Patagonia has been on my bucket list and I am happy to report that I was able to make the trip a few weeks back for the first time. Patagonia not only met my expectations, but also for much of the shooting, exceeded them. I am drawn to areas like Patagonia where the landscape has depth, majestical mountains and less man-made obstructions. The air quality is also less likely to have air pollution and with any luck, the locations are not in high tourist demand at the time.

My timing for this trip was intentional. What is our spring here in the Northeast is fall in Patagonia which means the opportunity to see some layers of snow in the mountains with the fall foliage colors in the foreground. The dimensions of landscape shots are always enhanced when you can capture nature’s elements that add complexity and layers to the images.

For this trip I took the OM SYSTEM OM-5 camera with the goal of using the High Res mode, both handheld and with a tripod. The OM SYSTEM OM-5 has the 50 MP Handheld High Res Shot mode which gives me up to 50 megapixel for a RAW image. This allows me to capture multiple images that I can then process bringing out all the details of the shot. I can also use the High Res mode with the tripod increasing the image to the 80 MP.

OM-5 | M. ZUIKO 8-25mm F4.0 PRO
ISO200 | 1.3s } F14


As an outdoor photographer, I shoot in High Res because it gives me more data to work with. High Res increases the image resolution (50MP- Handheld & 80MP - Tripod). High Res also improves fidelity, increases the clarity and the sharpness of the image as well as the color. High Res has less “noise” to adjust for when post processing. I shoot outdoor landscapes in High Res as these shots typically have less movement. High Res also gives me more flexibility in post-processing as well as higher quality for large prints. I am also able to capture better dynamic range and the larger file size gives me additional latitude in cropping.

OM-5 | M.ZUIKO 8-25mm F4.0 PRO
ISO 200 | 10s | F8.0
OM-5 | M. ZUIKO 8-25mm F4.0 PRO
ISO200 | 1.3s } F14
OM-5 | M. Zuiko 8-25mm F4.O PRO
ISO200 | 1/60s | F8.0


High Res is great for those once in a life time shots and is good for typically static imagery (without fast moving elements). High Res is not compatible for shooting moving targets like animals and birds in motion and works best when there is more dynamic range in your shot. Shooting in hand-held High Res allows you to capture more details without the use of a tripod, understanding that High Res with a tripod does increase the Mega Pixels from 50 to 80. There are benefits to both and when you can, using the tripod gives you more to work with in the end. Not every opportunity allows for a tripod and fortunately, you have the option to adjust in each situation.

OM-5 | M. Zuiko 8-25mm F4.0 PRO
ISO 200 | 0.8s | F14


On an epic trip like Patagonia, I pack for both hand held and tripod options. The good news is that with the OM SYSTEM OM-5, the access to the High Res mode is easy to find on the menu. On Shooting Menu 2, I select the first option (High Res) and then I set it for either handheld or tripod, depending on my current situation.

I look for good composition and factor in the light. Images like these require intentional planning and can be easily impacted by weather. One of the aspects of my trip to Patagonia (or for that matter local landscape shots at sunrise) it that it means pre-planning to get up well before the sun (and in Patagonia that meant 2:30 in the morning). For these shots we hiked in pitch dark conditions to get to the planned location before the sun came up. Some of these morning hikes were a pretty steep incline and could take between 2 and 3 hours to get to the shot location. For this type of location, you need to make sure to have a the proper gear including a head lamp; good hiking shoes and be dressed for the weather (which can change without much notice).

Additionally, a guide or someone who knows the terrain is important to get you to the best locations for the shots. Lastly, as in all landscape photography, it is important to remember that shifting as little as 10 feet in one direction or another, can completely change the composition of the image. I often have similar images based on my intended composition which when I adjust my position, can change the image significantly.

OM-5 | M.ZUIKO 8-25mm F4.0 PRO
ISO 200 | 1/13s | F8.0

Watch Frank's Video above sharing his amazing images captured using the OM-5 while traveling to Patagonia.


When using the High Res mode you can shoot either RAW or JPEG.  I always shoot in RAW based on the editing flexibility. Editing takes time in post processing to achieve the desired results I want and I do not have that same flexibility when shooting in JPEG.  

These images were processed through Photoshop / Lightroom initially and then I used additional software tools to bring out the full fidelity of the image.   

A Few Other Key Thoughts For This Type Of High Res Photography;

In the two images here, I wanted to point out how changing the shot to highlight a feature (the light reflection) requires me to take the broader image (25mm) and shift the focal length to 100 mm to get a key vignette of the key element of the image.

OM-5 | M.Zuiko 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO
ISO 250 | 1/160s | F6.3
mountains patagonia
OM-5 | M.Zuiko 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO
ISO 200 | 1/160s | F11

Ready for High Res Mode?

Learn how to activate handheld and tripod high res modes on the OM-5 in this new one-minute tutorial video. 


Bio - Frank Smith


Twitter: @Frank_T_Smith
Instagram: @Franktaylorsmith

OM SYSTEM Ambassador Frank Smith is a self-taught photographer whose love for the craft goes back to a very early age. Decades later, Frank’s passion for photography has yet to fade as his skills continue to evolve.

A native Northeasterner, Frank often focuses his lens on regional and local scenery including the Pocono Mountains and the historical sites of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His raw travel and philanthropic photojournalism covers global themes, shedding light on cultural issues such as regional corruption in areas including South Sudan and Haiti.



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