About

About Admiring Light

I started Admiring Light in early 2012 as a way to share my point of view about photography with the world.  I’ve been shooting seriously for over a decade, and have extensive experience with a wide range of photographic equipment, from the entry-level to the top-of-the-line.  When reviewing gear, I strive to provide a shooter’s perspective and pass along how equipment translates to results in real-world situations.  My hope is that Admiring Light stands as a trusted resource for photographers with regards to equipment, technique and vision.

The name of this site, Admiring Light, came from the idea that as photographers, we strive to capture the light in front of us.  The best images tend to come with the best light, and in really special circumstances, all you can do is sit back and admire the light.  There is a beauty in this world that is sometimes lost in our everyday lives, and we need to remind ourselves to slow down and just take it all in.

Jordan Steele – Editor-in-Chief, Admiring Light

I grew up in northeast Ohio and went to college at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.  I graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, and shortly thereafter was commissioned as a 2LT in the United States Army.  ROTC had paid for school, so I served for four and a half years on active duty as a transportation officer.  The Army brought me to Germany in late 2002, and it was there that I found a passion for photography.  I had used a compact film camera since I was in high school for random shots of family and friends, and I got my first digital camera, a fully automatic 2 megapixel brick, in 2001.  While traveling in Europe I began to really work on my photos, and by 2003, I started getting serious about the craft.  I began reading as much as I could about photography, and would take picture after picture to try new techniques out.

Throughout the rest of my time in Europe, my photography continued to improve and improve, and I really began to view it as an art, an escape and a passion.  I returned to the US in 2006.  I currently live in Columbus, OH, and while I don’t get to travel like I did in Europe, there are opportunities for great photography wherever you happen to be.

On the gear side, I shot with Canon DSLRs for approximately 7 years.  However, I started to feel really bogged down by the weight and bulk of my full-frame SLR kit and began the switch to a smaller system in 2010. I now shoot entirely mirrorless. My main kit is the Fuji X system, though I also own an Olympus OM-D and a Sony a6000 and a few lenses for each, and both of those get plenty of use in the right situations. All have their strengths and weaknesses, but the key point is that I enjoy photography more, and I’m getting better shots without having to lug an extremely heavy bag around.  Now, instead of worrying about my back, I can simply focus on the image.

28 comments

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  1. Mark

    Jordan, very cool site. You are off to a great start. Yours is just the kind of site I want to promote on my blog, Micro Four Thirds Photographer.

    I’m asked frequently, “what is the best camera to buy?”. So, I created a blog to answer that question and to make the public aware of the micro 4/3 format. I believe there is no better way to do that than to direct readers to photographers that are producing fantastic work with this equipment. I’d like to point my readers (when I get some) to your website as a resource. Is that okay with you?

    I look forward many more images, travel diaries and thoughts on photography.

    Mark Carpenter
    Converse, TX

    1. Jordan Steele

      Thank you! I would be happy to have you link to my site from yours.

  2. Dean Forbes

    Found you blog via a mention of your Olympus 12mm review on 43 Rumors. I plan to read more about your experiences with mFT cameras and lenses as I can relate to your comment about feeling bogged down carrying heavy dSLRs. This is my year to replace my D300 bodies and I’m seriously interested in the new OM-D EM-5.

    If I may ask: In addition to the great primes, do you like any of the Oly or Panny mid-range and telephoto zooms? My typical walkaround journalism/street set up is two bodies and two zooms. Thanks.

