have been loving it.

Not only the fact that I am trialling the beta – I am loving the software and the sky replacement stuff that I have done.

Luminar 4 screenshot 12

Luminar 4 screenshot 12

Can I share any images created with Luminar 4?

Not yet, but I will be posting examples of sky replacements shortly. Well after November 18th as it turns out.

Let me explain why I am so excited by Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement.

Let’s take this photo as an example.

Architectural Photography by Rick McEvoy

Architectural Photography by Rick McEvoy


This is the photo that I want to change the sky of for obvious reasons.

I had one day to take this photo after completion of the works. And that was it. No opportunity to return, so I had to deal with the weather on the day.

I live in England. We do not get the best weather, nor the best light.

And on commercial shoots most times I have one opportunity to get the photos I want. Very rarely do I get the opportunity to return to a completed construction project.

So I have to take whatever I find on the day.

Which in England often is cloudy skies.

Luminar 4 screenshot 14

Luminar 4 screenshot 14

But I am faking the photos?

Yes I am. I am quite open about this. I am not pretending that I am not. And I do not have a problem with this.

Do my clients care?

No. My clients are architects, developers, builders, main contractors, specialist sub-contractors and manufacturers. They do not care.

They are actually delighted that I am able to give them images with a nice sky even though the photos were taken on a cloudy day.

My clients want their buildings, their work, their significant personal, financial, emotional and time invested projects shown at their best.

That is all that matters – the photo of the completed project and a happy client.

And if the sky has been changed? No problem.

They know it. I know it. And it is fine.

When does it matter?

If you are working in photo-journalism then there is an issue. I do not work in this field, but I know that editing such as this is not permitted.

And if you enter a competition where sky replacement is not allowed this is a complete no no.

And if you make false claims about an image that has been changed then I have a problem with that too.

Other than that it is fine as far as I am concerned.

Luminar 4 screenshot 15

Luminar 4 screenshot 15

A quick history lesson

Photoshop 1.0 was released in February 1990. That is a lot of years of photo editing, manipulation, compositing, sky replacement and much more.

And everyone seems fine with that.

So I do not see a problem with Luminar 4 changing the sky for me and re-lighting the photo. Actually I think it is fantastic!

Just be honest about sky replacement.

I nearly forgot - there are my travel photos

I take lots of photos quickly with my iPhone. I use these on my websites Paxos Travel Guide and Photos of Santorini, often to show the behind the scenes stuff.

As I photograph loads of sunrises, I often find that these photos have a completely burned out sky. So there is nothing wrong with quickly dropping in a new sky. Again I am fine with this.

Here is a great example of a photo that looks awful that I will be able to make instantly better.

Me taking photos on Santorini

Me taking photos on Santorini

Ok – that is enough from me. Let’s see what Skylum have to say.

Here is the actual press release from Skylum issued today.

“Image editing made extraordinarily fast through AI advancements in Luminar

Flagship software to bring innovative machine-learning tools and workflow to photographers as both a standalone application and plugin.

BELLEVUE, WA - October 15, 2019 Skylum is pleased to announce additional enhancements coming to Luminar 4 to be shipped on November 18, 2019. The release intends to change the way photographers approach photo editing, offering several tools informed by extensive machine-learning and a new streamlined interface to make photo editing more accessible than ever before.

Luminar 4 isn’t just another photo editor — it brings time-saving, creative photo processing to everyone in an easy-to-use approach. Skylum wants people to enjoy not only the taking of photos, but also the processing images which is typically where many photographers have the most frustration. With Luminar 4, anyone can create a masterpiece.

With a refreshed interface and workflow, Luminar 4 shifts from being a tool-based approach to one that is purpose-based. It shortens the learning process, helping any photographer experiment creatively and expand their vision. While the software incorporates complex tools, they’re completely customizable and easy to use, whether you’re a beginner or seasoned professional.

For example, in Luminar 4, photographers will experience the power of AI Sky Replacement — the first automated sky replacement tool in the market. AI Structure provides photographers with a tool to adjust fine details in their photographs, without destroying relevant subjects. Finally, tools like AI Skin Enhancer and Portrait Enhancer will take an everyday portrait and turn it into a masterpiece!

With these groundbreaking tools, photographers can achieve amazing results with just the click of a button.

“Luminar 4 will be our biggest release yet,” said Alex Tsepko, CEO of Skylum. “The changes we’ve made to the interface and workflow will make the photo editing process faster, and open up new possibilities to photographers everywhere. With new tools fueled by machine-learning, AI Sky Replacement, we make photo editing more accessible and approachable than ever before, Tsepko concluded

“Photographers no longer have to think about the ‘how do I do this?,’ instead they can focus solely on their creativity and lasting results.”

Filters get changed to Tools in Luminar 4

Luminar 4 is the biggest update in the program’s history. Based on user feedback and data that the company has studied, the software has received significant improvements and refinements.

In Luminar 4, filters are now called “tools,” making for a simpler understanding of the software. These have been organized into six tabs for their intended purpose, making it easy for users to locate and understand what they do:

●        Tools: Basic tools to work with, including Crop, Transform and Erase.

●        Essentials: Everything necessary for basic Color and Tone Correction.

●        Creative: Photo processing tools that allow photographers to take their photos to the next level, including AI Sky Replacement.

●        Portrait: Tools oriented for processing portraits, including AI Skin Enhancer and Portrait Enhancer.

●        Pro: Sophisticated tools for professional photo processing.

●        Deprecated: Tools left for compatibility of presets that have been created within earlier versions of Luminar. These tools are no longer relevant due to new technologies in Luminar 4 and will be removed in future versions.

Also, some general interface improvements have been made. These include enlarged fonts, increased spacing between elements to improve readability, increased availability of basic functional elements, enlarged sliders and better optimized contrast of interface elements.

Luminar 4 can adapt to any workflow

While Luminar 4 will be available as a standalone application, it will also shine as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Classic and Photoshop Elements, as well as Apple Photos for macOS and Aperture. By offering users a variety of ways to edit their photos, Luminar 4 will be accessible and fit into any photographers’ workflow!

Pricing and availability

Luminar 4 is set to be released on November 18, 2019.

Pre-orders include a bonus one-year plan to SmugMug (worth $180) and costs $79//€79/£72 for a new purchase and $69/€69/£64 for an upgrade. When released on November 18, the price will jump to $89/€89/£81 new and $69/€69/£64 for an upgrade. 

About Skylum Software

Skylum is a global imaging technology company with offices in Bellevue, USA; Kyiv, Ukraine; and Tokyo, Japan. Skylum allows millions of photographers to make incredible images faster. We automate photo editing with the power of Artificial Intelligence yet leave all the creative control in the hands of the artist. The Skylum Team has won the Red Dot Award, Apple’s Best of the Year, “Best imaging software” by TIPA and EISA, and other top industry awards. To learn more about Skylum, visit http://skylum.com.

Ends”

And about me.

I am a photographer based in the UK. I specialise in architectural, landscape and travel photography. I am an Associate member of the British Institute of Professional Photography.

I have been a user of Lightroom since version 1.0. I use Photoshop to remove stuff. I don’t get Photoshop to be honest. And I want something new!

And I am learning how to use Luminar 4 and loving the way that it has been put together.

I want to be able to edit my images quickly and stylishly to create the best images I can faster.

This is why I am using Luminar.

What about Lightroom?

Well I have over 70,000 photos in a single Lightroom Catalogue. I do not have the time to even think about moving them elsewhere, so they are going to stay in Lightroom.

For now.

I will be using Luminar 4 as a plug-in to Lightroom, which works just fine, so if you are worried about having to learn something new don’t worry – get Luminar 4 and like me you will have additional tools at your disposal, with Lightroom still there when you need it.

Why not stick with Lightroom?

I have used Lightroom since the 1.0 release – I have had every version of Lightroom up to now and know it inside out. Over the many hours in many years spent using Lightroom I have got my workflow down. It is a very simplistic workflow which I use to produce consistent images.

This is how I process my commercial architectural work.

AI Sky Replacement changed that for me. I hate Photoshop – there I have said it. I have done two successful sky replacements using Lightroom and Photoshop and they took me an absolute age to do.

So if there is a tool that can do this for me great – what else can it do for me?

Do I use Luminar and Aurora HDR?

I have dabbled in both to be honest. As I said earlier I bought Luminar and Aurora HDR myself before becoming an affiliate. Once I found out that Luminar 4 was going to be significantly changed I decided to stick with Lightroom and park my dalliances with Luminar 3. And also I stopped playing with Aurora HDR – if Luminar 4 can give me the tools I want then that is all I want.

What is the plan going forwards then?

This is my plan for Luminar 4. I am going to continue creating commercial images in Lightroom. I am going to work out how to add my own skies using the AI Sky Replacement tool. And that is it for my commercial work.

My travel photography is where I am going to experiment with Luminar 4. I am going to create all the images for my website Paxos Travel Guide using Luminar 4. I am going to strip out all the processing of the images done in Lightroom and start from scratch with Luminar 4.

This is a job for this winter to finish off the images for this website.

Photographing Skies

With the Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement you can use your own skies. At the time of writing I do not know how to do this, but I have been digging out skies in my Lightroom Catalogue that I can use.

And this has also got me out and about photographing different skies!

So if Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement excites you as much as it does me why not go out and photograph some skies that you can use when it is released?

What about my architectural photography?

Well there is plenty of architectural photos in my Paxos photos that I can work on, so that will be my testing ground for Luminar 4 with the possibility of this being my primary processing tool for all my photos.

Am I being paid to write this?

Well the answer is not really. I am a Skylum Affiliate, so if you buy any Skylum product using my affiliate links I do get a commission. Before I was an affiliate though I was a customer of Skylum, or Macphun as they used to be known.

I have bought my own versions of Luminar, Aurora HDR and Photolemur (no longer available with the automation now in Luminar 4).

How I first made contact with Skylum

I was actually contacted by Skylum when they read a comment I made about Luminar in an article on Improve Photography, which I used to be a writer on. From there the relationship has grown to where it is now, with me as an affiliate and beta tester.

A word on the negative feedback

I know that there has been lots of negative feedback about this feature and the notion this is faking photos, but let’s be brutally honest here – people have been doing this for years using Photoshop!

And everyone seems fine with that!

If you don’t want to do sky replacement that is absolutely fine and your choice – I do though!

And what about my sky replacement images?

Check out my photography blog in November and December as I share my sky replacement images. Starting after the general release of Luminar 4 that is!

And between now and then I will continue to play around with this most excellent time-saving ultra-quick editing tool.

More on my You Tube Channel

Check out the video that accompanies this blog post for more good stuff.

Summary

I hope that you have found my thoughts on Luminar 4 and AI Sky Replacement interesting enough that you are thinking about giving Luminar 4 a go.

There is a 30 day money back guarantee so if you do not like it you have nothing to lose other than the time you spend playing with it.

But give it a proper go, use the tutorials and edit a small selection of photos to start with. See how you like it, and if it is not for you that is just fine.

But if you love the processing tools like I do you will have some great super intelligent time-saving tools at your disposal.

Here is my affiliate link again – if you buy Luminar 4 using this link I get a small commission.

Rick McEvoy Photography

#luminar4 #luminar4skyreplacment #luminar4aiskyreplacement #skyreplacement #aiskyreplacement

19 Inspiring Parga Photos Taken With My Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2

I have not long returned from a two week holiday to Parga in Greece.

And I have just finished editing my photos, creating 19 Inspiring Parga photos taken with my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2. In this post I will talk about these images, how I captured, selected and edited them, and lots of other good stuff. Now I expect that this will take more than one post, as I know having created this set of images that there is lots that I want to say, so let’s get stuck in!

Panagia Chapel Parga photographed before sunrise

Panagia Chapel Parga photographed before sunrise

Full disclosure required.

I am an affiliate for a number of suppliers of stuff that I use, so some of the links you will find on this post take you to sites where if you buy stuff I get a commission.

Where is Parga?

Parga is on mainland Greece, across the Ionian Sea from Antipaxos, Paxos and Corfu.

Here it is on a map.

Where is Parga?

Where is Parga?

Who did we travel with?

TUI, on a two week package trip flying into Preveza Airport and stopping at the Alea Resort Hotel up on the hills above Parga.

How many photos did I take?

443. That is not bad for me, although to be honest I was not in photo taking mood. Apart from the morning locations I did not take any other photos as I did not get out and explore at all.

Parga was nice enough, but I did not love it like I did Paxos, so I was less enthused than normal to take photos.

When we went to Paxos I took 3000 photos, the same in Santorini, so this was a change for me.

What gear did I use?

I used my micro four thirds set up.

Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2

My favourite travel photography camera is the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2. I like this camera so much I wrote a post titled Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

I think so.

And I am loving learning how to use the camera and some of the very special features contained within this little package of wonders.

Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

The only lens that I use most of the time is the wonderful Olympus 7-14mm Zuiko Pro F2.8 lens. I do also have a 40-150mm lens which I use for the odd telephoto shot, but this is the lens that tends to sit on my camera all the time. I am lusting after the 7-14mm lens though – the 12 mm (24mm full frame equivalent) is not quite wide enough for me.

But the lens is great and really sharp, and I love using it.

Three Legged Thing Corey with Air Neo Ball Head

My travel tripod of choice is the Three Legged Punks Thing Corey with Air Neo Ball Head, even with a stiff leg which it is currently suffering from! I know how it feels! I can happily walk around with my camera mounted on this tripod for hours and never worry about the weight of the gear, which is very important to me.

Three Legged Thing Universal L Bracket

This allows me to change from landscape to portrait orientation (and back) quickly without moving my tripod, meaning that I keep the composition that I have painstakingly created.

The best 45 quid that you will ever spend on photography gear - get one right here on Amazon.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack

The only bag that I take with me on trips, which is my hand luggage, day trip bag and camera bag. With more space than ever due to my size reduced camera gear. Check out the Peak Design website.

Olympus OI Share App

I take most of my photos on a tripod, and I also use my iPhone as the remote release, using the pretty good I have to say App from Olympus. I have my phone with me anyway, which I use to take videos, so why not use it as a remote release? One less thing to carry, and this helps me get super sharp photos.

Pec Pads and Eclipse lens cleaning solution

To clean the front lens element mainly – well I don’t change lenses often so do not need to worry about the sensor and rear element!

And having cleaned the front element I use the same pad to clean the screen and viewfinder.

You can also use these two to clean things like glasses and sunglasses.

Pec Pads are thh cloths, and the Eclipse stuff is the cleaning solution.

Manfrotto Pixi

I use this little tripod mainly to shoot videos with my iPhone, but also use it with my Olympus camera when I want to get down low.

That was pretty much it. I don’t use much gear to be honest, and this is my core set up for travel photography.

What camera settings did I use?

All of the photos (bar the one of the Vespa) were taken with my camera firmly placed on my Three Legged Thing tripod.

That being the case these are the settings that I use

AV Mode

ISO – 100. Well I actually go to 1600 when it is really dark.

Aperture – F8/ F16/ F22 – more on that later.

And I tried out the various HDR Modes on the EM5, and also the most excellent High Resolution mode, which I have sort of fallen for.

What did I take photos of?

As I said before I didn’t get out and about anywhere near as much as I have in the recent past, so my photography was pretty much restricted to three early mornings where I captured the sunrise and some good stuff before sunrise down on the front in Parga.

How did I choose photos to edit?

First thing was to sort out the high res photos from the rest, which I did manually by picking the photos with significantly larger file sizes. I also had to pick out the HDR images, which I was trialling at the same time.

This was a bit of a pain and is something that I need to think about going forwards.

Once I had split out the images I only had 43 high res images to choose from, which was a good thing, and these are the ones that I started with.

How did I edit the photos?

I edited the photos in Lightroom, doing some finishing off in Photoshop. When I say finishing off I mean removing stuff that I did not want in the photo, including the pixel errors that I encountered – brightly coloured dots of annoyance!

I am also going to edit these photos using Luminar 4 – a job for next month though is it is not on public release yet so I couldn’t share photos until then anyway!

OK – what is my favourite photo?

This one. This is a photo of Panagia Chapel on Panagia Island. Now I know this post is titled “19 Inspiring Parga Photos Taken With My Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2” but I want to focus (pun not intended) on one photo. I will get back to the other photos in my blog next week.

Panagia Chapel Parga photographed before sunrise

Panagia Chapel Parga photographed before sunrise

Where is Panagia Chapel?

Here it is on a map.

Panagia Chapel location

Panagia Chapel location

And where did I take the photo from?

Here.

Where I took the photo from

Where I took the photo from

Panagia Chapel

There is an island less than 100m from the front of Parga, which has a white church on it, called Panagia Chapel. It has been said that you can walk to the island, which I am not sure about to be honest. You can certainly swim there though.

I stayed on dry land.

Will the lights be on in the morning?

Clearly yes. But there were doubts. Earlier on this year I was on the wonderful Greek Island of Rhodes. One morning I drove to Lindos to photograph the Acropolis, only to find that the lights were off!

I was delighted, if not relieved, to get down to the waterfront in Parga to find the lights on illuminating the church and other things on the tiny island.

Back to the church

5 of the 19 photos that I edited from my trip to Parga are of Panagia Chapel. That shows how much I was taken with this tiny church on a tiny island. It truly is a stunning site, and not one that many people will see with that lovely flat pre-sunrise water.

Sure you can see the church at night, but it is completely different before sunrise in the peace and quiet of very early morning. A very special time to witness such a stunning scene.

How did I get this shot?

This photo was taken at 4.31am. Now I am sure that that should be 5.31am local time. As I forgot to change the time on my camera Lightroom is saying 6:31, but my iPhone is saying 4:31. Oh well I guess it is not important, but I should change the clock when I get to a new time zone!

That is a rather important lesson for a travel photographer!

