We were up well before dawn to cover the annual Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic in Windsor, CA. This was the perfect assignment for my Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO lens mounted on the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. Even in the dimmest of lighting conditions, I was able to keep my ISO low and the resolving power high.
For the entire shoot, starting at 5 AM and continuing to 7:30 AM, I locked the aperture at f/1.2 and used auto ISO. The camera keep my ISO very low, usually at 200, yet I still had plenty of shutter speed to freeze the action. The excellent sensor-based image stabilization in the E-M1 also helped my cause.
The RAW files from the shoot had excellent sharpness and tone. I was able to focus quickly on the main subjects and let everything else sort itself out. You would think that I would have many mis-focused shots at such a wide aperture, but those were rare.
On occasion, I would switch to the 45mm f/1.2 PRO, but it and the 17mm were the only two optics that I used for the shoot. Never before has challenging lighting been such a joy.
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