Olympus Test and Wow: Four Days With The 300mm f/4 Lens

✍️ 🕑 February 5-9, 2022 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: bird photographywildlife photographygear reviews • Places: Skagit Wildlife Area-Wiley Slough Greenlake Park Discovery Park, South Parking Lot Marymoor Park

Earlier this month, I decided finally got around to signing up for the "Olympus Test & Wow" program.

As far as I can tell, this promotion has been running for quite a number of years now, without any regard for the shifting landscape of photography or the sale of Olympus's camera division.

The Test & Wow program works thusly: if you are lucky enough to live near one of the ten or so retailers who are in the program, you can fill in a form and then borrow some nice Olympus kit for four days free of charge. Obviously, I decided to borrow the most expensive thing possible: the Olympus 300mm f/4 Pro.

The Skagit Wildlife Area. (Photo taken with phone, included for context.)
The Skagit Wildlife Area. (Photo taken with phone, included for context.)

You're prohibited to use the equipment for commercial purposes, and your sole goal should be "testing." As a consequence, I have elected to host these photos on Flickr at maximum resolution under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike license, rather than to host them privately.

(Side note -- the code that embeds the Flickr images here is janky and not totally bug free, so if something doesn't display, just click the link on that image to see it.)

What could I do?

(Warning: a bajillion, zillion, quadrillion images follow)

A Mild Case of COVID-19

✍️ 🕑 Late January, Early February 2022 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: life updateCOVID-19illness

Oh yes.

As I mentioned in my January 52 Frames post, I finally caught that dastardly coronavirus.

Fortunately, it was a mild case of the Omicron variant, and with time and social distancing, I recovered quite quickly. I am very grateful to have been vaccinated and boosted, which I believe helped my symptoms be as mild as they were.

One of the questions I got asked a fair amount was, "where did you catch it?" Given the nature of the ultra-contagious virus that may or may not show its symptoms for days... who's to say?

My best guess is a coffee shop in Tilamook, Oregon, where I may have sipped a beverage whilst admiring a blackboard, home to cafe goers' communal musings.

The topic: your New Year's Resolution.

The answers: generally a range from "put myself out there more," "support indigenous/black/trans voices," and "more Jesus."

Mine was probably, "to continue being COVID free," but alas...

Elote Under The 7 Train, or My New York City Dream

✍️ 🕑 Primarily February 2020 • Series: My Days in New York City • Tags: things to feel nostalgic forgood eatsAirbnbQueensNew York City • Places: Queensboro Plaza, Long Island City Elote Under the 7 Train Knockdown Center Queens Brewery Astoria

View from an elevated train in Astoria (July 2021)
View from an elevated train in Astoria (July 2021)

I started writing this contemporaneously, i.e., while I was crashing in weird airbnb's in Queens in early 2020. In a time when I didn't yet wish to share that I was planning to leave New York City. In a time when I was loving it more and more.

It has since been revised for clarity, readability, and parenthetical asides about death and tragedies. Y'know, the stuff of our present historic moment.

So, this then, is the New York City that I love...

Why You Hate the Upper West Side

✍️ 🕑 2019 through early 2020 • Series: My Days in New York City • Tags: New York Citycomplaining • Places: Whispers Bar

I wrote this post a fair while ago (2020), as part of an elegy to my stint in New York City.
It is part of my answer to the age old question, ‘How could you leave New York?’ (pandemic notwithstanding)

Average representation of the UWS (northerly bits)
Average representation of the UWS (northerly bits)

You stop to catch your breath inside the shoebox you call “a New York City apartment,” arriving again at the realization that the city is unspeakably lonely.

You scarf down two pizza slices on paper plates, thinking back to your near run-ins with Empire State Building ticket hawkers and tourists who suddenly stop in the middle of the sidewalk, and you shudder.

Some days it feels like it's only through advance planning and effort that people connect with anyone at all. Your breath is caught, but maybe it wishes to escape again. You think to yourself, “what's it all for?”

At least you have your neighborhood?

Image On Where-Is-Steve