Here are the camera settings

  • High resolution mode

  • AV Mode

  • Shutter Speed – ½ second

  • Aperture F8

  • ISO 1600

Camera positions

Here is my camera in a high position perched on top of a bench so I could get a clear view over the boats.

public.jpeg

And this is the camera in portrait mode.

public.jpeg

This photo shows you the scene nicely.

Processing in Lightroom

Getting the white balance correct was a challenge. I ended up doing Auto White Balance, and then manual adjustment, reducing the saturation under the lights using the HSL Panel.

I used the following panels in Lightroom

Basic Panel

To get the light how I want it.

HSL Panel

My favourite panel, where I can make subtle adjustments to the saturation and luminance by colour (I rarely use the hue adjustment).

Detail Panel

To reduce the sharpening down to 60 from the default (which I need to change)

Adjustment brush - dodge and burn

Another excellent tool which I use to apply local adjustment – dodge lightens and burn darkens. I apply these tools to subtly and locally adjust the lights and darks to give the image more depth.

Processing took me a bit of time as it is an unusually lit scene.

Photoshop

I had to go onto Photoshop to remove errors, blemishes and annoyances. I also reduced the noise using the Filter, reduce noise option. You have to be careful doing this that you do not affect details.

And that was that done. Probably 10 minutes all in.

Edit photos then leave them for a few days – this is why

When I was recording the video that accompanies this post I ended up doing a crop of the image – I find that after editing images if I do not look at them for a few days when I come back to them I find things that I can do to improve them.

This was pretty much an instant thing which came to me as I was recording the video, so much so that I did the crop whilst recording!

And here it is.

Panagia Chapel Parga photographed before sunrise - version 2

Panagia Chapel Parga photographed before sunrise - version 2

That is a much better composition. Not that there was anything wrong with the original composition – far from it. The crop takes out some of the sky and sea that are not really adding to the composition and makes a more natural frame.

And what about the other photos?

I know that this post is titled 19 Inspiring Parga Photos Taken With My Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 – I will add a link to the web page with the other photos that I have processed, which will get culled down to 12 images eventually – I like things to be nice and neat and ordered after all!

Here it is - I have just created the page imaginatively called Parga!

And here is a screenshot of them!

Parga 19 screenshot 09102019.PNG

I will write about the rest of the images in my blog next week.  For now I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post and that you like my unusual picture of the Panagia Chapel on Panagia Island just off the mainland of Greece in Parga.

Related reading

I have written a series of posts about the trip to Parga, which you can read at the following links.

Parga Holidays – What Is Parga Really Like?

Parga Greece Reviews – Part 2 of 3

Parga TUI Package Holidays – Part 3 of 3

What is a day trip from Parga to Corfu Town like?

And check out the video on my You Tube Channel all about my photos of Parga Check out these inspiring Parga photos taken with my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2

Hi from me!

Hi from me!

Summary

That’s all for this week – I am glad to be back on photography after my travel writing of the last month or so. As I said next week I will write more about my set of photos of Parga.

Rick McEvoy Photography

#parga #greece #pargaphotos #olympusem5 #olympuscamera #microfourthirds #travelphotography #panagiachurch #rickmcevoyphotography

What is a day trip from Parga to Corfu Town like?

We love Greece, and we love exploring new places. We also love going back to places that we like.

So in this post I will tell what a day trip from Parga to Corfu Town is like, and how to get the best out of what is a long but very enjoyable day, including top tips for the boat! I will tell you what I think are the best things to do between arriving at 11am and getting back on the ferry back at 4pm, and how to make the most of this time.

Where does the ferry go from?

Here is a map showing where the ferry picks you up from, at the end of the main jetty in Parga. X marks the spot.

Where does the ferry from Parga to Corfu go from

Where does the ferry from Parga to Corfu go from

Who did we book the trip with?

Location of the TUI office in Parga

Location of the TUI office in Parga

We booked the trip with TUI at their office in Parga, which is in the centre of the town. It is within Synthesis Travel by the way – here it is on the map (roughly).


And I am now a TUI Affiliate so if you book anything using my affiliate link I get a small, as of yet unknown commission.


At the time we went on this holiday we were paying customers by the way.


How much does it cost?

€45 each return. Which I think is quite a lot, especially considering that the trip to Antipaxos, the Blue Caves and Gaios in Paxos cost €20, with two swim stops included.

Still, it is quite a way to travel, taking 2 ½ hours each way.

So maybe it is not expensive, more like the trip from Parga to Antipaxos and Paxos is a complete bargain!

Which boat did we travel on?

This boat. It is actually a ferry.

Parga to Corfu ferry

Parga to Corfu ferry

What time does the boat leave?

8.30am, returning to the jetty in Parga at 6.30pm. Yes, that is five hours on a boat in a day. You need to think about that if you are not keen on boats!

What time do you need to get there?

Well this is the queue at 8.05am.

Waiting for the ferry from Parga to Corfu

Waiting for the ferry from Parga to Corfu

Not great. Basically the end of the jetty is filled with people, some with manners some without. It is just a case of shuffling forwards in the crowd until you get to the front.

Hardly the most pleasant experience, so the earlier you get there the better.

I would get there at 7.45 with breakfast and sit at the front if I were doing this trip again.

What’s on the boat?

Toilets, a bar, two sundecks, and two air-conditioned lounges, one on each level. All facilities I have to say in very good order for a boat, which is good.

Is it easy to get around the boat?

Yes apart from people sitting on the stairs the circulation space is not too bad. Why do people insist on  doing that, and then looking inconvenienced when you try to get past them?

Where are the best places to sit on the boat?

It depends what you like.

Secret Sunbathing seats

The secret seats are at the at the front. Small deckchairs on the upper front deck. There is no sign to this area, which I noticed through the window of the upper internal lounge by chance.

You are in shade for a lot of the time though, due to the location of the morning sun and the direction the boat is travelling.

There are also seats at the back, but this was a bit crowded for me going out. On the way back it was nowhere near as full though, I guess people had had enough of the sun for the day.

But the plastic seats do get a bit sweaty!

Air-conditioned space

There are two lounges, which were both rather noisy being filled by the chatter of large groups of holidaymakers.

So this is the story of the day

Alarm 6.30
We have a cuppa, then a quick coffee, then walk down to Parga. We bought breakfast from the bakers consisting of croissants, coffee and a sausage roll (Greek style). This little lot cost 8 euros which is good.

Getting on the boat

I mentioned this earlier, but I will say it again – get there early to avoid disappointment!!

On the boat

We sat on the secret deckchairs on the upper front deck. And this was an experience I have to say.

To start with the deckchairs are in rows secured quite sensibly with ropes. They are small deckchairs, sized for medium sized children, certainly not adults like me!

And this is such a secret place it is about 10% full as we leave Parga.

People on the boat

There are some interesting people on the boat. There is a family of three. The daughter cannot sit still, and goes through at least three costume changes on the way there.

The Dad seems more than happy chucking his rubbish onto the deckchair behind him. I am so incensed I have to clear up.

But Mum seems fine!

And then there are the two blokes wearing very tight shorts who decide to stand right in front of us.

And all the people who climb the stairs and stand right at the front blocking the view for those of us sat there.

I’m cold!

For the first time I am cold in Parga. That is apart from when I fell asleep right under the draught from the air-con on full blast that is!

Sat in the shade with the wind from the sea I am feeling a tad chilly, which is rather bizarre!

Don’t sit at the back of the boat

Another top tip – do not sit at the very back of the boat on the lower deck. Why not? That is where people smoke. If you smoke then sit there. I do not smoke and the smell was rather off–putting as we waited at the back of the boat as it at arrived in the port so we could get off nice and quick – we had places to go after all!

And for all the folk sat/ stood at the very back of the boat you are moved a good3 metres inside the boat to give the crew space to do their work so bear this in mind!

Our return visit to Corfu

At 11.00 we arrive at the new port of Corfu. We know it well, and know exactly where we are going.

Top tip – if you do not know where you are going, and do not want to walk into Corfu Town, walk out to the front of Sette Venti, go to the roundabout and wait for a taxi – this is where they drop people off for the ferries so you should not wait too long.

Walking into Corfu.

If you are happy to walk into Corfu Town you can be at the Liston in 20 minutes. This is a great place for a drink and watch the world go by.

What is the Liston?

The Liston in Corfu Town

The Liston in Corfu Town


The Liston is a famous meeting point in Corfu Town. The Liston is actually a pedestrianized street with a lovely building, which is an excellent example of the architecture of the time, being constructed during the French rule of Corfu in 1807.

The building contains bars and cafes on the ground floor with apartments above.

The Liston in Corfu at lunchtime

The Liston in Corfu at lunchtime

It overlooks the Corfu cricket ground to the front, and to the rear is the start of the shopping district of Corfu.

The cricket wicket in Corfu Town

The cricket wicket in Corfu Town

So a great place to start a day visit to Corfu town.

Time for a beer

We have a lovely chilled beer, large for me, small for Nickie. 9 euros including crisps, which is not bad considering the location.

And I am not going to lie to you – I was a sweaty mess sat there after that 20-minute walk in the baking lunchtime heat.

Wear Sunscreen

I have my factor 30 in my backpack. I do not apply any. Why? I have no idea. SO we walk around the shops, which today appear to be endless, and do not sell anything that we are looking for.

Lunchtime

We lunch at McDonalds. I know. But it did make a change from what we have been eating for well over a eek now. And it is nice and cool in that air-conditioned environment.

Top tip – keep your receipt for your meal, as it has a code on it, which you need to access the toilets which are upstairs.

I didn’t to my cost!

We eat our food on a large communal benched area, with a teenager sat next to us eating each fry one at a time incredibly slowly.

And staring at our food…..

Time to split up (for an hour)

Nickie goes of shopping. I go off to take some photos.

I start with the Old Venetian Fortress. I ask if I can go to the middle of the bridge and take a photo without paying at the barrier – the nice man lets me do just that.

All done with gestures and pointing to my camera which is miraculous if you think about it!

The Old Venetian Fortress in Corfu Town by Rick McEvoy

The Old Venetian Fortress in Corfu Town by Rick McEvoy

I get the photos I want then move on to my next destination

The cricket pitch

Yes there is a cricket pith in Corfu Town, which you can find in between The Liston and the Old Venetian Fortress.

Here is my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 with 12-40mm lens on the cricket pitch in Corfu Town!

On location with the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2

On location with the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2

I sit at the end of the wicket and listen to the cricket in England. I photograph the wicket and send a photo and some witty words to BBC sport in a bid to gate crash the Live Text commentary.

Without success.

Architectural photography with the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2

Next stop is the Museum of Asian Art of Corfu, which I have photographed before. I wanted to have a go at architectural photography with my micro four-thirds camera, the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2.

Here is one of the photos I took. I enjoyed playing around with Jpeg, RAW, HDR and high-resolution shots.

Museum of Asian Art of Corfu by Rick McEvoy

Museum of Asian Art of Corfu by Rick McEvoy

Not bad eh? Part of my experimentation in architectural photography using the micro four thirds Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 with 12-40mm lens

The problem with people

People don’t seem bothered if I am taking a photo. They happily look at me and then stand just where they are, in my shot. I am used to waiting these days, which is hat I do patiently. There was the 20 minutes waiting for the yellow boat to move when I was trying to take a photo in Parga – this is the post where I write about photographing the sunrise in Parga.

Reunited with wifey

One hour later we meet in the shopping area. I managed to find Nickie who was down near the port end of the shops.

We have not got anything other than a key fob, which is not a good return for a day trip to Corfu, now is it?

Time for a pint

We decide to give up on the shopping and have a beer instead. It is at this moment that I decide to put the sun cream on my head in the toilet at the bar. Obviously putting sun cream on in a hot unventilated toilet is far from ideal, and I came out looking a sweaty mess with cream all over my head – not a good look!!

Walking back to the ferry

We find some lovely shops on the way back to the port. There is a ceramic shop with a very nice chap sat there happily playing his guitar (one of 5 guitars on display no less). We buy two very nice tea lights holders, which he has made, which cost us 20 euros.

And also a leather shop where I spend all my time under the air conditioning!

Water!

Still struggling with the heat we get a bottle of water from the Shell station we pass for a paltry 1-euro.

Ferry timetables

When we get back to the port I need to get timetables for ferries to Paxos from Corfu and also from elsewhere for my Paxos Travel Guide website.

Back at Sette Venti

We don’t stop at Sette Vento this time – we go straight to the boat and get in the queue. I am at the front of the queue, not that it matters, until a lady very un-subtly pushes in in front of me. Like I said not important – rather baffling if anything!

This is what Sette Venti looks like from the boat by the way.

Sette Venti viewed from the boat

Sette Venti viewed from the boat

We have to wait a while to get on the boat, stood there in that blistering heat. Me – not Nickie – like a true gent I queue while she sits in the sun.

And then it is time to get on the ferry.

Back on the ferry from Corfu to Parga

This time we choose the upper deck seats at the back. There is loads of room as presumably people have had enough sun for one day.

But not us!

No – we share a couple of beers (3 euros for a cold can of Mythos) on the way back and watch Paxos and Antipaxos over to the right.

Other people

We are the only Brits again. It is rather strange.

There is a lady sat at the back of the boat who talked pretty much talked for the 2-½ hours of the return sailing.

I could not identify her nationality but she could speak!

She was creating lots of laughter amongst her fellow passengers – I would have loved to have been able to listen in as it sounded very funny.

What’s it like on those plastic seats?

In a word – sweaty.

But wait – the sun goes behind a cloud. We have a three-minute respite from that blistering afternoon Greek sunshine.

Clouds in Greece!

Clouds in Greece!

And the clouds are gone!

And what is it like inside?

Full of tired people. Packed. We are better off where we are.

Our return to Parga

For our return I want to video Parga from the boat, so I spend the last 20 minutes in what I consider to be he best seat on the boat – the one at the very front of the boat.

I get there to find the costume change girl sat there, but thankfully she moves so I grab the small wooden seat and prepare my phone for a video f the arrival into Parga.

And I also shoot the sea as we travel over it – here is a 5-minute video on my You Tube Channel.

And here is our arrival back in Parga, courtesy of Paxos Travel Guide.

This is what it looks like arriving back in Parga on the ferry from Corfu

And it is here where I work out that you can take stills whilst shooting video on the iPhone XS – the shutter button goes white when you are filming video – just press that and voila!

I found this out by mistake by the way.

And then we are back on dry land on mainland Greece.

Here are my top 10 things to do in Corfu on a day trip

  1. Liston for a drink

  2. Old Venetian Fort

  3. Temple

  4. Asian Museum

  5. Church in centre

  6. Lie on the cricket pitch

  7. Shopping

  8. Explore the side streets off the side streets

  9. Get away from the crowds

  10. McDonalds

Yes really. It is the only McDonalds for miles and miles, and as bad as it sounds a familiar burger makes a welcome change from all that lovely Greek and Italian food. Plus McDonalds in Corfu has decent air conditioning. Don’t throw away your till receipt though as I did, as this has the code for the toilet on it.

And this McDonalds is just up from the Liston so you will probably be in the vicinity anyway.

Shopping

My Top 7 Shopping Things from Corfu Town

  1. Belts

  2. Shoes

  3. Flip-flops

  4. Leather bags

  5. T-shirts

  6. Ceramics

  7. Olive oil

  8. Burgers!

Summary

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about my experiences of Parga - next week I will be writing about my favourite photos of Parga, which I am looking forward very much to working on. Yes after that series of travel posts it is back to photography!

Rick McEvoy - photographer, writer, website creator.











Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement Tool - The Official Word

I am going to be writing a lot about the new Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement Tool - The Official Word

So here is the offical press release which I am now authorised to share with you all. I am very excited by the new Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement Tool, which I will use on my commercial work for every building that I have had to photograph in dull English weather. I do not get the luxury of planning my shoots for great weather, so the new Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement Tool will help me to create the photos I need to for my clients.

Lots more to come on this, but for now this is an extract from the official press release from Skylum, the makers of Luminar.

Skylum Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement

Skylum Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement

“Sky's the limit: Luminar 4 introduces the first automatic Sky Replacement technology

 Utilizing the proprietary technology based on machine learning, Luminar 4 will be the first photo editor to have a fully automated Sky Replacement tool to save the artists hours of editing.

Today, Skylum announces the upcoming release of Luminar 4, set to ship this fall. Skylum continues to push innovations forward through machine learning tools. In addition to the new AI Sky Replacement tool, Luminar users can expect to see more machine learning present in Luminar 4. With its easy-to-use interface and sensible workflows, Luminar 4 is a great choice for creatives looking to move their photography forward.

“With Luminar 4 we continue to empower everyone who loves photography to make incredible images faster and easier,” said Alex Tsepko, CEO of Skylum. “No one needs a “simply another photo editor” these days. That’s why with every Luminar update we bring photographers something truly meaningful, something that will really level up their creative skills.

In Luminar 2018, Skylum introduced the AI Sky Enhancer filter, helping to add depth and color back into flat or blown-out skies. Earlier this year, Skylum added the Accent AI 2.0 filter to Luminar 3, a powerful content aware filter powered by machine learning to automatically enhance images. Now, with Luminar 4, AI Sky Replacement offers the first automatic tool for replacing skies. Machine learning tools like these are the foundation of the Luminar platform, helping to save photographers hours of manual labor so they can achieve their creative dreams.

Why AI Sky Replacement?

Sky replacement methods have become popular in recent years with landscape photographers, in order for them to truly showcase their creative vision. Up until now, photographers have spent minutes or even hours manually replacing skies, through tools like Smart Selection, Luminosity Masking, Overlaying, Layers, Masking, Smart Brush, Color Range and more. And even with all those tools, it was hard to get a perfect sky.

While development of AI Sky Replacement has been equally challenging, Skylum’s machine learning technology means that photographers can apply a realistic sky to their photograph in mere seconds, freeing up time to be more creative.

