When the digital age came into being I was late to switch from analog to a digital camera. This left me in the position of playing catch up instead of being able to simply make images. So, when I realized mirrorless was going to be the way of the future I immediately started looking into the various cameras I had to choose from. To be honest I did not even consider the Olympus brand at first, but as I did my research the Olympus brand kept popping up. I was looking at weight, and the other major brands were making cameras and lenses that weighed as much as the digital cameras I was already using. Olympus however was a compact camera system that was going to be a lot easier on my back. Being a Photo Instructor for Lindblad, I work in a wet environment, so I wanted a system that would stand up to spray, again Olympus weatherproofing stood out from the other brands. Ok, it was time to give Olympus a more serious look.

One of the big factors was lens quality, Zuiko Lenses had a good reputation but I was concerned about the selection available for wildlife photography. Once again the choices available to me far surpassed my expectations. Olympus was starting to grow on me but the thing that made me a believer in the Olympus system was the advancement in technology that was built into their cameras. Things like built-in ND filters, Pro-capture, and in-camera focus stacking, this is what really made it easy to make the switch. I sold the camera system I was using at the time and never regretted it at all. As time has gone on and Olympus changed their name to OM SYSTEM and started adding more innovation, I feel my photographic abilities have grown with the system.

When I teach I tell our guests it is not the camera but the photographer that makes the image, and that’s true. The difference is that with OM SYSTEM cameras the system gives you the ability to be as creative as you want to be. The cameras allow you to make the image you want without compromise, and to do it without carrying filters, tripod, or making mistake after mistake in order to figure out exposures. OM SYSTEM cameras really do let you simply grab a camera and go and make incredible images. The ability to customize the camera so that you can have the settings you need with a touch of a button or the turn of a dial. Photography is a means to tell a visual story and the OM brand enables you to capture that story in a moments notice.

I was on a Lindblad trip to New Zealand and the Sub-Antarctic Islands, and was visiting Macquarie Island, the home of Royal Penguins. It was my first time seeing and photographing Royals and I was so excited to make images of them that really told what their life was like. I photographed as much of their behavior as possible and wanted to show one of the really challenging aspects of breeding on Macquarie and the thing that struck me most was the incredible surf the birds had to negotiate before getting to the beach. As the penguins came into shore they were pounded by the waves and when they surfaced you had only seconds before they would either dive underwater or rocket out of the wave and onto the beach. Using the subject selection feature set on birds made it possible to get image after image of in focus penguins. It certainly might have been possible to get these images without subject selection, but it would have taken many more attempts with a lot less good results. When you only have a limited amount of time to make images the OM SYSTEM feature gives you the edge you need.


Of course as a CPI my primary job is not to make my own images, but to help our guests get the images they were dreaming of when they left home. So when we are at a subject like a waterfall and a guest asks about how to make the water look like silk it is so fantastic to use the built in ND filter to show them how to get the image they want. Or if we are watching wildlife and waiting for the that special image of a bird taking flight, or a whale leaping from the water, the pro-capture feature can make the difference between a guest saying “if we only knew when it was going to happen” and “I can’t believe I got that shot”. When a guest borrows an OM SYSTEM camera, and realizes that due to the incredible image stabilization built into the camera, they can actually get sharp images on a bouncing zodiac, they are blown away. It makes them feel like they can go further with their photo endeavors then just using their phone, and inspires them to make photography a bigger part of their journey. When that happens, it makes me feel like I am really helping our guests get the most out of their expedition.

Steve is an award-winning photographer, writer, and storyteller. His career has taken him throughout most of the world, documenting nature, science, and people. He is the author of The Traveling Nature Photographer, and his images have been published by National Geographic, The New York Times, World Wildlife Fund, to name a few. Besides his love of making images, Steve has a passion for sharing his skills with those who wish to learn the craft of photography and is a photo instructor for Lindblad/National Geographic Expeditions. He also owns Little River Photo Workshops, where he teaches nature photography at his farm in Southern Maine.


Website: littleriverphoto.com

Instagram: @stevemorello

Facebook: @Little River Photo Workshops