J MacDonald Photography
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A World Where Light Sings and Color Sleeps

After a four year hiatus from family vacations due to my wife's battle with cancer, and other life obstacles my family and I finally took the vacation we deserved. We knew that going to Florida wasn't something we wanted to do as we'd done it nearly a dozen times before, and we also knew that a "disconnect from technology" would be great for us all so we settled on a cabin in the hills of the Smoky Mountains. 

As I am sure you know, I couldn't take a trip to The Great Smoky Mountain National Park and not bring camera gear along. The Smoky Mountains offer some of the most incredible diversity in wildlife and landscapes, and choosing what gear to bring was not the easiest task.

I ended up settling on my trusty one camera, three lens kit for all things outdoors. That kit for me is:
The OM-D E-M1 MkII + HLD-9 Grip
mZuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO
mZuiko 12-100mm f/4 PRO
mZuiko 300mm f/4 PRO + MC-14 1.4x teleconverter.

This combination is PERFECT for covering everything from the vast expanse of the Smoky Mountains, to photos of bear and deer and birds in the wild. 
What more could I want or need in a kit?

Bring the Infrared Converted Camera Jamie......

The moment you remove color from the image, the beauty of light and texture fill your spirit
— Me

One of the countless scenes that unfolded before us in Cades Cove.
30nm converted OM-D E-M1 MkI + mZuiko 12-100mm PRO

Just before leaving home I looked at at my camera shelf and spotted my infrared converted OM-D E-M1 MkI and wondered...Should I bring it? Will I really use it when the foliage hasn't filled in? So I asked my friends and followers on Facebook for their opinion and got an overwhelming response of, "YES!!" So I did.

I am a sucker for a big old tree standing tall and proud in a field resisting time and elements.
830nm converted OM-D E-M1 MkI + mZuiko 12-100mm PRO

I couldn't have been more happy with the decision to bring this camera along. There is something unique that happens when you are looking through the viewfinder of an infrared converted camera. You are shown in stark contrast where the light is flowing through your scene, where the shadows lay heavy on the land, and where the two merge into subtle hues of grey. While you CAN see these interaction of light and shadow through any camera, they are amplified by orders of magnitude in an infrared camera, and when you see this, you feel like you have been invited to see something the rest of the world has been kept away from. It is a special feeling that connects you with the world in a way a regular camera just can't do.

A scene from the Dan Lawson homestead on the Cade's Cove Loop.
30nm converted OM-D E-M1 MkI + mZuiko 12-100mm PRO

The view along Sparks Lane in Cade's Cove.
30nm converted OM-D E-M1 MkI + mZuiko 12-100mm PRO

The purpose for this post is to help those considering an infrared conversion to hear the perspective of someone who has done one (an 830nm conversion) and will attest to the incredible world they open up to your photography.

Keep in mind that the conversion I had done, the 830nm wavelength is a PURE black and white conversion. There is no option for saving any color information in your images. So if you are a diehard fan of black and white photography, and are seeking a way to take that passion to the next level, even to a whole new place, consider a conversion to the 830nm spectrum of infrared.

The last light of day as the sun sets in Cades Cove along Hyatt Lane.
30nm converted OM-D E-M1 MkI + mZuiko 12-100mm PRO

I hope you enjoyed the images, and I appreciate your comments and questions. 
Please feel free to share with those you know may appreciate the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

---Jamie