How does it work?

AI Sky Replacement works by automatically detecting not only the sky, but also objects in a photograph’s scene. This helps make sure the photo ends up being as realistic as possible once you insert a new sky. It removes things like halos, artifacts and edges of transitions, problems that often were present in existing sky replacement techniques. With the AI Sky Replacement you will also be able to adjust the sky to fit the rest of an image — things like depth of field, tone, exposure and color — making it great for not only landscapes, but also portraits.

When working on an image, the AI Sky Replacement technology automatically creates a mask for the sky, taking a step that would oftentimes take minutes or even hours, and boiling it down to mere seconds with just the click of a mouse. But that’s not all it does — AI Sky Replacement also correctly detects the horizon line and the orientation of the sky to replace so that it looks as realistic as possible.

Furthermore, with the scene relight technology, you’ll see the rest of your photo change in terms of light and color when you select your sky of choice. This makes sure that an image and sky match so they appear they were taken during the same conditions. Because of the toning that AI Sky Replacement does to an image, it looks as natural and smooth as possible.

The new AI Sky Replacement filter is the perfect tool for recreating that special moment that you might not otherwise be able to revisit. It’s great to bring life into vacation photos where the weather wasn’t perfect, or surprise moments where you couldn’t plan for the perfect conditions. And best of all, it’s available through a simple, easy-to-use tool in the Luminar 4 interface.

Now, with AI Sky Replacement, it’s easier and faster than ever for photographers to achieve their goals, and focus on what they enjoy most — photography.

Pricing and availability

Luminar 4 is set to be released this fall. Pre-orders are now available on http://skylum.com/luminar-l4.

Pricing will be announced at a later time, and upgrade pricing will be available for current users.

About Skylum Software

Skylum is a global imaging technology company with offices in Bellevue, USA; Kyiv, Ukraine; and Tokyo, Japan. Skylum allows millions of photographers to make incredible images faster. We automate photo editing with the power of Artificial Intelligence yet leave all the creative control in the hands of the artist. The Skylum Team has won the Red Dot Award, Apple’s Best of the Year, and other top industry awards. To learn more about Skylum, visit http://skylum.com.”

Ok, so that was the official word from Skylum. I am looking forward to using this fantastic new tool, and will be posting lots of sky replacement images in the future.

I am a Skylum Affiliate

I am a Skylum Affiliate, so there is something in this for me. If you use my EARLY OFFER STORE CART AFFILIATE LINK then you get a great price and I get a commission.

So why listen to me?

I am an architectural photographer and I am looking forward to introducing this tool into my commercial workflow. I have lots of photos of buildings with dull skies, which I will use this excellent tool to change.

So whilst I am an affiliate I am an affiliate of products that I actually use.

Keep checking my blog

Rick McEvoy

I will be posting lots of sky replacement photos - keep checking back to my blog to see what I have created. And I will be honest about the software - it is after all a tool that I have been waiting years for!

Bye for now!

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, writer, website creator

#luminar #luminar4 #luminar4aisjyreplacement #luminar4skyreplacement #skyreplacement #luminar4ai

Parga TUI Package Holidays – Part 3 of 3

This is the last in this series of three posts about a holiday in Parga Greece.

In this post I will tell you what a Parga TUI package holiday is like, based on my very recent experiences. I describe the last days of our holiday, and our experiences of getting home. I will conclude with a summary of the good and bad points of our TUI holiday.

Before I go on, here are the two previous posts that I have written.

Parga Holidays – What Is Parga Really Like?

Parga Greece Reviews – Part 2 of 3

Back to the holiday

For those of you who have not read the first two posts I need to explain a few things.

  1. We go on holiday to have a break from our responsibilities.

  2. We drink a little often – it might seem like we have a drink with every occasion and meal, but it is normally just the one!

  3. Our holidays are very important to us.

Day 11 – 21st August.

This is the day that nothing happened!

11am!!!! I set the alarm for 7am, hit snooze, made a cuppa and then went back to sleep. We both dragged ourselves out of bed at 11am!!

Relaxation has finally hit us on day 11.

Well I did do a sunrise shoot the day before which would have contributed to my tiredness,

So it is time for a quick cuppa then up to the pool to doze and read.

Lunch at the hotel

Today we had a cheeseburger and Caesar salad for lunch. Well call it brunch. This was accompanied by our usual small and large beers – we are still on the draft Corfu Town Beer.

This is my pint! (Or half a litre).

Corfu Town beer

Corfu Town beer

Busy doing nothing

After lunch we had a concerted dozing/ reading/ dipping in the pool to cool down session. It is quiet by the pool today. The shouting woman with the small child appears to have gone home, along with the large family who have only one volume.

But the sun lounger stealers are still here.

Cultural differences

Whilst the pool area is quiet you can still see the cultural differences between English, Greek, Italian, Danish, Swedish and Norwegians. We appear to be more like the Scandinavian folk than the other nationalities which I find interesting.

But we all seem to find a beer before noon acceptable on holiday ha!

So it was time for an afternoon refresher before heading back to the room

Melting on the balcony again

As I said this really was the day where nothing at all happened.

And as I write this on the balcony I am still exhausted – maybe holiday relaxation took a while to reach me this time.

Dinner tonight

Tonight we are going to the place next to Shanghai for dinner.

And tomorrow we have an early start for our Corfu Town day trip, so probably not a bad thing that we had a resting day today.

Toros Contemporary Greek restaurant

Yeay – back in a Greek restaurant.

Now I have to be honest here, my writing got a bit muddled on the tired day. I had to rely on the backup of the photos taken with my iPhone to tell me that we did not eat in the hotel as I thought, but that we actually went to Toros down on the waterfront.

Here is the menu.

Toros Steaks and Mediterranean Flavours

Toros Steaks and Mediterranean Flavours

And here is my beef stifado – a magnificent serving of local Greek culinary loveliness.

Beef Stifado at Toros in Parga

Beef Stifado at Toros in Parga

And here is our table!

Table at Toros Parga

Table at Toros Parga

Apart from that nothing else to report from today!

Day 12 – 22nd August – Corfu Town

I will write all about this in a separate blog post next week.

But we got back to the hotel at 7.pm having got up at 6.30pm. So we eat in the hotel tonight. Not last night as I thought.

We just could not be bothered going out. It gets like that on holiday, going out every night can become tiring!! Especially after a long day like today.

Dinner at the Alea Resort

It is such a luxury not having to walk down the hill into Parga. No crowds to battle. Just taking it easy.

The problem was the evening chef left, and they could not find a replacement in August, so all they could offer was the snack menu. As we spent a lot of time at the pool taking it easy, we had completely exhausted the snack menu, and did not want that in the evening as well.

The full menu

So we eat in the hotel which has a new chef and a full menu.

Starters are fried saganaki, and I have spaghetti Bolognese and Nickie has linguini something.

And a 1 litre carafe of very nice wine.

It was very quiet in the hotel restaurant but all very nice.

And there was the cat who was clearly expecting to be fed.

It was a shame that there was no one else there – there is something rather unsettling about being the only people eating in a restaurant.

Day 13 23rd August.

This is how I wrote about this day! I love it so am not going to change it.

  • Alarm 5am.

  • Sunrise shoot

  • High res on tripod. Low light stuff. Church. Outside restaurant at end. All good. Videos walking around Parga x 2.

  • Tripods – both. Simple. High res great. Love screen. Loving camera and walking around with lightweight set up.

  • No NDs

  • Kit used minimal

  • Camera, 2 lenses, 2 tripods, lens cloth and solution. Battery charger. That is it. Nothing else. Oh yes phone and Wi-Fi first shoot.

  • Sunrise videos. Video on Olympus on tripod.

  • Lost phone on rocks!

  • Bins, deliveries, watering steps, morning noise, cats and fish.

After the sunrise photo shoot.

  • Cappuccino from smiley man 1958 photo

  • Walk back with 2 croissants 1 bagel I baguette from bakers 7.90 euros.

  • Back to hotel

  • Hot walk back this morning.

  • Pool. Sun lounger incident. Beer. Snacks.

  • Afternoon in Parga

  • Down to Parga. Nickie nails. Beers from Mikes. Valtos Beach. Snorkel. Teenagers taking photos. 3 relocations. Snorkel. Melt. Debris. Quicksand gravel. Loose flip flop. England 67 all out.

  • Melt on walk back. Return bottles to Mikes.

  • Back to the hotel

  • Taxi rank straight way. Back to hotel. Mojito 8 euros can Mythos

  • Late. Quick change.

  • Out.

  • That was how I wrote the day up!

Back to normal English now.

Shopping in Parga

After showers we walk down through the old town and have a miraculous shopping trip. We find everything we were looking for in Corfu Town on the path we were walking down anyway.

We get

  • 3 lovely pairs of Reefs for 85 euros

  • 2 leather belts for 8 euros from a shop where the man makes leather stuff. Why did I only get 2???

  • 2 lovely pairs of silver earrings for 35 euros

  • Another big sheet thing for 15 euros

  • An oil pourer to go and we are done (we never found that)

Time for dinner

We go to the Italian at the end of the front where I was taking sunrise photos that morning. We had a bit of a kerfuffle with the table. It was very quiet, there were loads of tables empty, and we asked if we could sit at a nice table which we did.

Grumpy waiter

 The waiter had pointed to a table way back in the middle of nowhere which we did not want to sit at, so we said we were fine where we were. He picked up the table he wanted us to sit at and moved it next to two other people. And then gestured at us to sit there.

So we walked out

We got up and walked out and returned to the Greek restaurant we went to the other night. Toros.

It was déjà vu all over again!

The same gent welcomed us, the same lovely waiter served us, and the same gent bought the same bottle of wine. The only difference was that we were on a different table.

A very nice prawn saganaki was followed by a not so great chicken sofrito for me and Moussaka for Nickie.

49 euros including drinks.

And time for bed

We paid and walked back to the taxi rank exhausted – the hill to Mikes Bar and onto the hotel after were too much for us tonight!

Day 14 24 the August - The last full day.

Up to the pool for 9. Well 10 for me. I was a bit dopey this morning. I know it is my last day, so I am done with sunbathing completely.

Cereal bars for breakfast and then the pool.

Lunch

Lunch was pork gyros for me, a Greek omelette for Nickie, accompanied by a small and a large beer. 22 euros for lunch then an afternoon listening to the cricket and dozing, with frequent dips in the pool to cool down from the absolutely melting heat!

It is odd that I do not like pork, but this was nice I have to say.

Late check out

I got our room till 6pm tomorrow for an additional 20 euros – pick up time is 4.15pm so glad that is sorted.

Last night tonight – where are we going to eat?

We went back Shanghai would you believe!

Day 15 – going home

It is our last day. Boo hiss. I don’t want to go home. Well I do actually. Parga is fine but I do not love it. I wish we had gone to Paxos again.

Oh well – the only way to learn these things is by doing them.

Today all we have to do is pack and go to the pool. I won’t bore you with any of this.

Cricket

Today was what is now called “Headingley Sunday”. If you don’t like cricket move on.

I don’t like cricket – I love it!

I am going to jump straight to the airport, having left the hotel and dragged two suitcases up the hill to our pickup point.

We had a problem on the way to the airport – someone was sick. So we had to pull over while they dealt with the unfortunate poorly passenger. Must have been awful for her.

Back to the cricket

I can see blokes in the airport staring at their phones and looking around anxiously. I am one of them.

Sneaking quick looks at the BBC Sport website.

Can England win?

I get to security and England need two runs to win. The cricket lovers are less subtle now – I can see them!!

And then the bloke tries to go through the x-ray machine with his phone in his hand and his headphones on. I have to put my stuff in the plastic trays and get through as quick as I can.

I see one bloke punch the air, another letting out a muted “Yes!” and I know that we have won.

I get my plastic tray and there is the news on my iPhone – England have miraculously won.

Ben Stokes – legend.

And then it is time to sit down for 2 ½ hours. I read the BBC Sport website.

We get on the plane.

We get back to the car.

And the door called reality slams into my face as I have to drive from Gatwick back to Poole in the dark at what to us is 2 in the morning with very little sleep on the plane!

What did I like about Parga?

  • The waterfront is lovely

  • The Venetian buildings

  • The shopping was surprisingly good

  • Valtos Beach was nice

  • Dallas Supermarket!

  • The day trip to Paxos

What did I not like about Parga?

  • Parga is a busy bustling location

  • The traffic

  • Parga does not have the chilled feeling that Paxos does

  • I could see Paxos from my hotel balcony!

  • The food was a bit hit and miss

  • I did not fall in love with Parga, so didn’t take many photos – that says it all for me

What did I like about our Parga TUI package holiday?

  • Booking and all that stuff was good

  • The TUI app is good

  • The flights were good

  • TUI representatives on the plane was good

  • Everything happened when it should have done

  • The hotel was pretty much as described

What did I not like about our Parga TUI package holiday?

  • The coach transfer to the hotel took forever

  • The rep did not actually visit our hotel.

  • Whilst it is nice to know that we have the backing of TUIs should there be a problem they did not deal with our problems.

  • The location of the hotel – now this is our fault as it we knew what we were booking

  • Entertainment on the plane did not work going out but did on the way back.

OK where’s the video for this post?

Here is a link to it INSERT LINK

Summary

I hope that you have enjoyed this series of posts about our holiday to Parga. I will finish off this series with a post about the day trip from Parga to Corfu. Then I am going to get stuck into the photos I took. There are not that many though, but I do have sme exciting new processing to look forward to.

What’s on my blog next week

I think I will write a post about the day trip from Parga to Corfu Town. And then I can get into the photos that I took in Parga and Corfu Town.

And after that I am back to photography stuff. I just wanted to try out some travel writing and see how it went – I will let you know the numbers for these posts in a few months.

Rick McEvoy - Travel Writer/ blogger/ website creator

#parga #greece #pargatuipackageholidays #rickmcevoyphotography #travelphotography #travelphotographer

Why I Am Excited About Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement

I have just watched the video on You Tube about Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement.

Here is a link to it.

Luminar 4 with AI Sky Replacement

Skylum Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement

Skylum Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement

So this is why I am excited for Luminar 4 with AI Sky Replacement.

I live in England. I am an architectural photographer. I take photos on the day of the shoot. I do not get a second chance - I have to accept the weather on the day. Sure I plan the best I can but I end up having to deal what I get on the day.

Do my clients care if I change the sky? No. They care about the photographs of the building that they have spent months/ years working on.

My job is to give them the best photos that I can of their completed work, within the very tight time constraints I am given.

AI sky replacement - I can’t wait!

You can pre-order Luminar 4 using my affiliate link here.

Rick McEvoy Photography - Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement Specialist

#luminar4 #aiskyreplacement #luminar4aiskyrelpacement #rickmcevoyphotography

Parga Greece Reviews – Part 2 of 3

Welcome back to my story about a holiday in Parga.

I thought about the title of this post. Parga Greece Reviews – Part 2 of 3 – this works for me. After all, I am writing an in-depth review of Parga, telling you what it is really like holidaying in Parga. So this actually is a review of Parga. OK lets get back into it.

Whats in this post?

Part 2 includes the day of the trip from Parga to Paxos and Antipaxos and me doing some actual photography!

Now where was I?

This is where last week’s post ended. We were leaving Stefanos Taverna being serenaded by loud reggae music. We had to investigate.

Mike’s Bar

Mike’s Bar was the culprit. As you walk out of the lower level of Stefanos you walk through Mike’s Bar to get out!

So lets have another drink we thought.

Now I need to say here that we are pretty lightweight when it comes to nights out – we are not used to it anymore so anything after dinner is a big adventure to us!!

Our big night out

The music was ace. We had a great hour getting our favourite music on, drinking and dancing. We asked Mike for our favourite songs, and he ended up letting us select the songs on YouTube, as we were the only ones dancing.

And when I say drinking I mean 2 beers each – bottles of Mythos that is.

Two small bottles of beer at that.

The walk back to the hotel was a bit of a trauma but we made it back in one piece!

Mikes Bar - steps either way!

Mikes Bar - steps either way!

Day 4 – 15th August

Alarm set for 7, it is our wedding anniversary! We exchanged cards and laughed about the night before, such a good time with my best mate.

Breakfast in Parga

We got the morning shuttle bus from the hotel to the bus station in Parga. Well I say bus station it is a sign on the road!

Very rustic and most excellent.

We walked down to the front ending up in a very nice café bar called The Old Garden, where we had a cooked breakfast and a freshly squeezed orange juice – 22 euros was good value for a café overlooking the town beach, which was filling up rapidly as we ate.

And this is what it looked like.

Breakfast at The Old Garden in Parga

Breakfast at The Old Garden in Parga

And this is the view from our table

The view from The Old Garden in Parga

The view from The Old Garden in Parga

There was also a constant procession of people walking over to the jetty to get their day trip boats. Ok I know there is no one in this photo!

Booking excursions to Paxos and Antipaxos

After breakfast we had a lovely walk around the far side of Parga, ending up at the TUI office where we booked excursions to Corfu Town and also Antipaxos and Paxos.

Yes we are doing the reverse of previous trips, which should be good.

I cannot wait to get back to Gaios to spend a couple of hours there – I have unfinished business with Paxos, and also things to attend to for my website Paxos Travel Guide.

For the map showing the TUI office check out last week’s post Parga Holidays – What Is Parga Really Like?

Shopping then back to the hotel

After that we got some shopping (wine, beer and water) and got a taxi back to the hotel – again this is 5 euros from the taxi rank in a lovely air-conditioned Mercedes.

This is the very nice wine that we enjoyed, for sale for 5 euros 50 cents.

Wine from the supermarket Dallas in Parga

Wine from the supermarket Dallas in Parga


Yes the supermarket have their own wine!!