    1. Jordan Steele

      I am looking for more speed in my telephoto zooms, but some of the slow telezooms out there are fairly decent. I’ve owned the Panny 45-200 and 45-175 X, and currently own the Olympus 40-150. The Oly is the sharpest of the three by far, at least from close focus to about 20-30 feet out. It softens a little at the long end on distant subjects. The 45-200 is good, but is quite large, and the longer part of the zoom range is average. Also, I had some inconsistencies with the OIS on that lens. The 45-175X is really well built…as compact as the Oly, but with internal zooming. I really liked the ergonomics of the lens, but I tried two copies and both suffered from IS problems between 1/50s and 1/160s…which would cause double images when IS is on, regardless of your own stability. I’d get sharp shots at 1/20s, but 1/100s would be impossible. Since it doesn’t have an IS switch on the body, it was also a pain to switch on and off through the camera. I returned it after two weeks. So, I’m sticking with the Oly, even without IS, due to its small size and very good optics (and great price), though I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Panasonic 35-100 f/2.8, provided it doesn’t suffer from the same OIS problems.

      1. Dean Forbes

        Thanks for this detailed reply.

      2. Steve Solomon

        Excellent site, Mr. Steele! I currently shoot a Pentax K-5, with some deliciously sharp Pentax FA and DA* optics. If oyu check my site, though low-res jpegs, it will give you an idea of the image quality I’m obtaining from this kit. That said, I now realize, with the introduction of the new Pentax K-5 IIs, that I am not getting optimum sharpness and detail from my Pentax lenses, which has led me to consider an alternative “travel” system such as the OM-D and the equally sharp Olympus primes. However, I am also considering the new Fuji X100S, which would, I think, make a very comact, light travel kit, while maintaining utmost sharpness and image quality. I am wondering what your opinion is of the following: Which system (Fuji X100S or OM-D) would permit maintain the maximum sharpness and detail in prints above 20×24 inches? I realize that it’s almost an apples to oranges comparison (with sensor size and lens interchangability, but I’m really interested in sharpness and detail.)Thank you. .

  3. Dennis Kane

    Hi Jordan
    Very well done website, I am sure I will be a regular visitor. I love your photography and thank you for providing great information that will help me become a better photographer. My experience is similar to yours. I sold all my Nikon and now shoot with the GH2. I plan to buy the new Olympus EM 5 for my wife, and put her Nikon and lenses on ebay as well. The small size of these cameras has liberated me from the bulk of Nikon without any decrease in photo quality. Now with the GH2 I carry it more often, take more photos and feel I am learning more than I did with the Nikon. Generally, having more fun.
    Thank you
    Dennis Kane

  4. Patty Adams

    Came across your site by pure chance and love your site, your teachings and your photos. Like you I had a full frame camera (Canon Mark 1 5D) but after a trip to New York in the winter I found I saw lots of things but took very few photos mainly becasue tof the size and weight of my camera and lenses. i am just about to start my journey into micro 4/3 and am busy doing my research and reading as much as I can. i think I am going down the Olympus OMD 5 pathway.
    Thanks for the inspiration you have given me!

  5. Will

    Hi Jordan,

    Great inspiring website. Makes me speed up my wish to replace my stolen GF-1.
    Can you tell me why you choose a GX-1 + EVF instead of a G-3 : same sensor and EVF but more grip with long lenses mounted ?
    Thanks.

    1. Jordan Steele

      I have the GX1 because I use it without the viewfinder a fair bit as well, mainly when I just pop the GX1 and Oly 12mm and 45mm into a belt pouch for really lightweight shooting. I also own the GH2, so when I need a larger better handling body or will be using the EVF full time, I use my GH2. The GX1 is great because either can be really small, or I can pop on the EVF and have a fully capable backup to my GH2.

  6. Geoff Howard

    Hi Jordan,

    Great site just found it from a link on 43 rumours.

    Just a brief request for comment.

    I use both the 43 and u43 systems, 43 thirds consisting of E-1 & E-620
    bodies along with 11-22 Zuiko, 50 Zuiko, 50-200 Zuiko supplemented with
    18-50 EX DC Sigma lenses along with a few of the budget range. My u43
    consisting of E-P2 with EVF, 14-42 M-Zuiko, 17 M-Zuiko, 40-150 M-Zuiko, 45
    M-Zuiko with 14 Lumix. I am interested in the Sigma 19 & 30 EX DN’s however
    I note mixed revues on the 30 while the 19 gets good ones. While looking at
    the 19 I must also consider the Lumix 20, though that itself has had many
    mixed revues, one revue even saying it is both slow and fast (to focus) in
    the same article.

