Vibes: Ego is the Enemy

Vibes: Ego is the Enemy

I’ve came across a good read from a fellow photographer Pat Kay on the topic of ego and how the naturally occurring human characteristic can indulge us but then stunt our personal and professional growth. The main topic of this thought leads to social media and how all evidence points to its inherent ability of thinking you are better than you actually are.

“Social media has a tendency to inflate your your sense of self-worth, self-righteouness and level of perceived skill at an accelerated rate.”

I recommend reading his blog as it puts things into perspective on interaction is just noise which interaction actually carry value.

Link: Ego is the Enemy


Pittsburgh: 4th of July Weekend with Friends and Family

Pittsburgh: 4th of July Weekend with Friends and Family

I didn’t include from my previous post that I originally took a trip to Pittsburgh to visit my favorite friends and family.

The weekend was pretty much what you would expect if you lived locally next to your friends and hanging out for the weekend: boozing, grilling, help with stuff around the house, go to the gym. It was awesome to see Anna’s brothers and Mr. Ladesic again.

On Sunday, we took a drive up to Chris’ parent house and hung out by the pool with the kids. It was so good to see everyone again.

Since people on this blog tend to like pictures, here are some snapshots from that weekend.

Photowalk: Revisiting the Oatlands Plantation

Photowalk: Revisiting the Oatlands Plantation

Photo by Tae Kim @ |

A few of us haven’t done a photowalk in a while so I thought it was a good idea to get together with the mirrorless team again today to take some pictures while the weather was on our side.

I didn’t exactly know what time we were planning on doing this since the idea kind of came up last night out of whim, but luckily I received a text about forty-five minutes ahead of the meeting time since I had just left the gym when I got the text.

Over some burgers and fries at our local Fuddruckers, we were deliberating on a location for the photowalk (like I said, this was planned all out of whim with no actual plan). The thought occurred to me during our planning that none of them had ever gone to the Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg.

So it was decided.


Apparently there was a strawberry picking event paired with a hay ride, so after each of us paid the $10 fee to walk the premises, we thought, “sure…why not?”

Photo by Tae Kim @ |

Like how most of these things go, there were a lot of kids with their parents, stuffing their baskets with ripe strawberries (for a fee of course).

Photo by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ |

Photo by Tae Kim @ |
He was the host of the strawberry picking event
Photo by Tae Kim @ |
People stuffing their baskets and paying for it

There really wasn’t much to do for us since we weren’t interested in picking strawberries, so we rode the hay ride back to the main guest house and decided to explore the rest of the estate on foot.

Below are a mix of between my Sony A7II and the Olympus PEN-F.


Photo by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ | by Tae Kim @ |

A couple with the PEN-F:


Below are some Ninja shots that Chris took of me with his PEN-F (all JPEGs):


Of course, my trust PEN-F + Oly 17mm f/1.8


Ben’s Flickr Page: Ben

Chris’ Flickr Page: Olymus Prime

Follow my Instagram: @cosmotographer

Client Shoot: Senior Portraits – Lauren (BTS)

Client Shoot: Senior Portraits – Lauren (BTS)

Got together with a fun Mother and Daughter team over the weekend for a Senior Portraits photoshoot for Lauren.

We originally had planned to do it on Saturday, but of course, the weather didn’t cooperate thanks to the rain.

Photo by Tae Kim @ |
Olympus PEN-F + Olympus 75 f/1.8 | ISO 200 | 1/800 | f/1.8 |Exp +1

The Photoshoot took place at their friend’s house in Mclean, VA where they had a massive 6 acre estate with similarly massive gardens (plural – more than one). The weather was slightly cloudy so it wasn’t too hot or bright out, but it was definitely a bit humid. Heat and humidity weather will always be challenge for any outdoor activity, especially for photography. The biggest challenge of taking great pictures is to patient with your external surroundings (hot/cold weather, traffic, people, etc).

The Mom, Lynn, was energetic and excited to get shit done. The model, Lauren, didn’t look as enthused but that changed after a couple of photos. We were pretty much all laughing and having a great time. I was fortunate to have a fun team to work with because having fun is half of the photography experience in my opinion.

Photo by Tae Kim @ |
Their dog Chelsea was also our model today

I had Lynn take care of the reflector work on top of doing other “motherly” things like fixing Lauren’s hair, straightening out her dress, etc. You know…the touch ups.

