Saturday, 3 August 2013

Photographing Giffords Circus with Olympus

Yesterday I was invited to an 'extraordinary photographic experience at the circus' with master photographer Damian McGillicuddy courtesy of Olympus Cameras. I was so excited and the boys were invited to come along as well much to their delight. Check out the other guests above - I've never seen such a gathering of people with so much impressive equipment!

Giffords Circus is an absolutely amazing vintage circus that tours village greens around the Cotswolds each summer. It's a kaleidoscope of merriment, music, horses and daredevil acts and an absolute joy to photograph as regular visitors to this blog will know! We were treated to five acts from the circus followed by a masterclass with the fantastic Damian McGillicuddy. Olympus Cameras had brought a selection of their cameras and lenses for people to borrow and try out and we were all give an SD card on arrival so we could swap between cameras. 

I've never entertained buying an Olympus camera before, for me it's always been the Nikon versus Canon debate and buying the best quality camera that I can afford, which at the moment is a Nikon D90 bought a few years ago. I of course have 'trigger finger itch' and have been looking longingly at investing in a better camera, which up until now seemed to be a move to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III which a lot of my photographer friends use, but now I'm not so sure. We borrowed an Olympus OMD, a relatively small camera, similar in size to my lomo, and it has enchanted me, it fitted snugly into my hand and had a pleasing weight of something of good quality. It worked beautifully in the low light of the circus (we couldn't use flash), whilst I struggled a bit with my Nikon - see below my picture taken with my Nikon D90 on the left and my ten year old sons picture with an Olympus with a fixed 45mm f1.8 lens, on the right - neither of these pictures are edited. 

The master class that followed the circus was brilliant and Damian infused the session with witty banter and tips from 25 years of experience. He photographed two of the circus performers, and talked through everything he was doing, giving out so much information that my head was spinning trying to take it all in. Unfortunately it was over all too quickly and I really didn't have enough time to play with the Olympus OMD to know whether it would do everything I desire in a camera, but it certainly warrants some further research and I would certainly like to understand more about the Olympus Pen series of cameras too. If anyone reading this has an Olympus OMD or Pen, or can share their experience I would love to hear your views?

We left with goody bags, broad smiles and my ten year old son who had helped Damian in a demonstration much to his delight is now so inspired by photography he is taking pictures of everything!

Tomorrow we're going back to see the whole show!


  1. Hi Emma - my camera is an Olympus OMD! I love it but don't really get the best out of it - I'm no photographer. If you want to meet up, so you can mess about with my camera for the day I'd be more than happy. Perhaps you can show me how to use it!!! Emma A x

  2. Hi Emma, I too was at Giffords, great day out, we went to the real event in the evening as well. I bought into the OM-D system earlier in the year and have been blogging about it at It's the best decision I ever made photographically and would recommend mirrorless cameras like the OM-D to anyone.


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