I hadn’t really tried focus stacking with the Olympus EM1 Mk 2 before so tried it out on a dragonfly that was a particularly willing subject. It must have been the cooler weather or the time of year but the dragonfly did not mind me at all.
Both of these images are focus stacked in camera and you can see in the picture showing the whole dragonfly how much depth of field that you get. The output is a jpeg but quality seems very good. One thing to remember is to stay a little further away than you would otherwise need to be for a single shot. This is because when the picture is blended, any camera movement means the end image will be slightly cropped in compared to your original framing. This seems to depend on how much you move while taking the pictures. I would imagine this is not a problem when using a tripod.
Cambodia is famous for the temple of Angkor Wat and the many other temples that are nearby to it. There is so much more to Cambodia though than Siem Reap/Angkor Wat. We spent a few days in the Battambang area as well as Koh Rong Samloem and the capital city Phnom Penh. More to follow on the other areas of Cambodia but for now the Bamboo train in Battambang. This is a bit of a tourist trap to be honest but a fun way to spend an hour or two.
There is some interesting history to the train and it is still used to get crops to market from farms that have no roads leading to them. Here’s some pictures and some descriptions. I wrote a little about how I took some of the pictures as they weren’t the easiest to take.
I wanted to write a little about how I took this and the next few pictures. The settings for this picture were ISO 200, f 2.8, focal length 17mm (34mm equivalent) and a 0.6 second exposure. I used a 10 stop Neutral Density (ND) filter to allow me to get over a half a second exposure in the middle of the day. This screw on filter is effectively is like putting on 3 pairs of sunglasses. It massively decreases the amount of light hitting the sensor so allows a longer exposure.
The Bamboo Train is old, I think dating back to the 50’s and very bumpy. This makes hand holding a long exposure a challenge. I am very fortunate to have excellent stabilization built into my camera body (Olympus EM1) which allows handholding of these type of images. A tripod may have helped but since it would have been on the bumpy train I don’t think it would have helped much.
I took a lot of pictures to get a few that were usable sharp. I don’t think it would be possible to get something tack sharp as well as having the interesting motion blur effect. As I read somewhere else recently motion blur looks good if there is a lot of it but terrible if it is only a small amount.
If you are in the Battambang area give the train ride a go. It doesn’t take long and is not much money either.
Before going to Thailand some friends recommended getting around on the sleeper trains in Thailand. I enjoyed the trains for 3 reasons:
I got a pretty good nights sleep on the train, particularly when on the bottom bunk
It felt much safer than getting minibuses and buses over long distances. It felt immensely safer than a sleeper bus that we took in Cambodia. I can’t speak for the sleeper buses in Thailand as we didn’t take one.
We got to see some great scenery once it got light out especially by walking down the train to the restaurant car with open windows.
We did also take an internal flight and got a lot of minibuses around which seems mandatory in Thailand unless you want to spend lots of money on private taxis. We did sometimes do this but tried to keep it to a minimum.
To book our train tickets we used a website called 12 Go Asia. I am not affiliated with this website in any way. The first time we booked online and then picked up the tickets from their office near Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok. The second time we picked up from the parcels office at the station itself in Surat Thani. Both times we travelled 2nd class AC which was comfortable and even had some decent food on board for reasonable prices.
Since you will be most likely travelling with your luggage and clothing it should not be a problem but be warned that they crank the AC and the top bunks in particular get freezing. Have some warmer clothing handy.
Below are some pictures I took on our journeys and some descriptions. If you have the time definitely get the sleeper trains in Thailand! There is some video of the trains and beds in my Planes, Trains and Tuk Tuk’s video here.