Costa Rica & the OM SYSTEM 90mm Macro

Now that the lens has finally been released, I can take you on this journey. 

I have taken more of a photographer role at OM SYSTEM lately, and it has given me the opportunity to travel a bit. My most recent trip for that photography role brought me to Costa Rica! As the primary lifestyle photographer for the new lens, I worked with Chris McGinnis, one of our OM SYSTEM Ambassadors who specializes in Macro photography; you can find his awesome work here. I also worked with two super creative individuals, Janne and Joonas from Kauas Creative from Finland, who produced the overview video of the lens. 

Costa Rica:

What an absolutely beautiful place. Given that we were literally 45 minutes away from the nearest town, we were surrounded by rainforest.  We stayed at the Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel, which was breathtaking. If you’re looking for a place ‘away from it all,’ I highly recommend going here. We spent four days and nights shooting photos and videos, being completed soaked, and in the end, we got some great content. Our guide, Jairo, was truly wonderful and knew EVERYONE. You can contact him through his IG here

The Lens:

I’m not a macro guy, and frankly, the number of bugs and small critters we ran into in Costa Rica was enough for me. Let’s say Chris taught me a way to ‘find’ spiders, and we were surrounded by thousands at night, no joke. But this lens is really a beast. Held up to our 90% rain for most of the days we were shooting, and still looks great in the studio.

The Shoot:

What was really interesting about staying at Villa Blanca is that you can literally walk 10ft and be in the middle of the rain forest. This made for some really awesome shooting conditions. We also got out one day to a rope bridge course and a waterfall, but 80% of the shots were in the middle of the rainforest, less than 100ft from our hotel. The jungle was so thick that you wouldn’t know where you were unless you brought a GPS. The Kauas team was awesome to work with, and seeing the final product was so exciting.

The Final Product:

This is the culmination of the Costa Rica shoot. I hope you enjoy it. It was a blast working with the team on this launch, and to have the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica to capture the photos was fantastic.  

Good quality uploads on Social

In the age of Instagram photographers, influencers, and ‘everyone and their mom is a professional photographer because they have a DSLR,’ we as photographers have to be informed on the platform that we use most. I’m mainly focusing on Facebook since Instagram has it’s own nuances and can only be posted on via their app. (and twitter…. meh).

What can we do to ensure our photos are at the upmost quality even when the places we are posting to compress it? 

Here are a few pointers and examples:


  • Whatever program you use, resize your photo to 2000px (for whatever the longest side of your photo width or height). 
  • Don’t optimize your photo; save it at 100%.
  • Upload your photo via the website (Facebook). 


  • Don’t use the mobile Facebook app to post your photos. Your photos will suffer from extreme compression and resizing. You can turn HD photos on in settings, but there are still some compression issues.
  • Don’t upload full-resolution photos. Your photo will undergo more compression if it’s large and un-resized.
  • Don’t feed the trolls. ;) 
  • Don’t upload low-resolution photos, make sure your photo is at least 2000 pixels on it’s longest side. (perspective, a current-gen iPhone is a 12MP camera, which outputs at least 4000 pixels on the longest side)

If you’re worried about the ‘pixel peepers’, upload your photo Flikr and put a link in your description, but most people understand that Facebook compression is a thing and it’s a thing we’ve all come to loathe.


Instagram doesn’t seem to suffer as much from the compression problem. Keep in mind the crop is a little different (4:5). 

If you REALLY want size things for the web, here’s all the size references as of this writing: 

Reference Material:

ALL 6 Up

Most drastic differences:

Uploaded via phone – 98kb

Uploaded via web – 418kb

Uploaded via phone – 88kb

Uploaded via web HD ON – 375kb

From Strobes to LEDs

I’m used to studio strobes, large Norman power packs, Broncolor, Alien Bees, and Elinchrom. I’ve used many, and I’m very comfortable with adjusting them to my needs. The problem with studio strobes is that if you want to modify them, it takes space. The softboxes are broad, deep, and unforgiving. 

Moving into a new house presented some challenges with my studio. 

The vertical space was about a foot lower or more because of the drop ceiling, and the horizontal space was about 2-3 feet shorter. Initially, I was going to get shallow softboxes and mount strobes into the drop ceiling. But the most shallow of softboxes didn’t work. 

I remembered Ryan Fisher from Lasting Image Photography uses LEDs sometimes, so I googled LEDs for studios. During this process, I stumbled upon Joe Edelman, an Olympus Visionary’s series on LED lighting. (Go check it out. It’s packed full of insight and recommendations). Edelman had suggested the Savage Edge Lit Pro, but they were pricey for something I wasn’t sure I needed ($300/per). 


In comes Godox with the LEDP260C with an affordable 12”x9”
Panel with some excellent ratings.  ($90/per). You can change the color temperature from 3300K to 5600K, you can change the brightness, AND they’re only about 2” thick.

Now the journey of modifying the light like a strobe, but using these edge-lit ‘soft’ LEDs. So far, so good, I’m going on a trip of exploration, as many of my photos require the backdrop to be completely black. Here’s to the start of this journey, I’ll keep updating with new findings and struggles. My first hurdle is the light spill, I believe my next hurdle is the harsh light coming from them even though they are ‘edge-lit.’ 

First Studio Trials to make sure I can capture what I previously did with strobes:

Using Format