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Staghorn Cholla and the Superstitions

Staghorn Cholla and the Superstitions - OM-D EM-5, 7-14 @ 2mm, f/5.6, ISO 200

On Sunday, I went out to Lost Dutchman State Park outside of Phoenix in the hopes of photographing the Superstition mountains against a spectacular sunset. It had been pretty cloudy that day but since this was the only opportunity I'd get, I went out anyway. Once we got to the park, it looked like things might work out for the sunset as the clouds appeared to be breaking up. Sadly, about 30 minutes before sunset, the cloud cover intensified and we didn't get any sunset colors. I had to get creative and in addition to finding some black & white compositions, I played around with some extreme wide angles.

One of the reasons I love shooting hand held is that it allows me to quickly explore interesting perspectives and angles which is exactly what I did here.  With the swiveling screen of the Olympus EM-5 I could frame the shot without getting on my belly.  With the on screen level, I made sure to be level on the horizontal axis and with sensor based image stabilization and high FPS, I could hand hold all 5 frames of this HDR.

I took a lot of cameras with me on my recent trip, so that I could shoot with them all to get a good feel for all of them and to see how the image quality holds up.  In this case, the image quality holds up very well.  I have a 16x20 print I just made of this image and the results are simply outstanding; it could hang in a gallery.  The only criticism I would have is the excessive lateral chromatic aberration on the 7-14 which required quick work in Lightroom and then further masked desaturation in Photoshop.

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