Hot on the balcony

It is very windy today; I am writing this on my balcony not melting but worried that my drink might blow off the table! And all the time I can see Antipaxos and Paxos shimmering in the late afternoon sunshine – lovely sights they both are.

Back down into Parga

For the map showing the TUI office check out last week’s post Parga Holidays – What Is Parga Really Like?.

We walk down to the old town of Parga, walking past a restaurant that every night is packed – we must give that a go. We go for the restaurant called Romantica, which is another restaurant with a balcony sticking out of the face of the cliffs giving magnificent views of Valtos Beach and the surrounding hills as the sun sets in the background.

An evening at Romantica

We share a lovely bottle of wine and enjoy a grilled halloumi starter. Mains are oven baked spaghetti carbonara for me, while Nickie has grilled prawns with vegetables.

Grilled halloumi at Romantica in parga

Grilled halloumi at Romantica in parga


Our cunning plan

This time we order the starters and hold back on ordering the mains – we find that there is a tendency to get your main course before you have finished starters, spoiling the relaxing experience we crave and making things awkward.

This works a treat – when the starters come we order the mains. Starters accompanied with lovely bread that is.

Bread

Which makes me think – we have had some truly wonderful bread with our meals which is good, tonight being no exception.

A very nice meal in a nice restaurant with lovely views. Meal cost 49 euros.

A word about Trip Advisor

I am noticing that the Trip Advisor reviews are of limited help -places that are fantastic when you read the reviews are often average – Trip Advisor is after all an independent collection of individual views all lumped together to give an overall rating.

Back up the hill to the Alea Resort

We walk back up the hill melting as we go and have a night cap before turning in.

The bedroom is boiling so we go to sleep on the sofa bed filling the living room, and then have to find the blankets in the night to keep warm. I did check but the bedroom still is not cool enough to sleep in until the morning, which is not good.

Day 5 – 16th August

We surface at 7am ish. Well I don’t, I had a very disrupted nights sleep. So I slob in bed a bit longer and Nickie heads off up to the pool.

Pool etiquette – or the complete lack of it

I arrive at the pool to the joyous sound of the person sat next to me having a face time call on the next sun lounger – why do people do that?

I had a few phone calls today and found a quiet corner way from everyone else. I should have stayed where I was and it them on speaker phone – that is what everyone else seems to do!

But politeness always gets the better of me. How typically English!

The close proximity to inconsiderate strangers on the fixed to the floor sun loungers is beginning to gnaw away at me.

No breakfast

We decide not to have the buffet breakfast and hang on till the pool bar service starts at 11.30am, having a cheese and bacon toastie and cheese and ham omelette – both with chips!

Very nice all the same!

An afternoon by the pool reading and dozing.

It is not as hot today thankfully – still hot but we are back to the more regular temperatures this time of year.

Late lunch

We have a late lunch, a very nice Greek pizza, keeping two slices for snacks for later.

Back on the balcony writing

I find myself back on the balcony at 6 writing my days thoughts in the still hot but no so melting temperature, with a hot wind too keep me company. I have to tell you that I am wearing my darkest Oakley sunglasses, and can barely see the screen so I am pretty much typing as though my eyes are closed!

As long as I get the main points down I will be just fine.

Tonight we are getting the courtesy bus down to Parga Bus Station. I must get a photo of this tonight before I forget!

And photograph it I did! – here it is.

Parga Bus Station

Parga Bus Station

Why is that man hiding?

Time for an Italian – when in Greece after all!

We have a drink and then go to Delizi, the number one rated restaurant in Parga according to Trip Advisor.

We are thankfully not disappointed.

Delizi - The number one restaurant in Paxos

The wine is excellent, if a little strong at 14.5%. But very nice. Not cheap either, but we like to treat ourselves.

Wine at Delizi in Parga

Wine at Delizi in Parga

Service is very friendly, and the food is excellent.

For starters we share a baked feta in honey – it is good to try the same thing at different places!

And for the mains I have a very, very nice spaghetti carbonara, and Nickie has pasta with shrimps.

So how was Delizi?

An excellent evening with lovely service and the bill with tip came to 75 euros.

And we are given a complimentary dessert, pitta bread with chocolate and squirty cream no less!

We head back to the taxi rank and that is another day over.

Day 6 – 17th August

Today is the trip to Antipaxos and Paxos. I have been looking forward to this for a long time now. Check out my website Paxos Travel Guide to find out all that you need to know about Paxos! And also for the full blog post about this day trip called What Is A Day Trip From Parga To Paxos Really Like? - this is the brief version of the day.

Captain Hook 2

The boat we are booked on is Captain Hook 2, which leaves Parga at 10am. We get there nice and early with breakfast bought at the bakers.

First stop Antipaxos

The fully loaded boat leaves Parga bang on 10am, and our first stop is Voutoumi Beach on Antipaxos for a one-hour swim stop. And when I say fully loaded I really mean it – this trip sells out!

I end up jumping in the water – the masses in the water are all in one place leaving the front of the boat and the deeper water all for me!

I take my iPhone with me in my waterproof case and have a go a bit of underwater videography.

This is a 360 video from the sea showing Antipaxos and the Captain Hook 2.

And this is a video showing the view from the rocks I swam to

This all I got that was fit to publish on my Paxos Travel Guide YouTube channel!

The famous Blue Cave of Paxos

The captain takes the boat into the cave, and everyone applauds. The water is lovely crystal clear aquamarine blue.

The Blue Caves of Paxos

The Blue Caves of Paxos

All rather stunning.

And then there is a 45-minute swim stop, which we could have done without to be honest.

Tripitos Arch

We sail back past the Tripitos Arch which none else notices, and then head into Gaios. Here is the video of this on my Paxos Travel Guide You Tube Channel.

You can find out all about the Tripitos Arch on the post I wrote all about it.

Gaios

And finally we return to Gaios on my favourite Greek Island Paxos

We moor just after the port. Here is the video of us approaching and arriving in Gaios again courtesy of my Paxos Travel Guide You Tube Channel.

We know were we are going, and quickly get a seat at the manic grill house at the back of the tiny but lovely Church Analipsi. Chicken gyros is 3.50 euros - great value even if the restaurant is a maniacal whirlwind of people going in an out.

We go to our favourite jewellers, and then buy t-shirts before I go off to shoot some videos for Paxos Travel Guide.

We have a drink on the waterfront in the shade, I have a large Mythos and Nickie has a very nice Mojito.

Much too soon it is time to get back to the boat leaving Paxos at 5.15 back to Parga.

Back in Parga

And here is a video of us arriving in Parga Greece by boat - this is what it all looks like!!! And very lovely it is too!

Back to the hotel

We arrive back at 6.30pm, wind swept and sun battered and not a little sweaty, then have to battle through the crowds and get a taxi back to the hotel with essential shopping.

We share the taxi with a very nice Norwegian couple who are staying at our hotel.

We left the shopping on the boat!!

We get back to the hotel and realise we have left our shopping on the boat. That is 130 euros worth of clothes no less.

I put my walking shoes on and head straight back down to the town – I made it to the jetty in Parga in 15 minutes, which is not bad going for an old man!

Nickie has in the meantime had the most innovative idea of phoning Delizi and asking if they could get our bag off the boat for us!

We speak on the way down and I collect the bag from Delizi, reserving a table for the next evening.

Back up the hill

I walk back to the hotel – 21 minutes to get back. Well it is uphill all the way!

Back down to Parga - again!

A quick change and then we walk down to the Old Town of Parga where we have a very different menu to enjoy – the restaurant is just up from Sakis and is called XX.

We share for a starter, and for the mains I have Mongolian Beef and Nickie enjoys a prawn dish which is very nice.

We make the short walk down to Mikes Bar for a couple of beers before heading back to the hotel tired but having had an excellent day.

Day 8 – 18th August

After a busy day out today we are at the pool for the day taking it easy.

And after the drama of leaving the bag on the boat we have to return to Delizi to say thank you to the very nice chap who retrieved our shopping for us.

Doing nothing

After a lazy morning we have brunch at the hotel, which consists of a club sandwich (with fries). This makes it easy to justify afternoon snacks at 2pm, a very nice Greek Pizza.

Both accompanied by Corfu Town Beer of course.

Back down to Parga for the evening

After a quiet afternoon we walk back into Parga, having a drink at Geoker (12 euros for a beer and a Mojito) before returning to Delizi for our 8pm table.

Dinner at Delizi

We have the same wine as the other night, just as lovely, and for starters I go rogue. I have the mushroom fricassee, and Nickie has the bruschetta. All very nice, and after the starters we are full.

And for our main courses?

For our main courses I go for the pappardelle with beef (or buff which is what I actually typed in that blinding heat!). Nickie has shrimps with pasta.

Pappardelle with beef at Delizi

Pappardelle with beef at Delizi

Can’t eat the dessert!

We are unable to eat the complimentary dessert, but happily pay the bill - 75 euros (again?) with tip before heading back to the carnage which is the taxi rank.

The taxi rank in Parga

The taxi rank is quite literally chaos any time I have been there. People seem to love driving into this small dead end, which is not really big enough for the taxis to turn around in. Once in the dead end they either

  • Stop looking confused

  • Just sit there waiting for someone

  • Struggle to turn round

  • Block taxis who beep their horns

They add to the problem that the taxis have to do a three-point turn avoiding the numerous tourists seemingly oblivious to the taxis.

Getting out of Parga

There is also the recurring theme of the queue to get out of town, where every night we have to wai for the cars queuing to get into the car park, turning left from the right hand lane (of course) blocking the road.

Which reminds me as I sit here writing this – why do the taxi drivers not turn left up the hill – that takes us straight back to the hotel after all?

Day 9 – 19th August

We head down to the beach in the morning and have a change of mind so go back to the hotel.

No beach today!

We get the water taxi from Valtos Beach to Parga. 5 euros for 2 which is pretty good I have to say, and then call in at the bakers and get some lovely food. A croissant for breakfast, and some very nice smoked turkey and cheese salad sandwiches, one on a bagel and one on a baguette. And a cinnamon doughnut.

This we got from a bakers right in the centre of Parga, for the princely sum of 7.80 euros!

Taxi time

We get a taxi back to what is a very quiet swimming pool area pool as lots of people have gone home today. A nice quiet day by the pool reading and dozing before our return to the old town for dinner this evening is just what we needed.

Learning how to use my camera

In the afternoon I get out my book about how to use the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk2 – yes it is time to go out and take some photos and there are things that I want to learn about my excellent camera.

OK – enough about the camera

After a lazy afternoon we return to our room, shower and brave the melting evening heat again.

Dinner in the Old Town

We walk down to the old town and have a drink in the very nice Hotel Avra with a stunning view of Parga from the cliffs above. It is just down the steps from the castle overlooking all of Parga from on high.

One beer and one mojito later we are done and ready to eat.

Dinner at Sakis

We walk back up the hill to Sakis where we manage to get a table nestled quietly in a corner. A quiet if not level corner it has to be said!

The menu at Sakis restaurant in Parga

The menu at Sakis restaurant in Parga

What to do in a queue?

Now this place really is popular – there are people queuing for tables.

A very sweet touch is that they give people in the queue an Ouzo to ease the pain of standing in that evening heat waiting to be seated – we timed it just right this time!

Wine time

We have a carafe of red wine and share the Sakis Special starter, feta cheese and peppers and onions cooked nicely. Very nice indeed.

And now for the main courses

Mains are sausages in a sauce for me and Nickie chooses meatballs. The waiter gives us the wrong meals and it is so dark where we are sat we have to use the torches on our phones to work out that we have each other’s dishes!

Both mains are nice and we depart nicely full, helped by a basket of lovely bread. And the bill for this little lot? 27 euros no less!!

Mike’s Bar revisited

We are very tired but decide quite illogically to go to Mikes Bar for a couple of beers and to enjoy some music – All I Want Is You by U2 is tonight’s dance!

After leaving Mikes we have the hideous uphill walk back to the hotel.

No air con tonight

We make it back and get to sleep with fresh air for a change – still took me a while to get off though. Not before packing my bag for a sunrise shoot in the morning – yes I am going for it.

I set my alarm for 5am. I want to be down for sunrise in Parga, and also to get all the buildings lit up at night.

I have spent a week looking at the location and know exactly what I am after – planning is always good.

Plus I know my camera a bit better after a bit of research today.

Day 10 – 20th August

You can read the full story of my sunrise shoot in the blog post Photographing Sunrise In Parga With My Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2.

Here are the highlights.

5AM on holiday!

My alarm goes off at 5am. I put it on snooze. I make it up at 5.45; having spent some time debating do I really want to do this? Not really is the answer, but I force myself out of bed.

I get so much material from a sunrise shoot and have been looking forward to this – once I am up it is not that bad.

The moon is out so I get down to the front quickly.

My photography gear

I sit down on the jetty and assemble my gear in the moonlight. This is all I am using

  • Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2

  • Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Lens

  • Three Legged Thing Universal L Bracket

  • Three legged thing Corey tripod.

That is it – I do not need anything else. This gives me all the tools I need.

I even take the time to connect my camera to my iPhone again – the missing piece in how I am going to take the photos is that.

What do I want to photograph?

This morning I am after two shots – the first one is in the post mentioned above. The second one - well you will have to wait and see!

But this is what part of the scene looked like.

Sunrise in Parga Greece

Sunrise in Parga Greece

Things they don’t tell you in photography school!

There were a few things that I had to contend with.

Sunrise in Parga Greece

Sunrise in Parga Greece

  • Well there were a lot of delivery vans around.

  • Bins being emptied.

  • The odd drunk.

  • Bins being washed out with the arisings flowing around me and my tripod feet, which was nice.

  • Sunrise swimmers – two ladies turned up and stood in the sea chatting slap bang in the middle of my composition!

  • The bloke on the yellow boat – right in the way of my headline photo.

  • And the odd drunk.

  • And where the sun rises – not where I wanted it I can tell you!

All good in the end

Photos done

I met up with Nickie and we headed back to the hotel for a day by the pool.

This is how I can get up so early on holiday – I have a cheeky beer and catch up on sleep so everyone is happy!

An afternoon by the pool

Lunch was a club sandwich and a beer then back to the pool to read/ doze/ sunbathe

After a hectic afternoon it is time to return to the room for me to sit on the balcony and melt writing this whilst enjoying a Mythos.

When in Greece eat Chinese

Tonight we are going to have something different for dinner – Asian/ Chinese at Shanghai.

We have pre-dinner drinks at the Rock Bar, a pint for me and a Mojito for N, and then we walk along the front to the end under the castle.

Don’t sit where we did

We get a table at the front, which is nice at first. You know those menus in display outside restaurants? Theirs is right next to your table, so we spend the evening with strangers standing right next to us, which was, erm nice. Not.

The crispy duck starter was not great, but the hot Asian beef main was excellent, with egg-fried rice. We found a nice bottle of wine to go with it. Nickie tried the noodles as well, but I declined as these days I have textural issues with Chinese restaurant noodles.

With the bottle of the wine the meal cost 49 euros.

Back to the taxi rank carnage

We walked back to the taxi rank – we thought it had got quieter this week, but it was absolutely heaving this evening. We made it to the taxi rank for more cars driving into the dead end and then trying to reverse back out onto the busy main road.

Quite a chaotic scene and a constant frustration for the taxi drivers.

Back at the room we crash straight away.

Thats it apart from the video

I nearly forgot - I have recorded a video which you can watch on my You Tube channel imaginatively titled What is Parga in Greece really like? FInd out in this splendid video!

Me on location in Parga with my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2

Me on location in Parga with my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2

Next week

And that is part 2 done. Next week I will conclude my Parga holiday before moving onto the photos that I took.

Oh yes, here is a photo of me on location in Parga with my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 on my Three Legged THing tripod.

Check out my gear page for more info on the photography gear that I use.

Rick McEvoy - travel photographer, writer and website creator.

#parga #greece #pargagreece #rickmcevoyphotography #travelphotography #travelphotographer #travelblogger #travelwriter

Parga Holidays – What Is Parga Really Like?

I have just returned from a two-week holiday to Parga Greece.

This first post is titled Parga Holidays – What Is Parga Really Like? Having spent two weeks there I can tell you that Parga is a great place to visit if you like a lively resort full of bustling streets with all sorts of lovely shops, bars and restaurants. Parga is also great base from which to explore places both on the mainland and in the Ionian Sea.

This is a series of three posts which will appear on my photography blog.

The buildings of Parga at sunrise by Rick McEvoy

The buildings of Parga at sunrise by Rick McEvoy

Different I know but something that I have always wanted to do.

What is in part 1?

Part one includes getting there, and then doing not a lot during the day but exploring Parga at night.

Where is Parga?

Parga is on mainland Greece, directly opposite the wonderful Greek Island of Antipaxos separated by the Ionian Sea. The closest airport to Parga is a modern airport called Preveza Airport. The red X marks the spot!

Where is Parga

Where is Parga

Who am I?

I am Rick McEvoy, and I am a photographer, writer and website creator and lover of travelling with my wife and best friend Nickie. Mrs M. Or M for short!

About my holiday journal.

I wrote a daily journal, which you can read in these posts pretty much as I wrote it. All I have done is corrected grammar and spellings.

I wrote this journal every day on my iPad sat on the hotel balcony having a cooling Mythos or a nice Mojito.

My writing studio!

My writing studio!

Here we go then - Sunday 11th August - getting there

Get up at 6am, drive to Gatwick, drop the car off, check in and get on our Titan Airlines plane.

Problem number 1. Our luggage was over our paltry 20kg allowance. Now my camera gear might be small these days but some stuff I took weighed quite a bit. My book “Mastering the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 is surprisingly heavy”! (.8 kgs would you believe).

Our persistent but polite pleas to not have to pay £75 for three extra kilos (each) pays off – we end up just dropping the bags off and go on our way without having to pay any extra. Our charm offensive was a complete success!

