Guns and Roses


On the weekend of 19th-21st May 2017 I travelled with my significant other to the teeming Wheatbelt metropolis of Narrogin as she had entered the annual “Guns and Roses” croquet tournament put on by the Narrogin Croquet Club. Twelve of Western Australia’s best players (the “Guns”) would partner eighteen lesser ranked players (the “Roses”). Each “rose” would get the opportunity to play with a different “gun” at each round. The idea, which seems an excellent one I might add, is that inexperienced players can learn off of top players.  My role in this was the self-given task of producing a video documenting the proceedings.

Video is a fairly new medium for me, I’ve been playing around with it but I’ve really not got to grips with it. This was to be a complex multi day project and it wasn’t helped by the fact that it was bitterly cold and there was intermittent heavy rain (yes dear reader we do have cold wet weather in Australia). I ended up using my Olympus OMD EM1 mk i with the Olympus m.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 lens as the main camera, an Olympus Pen EP5 with the Olympus m.Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8 for wide shots, a Leica D-Lux for time lapses, and my iPhone for social video in the evenings. For sound I used shot-gun microphones (a Rode VideoMicro on the EM1 and a Rode VideoMic Pro on the EP5) to record straight into the cameras. No external audio recorder was used as I felt I had my hands full enough. By the end of the weekend I had got through nine batteries and ten 16Gb SD cards. The EM1 was used on a tripod (a Manfrotto MDEVE 755XB with Manfrotto MV500AH Fluid Video Head), the EP5 was on a video monopod (Manfrotto 562B-1 Fluid Video Monopod), and the Leica D-Lux was on a photo tripod (a very old Manfrotto 190 tripod fitted with an equally old ball head).

What I learnt from this exercise was:

  • the weather sealing on both the EM1 and the two lenses works very well. At times I got soaked in the rain and the camera just kept going with no adverse effects.
  • I should have used an audio recorder to get better sound and record some general background noise.
  • the 40-150mm f2.8 is not parfocal  (it is not sold as such) and the autofocus kept drifting and in some cases would not lock on at all. Trying to focus on the night games using just the rear screen and no peaking was hard. Either a camera that has focus peaking in video mode or a monitor that allows it would be really good.
  • I shot most of the footage at 1080 at 25fps except for that on the EP5 which only shoots 1080 at 30fps. I used Toast Titanium’s video converter to reconfigure it as 1080 25fps. On the whole it worked out well, but on two clips that I really wanted it dropped frames and lost the sound. So next time I won’t mix clips of different frame rates.
  • With four cameras, each having its own idea of what a neutral colour setting is, made life very hard during editing. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the 8 bit 4.2.0 files didn’t like being pushed too much in post as they would quickly fall apart. It would have been nice to have had a more video orientated camera with a flatter profile and more robust codec.
  • I did the slow motion in post, it would have been nice to have shot at 60fps or higher to get nicer slo-mo.
  • I should have shot more B-roll and tried to interview on camera some of the participants.

As a learning experience this was a very good exercise and I enjoyed the whole process immensely. If money were no object I’d get a more video orientated camera and a video field monitor and recorder, but being as I am fiscally challenged I’ll have to settle for some more memory cards and batteries.


Swanning Around*

Rainbow Lorikeet by Paul Amyes on
The rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) is a feral bird in Perth that commonly nests on the platforms at the base of palm fronds. Olympus Pen EP-5 with OLYMPUS M.45mm F1.8 lens. Exposure: 1/25 sec, f5.8 at ISO 200.


Warning this blog entry contains avian themes!

The other day I had to take the car into be serviced in Victoria Park near the Causeway. This meant I had time to kill so I decided to take a walk along the northern bank of the Swan River Foreshore. I hadn’t been along there for ages and there has been some recent redevelopment of the area so I decided to have a sticky beak. These are a few of the pictures I took as I wandered around.


Little Corellas by Paul Amyes on
Little Corellas (Cacatua sanguinea) Swan River foreshore, Perth, Western Australia. Olympus Pen EP-5 with OLYMPUS M.45mm F1.8 lens. Exposure: 1/800 sec, f4 at ISO 200.



Australian darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) by Paul Amyes on
Australian darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) on the Swan River foreshore, Perth, Western Australia. Olympus Pen EP-5 with OLYMPUS M.45mm F1.8 lens. Exposure: 1/2000 sec, f4 at ISO 200.


Little Dove by Paul Amyes on
Little Dove. The Duyfken (Little Dove in English) replica moored at Elizabeth Quay on the Swan River, Perth, Western Australia. Olympus Pen EP-5 with OLYMPUS M.17mm F2.8 lens. Exposure: 1/125 sec, f8 at ISO 200.


First Contact by Paul Amyes on
First Contact , Elizabeth Quay in Perth, is a five metre tall artwork by Nyoongar artist Laurel Nannup. The work depicts the arrival of European settlers to Perth. As the European boats arrived, the local Nyoongar people believed that these ships, were their past ancestors returning from the sea. Olympus Pen EP5 with OLYMPUS M.17mm F2.8 lens. Exposure: 1/400 sec, f8 at ISO 200.


Elizabeth Quay Bridge by Paul Amyes on
The 20-metre high suspension bridge is an iconic architectural feature of Elizabeth Quay. The bridge forms part of the popular ‘bridges’ recreational route along the Swan River and provides a link between the promenades, the island and Barrack Street Jetty. Olympus Pen EP5 with OLYMPUS M.17mm F2.8 lens. Exposure: 1/500 sec, f8 at ISO 200.


*Swanning around and swanning about mean to move about aimlessly, irresponsibly and in a carefree manner. Related terms are swan around or about, swans around or about, swanned around or about. When the terms swanning around and swanning about first appeared in the late nineteenth century, they simply described the process of swimming like a swan. Today’s meaning of the term swanning about has its origins in World War II, interestingly. At that time, swanning around and swanning about described the movements of tanks in battle, in seemingly aimless maneuvers. The term made its way into mainstream English to mean anyone moving about in an irresponsibly carefree or aimless pattern. Swanning around and swanning about are primarily British terms, they are rarely seen in the United States.