    As I find your revues relatively brief and easy to read along with being
    most objective in content, I would appreciate any aditional comments you
    might have on the 19/20 mm (Sigma / Lumix) comparison.

    Maybe not so brief, your response or any comments from others would be greatly appreciated.

  7. Frank Villafane

    Hey Jordan,

    Love your blog, so I checked out your site and attempted to contact you at info@jordansteele.com, but my email was returned with a 550 Mailbox quota exceeded. Please email me back at a valid address and I’ll try again.

    Frank V.
    Photographer, Urban Industrial Imaging

    1. Jordan Steele

      Sorry about that…mailbox limit removed (didn’t know I had a limit set on that inbox)…you should be good to go to send e-mail to that address now.

  8. Gary Long

    Hi Jordan,

    Like your site. Just a small item to point out in your informative article “Full Frame Equivalence…”,

    In the following bullet point paragraph:

    The f-stop is one of the key components in exposure. The intensity of light hitting the film or sensor will be the same for the same f-stop, regardless of the focal length or actual physical aperture size. If you have a 200mm lens at f/2.8 and an 18mm lens at f/2.8, they both will have the exact same intensity of light hitting the sensor…the same number of photos per unit area.

    I think the word “photos” should read “photons”. Sorry, I was an editor by profession, and sometimes I can’t help myself. In any case, I’m sure most people understood what you meant.

    All the best,
    Gary Long

  9. Steve Solomon

    Fantastic article and site, sir! I shall check back often, as I am a photography fanatic, interested in maximum image quality! Thank you again!

  10. Xavier Paris

    Love you web site !

  11. The Boondocks

    couldnt agree more

  12. Wiliam Ing

    Hi Jordan:

    Discovered quite by chance your numerous images, miscellaneous postings and then this Website, when I was trying to find information on the Canon FD 50-300mm f/4.5L zoom, about which you have posted more information than any other individual I know of.

    Enjoy your musings about equipment and techniques, your obvious enthusiasm for the world of imagery and most of all your willingness to share your discoveries with the rest of us.

    Wanted you to know that your positive remarks about the Canon 50-300mm, along with your many excellent sample photographs, were instrumental in pushing me over the edge to buy a very good used copy for myself. I love shooting wildlife and songbirds in my backyard with this lens mounted on my OMD-EM5. One day I may even deploy it to shoot golf at the local range, as you did.

    One question, if you will. You mentioned buying a 95mm screw-on metal lens shade to replace the missing original plastic Canon shade for this lens. From photos I’ve seen of your rig, this item looks to be a rather deep Desmond 95mm shade. It appears to fit the lens handsomely, but I wonder if it causes vignetting at the 50mm setting. If so, how long must you zoom before vignetting disappears?

    Thanks in advance for the information. Will look for your answer here.

    William Ing

    1. Jordan Steele

      Thanks for the kind words. On Micro4/3, the hood does not vignette at the 50mm setting. I don’t think mine is made by Desmond…not sure of the brand, but I bought it for like $10 on eBay. Works great, and since it’s the same diameter at the end as it is on the thread side, and has female threads on the end, I just leave it on and screw the lens cap to the hood.

      This hood does cause vignetting on full frame, however (I have an AE-1 that I can mount it to) at the wider focal lengths.