Security is busy – the collection of stuff in my camera bag often gets me stopped by security. I think it is the combination of the iPad, tripod, cameras lenses and camera batteries.

Those straight metal tubes cannot look good on an x-ray, especially next to blank spots which are my camera batteries!

The lounge at Gatwick

The lounge is good. I enjoy a few small glasses of beer and some snacks. We shop separately, I just get a few things to read including the inevitable newspaper that I always buy for a holiday but never get round to reading!

I should have said, we get 6 lounge passes a year with our Barclays Bank account so that is why we are in relative luxury. Not that we are trying to get away from the masses in the madness that is Gatwick South!

Lets get on the plane!

We walk from the lounge the usual long walk to the outreaches of Gatwick – just a 15 minute walk for this flight!

And now it is time to get on the plane.

We get on the plane and sit in our extra legroom seats. Very nice they are. We have three TUI staff in front of us, who are there to assist the Titan crew and ensure we receive the full TUI experience which to be fair we do.

Plane – we are all good to go but the airport are not ready for us.

So we wait on the plane for about 40 minutes, and then before we know it we are taxiing to the runway. Whilst I am trying to turn off the WiFi on my iPad I am told off for having my table down and my iPad on!

No problems with the flight and we get to Parga just fine.

Parga Airport

Parga Preveza airport is a new airport sandwiched between two bodies of water – check it out on this Google map extract!

Preveza Airpor

Preveza Airpor

I know!

It is a nice slick transition from the plane to our coach through the very modern airport. We get out of the airport to be greeted by that melting heat!

The coach transfer takes too long, although we are treated to the sun very slowly sitting in front of us, and when we get to the coast there is Antipaxos and just to the north Paxos. Reunited with my favourite places is a good feeling.

Drop offs

Drop offs seem to take forever, including one drop off where the rep had to escort the guests down a hill!

We get to the hotel and check in. Our room is boiling hot and there are issues with it.

We unpack

And then go to the bar for milk and Metaxa. Not to have together of course!

A very uncomfortable night later and it is 9am local time. We seem to have an issue with the air con.

Day 2 – 12th August

We drink tea and brave the heat, and boy it is hot.

We go to the welcome meeting at the hotel across the road. Our rep is 10 minutes late which is not good. Nickie has toast with OJ for breakfast. I have a diet Coke.

After that we walk into Parga to get supplies.

Walking into Parga

Our hotel is called the Alea Resort. It is on a hill. We knew that when we booked it.

We walk the long way down to Parga missing the steps that we needed to take, walking down the twisting turning road.

We get to the front fine if not a little hot and sweaty. I just put the clothes on I travelled in yesterday which went straight in the wash when we got back.

Beer’o’clock

Time for a lovely beer on the front at the bar Geoker, which served excellent snacks of cheese, bread stick and olives. 9.50 euros for two beers and snacks which was absolutely fine and very nice indeed.

Here is my first photo of a pint!

Yamas from Geoker

Yamas from Geoker

We sat on a table at the front of the bar, and noticed how people had a tendency to virtually walk into us, even with that very wide frontage path to walk on. Quite bizarre.

The supermarket

There is a supermarket across the road from the taxi rank. It is called Dallas Supermarket. They seem to have everything that we need, and the prices are not too bad.

Holiday essentials are wine, beer, water and snacks. Well we are on holiday!

Taxis in Parga

And then after a 2- minute wait for a taxi and an argument with an English group who insisted on telling us where the queue was even though the were clearly at the taxi rank sign and they were not it was back to the hotel. After the taxi driver cleaned down the leather seats with a leather and water that is!

Pool time

We drop the stuff back at the hotel and then it is finally off to the pool. We find two sun loungers in a corner and I collapse into a rapid sleep. The afternoon is spent dozing, before a 4.30 livener at the bar with a v nice club sandwich. We are not leaving the hotel today, so are disappointed to find out that the hotel is not operating a full menu so we have a small selection from the snack menu – this is ok for one evening.

Time to start writing

Back to the room at 6 which is where I start writing this, on the balcony with a mojito and my favourite afternoon sun.

I showed you my offce earlier.

And this is the view.

View from my balcony in Parga

View from my balcony in Parga

From the balcony I can see (the end of) Valtos Beach, the Ionian Sea, Antipaxos and Paxos, the forest and the Ali Pasha Castle on the hill to the right.

Not bad eh?

Is it hot in the evening?

Yes. 6.30pm local time is meltingly hot even with the strong breeze our hillside location gives us.

Time to go out

After showers it is off out for food. We decided we did not want the snack menu at the hotel so have to find somewhere else.

We walk down to the Med Club Parga, which has stunning views of the castle on the left and Valtos Beach to the right. This very stylish restaurant is built on the side of the hill and has stunning views courtesy of the curved construction and glass forming the outside walls.

This is a photo I took with my iPhone!

The view walking down into Parga

The view walking down into Parga

 Med Club Parga

Service is excellent. We have baked feta cheese with honey to start, followed by sea bass with shrimps and linguini Bolognese. The food is all good and with drinks, wine, beer and water and a complimentary dessert this bill is 50 euros. Check out their website here.

Walking back to the hotel

Then we have a walk up the hill back to the Alea which caused cold showers before waiting for the air con to kick in and get some sleep.

Day 3 – August 13

The air con was much better tonight and we got a decent nights sleep, surfacing at 8am ish.

I say 8am ish as it turned out my watch was about 45 minutes behind actual time. This we did not realise until some time in the morning. No wonder I was so relaxed about the 10am breakfast deadline – I was nearly in another time zone!

Breakfast

We had breakfast at the hotel this morning, better than yesterday when we managed to get to about 4:30 without having anything of substance.

It was a buffet breakfast, lovely coffee and help yourself sausage, bacon and eggs. Although it was all a bit cold (ironic in this heat) it was all good.

Cold beans

Yes cold baked beans.

We did query this to be told that is how people eat them!

It turns out that the Alea does not get many British guests staying, so this preference or misunderstanding comes from the majority of the guests being Italian or Scandinavian?

I don’t know.

The very nice waitress assured us that she would get the chef to warm beans for us if we wanted. Breakfast is 10 euros each.

Where are the food photos?

Still no photos of food – I am not into the swing of this properly yet!

And so it is time for the sun loungers.

We have found a spot in the corner.

About the sun loungers!

The sun loungers are fixed to the floor which is news to us! Lets see how this works.

It is of course hot. When I say it is hot I mean it is hotter than we expect it to be in Greece in August.

Back to our day at the pool.

This morning the pool area is nice and quiet so not a problem.

We get chatting to an English couple in the pool, and agree that showers without hooks is a bit odd! So it is to the Parga equivalent of B&Q later to see if we can get some clever hooks for the shower. Not a problem for me hair washing as I don’t have any, but Mrs M would appreciate the shower being fixed to the wall.

Time for a beer.

A lazy morning ends with a beer at the pool bar. It is Corfu Beer here, not the usual Mythos. It is a bit hoppier than Mythos but nice all the same. Getting a bit too close to the craft beer end of things for me but like I say I will adapt!

Here is a part drunk pint (well half litre).

Corfu Town Beer

Corfu Town Beer

Lunchtime

Another hour and then it is time for lunch, which is a beer each accompanied by a salad and tuna sandwich. 22 euros 50 cents for this lot which was very nice
And then back to the pool for an afternoon of reading, dozing and dipping into the pool to cool down.

Sundowners

Ok it’s a bit early for sundowners, more like late afternoon drinks.

5pm arrives suddenly – Nickie goes for a Mojito and I have a beer. 12 euros for these. It gets a bit lively around the pool so we head back to the room – Nickie to cool down and me to melt on the balcony writing this drinking a can of Mythos.

That’s better!

Tonight we are going to Parga for some nice food by the seafront – I am ready for my first Stifado of this holiday.

An evening in Parga

We walked down to Parga just as the sun was dropping over the hills to the west giving some welcome respite from the strong direct sunlight.

Rather than walking the long way this time we went past the Med Bar and keep going down the hill finding the steps we were looking for. Stunning views to the right of Valtos Beach and all the lovely bars, restaurants and hotels nestled on the hillside.

Parga Old Town

We walked through the old town which was very stunning – completely charming and packed full of places to discover. As we have to walk through here to get to the centre of Parga plenty of opportunities to dine here, so we walk on.

Finding a restaurant from Trip Advisor

We were on a mission tonight so we kept walking down to the waterfront. We were looking for a restaurant called Nikola’s Greek Taverna– we walked past it the other day on the way in down the long winding road.

Unfortunately we were not sure where it was!

Google Maps was a bit hit and miss but we found it in the end, about five minutes walk up from the taxi rank on the way back (the long way) to the hotel.

Nikola’s Greek Taverna

We were welcomed by Nikola. Nickie explained that her name was Nicola, to which he replied that his grandfather (the chef as it turns out) was also called Nikola!

I said hi I’m Rick!

We had feta cheese with honey again, followed by my beloved Stifado for me and a very nice moussaka which Nickie enjoyed. We had a beer and half a carafe of wine.

It was quiet, but the food was authentic and lovely, with Nikola giving just enough attention.

Then we came to pay – he did not take cards and we did not have enough cash (ridiculous I know) so Nikola insisted that we pay the next day, which was very nice of him. We did offer to go back to the cash machine but he charmingly insisted that we come back tomorrow to pay.

And the bill? 29 euros would you believe – excellent value for excellent food and drinks.

Nikola ordered us a taxi and we went back to the hotel for Metaxa and cold showers.

The taxi toom some time to arrive, much to his frustration!

Day 4 August 14

Today we are going to Valtos Beach. We set alarms for 7am, but turned them off after a not great nights sleep again. We wake up at 10am.

Yamas from Valtos Beach!

Yamas from Valtos Beach!

Bugger!

Not to worry – a quick cuppa, a quick coffee and we walked down to the beach later than planned.

We decided to get some brunch first, which we had at the Yacht Club Snack Bar and Café

We had a beer each to start with – here is mine!


Accompanied by a club sandwich which we shared, which was very nice. And here that is.

Club Sandwich!

Club Sandwich!


And 12 euros for the lot which was excellent.

Next we found some sun loungers, paid the 10 euros and sat down.

Valtos Beach

Valtos Beach is a popular beach – yes that is code for busy, with all the usual activities like bat and ball (do adults actually play this at home??) and music from a distant bar giving the soundtrack to the day.

The sea was lovely, cool at first but that is just cos I am pathetic at getting into the sea. I will update that to refreshing, which is what it was. Very clear and very nice water.

We bought a lilo from the shop next to the restaurant, which they eventually blew up for us. Apart from the bits that they did not inflate!

7 euros at a shop on the beach is good value.

We returned to our sun loungers and had a very nice afternoon there, cooling down when required and taking it nice and easy reading.

Ammos Beach Bar

We went to the Ammos Beach Bar for snacks, which were a beer each (small for Nickie large for me) which was Mythos this time, and shared a falafel wrap and cheese and bacon and chips (my choice).

The Falafel was in a wrap with coleslaw and was excellent. 22 euros for a very nice lunch on the beach was very good value for money.

The excellent water taxi service

After a bit more relaxing we wandered over to where the water taxis are (I thought). An English couple told us we had to wait on the left hand side, even though there was a boat to the right filling up with people. They also asked us what colour tickets we had.

I had no idea what they were talking about!

The boat arrived, so I climbed up the jetty with the pink lilo on one hand and my yellow bag in the other and got us two tickets back to the town of Parga.

A very nice short boat transfer and well worth the 2.50 euros each – this is the water taxi from Valtos Beach to the main jetty in Parga.

Bank problems

We got off and went to the cash machine to finally get some cash. Unfortunately in all the hustle and bustle we got the cash but Nickies card was swallowed by the cash machine (a quick thank you to Barclays Bank for the very efficient dealing with this through the app).

Paying the bill

Nickie waited at the taxi rank and I went up to the restaurant and found Nikola who I think remembered me from the night before, and paid our bill with tip.

Taverna Nikolas in Parga

Taverna Nikolas in Parga


I shook hands with him and walked back down the hill to the taxi rank.

This is the restaurant right on the road down into the centre of parga.

I returned and a taxi appeared which we shared with a Norwegian couple stopping just up the road from us.

How much is a taxi in Parga?

To the Alea Resort from the taxi rank in the centre of Parga is 5 euros, an absolute bargain with those hills in that heat.

Back to the room for a relax in the air con before I go out on the balcony to write this.

Dinner at Taverna Stefanos

Showered and time to walk down to the old town, which we are very much looking forward to.

We ended up eating at Taverna Stefanos. This restaurant has a magnificent view overlooking Valtos Beach. We got a table downstairs, which had an ouzo each for us sat on the table which was nice.

This is the view taken with my iPhone.

The view from Taverna Stefanos

The view from Taverna Stefanos

Prawn Saganaki at Taverna Stefanos

Prawn Saganaki at Taverna Stefanos

We sat down and ordered some red wine which was very nice. The waiter was very nice and informative, telling us that the red wine would be better in 40 minutes. I told that we would not be!

Starters were prawn saganaki which we shared, which was the best prawn saganaki certainly that I have ever had. This was accompanied with some lovely bread and garlic butter.


The mains unfortunately were not so stellar. I ordered lamb kleftiko, which was served in an oven dish with a crusty top. This was not to my liking unfortunately. Nickie ordered the Chicken Caesar Salad, which came with a big load of mayo on top. This dish was not good, which we sent back. They accepted that we did not have to pay for this, so we left disappointed. The bill for this was 49 euros (without the salad).

Where is that reggae music from???

Find out in part 2 next week on my blog.

And here is the video of Parga

I recorded a video of me walking from the front up to the taxi rank, which you can view on the Rick McEvoy Photography YouTube Channel here.

Summary

Rick McEvoy

I hope that you have found this post about holidaying in Parga interesting. I know that this is not photography related but I will touch on that in parts 2 and 3. And I have included lots of photos from my travels!

I have been wanting to do some travel writing for a while now, so lets see how this is received.

And if you are enjoying my travel writing why not check out my website Paxos Travel Guide – I loved the place so much I made a website all about it!

Rick McEvoy

 

Photographing Sunrise In Parga With My Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk2

Hi all. I have recently visited Parga on the Greek mainland for a well-deserved break.

Whilst I was there I got to do my favourite thing – photographing the sunrise. So this post is quite simply about photographing the sunrise in Parga with my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk2. I will tell you what it is like photographing the sunrise in Parga, and how I got on with my new Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2.

And I will talk about my favourite photo, which is the only photo that I have edited so far. The photo that I wanted to get.

And here it is!

The buildings of Parga at sunrise by Rick McEvoy

The buildings of Parga at sunrise by Rick McEvoy

And there’s more!

I recorded a video live in Parga where I talk about what it was like photographing the sunrise. I will add a link to this video on my YouTube channel later in this post.

And there is my usual video which accompanies this blog post which is also on my YouTube channel.

Who am I?

For those of you who don’t know me I am Rick McEvoy, a photographer, writer, blogger and website creator. As well as this website I have a website called Paxos Travel Guide, and another website called Photos of Santorini.

The content of these websites should be self-explanatory!

As well as my love of travel and photography, back in the good old UK I specialise in architectural photography. Well the photographing of buildings at any stage in their life cycle.

That is enough about me – check out my website if you want to find out more, but I suggest you read this post first! Here is a link to my travel photography portfolio.

Where is Parga?

Parga is here on mainland Greece, across the Ionian Sea from my beloved Paxos and Antipaxos. Check out my other website Paxos Travel Guide to find out all about these two wonderful Greek Islands.

Here is Parga on a map – X marks the spot!

Where is Parga?

Where is Parga?

Have I been there before?

Yes. On a holiday to Corfu we went on a TUI excursion from our hotel to Parga and Paxos. That was our introduction to Paxos. This led to two holidays in Paxos and a fortnight in Parga, with a day trip to Gaios.

That excursion has a lot to answer for!

Where did I take the photo?

Here is the exact location that I took the photo featured on this blog post. I have not worked out how to use the get-tagging feature on the Olympus App yet, so am relying on the locational data from my iPhone.


Where I took the photo from

Where I took the photo from

I know – its such a struggle these days!

Basically this photo was taken from the main jetty in Parga, the one that the boats pick up and drop off all those eager holidaymakers from.

What time did I have to get up?

Early. This is the extract from my journal. Yes I write a daily journal on holiday!

“My alarm goes off at 5am. I put it on snooze. I make it up at 5.45, having spent some time debating do I really want to do this?

Not really is the answer, but I force myself out of bed. I get so much material from a sunrise shoot and have been looking forward to this – once I am up it is not that bad.

Honest.

I put on my Salomon walking shoes which I have promised myself I am going to replace when I get home -the soles are worn out now (and there is a hole in the side), and head off into the darkness, kissing Nickie goodbye before I leave the room.”

Once I am out of the room that is that – I do not have a spare key.

What is it like on holiday at that time?

Warm and quiet. “The moon is out so I get down to the front quickly. I told myself that I would not take any photos on the way down to the waterfront but can’t resist taking a photo of Valtos Beach and the bay in the darkness illuminated by the moon. My photos are rubbish as I am rushing things, so I abandon that and get back to my plan, cursing myself for allowing me to get distracted.

I have decided on the two shots I want and need to get them before I do anything else.

I get down to the front to join all the early morning activity, passing a bar that is open on my way down.

People still out at this time?? Well I guess I am a bit old for that now ha.”

What gear was I using?

(Please be aware that the links below are Amazon Affiliate links – if you buy something having clicked one of these links then I get a small commission).

ricmcepho-21

Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2

Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Lens

Three legged thing Corey tripod and Air Neo ball head

Three Legged Thing Universal L Bracket

That is it – I do not need anything else. This is all I need.

I sit down on the jetty and assemble my gear on a bench in the moonlight.