With that, below are some of my favorites from the day:

Photo by Tae Kim @ |
Sony A7II + Zeiss 55 f/1.8 | ISO 100 | 1/500 | f/1.8

I was double-fisting both the Sony full-frame and the Olympus Micro Four-Thirds bodies, both serving different purposes. With the Sony, I mated the body with the Zeiss 55 for those personal up-close photos while the little Olympus and the 75mm combo was used for that “compression” look with the subject further away.

Photo by Tae Kim @ |
Sony A7II + Zeiss 55 f/1.8 | ISO 100 | 1/500 | f/1.8

The legendary Zeiss 55 is probably one of the sharpest lenses ever made. With a camera with a good megapixel sensor (24MP in my case), I could take a photo 50 feet away from the subject, crop it, and it still look as sharp as if I took the photo 15 feet away (photo above).

Photo by Tae Kim @ |
Sony A7II + Zeiss 55 f/1.8 | ISO 400 | 1/500 | f/1.8

The above photo is definitely one of my favorites due to the composition and the good lighting we were able to achieve (thanks to Lynn’s awesome reflector holding skills on the right of the frame). This also shows off the Zeiss “pop” that the company is known for.

Photo by Tae Kim @ |
Olympus PEN-F + Olympus 75 f/1.8 | ISO 200 | 1/2000 | f/1.8 | Exp +1

Gotta love Olympus’ color rendering, which I prefer over the big boy Sony, even in RAW. I was also really impressed with how much dynamic range I had to play with on the 20 MP sensor on the PEN-F.

However, the photos from Micro Four-Thirds sensors will look “darker” compared to a bigger sensor like the full-frame Sony because it’s just not gathering as much light. This is where you can’t fight physics, despite how far technology had progressed. You can compensate for this by cranking down the shutter speed (and let the 5 Axis IBIS help you out) and slightly increasing the exposure by turning the exposure dial.

If you look at the photos and their exposure settings, you can see that the photos taken with the Olympus consistently had a higher ISO than the Sony in similar outdoor environments.

Photo by Tae Kim @ |
Olympus PEN-F + Olympus 75 f/1.8 | ISO 200 | 1/800 | f/1.8 | Exp +1
Photo by Tae Kim @ |
Olympus PEN-F + Olympus 75 f/1.8 | ISO 200 | 1/800 | f/1.8 | Exp +1

This is a perfect example of having that background compression you can only get with a telephoto lens, in this case, a fast prime. The 75mm on a Micro Four-Thirds give you that 150mm equivalent look on a Full-Frame camera. The lens was magical and you can see the subject “pop” from the environment.

Photo by Tae Kim @ |
Sony A7II + Zeiss 55 f/1.8 | ISO 100 | 1/500 | f/1.8

I might fanboy over the Olympus 75mm, but the legendary Zeiss 55 still reigns king.

The 55mm paired with the Sony’s fantastic Facial Recognition focus, I was able to nail the  focus with their faces, even with the aperture wide open.

Photo by Tae Kim @ |
Olympus PEN-F + Olympus 75 f/1.8 | ISO 200 | 1/400 | f/1.8 | Exp +1

This was a fantastic experience and I want to thank both Lynn and Lauren for being a lot of fun to work with.

Photo by Tae Kim @ |
Photo by Tae Kim @ |

Flickr (High Res): Lauren’s Senior Photos



PSA: Remember to check for water spot on your lens after a storm

PSA: Remember to check for water spot on your lens after a storm

I’ve never been to the National Arboretum in the city so I made the effort to make the drive out there with my friend Ben.
I want to caveat and say that the weather wasn’t on our side so we were taking a gamble of going out there with a good chance of getting rained out, but surprisingly we were able get two solid hours of photos before it started to pour.

However, this post isn’t about the arboretum…oh no.

It’s about paying attention to your photos, especially for water spots.

Pre-Edit: See the water spot on the top right corner?

I took this picture above after some minor editing in Lightroom and I was able to get most of the water spots on the left out of the photo, but I completely overlooked the water spot on the top right corner.

It wasn’t until I posted my picture on Reddit than someone pointed this out to me. It was embarassing to say the least in what should have been a pretty awesome photo.

I felt like this was a good time to test out my new mobile photo editing rig, so I pulled out my new iPad Pro 9.7 with the Apple Pencil and went into the Adobe Photoshop Fix app and fixed the problem.

The Apple Pencil works like a dream for photo editing on the go

So now after spending about 5 minutes on the iPad Pro, I got the result I was happy with:

Post-Edit: The photo looks a bit more moody which is fitting due to the cloudy skies

So the lesson here folks: pixel peep before you post!

Gear Used:

  • Sony A7II
  • Sony FE 24-70 f/2.8 GM
  • B+W 10 Stop ND Filter (82mm)