  13. Dale

    Jordan, thanks for the interesting and informative information on your site. It was great to get your In site on a lot of the photography gear I presently own, plus others I would like to get. I presently use a GH3 plus 8 other lens, both primes and high-end zooms. Soon I would like to add a second camera with the goal of it being capable exceptional image quality plus some of the convenient features I now enjoy with my GH3, but I also want to buy a few more high end primes (Voigtlander’s, Panasonic and Olympus). My stumbling block has been I am torn between only considering MFT bodies that can also use my existing great lenses, or possibly considering another non-MFT’s body that then doesn’t use any of my existing great lens, and in fact will require new additional great, but also expensive glass. I was intrigued by your comment that you recently added the Fuji X-E1 to your gear you are using (I am considering one of the Fuji or a Sony camera bodies myself), so I am interested in your thoughts on how it is going with two different systems. I understand the desire to buy your Fuji equipment and all that potentially adds to your own photography. My trauma and hesitation is enjoying the MFT world and wanting to still add to it, but looking now at some gear outside the MFT’s world – cost and otherwise. Maybe getting the Olympus OM D M1 or a simple, but excellent Fuji X100S makes more more sense for me.

    How has your journey and process gone? Thx. Dale

    1. Jordan Steele

      I’m finding myself falling in love with the Fujis. I now have the Fuji X-E1, X-M1, Fuji 14, 35, 60, 16-50 and 55-200. I’d consider the Fuji my ‘primary’ kit now, with Micro 4/3 as my ‘secondary’ system. I have pre-ordered the X-E2, as the improved autofocus looks like it could make Fuji truly come into its own. I have a feeling over the next several months, I will likely be maintaining Micro 4/3 for what it does REALLY well….the super small things (toss a body and collapsing zoom or pancake lens in a pocket), macro use (OM-D + Olympus 60 Macro is the best combination for Macro I’ve ever used) and compact supertelephoto.

      Micro 4/3 is certainly exceptionally capable and the quality really is relatively close to the Fuji’s, but I’m loving the simplified controls and I love the rendering the Fuji lenses have…they all draw similarly, with excellent bokeh and nice sharpness with good transition. The Micro 4/3 cameras are definitely still more responsive with faster AF and will always maintain a size advantage with the lenses. The IBIS on the OM-D is amazing and there are some truly excellent features. I should be getting a review unit of the E-M1 in the next week or so.

  14. Dale

    Ahhh Jordan, I think you just cost me more money in other new lenses I’ll have to buy. I’ll call it even on the camera body since I was going to buy another one anyway. Thanks, and I shall look anxiously for that other review on that Fuji. Dale

  15. Ken

    I have been having trouble with your capcha settings. 5×4=20 and 3×1=3 have both produced error messages in a review comments section. I am hoping foor the best for 9-6=3

  16. Bill Robinson

    I follow you often. I’m in engineering too, so hope my comment that ‘notoriety’ is especially used for something bad, is accepted at face value. Thanks for sharing your perspectives.

    Reviews
    by Jordan Steele
    Samyang Optics has been around for over 40 years, but has gained recent notoriety in the past decade by releasing some truly outstanding lenses for SLRs and mirrorless cameras that provide high-end image quality at bargain prices, under a variety of brand names including Rokinon, Bower, Walimex and a few more.

    1. Jordan Steele

      Thanks for the comment, though we’ll have to disagree on the meaning of notoriety. Can people use it to describe well known bad people/things? Sure….but it doesn’t have to mean anything other than well known.

      The two definitions of Notoriety in my dictionary:

      1. the state, quality, or character of being notorious or widely known:
      2.Chiefly British. a notorious or celebrated person.

      Now, notorious can mean well known in a bad way, but it also has ‘celebrated’ as a synonym.

  17. Budd Riker

    Jordan,
    Love your site. Thanks! Thought it was interesting that we have a few things in common. I was born and raised in Ithaca (graduated from Lansing HS) and was drafted and sent to what was then West Germany and served in the 3rd Armored Division. Like you, my photo journey began there. It began with the purchase of my Minolta SRT101, followed by Oly OM1 & 2 (all sitting on my office shelf). Then Nikon gear for pro work up until I recently switched to M4/3rds (OMD-EM1) for all my underwater and photo journalism gigs.

    While my journey began 31 years before yours, I find it an interesting similarity.

    Thanks for the good stuff! Look forward to more….

    Budd

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