I even take the time to connect my camera to my iPhone again – the missing piece in how I am going to take the photos is that.

What camera features was I using?

I decided to trial the high res feature on the EM5 Mk 2.

What was I trying to capture?

Well I wanted the famous Venetian styled buildings of Parga illuminated by the sunrise. Not a sunrise shot per se, but a shot taken at sunrise.

And rather than capture the whole scene I went for this tighter composition.

Later on in the day the sun obviously gets higher in the sky and the buildings are in shadow long before sunrise, so this is the best time of day to get this photo.

This is the photo that I wanted the most, from my first sight of Parga on that day trip from Corfu three years ago.

And I love the effect of the water, which the camera has done taking the eight exposures. More on this later.

What time was this photo taken?

About 8.30. Long after sunrise. I write more about the trials and tribulations of travel photography and photographing the sunrise later on in this post.

But this was the moment when all the buildings in the scene were illuminated by the sun, the shadows to the right still present as the sun rises above the hills behind.

What camera settings did I use?

This is a single image capture using the high-resolution feature on the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2.

The camera takes eight pictures, moving the sensor very slightly for each shot. The camera then puts the images together, creating a 40 mega pixel image!

Cool eh!

More on this in future posts – I don’t want to get down in the tecchie weeds in this post!

So the camera settings were

  • Shutter Speed – 1/640th second

  • Aperture F8

  • ISO200

  • Focal length 30mm

  • Aperture priority mode

The exposure was assessed using the wonderful EVF – Electronic Viewfinder – I love the fact that I can assess live the changes exposure compensation makes to a composition.

I focussed using the touch screen about a third into the scene.

All I needed to do then was hit the shutter button on my phone. I used the Olympus Share WiFi app as a remote release for my camera, to make extra sure that there was no movement of the camera.

I had also preset the delay to four seconds to allow the camera to settle down and minimise movement.

Small margins that can make a big difference.

And then I was done!

A bit about high resolution mode on the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2

This is a single JPEG image created by the camera. I did not know that I had to tell the camera if I wanted a RAW file as well – I worked that out during this morning shoot. I had forgotten to change that setting!

With the camera in high res mode the image stabilisation is automatically switched off which is a great little feature.

What processing have I done to get this image?

Basic processing in Lightroom only to be honest, taking me a couple of minutes tops!

This is what I want – great high resolution images that I can process quickly.

What problems did I encounter?

Not problems, but things that I had not thought about until I got down to the waterfront.

Firstly, there were a lot of delivery vans around.

And a lot of bins being emptied.

Well they have to do this sometime don’t they! And this is when they do it as I found out!.

Oh yes, and earlier, before the sun rose, I was on the steps on the outside of the waterfront harbour wall. That was when someone started washing out wagons - the water was flowing around me and the feet of my tripod which was nice!

And there were the inevitable sunrise swimmers, two old ladies who turned up, waded out about 10 feet and stood in the sea chatting slap bang in the middle of my composition!

A word about Parga at sunrise

Because of the topography of Parga these buildings did not all see sunlight until about 8.30.

I returned the next morning as I wanted to take photos using the high-resolution feature and get RAW files as well as JPEG.

So the next morning I returned, and this is when the yellow boat appeared. I was stood on the harbour wall with my camera sat on my tripod waiting for the boat to go – it must have been pretty obvious what I was doing, and my body language must have oozed “can you get out of the way please I am trying to take a photo”.

There is a single gap between the moored boots which gives me two shots, one of the buildings of Parga including the castle, and a close up of the buildings with their colours reflected off the water.

But the yellow boat was there in the gap, hanging about.

IMG_2195.JPEG

20 minutes later another man appeared and walked down the steps giving the man driving the boat a carrier bag with supplies in – he dutifully went away again, but for more supplies as it turned out.

The bloke driving the boat kept looking at me but was not for moving, so I just had to wait. Another 5 minutes and the other man reappeared with more supplies and thankfully this time got on the boat, and off it went. I waited another two minutes for the wake to settle and got the photos I was after.

How was the sunrise shoot in Parga? Lessons learned.

Well to be honest it did not start well. I was not as well prepared and more out of practice than I would have liked to be. So I sat myself down and got everything sorted, like the Wi-Fi.

I had words with myself.

I have to remember that I have not spent anywhere near enough time with my new camera, and this was me getting back into it.

But once I had taken 10 minutes to get everything how I wanted it the camera was an absolute joy to use.

What to I think about the OlympusOM-D EM5 Mk 2 now?

I like it more than before I went to Parga, which is of course good.

There are so many things that I like about this camera, but these are my standouts of this morning.

The fully articulated screen.

This was just excellent, especially once I had fitted the Three Legged Thing L Bracket the wrong way round so is did not conflict with the screen. It worked just fine then, just the other way round.

And the screen is so bright and clear that I used it for most of my compositions, and I could even review images properly being able to see them on the screen, and read the data on the screen.

Remarkable with my ageing old eyes!

The EVF

The EVF is a truly wonderful thing – I still freak out at being able to look at an image that I have taken through the viewfinder, so bright, sharp and clear.

The Wi-Fi

I have had bad experiences with Wi-Fi and cameras, but with a bit of time and practise I was absolutely loving it, getting around the issues I had with HDR and high res modes and the self timer.

I got very quickly into a very productive and enjoyable groove using the App on my iPhone.

HDR Mode

There is a button on the top of the camera that I press to go into and out of HDR mode – very very helpful and useful.

I will assign another button to High Res and then I will be good to go. Well I say that – I haven’t found a way of being able to do that yet. A question for my contact at Olympus.

The Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

I love the sharpness of the 12-40mm F 2.8 lens. I love using this lens, it is a joyous piece of equipment.

The Three Legged Thing Corey with ball head.

I have used this tripod to record videos for my YouTube channel. I have not used it that much in anger, and have not taken to it to be honest. Until today that is – I have never used a ball head all the time before and have been using other tripods for so long all it needed was for me to use it.

The combined weight

The camera and tripod form a wonderfully compact and lightweight combination which I loved carrying around and using.

My Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Still great after many many uses and even better with the smaller gear in.

So all in all, after a bad and grumpy start an excellent sunrise shoot.

How to keep up to date with what I am doing

I already mentioned my other websites, Photos of Santorini and Paxos Travel Guide. The only thing I wanted to add here is that you can subscribe to my photography blog from my home page, and also subscribe to my You Tube Channels which are

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

And you can follow me on Pinterest where I have a few different boards showing a selection of my stuff as well as other people’s photos.

And there are also two videos that accompanies this post

Photographing Sunrise In Parga With My Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk2

On location in Parga talking about photographing sunrise with my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk2

which you can watch on my You Tube channel

And next week on my blog?

Next week I am going to publish something completely different for me, a travel blog post all about our holiday to Parga. I have not tried this before so let’s see how this goes.

Me and my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 on location in Parga

Me and my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 on location in Parga

And after that I am going to get stuck into the photos I took on Parga. I am looking to get 12 photos for a new page on my website called, erm Parga. It will go with the other web pages that I have featuring photos from my travels.

As well as publishing my favourite photos of Parga (taken by me) I am also going to have a go at processing photos Luminar.

And this will take me nicely into October, which is going to be Luminar Month – a month dedicated to me learning how to use Luminar, which I am excited about.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, blogger, writer, website creator

My first Lightroom photo slideshow - now on my You Tube Channel!

EM10 Lightroom video slideshow 28082019.png

I had a moment of inspiration. How do I do a video for my YouTube Channel in the dark? Simple. A video containing the 10 photos I want to talk about taken with my micro four thirds Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk2.

Now this is a great idea, and one for me to work on.

I need to work out how to add audio so I can talk through the photos but this is a great begninning. I want to do new stuff but do not want to vary from my plan - this works nicely.

Let’s see how this is received.

This is the video for the blog post 10 Best Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk2 Travel Photos – This Time With Descriptions! published yesterday.

Here is a link to the slideshow on my Rick McEvoy Photography YouTube Channel.

Rick McEvoy - Photographer, blogger, website creator.

10 Best Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk2 Travel Photos – This Time With Descriptions!

Travel photography and micro four thirds cameras – a perfect combination

I want to describe the 10 Best Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk2 Travel Photos I have taken. I posted these photos last week on my blog, but did not have time to write about them properly, so here is the full post, in which I tell you where I took the photos, the camera settings I used, the gear I used and also what I was thinking when I took the photos.

I hope that you like the photos and find the descriptions interesting.

I also want to make a point here. The point is that the camera that you use does not really matter. I have 10 great photos in this post taken with an Olympus micro four thirds camera costing much less than £500, and that is with a lens.

Who am I?

As I am picking up new readers to my photography blog all the time, I thought it would be good to start by telling you exactly who I am.

So for those of you who don’t know me I am Rick McEvoy – hi. I am a photographer and travel website creator based in the south of England. I specialise in architectural, landscape and travel photography.

And travel and travel photography websites.

I have been sharing weekly blog posts about photography stuff since October 2019. I posted daily for nearly three years, but the content was quite frankly rubbish. The weekly posts are good stuff and proving much more interesting to readers which is good.

I have been using Canon DSLRs for years, but this year took the plunge and invested in a micro four thirds camera.

What is a micro four thirds camera?

Micro four thirds cameras are smaller than DSLRs. The sensor is smaller too, but they pack a real punch with their image quality.

What micro four thirds camera do I own?

I started off with an Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2 which I took to instantly. I am talking about the photos taken with that camera here. I liked this camera so much so that I bought its big brother, the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2, which is now my go to camera for travel photography. (The EM10 is not forgotten and is my back-up camera in case anything goes wrong with my EM5).

Why not a DSLR?

I noticed last year in Greece that I was leaving my camera in the hotel, or in the boot of the car, and taking more photos with my iPhone than usual.

Basically I was getting fed up with my DSLR, and could not be bothered with the size and weight of it with lenses etc. I know, the Olympus might be smaller but there is still all the stuff that goes with them.

And that is a post for another time.

So when I got back from that trip I started looking into alternatives. I spent a long time looking into this and ended up with the Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2 and EM5 Mk 2. I will add links to the posts about all of this at the end of this blog post – I want to get into the 10 photos right now.

And this time with the info that I failed to provide last week.

Where were these photos taken?

In British Columbia, Canada. We visited British Columbia to visit family earlier n this year, and this was the first trip that I went on without a full frame DSLR.

Did I miss not having a DSLR?

At first yes, but I soon got used to this little wonder!

A quick word on the camera settings

All the photos were taken with my Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2 and Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens.

All the photos were taken using the auto bracketing feature on the camera, where three images are taken at the same time (with different exposures) which I merged together in Lightroom to create a master image which I edited.

So when I say shutter speed in the descriptions below I am referring to the first shot.

I had not learnt how to use the camera properly to be completely honest, so I used Auto ISO for the first time ever.

I used my go to mode, Aperture Priority – this is where I set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed. And the ISO is looked after by the camera which is nice.

OK – let’s get onto the 10 photos

Photo 1 - Spring colours in the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens

Copy of Spring colours in the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens

Location

Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Something interesting about the photo

Well, I wanted to capture all those lovely spring colours. The problem was all that stuff floating on the surface of the water. Too much to Photoshop, and as we were walking around the gardens this was a hand-held shot – I would have liked to have taken this photo with my 10 stop neutral density filter!

I decided to leave the stuff on the top in this shot as it was there.

But I have to say that the EM10 captured those summer colours really well!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 12mm

  • Aperture F6.3

  • Shutter 1/4000th second

  • ISO 400

Photo 2 - Sculpture in the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens

Sculpture in the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens

Sculpture in the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens

Location

Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Something interesting about the photo

Well what can I say? This is a large sculpture, well over 2 metres in height.

I held my camera up as close to eye level as I could with the aperture wide open to blur the background. I could see the screen clearly with it tilted down so that worked a treat.

I love this shot – so different!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 36mm

  • Aperture F2.8

  • Shutter 1/800th second

  • ISO 400

Photo 3 - Vancouver Skyline

Vancouver Skyline

Vancouver Skyline

Location

Granville Island.

Something interesting about the photo

I had not used the EM10 for any kind of architectural photography work, and here was my opportunity.

I liked composing the image using the large right screen on the EM10 and was very happy to get the Canadian flag in there flying proudly.

The detail recorded is pretty impressive I have to say, and I would challenge anyone to tell me that this photo was not taken with a full frame DSLR camera!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 21mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/1250th second

  • ISO 400

Photo 4 - Market Stall, Vancouver

Market Stall, Vancouver

Market Stall, Vancouver

Location

Granville Island Public Market

Something interesting about the photo

This is not the type of photography I do normally, but I did enjoy walking around the market with my camera in hand and just grabbing shots one handed.

This picture tells the story of the fantastic public market on Granville Island, with all that lovely bright colourful food.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 12mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/13th second

  • ISO 400

Photo 5 - Stunning Light In The Forest

Stunning Light In The Forest

Stunning Light In The Forest

Location

Forest near Shannon Falls, British Columbia, Canada.

Something interesting about the photo

What, apart from the fact that I absolutely love it?

I would travel all the way back to Canada to walk in this stunning forest, capturing natural wonders like this to my heart’s content.

In fact if I was on my own I would probably still be there!

Shannon Falls are located just south of Squamish on the Sea to Sky Highway.

This photo is all about the light and the wonderful moss (I think it is moss) on the branches, and how the two interact. I took rather a lot of photos here, loving the light, but this is my favourite shot.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 16mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/40th second

  • ISO 400

Photo 6 – Shannon Falls

Shannon Falls, British Columbia, Canada

Shannon Falls, British Columbia, Canada

Location

Squamish, British Columbia, Canada

Something interesting about the photo

Well it’s a stunning waterfall, and the EM10 has handled the capture of the highlights and shadows nicely.

And those lovely colours are all as I remember them.

Basically this photo is the wonderful scene I remember looking at, and if I can achieve that in a photo I am very happy indeed!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 23mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/1000th second

  • ISO 400

Photo 7 - Spring sunshine in the mountains

Spring sunshine in the mountains

Spring sunshine in the mountains

Location

Looking at Mount Currie, Pemberton, British Columbia

Something interesting about the photo

I used F22 to get the star effect in the sun. Well why not? This photo is taken looking at Mount Currie from the wonderfully flat glacier bottom. The clouds obviously add to this scene, constantly moving and changing.

A wonderful mountain scene that the EM10 has captured perfectly.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 12mm

  • Aperture F22

  • Shutter 1/80th second

  • ISO 100

Photo 8 - Rural Mountain Scene

Rural mountain scene, Pemberton, British Columbia

Rural mountain scene, Pemberton, British Columbia

Location

Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada

Something interesting about the photo

This is my type of thing to photograph. Leading lines, bright colours, interesting background.

I used the tilting screen to help me take a photo from low level, which is a bonus when you are getting old like I am!

I love this scene - I do believe that this is a mountain vineyard (but I might be wrong).

Camera settings

  • Focal length 17mm

  • Aperture F11

  • Shutter 1/160th second

  • ISO 100

Photo 9 - Mountain Forest, British Columbia, Canada

Copy of Mountain Forest, British Columbia, Canada

Location

Somewhere in British Columbia, Canada near Pemberton.

Something interesting about the photo

I wanted to convey the size of the trees, which I think I have done here. They are truly massive trees.

I wish I had a wider lens for this shot but moving back a bit and pointing up worked just fine.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 12mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/160th second

  • ISO 100

Photo 10 - Lake at dusk

Lake at dusk

Lake at dusk

Location

Nicklaus North Golf Club, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Something interesting about the photo

We were out bear hunting. Well bear spotting is more accurate – the only shooting was going to be with my camera!

I managed to capture this lake at dusk, a lovely peaceful setting with that spectacular mountain backdrop.

And the shutter speed was 1/8th second handheld!!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 12mm

  • Aperture F5.6

  • Shutter 1/8th second

  • ISO 100

A word on my Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2.

I bought this to get into micro four thirds photography. I wanted to try something different. And that is what I did.

And I loved it.

So much that I bought the EM-5 Mk 2, the next camera up in the range, which I have written about previously.

Check out the post Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

And if you are interested in buying one of these little wonders here are Amazon affiliate links – if you buy anything having used one of these links I get a small commission.

Olympus OMD EM10 Mk2

Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

Further reading

I have written a few other posts about micro four thirds photography, which are these.

Micro Four Thirds Explained – A Beginners Guide

Micro Four Thirds - Small Cameras For Travelling

My Micro Four Thirds Travel Kit – Travelling Light In Style

Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really?

And the video for this blog post will be published tomorrow on my YouTube Channel.

How to follow me

If you want to keep up with everything I am doing you can do the following

Subscribe to my blog from the box on my home page

Subscribe to my YouTube channels

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

And also follow me on Pinterest

These are the main outlets for my online content at the moment.

And lets not forget the video for this post!

Talking of YouTube you can check out the video for this post on my YouTube channel - My 10 Best Travel Photos Taken With My Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2 In A Lightroom Slideshow!

Summary

I hope that you found this post interesting – next week something completely different on my weekly photography blog.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, writer, website creator

 

My 10 Best Travel photos Taken With The Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk2

Yes here are my best 10 travel photos taken with my Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2

Rural mountain scene, Pemberton, British Columbia

Rural mountain scene, Pemberton, British Columbia

Mountain Forest, British Columbia, Canada
Spring colours in the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens
Lake at dusk

Lake at dusk

Market Stall, Vancouver

Market Stall, Vancouver

Shannon Falls, British Columbia, Canada

Shannon Falls, British Columbia, Canada

Spring sunshine in the mountains

Spring sunshine in the mountains

Stunning Light In The Forest

Stunning Light In The Forest

Vancouver Skyline

Vancouver Skyline

Sculpture in the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens

Sculpture in the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens

I was meant to be writing about these images but do you know what, I am tired! So instead please just head over to my YouTube channel tomorrow here you will find a short video where I talk about these images.

