Southern California is unlike any place in North America. You have beautiful landscapes, fabulous architecture, the Pacific Ocean, Hollywood, and all the crazy, quirky sights and sounds of urban Los Angeles. The sunset at Venice Beach and Santa Monica pier are unparalleled. You're in this incredibly photogenic place and everybody is having a great time. Then you go out into the desert and the forms and shapes and the starkness of the landscape are just so haunting. From the surfers at Huntington Beach to the desolation of the Salton Sea, this region is a photographer's paradise.
Some of the best surfing in North America is right off the pier at Huntington Beach. Shooting the U.S. Open of Surfing, I found the new Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm 1:4 IS PRO to be spectacular for capturing the fast action. It has a phenomenal reach in a tiny package -- equivalent to a 600 mm lens. You've got this lens that fits into a small bag, which allows you to be highly mobile, and it can get these great shots. It was crazy walking around with this compact package when everybody else had a giant tripod and a 15-pound lens.
And then there is the quieter side of California, the place of subtle contrasts. There's the architecture -- the marvelous angles of the Getty Museum and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The buildings just glow at twilight. And then there's the desert.
You can drive two hours from Los Angeles, one of the most densely populated, light-polluted places on the planet, to the Joshua Tree National Park. You're beneath a night sky carpeted with stars. You can incorporate the twisted forms of the Joshua Trees in the foreground with the Milky Way overhead. I'm in love with the Live Composite function that allows you to take long exposures of stars without over-exposing the ambient light sources.
I just really love shooting in California. You can make a nice photograph within 10 feet of yourself at any given second. You can pull out a camera and start shooting and nobody cares. Everybody is doing his own thing. It's beautiful. And the E-M1 Mark II has the capabilities to react to anything you see here. I love the additional programmable modes I can set for different situations here. A simple twist of the mode dial, and you can move from your night settings to action mode. The E-M1 Mark II is truly an artist’s camera.