Photography is where art and technology meet. The technology we use is simply a tool to create that art. So the lighter, more compact our equipment, the nimbler and more focused we become to create those special pictures. For me portability is vitally important and I have yet to meet a photographer who enjoys carrying many kilos of gear around if they can avoid it.
When I switched to the Olympus system four years ago, the Pro Capture feature was a revelation. Four years on and I am still excited by the possibilities it gives to capturing a fleeting moment with a consistently high hit rate. As opposed to previously attempting a shot of a bird or butterfly taking off and hoping I may get one lucky shot. My set up when shooting in Pro Capture is either the OM-D E-M1 Mark lll or EM-1X and usually the 40-150 mm lens with 1.4x teleconverter. The lightweight nature of this outfit makes long periods of hand holding much more achievable while waiting for something to happen which means less pictures are missed.
As an example, this is especially important when photographing a butterfly taking off. You have no warning and need to be primed ready to fire the shutter in an instant. Being able to shoot at 420 mm means I don’t need to get too close to the insect. Being able to shoot at f4 allows me to use the really fast shutter speeds required to freeze butterfly wings, usually 1/3200 sec or faster. When there is plenty of light I tend to shoot at 1/4000 sec. I have spent hours in summer standing by one patch of bramble or a clump of Foxgloves reveling in the ability to capture images of butterflies and bees in flight simply by using natural light and a compact camera system.
In winter I use the same technique to capture birds in flight, primarily garden birds arriving or departing close to a feeder or squabbling over food. The silky smooth zoom which covers the whole range in half a turn allows for rapid changes to be made to composition. When I am in my hide this allows me to react to different scenarios at speed. One moment I may want to zoom out to photograph squabbling Blackbirds and seconds later I may need to zoom in to capture an image of a tiny Wren. Such versatility gets me more shots as I do not worry about a subject being too close or too far meaning I don’t miss pictures because I am changing lenses. The same is true when I am on my travels. I never leave on a trip without this zoom and teleconverter as in places where wildlife is relatively approachable such as on safari and really long telephoto reach is not essential, then it really is the killer combination I can rely on to capture those fleeting moments in nature.