I will write about the images as promised next week on my photography blog.

About the Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk2

I was looking for a new camera, and decided to try the Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk2. Not expensive, well I managed to pick one up on eBay for less than £300 just to see what this micro four thirds thing is all about.

You can get this Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Compact System Camera - 14-42 EZ Lens, Silver on Amazon for £430 at the time of writing.

Micro four thirds photography

I have written a few other posts about micro four thirds photography, which are these.

Micro Four Thirds Explained – A Beginners Guide

Micro Four Thirds - Small Cameras For Travelling

My Micro Four Thirds Travel Kit – Travelling Light In Style

Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really?

And the video for this blog post will be published tomorrow on my YouTube Channel.

How to follow me

If you want to keep up with everything I am doing you can do the following

Subscribe to my blog from the box on my home page

Subscribe to my YouTube channels

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

And also follow me on Pinterest

These are the main outlets for my online content at the moment.

I will write more about the photos next week I promise!

Rick McEvoy Photography

10 Best Micro Four Thirds Travel Photos By Me Rick!

Travel photography and micro four thirds cameras – a perfect combination

What are the 10 best micro four thirds travel photography photos taken by me? In this post I will share these 10 images with you and tell you where I took the photos, the camera settings I used, the gear I used and also what I was thinking when I took the photos. These really are 10 of my best travel photography images which I am rather proud of (even if I do say so myself).

Who am I?

For those of you who don’t know me I am Rick McEvoy, a photographer and travel website creator based in the south of England. I specialise in architectural, landscape and travel photography.

I have been using Canon DSLRs for years, but this year took the plunge and invested in a micro four thirds camera.

What is a micro four thirds camera?

Micro four thirds cameras are smaller than DSLRs. The sensor is smaller too, but they pack a real punch with their image quality.

What micro four thirds camera do I own?

I started off with an Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2 which I took to instantly. So much so that I bought its big brother, the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2, which is now my go to camera for travel photography.

Why not a DSLR?

I noticed last year in Greece that I was leaving my camera in the hotel, or in the boot of the car, and taking more photos with my iPhone than usual.

Basically I was getting fed up with my DSLR.

So when I got back from that trip I started looking into alternatives. I spent a long time looking into this and ended up with the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2. I will add links to the posts about all of this at the end of this blog post – I want to get into the 10 photos right now.

Where were these photos taken?

On one of my favourite Greek Islands, Rhodes. They were all taken on this trip earlier on this year, the first time I had got to use the camera properly.

A quick word on the camera settings

All the photos were taken with my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 and Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens.

All the photos were taken using the auto bracketing feature on the camera, where three images are taken at the same time (with different exposures) which I merged together in Lightroom to create a master image which I edited.

So when I say shutter speed in the descriptions below I am referring to the first shot.

I had not learnt how to use the camera properly to be completely honest, so I used Auto ISO for the first time ever, and put the camera into my go to mode, Aperture Priority. I set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed.

All the photos were taken on a tripod, so this works just fine for me.

OK – let’s get onto the 10 photos

Photo 1 - Scooter at sunrise in Lindos on the Greek Island of Rhodes

Scooter at sunrise in Lindos on the Greek Island of Rhodes

Scooter at sunrise in Lindos on the Greek Island of Rhodes

Location

About 5 minutes from the main beach in Lindos.

Something interesting about the photo

I was walking along the back path after a not so stunning sunrise slightly spoiled by clouds when I came across this scooter parked by a building.

Everything clicked into place and I got this shot which I absolutely love.

It just goes to prove the point that you should just get out there and take photos – do not wait for perfect conditions as you never know what you will find.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 17mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/4000th second

  • ISO 200


Photo 2 - Tree at sunrise on Rhodes Greece by Rick McEvoy

Tree at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Tree at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Location

On the top of the hills above Navarone Bay on the outskirts of Pefkos.

Something interesting about the photo

This is what greeted me when I got over the brow of the hill from the place where I had parked my car. I couldn’t risk going any further up the rough gravel road leaving me a bit of a walk!

So hot and sweaty before I had even got my camera out, and late as the sun was just about to appear, I stumbled upon this scene which I had to stop and photograph!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 17mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/60th second

  • ISO 500

 

Photo 3 - Sun and tree at sunrise on Rhodes

Sun and tree at sunrise on Rhodes

Sun and tree at sunrise on Rhodes

Location

The hills above Navarone Bay – the same location as the previous photo but this is in portrait format for Pinterest.

Something interesting about the photo

I wanted to get a portrait version which works better for Pinterest, so having taken the first shot I moved and adjusted the focal length to get this shot.

No this is not just a crop of the previous image – I really do thing about this stuff!

And one more thing here – I used an aperture of F22 to get the starburst effect in the photo which is exactly what I was after.

And I love the effect even though I had not tried this before with this camera and lens combo.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 32mm

  • Aperture F22

  • Shutter 1/1600th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 4 - The Acropolis of Rhodes at sunrise

The Acropolis of Rhodes at sunrise

The Acropolis of Rhodes at sunrise

Location

The top of the hills above Navarone Bay looking towards the Acropolis of Rhodes.

Something interesting about the photo

This was the first photo taken with the 40-150mm lens. Not bad is it? I had done with the sunrise, so decided to have a play with this telephoto lens and see what I could get.

And I got this which I really like.

It is very unusual for me to actually use a telephoto lens, so this makes a very welcome change.

And as for the sharpness and image quality? Looks fine to me!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 89mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/100th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 5 - Sunrise from Prophet Elias Church Pefkos

Sunrise from Prophet Elias Church Pefkos

Sunrise from Prophet Elias Church Pefkos

Location

Taken from the Prophet Elias Church on top of the hill above Pefkos.

Something interesting about the photo

This is one of my favourite sunrise locations. And in this shot I wanted to convey the height and depth of the scene, which I think I have done pretty well. I know I have cropped off the top of the sun but hey I am only human!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 26mm

  • Aperture F11

  • Shutter 1/200th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 6 - Rock pools at sunrise on Navarone Bay

Rock pools at sunrise on Navarone Bay

Rock pools at sunrise on Navarone Bay

Location

The beach at Navarone Bay.

Something interesting about the photo

I was walking back from my sunrise shoot and started looking at reflections in rock pools.

And this is when I took full advantage of the fully articulated screen and held the camera just above the rock pool to get this ultra-low angle view. Using the touch screen I could focus and take the image.

And I could actually see the screen even in this super bright and contrasty scene – quite incredible really.

Yes I love the touchscreen on this little wonder.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 12mm

  • Aperture F13

  • Shutter 1/160th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 7 - Tree 2 at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Tree 2 at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Tree 2 at sunrise on Rhodes Greece

Location

Back on top of the hill overlooking Navarone Bay

Something interesting about the photo

This is the tree that you can see as you drive from Lindos to Lardos on top of the hill. I have looked at that tree many many times, and finally got to meet it personally.

And yes after that morning every time I made my favourite drive on Rhodes I looked up at that very tree and smiled to myself.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 21mm

  • Aperture F16

  • Shutter 1/320th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 8 - Boat at sunrise, Lindos, Rhodes

Boat at sunrise, Lindos, Rhodes

Boat at sunrise, Lindos, Rhodes

Location

The main beach in Lindos. At the far end there is a small jetty which is used for daytrips to various places.

And for me to take photos from.

Something interesting about the photo

This morning the sunrise was not great, as there was a band of low cloud on the horizon, so I had to find something different to photograph.

So I walked around the beach and thought about my favourite jetty. And there was a boat there which was most excellent – there aren’t always boats moored on this particular jetty, so I had my focal point for this image, with a couple of ropes too!

Camera settings

  • Focal length 12mm

  • Aperture F22

  • Shutter 1/640th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 9 - Windswept Tree At Sunrise Rhodes Greece

Windswept Tree At Sunrise Rhodes Greece

Windswept Tree At Sunrise Rhodes Greece

Location

On top of the cliffs overlooking Navarone Bay

Something interesting about the photo

This was the photo I took on the way back to the car. I was hanging out by now, having drunk all my water. I liked trees that have been sculpted and formed by the weather like this tree.

I left the lens flare in this photo as it seems to balance out the image nicely, and we all know that the sun causes these things to happen so why not?

I again used F22 to get that wonderful effect on the sun – I was not sure how the 7-14mm lens would be doing this, but I am loving the effect I get.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 18mm

  • Aperture F22

  • Shutter 1/640th second

  • ISO 200

 

Photo 10 - Greek Flag At Sunrise

Greek Flag At Sunrise

Greek Flag At Sunrise

Location

Back at the site of the Prophet Elias Church on top of the hill in Pefkos

Something interesting about the photo

I love this shot. I thought I would save the best till last for once.

This is the Greek flag and the photo of the landscape just before the sun illuminates a new day on the wonderful Greek Island of Rhodes.

I have taken a video of this scene which you can view on my YouTube channel.

This photo tells the story of sunrise in Greece – I love to be able to tell a story in a single image.

Camera settings

  • Focal length 12mm

  • Aperture F8

  • Shutter 1/100th second

  • ISO 200

A word on my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2.

I wrote a post last week which tells you a lot about my new camera and what I think of it. You can read the post here Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

Do you want one of these cameras?

And if you are interested in buying one of these little wonders here are Amazon affiliate links – if you buy anything having used one of theses links I get a small commission.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2

Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

And the two together

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 and Olympus 12-40mm F 2.8 Pro Lens

Further reading

I have written a few other posts about micro four thirds photography, which are these.

Micro Four Thirds Explained – A Beginners Guide

Micro Four Thirds - Small Cameras For Travelling

My Micro Four Thirds Travel Kit – Travelling Light In Style

Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really?

And the video for this blog post will be published tomorrow on my YouTube Channel.

How to follow me

If you want to keep up with everything I am doing you can do the following

Subscribe to my blog from the box on my home page

Subscribe to my YouTube channels

Rick McEvoy Photography

Paxos Travel Guide

And also follow me on Pinterest

These are the main outlets for my online content at the moment.

Rick McEvoy

Summary

I hope that you found this post interesting, and next week I will continue the theme by writing about my best travel photos taken with the Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2! Well why not? There is some good stuff in there.

And then after that I might treat myself to an on-location post and video.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, writer, website creator

#microfourthirdstravelphotography #rickmcevoyphotography #olympusem5 #olympuscamera #microfourthirds

Find Photos Faster And Cheaper In Lightroom Classic With Excire Search

A summer message from those nice folk at Excire

Excire Search Summer Offer

Excire Search Summer Offer

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Use my affiliate link and I get a small commission but you do not pay any more honest!!

Further information about Excire Search can be found here.

Enjoy this summer and the memories thereof in your Lightroom catalogue!

Your Excire Team”

And the same from me Rick

Rick McEvoy Photography

Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

Last week I wrote a post about how to choose a camera, having chosen a new travel photography camera for myself, the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2.

So is the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 the best travel photography camera? I think that it is, and this post I will tell you why I think so and what I like about the the EM5 Mk 2. I will also tell you about the post “how to choose a camera”, and how I applied this thought process to buying the EM5 Mk 2. And I will share some of the photos taken of this wonderful little bundle of photographic cleverness.

The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 is my travel photography camera of choice.

More on the photos taken with the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 later in this post.

Whats in this blog post?

In this post I will tell you who I am, what the 31 things were that I wanted in a new camera, if I got them in the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 or not, and my views on my new camera. And I will answer the question at the end as well. Ok I did so at the beginning, but this will be a fuller answer!

Sorry – I nearly forgot – I will include a sprinkling of photos of my Olympus camera - more on the images I have taken later.

Here it is.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

OK – are you with me? Let’s get to it!

Who am I?

If you don’t know me hi, I’m Rick McEvoy, an architectural, landscape and travel photographer. I am a professionally qualified photographer, being an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photography (ABIPP).

I have been using full frame Canon DSLRs for years now, but have recently dived into micro four thirds photography Olympus cameras and lenses.

I have three websites, this one, Paxos Travel Guide and Photos of Santorini.

So you will see how important travel photography is to me!

Check out my work on my main website Rick McEvoy Photography – I have three portfolio pages, all of the images on these pages have been taken using my Canon DSLRs.

This will change next time I update the pages, as I use the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 more and more for my travel photography work, and the odd commercial architectural commission.

Which leads me nicely back to the subject.

Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

That is the question I will answer, but first, lets go back to the blog post last week.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

How To Choose A Camera

Last week I wrote a blog post titled “How to choose a camera – 31 practical things for you to consider”.

This was based on an older post, and formed the basis of the thought process that led me to buy the Olympus camera.

Here are the 31 things that were important to me on my new camera – did I get them with the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2?

1 - Smaller and lighter than my Canon 6D with lenses

The camera body is certainly smaller and lighter, even more so with the 12-42mm pancake lens. But throw on the lovely but not so small 7-14mm lens and it becomes more of a lump.

A smaller lump granted but hardly pocket-sized!

2 – In-camera HDR

Well it turns out that it does have in-camera HDR. The camera takes four photos at different exposures and creates a single RAW file.

I did not know this until I was researching some of the finer points of this post.

I am very excited by this, so much so that I can forgive the lack of GPS. Almost.

3 – GPS

No GPS. And this does not please me. So the workaround is that I take a photo on my iPhone and add the locational data in Lightroom. I know I can do this, I have just not had time to do this yet.

And to be fair on every shoot I take photos and videos with my iPhone.

4 – Wi-Fi

Yes. Built in Wi-Fi with the Olympus Image Share app on my iPhone. All I have done is connect this, but I will give this a go on my next trip.

5 – Connectivity as good as an iPhone

Time will tell once I have given the app a go.

6 – The functionality of an iPhone

Erm no. To be honest no. The menus are fine and as logical as the ones on my Canon cameras but no revolution here.

7 – Connectivity to my iPhone

I will see about this.

8 – In camera image processing

Not like I was thinking no. But that might just be me! Lets forget that one.

9 – Fully articulated screen

Yes. For the first time ever and I love it.  I need to get used to moving with the screen at a jaunty angle – I think I have some personal co-ordination issues to get over!!

As with all these things practise will make perfect.

But yes and this makes me so happy.

10 – A screen I can actually see in normal light and also in direct Greek sunshine

On my trip to Rhodes the screen was much clearer so yes to this. It is a small screen but much brighter and clearer.

11 – Touch screen with full functionality

Touch screen with some functionality yes. I will work on this and let you know how I get on in my next update, but the one thing that I did want was to be able to touch the screen and focus and take a photo, which happily I can do with this camera.

12 – Ergonomics that make it a pleasure to use

OK. I have to be honest here. Not really. The camera is so small how could it be?

My Canon 6D is bigger with an excellent grip, plus the fact I have been using it exclusively for years make it virtually an extension of my hand!

This needs a lot of time but might get there.

And a grip might help.

13 – Simple logical menu system

The menu system is just fine.

14 - 4K video with high quality audio recording

Yes. And with 5 axis image stabilisation movie recording greatness is surely only a matter of time!!

There is a high bit rate of 77Mbps too. Whatever that means?

Can anyone tell me?

This is another thing I am excited to try out.

15 – Excellent Vlogging/ recording capabilities

See above – the combination of the video capture with the fully articulating touchscreen make this look like an excellent prospect.

With one exception.

I like to record me taking photos with my camera - I will either have to stick with doing this on my iPhone or buy another EM5!

And I need to sort out a microphone.

16 – Smaller cheaper lenses offering the similar image quality

Yes. I think so anyway. I tend to use the 7-14mm lens which is hardly cheap or small. I  have also used the 40-150mm lens which is just that and the 12-42mm pancake lens which is tiny.

I need to get a couple more small lenses and see how these perform.

17 – High quality sensor

Yep image quality is excellent. I used the EM5 on an architectural shoot alongside my Canon 6D to see how it performed. I issued the photos taken with the EM5 to my client (a regular client as well) who did not notice any difference.

18 – Excellent low light performance

Looks pretty good to me but looking forward to much more testing once I know how to use it properly (ie not use Auto ISO which I am loving too by the way)..

19 – Stuff like time lapse, long exposure and other good stuff etc built-in

Yes! How exciting.

I have not used this yet but the EM5 (which is what I will call it from now on) does have a 40M high res feature – the camera captures 8 shots and merges them into one.

And even better news – this feature can create a RAW file.

The high res bit is interesting, and now the camera comes with focus stacking, which I cannot wait to try out. I was going to buy a piece of kit just for this so happy with this.

And it also has a bleach bypass filter, which “adds a warm, mysterious atmosphere to every kind of scene. At the same time it highlights the metallic surfaces of cars, machines and more.”

OK – lets give this a go as well.

This is what I was after – stuff to play around with.

Happy again, and the fact that focus stacking and bleach bypass are new features provided through firmware updates is even better. Now that is so good and something I have never had with Canon.

20 – A sensor that does not need cleaning

No. Does such a thing exist? I do not think so.

21 – Interchangeable lenses

Yes. Of course.

22 – Tilt Shift capability

No. Am I bothered? Not any more, as I sold my tilt shift lens some time ago as I never used it. This paid for the camera!

23 – Ultra-wide angle lenses

There is a 7-14mm lens which I am currently lusting after/ trying to blag. That would give me 14mm full frame equivalent. I am excited to try this lens.

This is wider than any lens I have ever had before which is an exciting prospect.

Watch out eBay sellers!

24 – Bespoke programming

I have not found this yet. But there are function buttons that look like they are programmable.

25 – RAW Capture

Yes. I would not have bought the EM5 if it did not have this.

26 – EVF

Sorry. EVF = electronic viewfinder.

Yes. I tried this out on every trip to the airport and love it. And I love the fact that I can look at the images that I have taken in the viewfinder. Although I have to say that I am still finding this confusing!

The only problem now is that I have nothing to do when I am at the airport shopping. Will probably end up buying flip flops on my next trip.

27 – Computational photography

Yep there is some good stuff in this camera.

  • High res

  • Bleach bypass

  • Focus stacking

  • HDR

28 – Focussing in the dark

I have not properly tested this yet.

29 – Weather sealing

Yes to both the EM5 and the 12-40mm lens. Which is good considering where I take my photos.

30 – And the ability to output straight from the camera

Erm not sure yet but  think that I might be able to do that with the app.

31 – Shiny new loveliness

Yes. Of course. And it is shiny and lovely.

I bought the black body – should I have got the shiny silver metal one?

That was the list I created some time ago.

Not bad going Olympus – I have managed to get all the things I needed apart from GPS.

What are my thoughts on my new camera?

Well I love it. I really enjoy carrying it around with me.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

This is what I specifically like about my Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2

1 - Image quality

I was worried about this. Would I be happy with the image quality after all those years using full frame Canon DSLRs and Canon L series lenses.

I needn’t have worried – the image quality is excellent.

2 - Taking photos with the camera

I enjoy taking personal and travel photos again. Some of this is because it is novel, shiny and new.

But it is also because this camera is a pleasure to use.

3 - The fully articulated touchscreen

I really like and value this. This is a game changer for me, something that I will use all the time. I take photos from unusual angles on every shoot, and this screen will help me with this.

And I will also be able to use the EM5 for videos of myself. I just need to look into the audio.

Absolutely loving it!

4 - The 12-40mm lens

This is a solid chunk of a lens. It has a lovely feel to it. And the image quality is excellent.

I really like this lens.

5 - The 40-150mm lens

A very light lens, which takes some getting used to. And considering its effective focal length of 80-300mm very small and light indeed.

I do worry about the durability of these lenses, which feel rather fragile.

Lets see how they get on with me!

6 - The 12-42mm pancake lens

Tiny tiny lens that I got this photo with.

public.jpeg

I have not used this lens that much but it really is tiny. It is currently attached to my EM10 which is stored in the glove box of my car when I am out and about,

7 - The size of the camera

It is smaller than a DSLR, and is easier to hold in one hand. Add the 7-14mm lens though and it is not that small a combo but still smaller and lighter.

8 - The price of new lenses

A lot cheaper than Canon lenses, the 12-40mm F2.8 Pro is available at the time of writing for £899.00 from Wex Photo and Video. That is not too bad a price for such a lens with a maximum aperture of F2.8.

9 - The fact I can fit it in my glove box if I want to

And I do. Well my EM10 which I bought first with the 12-42mm lens.

10 – I can take photos using the touchscreen

I love this. I can touch the screen and the camera will focus where I touch the screen and take the photo. I assume it meters there as well.

I know – I need to look into this a bit more.

11 – New features

It is wonderful that that new features are being added in firmware updates. That is like getting a new camera, and is very encouraging for the future.

12 – The 5 axis image stabilisation.

I know that the camera has this – I just need to play with this and see just how good it is.

I could have titled this post 10 (ok 12, and if you read on actually 13) reasons why I love my micro four thirds Olympus camera.

But that sounds a bit click baity.

But a post for another time.

What do I not like about the EM5?

No GPS

This is a shame for me. As I said I have a workround but this is an additional process that I did not want to have to add to my workflow.

Not as much computational stuff – or is there?

Yes there is more than I thought which is excellent news. I found that out in the writing of this post so no negatives here.

The hand grip is a bit small

So basically I need to buy a grip, but not one that is going to make it too bulky. The last thing that I want to do is chuck a load of accessories onto the camera and make it big and bulky – sort of defeats the point of it.

What about my architectural photography?

Well. As you will have realised I have just found out about some features that I did not know about.

RAW HDR image capture, HIGH res RAW image capture – things that I will can for commercial work. Of course for now I will try these things alongside my Canon 6D but exciting propositions these are!

I have kept my Canon 6D and essential lenses for now, which will remain my commercial photography workhorses, although for how long I am not sure now.

The more I learn the more I want to make the jump fully to micro four thirds.

What gear am I going to get for my new camera?

I have to have the 7-14mm lens.

This will make the 12-40mm lens sort of redundant. I do not need the F2.8 for the photography I do, all that has done is make the lens bigger and heavier.

I am going to get some small, cheaper lenses and give them a go

And a grip to help with my clumsy hands.

And I have a universal L bracket with Arca Swiss plate for my new travel tripod, the 3 Legged Thing Corey.

And there is my Olympus OMD EM10 Mk2

I nearly forgot about this even smaller camera. Now this does live in my glove box, with the pancake lens fitted.

I used this combo to take one of my favourite winter photos in a long time, which you can see above.

OK – so Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

Yes. I think it is. It has lots of exciting features that I am looking forward to learning properly.

The image quality is excellent, it the camera is small, lightweight and a pleasure to use. And it is packed with excellent features that will help me to take better photos. If features do not do that they are unnecessary distractions to me.

At the end of the day all that matters to me is the photos that I create. OK if the camera is a pleasure to use as well then that is a bonus.

Which the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 is.

Check out my website where you will find 12 photos taken on my trip to Rhodes Greece. This was the first foreign trip I have been on without my Canon DSLR and lenses ever.

And I did not miss them to be honest.

And also check out the video that accompanies this post on my YouTube channel.

Do you want to buy the camera or the lens?

If you fancy buying either the camera body and/ or lens here are Amazon links to both - these are affiliate links so if you buy either/ both item(s) using these links I get a small commission - you do not pay extra, it just comes off Amazon’s profits (which I am sure they can afford!).

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2

Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

And the two together

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 and Olympus 12-40mm F 2.8 Pro Lens

Further reading

I have written a few posts about my journey into micro four thirds photography – here they are

Micro Four Thirds Explained – A Beginners Guide

Micro Four Thirds - Small Cameras For Travelling

My Micro Four Thirds Travel Kit – Travelling Light In Style

Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really?

Talking of further reading I am going to read this book.

Mastering the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk II

and get to know my camera properly. I recommend that you do the same with your camera, whatever it is.

Rick McEvoy

Summary

That is enough gear talk for now. Next week I am going to write about my 5 favourite micro four thirds travel photography images.

And I will come back to my micro four thirds Olympus camera later on this year.

I know this photo of me is with a Canon camera - I don’t have a picture of me yet with my Olympus camera but as soon as I do I will replace it I promise!

Rick McEvoy - Travel Photographer

#travelphotographer #travelphotography #microfourthirds #olympusem5

How To Choose A Camera – 31 Practical Things For You to Consider

In this post I am going to answer the question - How to choose your next camera? I start off by listing the features that I want in a new camera – I managed to come up with 31 things! I describe each feature in detail, and conclude with what my new camera is. Yes there is an end to this post which is good!

Read More

Hotel Photography – 10 Practical Tips For Hotel Owners

OK – so you are a hotel owner and you need some photographs taking.  Great – I can help you with this.

In this post, Hotel Photography – 10 Practical Tips For Hotel Owners I will give 10 actionable things that you can do to get the best photographs of your hotel. Great quality images are vital for a hotel as the vast majority of bookings are made online, and photos displayed on your own and affiliate booking websites play a big part in the selection of a hotel.

Sandbanks Hotel by Rick McEvoy Hotel Photographer

Sandbanks Hotel by Rick McEvoy Hotel Photographer

Who am I?

I am Rick McEvoy. I am a photographer and I specialise in architectural and interior photography. I photograph buildings, nice places and buildings in nice places. And also spend lots of time in hotels.

I am professionally qualified in both photography and construction, so photographing buildings is a logical combination of my two professions. And add to that my travel photography work and hotel photography is absolutely my niche! I cannot claim to be solely a hotel photographer, but certainly an architectural photographer.

This is not an advert for me though – I just wanted to show you that this is something that I know about and am able to offer excellent advice on.

Cap Negret Hotel, Altea. Hotel Photography by Rick McEvoy

Cap Negret Hotel, Altea. Hotel Photography by Rick McEvoy

So you want some photos taking of your hotel?

The starting point here is that you know what you want the photos for, and what you want photos taking of. OK – so where do you start?

As you will gather reading this post finding the right photographer is crucial so I will spend some time on this before moving on.

1 – Find the right photographer for you

How do you find a suitable photographer? And the right photographer for you?

Well I would advise that you appoint a professionally qualified photographer, one belonging to a recognised organisation.

After all, you wouldn’t appoint an unqualified architect to design a new hotel for you would you?

2 - Finding a qualified photographer

Well speaking for the BIPP, which I am an Associate Member of, I can tell you that I have had my work critiqued by high-level photographers. I am talking prominent photographers in the UK, one being a Hasselblad Master no less!

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP

BIPP qualified logo ABIPP

I had to submit a portfolio of my own commercial work, and was then interviewed by board/ senior members of the BIPP.

You can see some of my architectural photography portfolio work on this web page imaginatively called Architectural Photography Portfolio.

So using a BIPP qualified photographer you will know that you are using a photographer who has produced high quality photographic work that has been scrutinised by industry experts.

And BIPP members have to prove that they are properly insured so you don’t need to worry about that either.

I am sure that the other bodies that I am about to mention operate in similar ways.

There are a number of professional bodies in the photography space – these are reputable institutions that I know of that are relevant to hotel photography in the UK.

  • BIPP – British Institute of Professional Photography

  • RPS – The Royal Photography Society

  • MPA – Master Photographers Association

There are of course other professional photography bodies, but I do not have personal experience of any of these so it would be wrong for me to recommend them.

And I am not too familiar with professional photography bodies abroad.

As I said, I am proud to have the qualification an ABIPP and to be an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photography.

Cap Negret Hotel Altea Spain at sunrise

Cap Negret Hotel Altea Spain at sunrise

3 - Select a photographer who photographs buildings.

You want your hotel photographing. Now you wouldn’t hire a wedding photographer to do this would you?

Nothing against wedding photographers of course but taking me as an example I get approached from time to time to photograph peoples weddings, and also to do portrait work.

I always politely decline such approaches. If I was looking for a photographer to photograph my wedding I would not choose me! I would choose a wedding photographer of course. Which is exactly what I did.

In my opinion you should be looking for a photographer who specialises in photographing buildings. And no I don’t necessarily mean me, just someone who does this stuff all the time.

If you go the BIPP website you can search for photographers by type of photography.

Architectural/ building is the relevant category on the BIPP website.

That is what you are after – an architectural photographer, sometimes known as a building photographer.

Nissaki Beach Hotel, Corfu, Greece

Nissaki Beach Hotel, Corfu, Greece

4 – Personal advice from me on choosing a photographer

I would strongly advise that you meet the photographer that you are going to use if at all possible. The process will be much smoother if you get on with the photographer. It can be a long day spent with some grumpy git who hates what he is doing and arrives just wanting to get away.

Or if you engage a photographer and have a big time personality clash – that can make for a long and difficult day.

If this is not possible then the next best thing is to give the photographer a call and chat by phone.

And if that is not possible there is the modern way of doing this. If the photographer you are thinking of has a YouTube channel you can find out what they are like there. I have a YouTube channel (of course I do) where I waffle on about the content of my weekly photography blog.

Yes by the time you have read this my video should be up on YouTube for all to see!

And this will give you a better insight into someone, especially someone as unskilled in filming himself as me! But you get to see the real me!

Another thing to consider is a photographer’s style. If you check out my architectural photography portfolio you will see 12 commercial images which I have taken for architects.

This is my style of work.

If you like my photographic style great.

And if you do not like my style of work no problem – I am not the photographer for you.

Style is a very subjective and personal thing – we all have different preferences – if we all liked the same things it would be a dull world now wouldn’t it?

So find a photographer that you like, whose work you like and you should be just fine.

Once you have chosen a photographer they will be able to help you through the rest of the process.

But please read on – there is lots more good stuff honest!

Travelodge Hotel by Rick McEvoy

Travelodge Hotel by Rick McEvoy

5 – Agree the brief with your photographer

I have been told by clients that the hardest part of the process is getting a photographer on board.

I do this all the time so once I am appointed I am able to help my clients through the rest of the process.

This is what I am here for – to help clients get the photographs they want.

After all if I wanted some electrical work doing I would appoint a competent electrician, and once the price was agreed I would be guided by him/ her about the best way to get the work done.

Once you have a photographer on board the next thing to do is to agree the brief.

Choose the right photographer and he/ she will be able to help you, as you are using a photographer experienced in that line work now aren’t you?

The brief is very very important by the way – get this wrong and problems will arise.

Get the brief right though and things should flow smoothly.

The brief includes the following

  • Shot list – very important – see below

  • Number of images required – see below

  • Purpose of images/ intended use

  • Cost  - see blow

  • Inclusions – what is included

  • Exclusions – what is not included (such as sky replacement for which there will be an additional charge)

  • Deliverables – what will be issued to the client

  • Timings – when photos will be taken and when images will be issued.

I confirm all these things to my client to make sure that I have got everything covered and that I fully understand the brief.

Sandbanks Hotel in Poole Dorset by Rick McEvoy

Sandbanks Hotel in Poole Dorset by Rick McEvoy

6 – Shot list

This is the list of photos that have to be taken. Producing this list will help you as the client focus (no pun intended) on the photos that you actually need.

For a hotel you will want each different room type photographing from a variety of angles.

Each room will need photographing, and the intention is that in say 5 images a visitor to your website can see enough about a room to make further enquiries or just book the room.

People are always in a hurry these days it seems, and those headline images will help someone to quickly decide if they are interested in a hotel or not!

As well as the interiors of the various room types there are other essential photos which need to quickly tell the story of the hotel from arrival to departure.

Whilst this all sounds rather daunting the good news is that a quick photographic walkthrough is all that suffices these days.

The shot list is the cornerstone to the shoot – this can make the shoot or break it.

And of course whilst there are mandatory photos to be taken I try to find different angles and views go give something a bit different – this is of course in addition to the mandatory shots.

The shot list will also tease out how many images are required to be taken – the last thing you need is hundreds of photos to plough through, so I give you what you ask for plus a few extras and that is that.

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

7 – How much will you pay?

I price each job individually as every client has their own very specific wants and needs.

I am not cheap – if you want your hotel photographing for £100 then I am not going to be working with you I’m afraid.

Hotels are quite large undertakings to photograph as they have a range of rooms that all need photographing.

Everything in a photo has to be right, with realistic, technically accurate and correct images with the colours all as seen by the human eye.

There is also the matter of timing, which I will come onto later in this post.

So decide on your budget, accepting that it will be more than £100, and do a deal with a photographer!

8 – Work out the best time of day/ year

Timing is an issue, especially in the UK with our variable weather. This is less of a problem with interiors of course, as even on a drab day I can give the windows naturally looking light.

Exteriors are a problem though – no-one wants their hotel photographing in the rain!

That is why sometimes the interior photos can be taken at a different time to the exteriors.

Another timing issue is guests, especially in bars, restaurants and communal areas. Exteriors are fine, as these are in effect public spaces.

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

9 - Prepare the rooms

It might sound obvious, but the rooms should be prepared before being photographed. Hotel rooms need to be presented to their best, but this has to be realistic.

Don’t have pink flamingos in the bathrooms if that is not what guests actually get.

The following can help to get the best photos of a room

  • Rooms cleaned

  • Clean fresh bedding

  • Clean fresh towels

  • Complimentary accessories

  • Cables/ TV remotes hidden

  • Curtains clean, crease free and presented as intended

  • Windows cleaned internally and externally

  • Toiletries well presented

  • Loo rolls folded over nicely

  • Fresh flowers/ bowls of fruit etc (if normally provided)

Last but by no means least – make sure all the lightbulbs work, and that the lightbulbs are the same colour and brightness!

I will photograph your hotel rooms with the lights on as this gives a nice homely feel which is what we want to convey after all.

The same principle applies to the other communal and external areas.

Moving on to the outside, things that can detract from the external appearance of a hotel include

  • Cars

  • Vans

  • Bins

  • Debris on paths and footpaths

  • Skips

  • Signs

  • Hosepipes

Basically get rid of everything that you do not want in a photo – it is much quicker and cheaper to move stuff than to get me to remove it in Photoshop (and there are limits to what I can do in Photoshop).

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

Travelodge Southampton West Quay

10 – People or not?

People or not – that is the question.

Rooms are fine without people in them communal areas, bars etc sometimes look soul less if empty though. Though the shot above looks fine to me.

This is an issue that I am constantly facing with my architectural photography work – I photograph lots of buildings immediately after they have been built or refurbished, and they never have people in them.

This is fine for architects but for hotel owners this might be an issue.

Thankfully there are a few ways of dealing with this, depending on the budget available amongst other things.

The ultimate solution is to hire in models, but this never happens to be honest.

Next best thing is to get the staff involved as paid (as they are in work) models.

The other way is to put signs up all over the place advising guests that they will be in photos at a certain time on a certain day in a certain place, and that if they do not want to be in the photos please can they go somewhere else.

This can work, especially in circulation space.

I hide in clear sight with my high vis on and my camera mounted on a tripod, so no-one can ever say that they did not know that I was taking photos!

Technically, for what constitutes a public space such as a hotel bar or lobby, consent is not needed to photograph people, so lots of notification normally is all that is needed.

A combination of guests in public spaces and staff for closer shots should be fine in most circumstances.

But some hotel owners insist on no people in shots which is absolutely fine.

Summary

I hope that you have found my Hotel Photography – 10 Practical Tips For Hotel Owners post helpful, and that this helps you choose a photographer to photograph your hotel for you.

You can watch the accompanying video to this post on my YouTube channel.

Get in touch with me

Rick McEvoy

If you would like to speak to me about photographing your hotel then please get in touch, preferably by giving me a call so we can have a chat to kick things off.

This is me taking photos on Santorini by the way!

Rick McEvoy Photography – Hotel Photographer