Discovering delight on the edge of fear.

So, if you had asked me before last week if I would ever go for a helicopter ride on purpose and not because I had broken a femur in a remote location and needed speedy transport to a hospital (while sedated), the answer would have most likely been; “No.” I am not known for my adventurous streak. And it isn’t that I am afraid flying, I just prefer my fun to be not so, um, scary. You know…closer to the ground and with less risk of dying. That was until Alec booked the family a private helicopter tour over Kauai. When he first told me, I surprised myself by feeling something quite removed from dread, excitement!

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So without letting myself think about it too much, the day came that we were scheduled to sit for an hour in that crazy giant mechanical mosquito for pleasure.

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Belted in next to Gemma in the very front, we met our pilot, put on our headsets and without much more than a basic introduction we were off. The delight in that moment is nearly indescribable. Because we had a gorgeous soundtrack streaming through our headphones, only later when viewing the video Alec took did we hear the squeals of joy we all had made. I’ve never felt anything like it. You could not wipe the exhilarated smile off my face for hours after it was all over.

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We were asked to leave everything like bags and large cameras in our car, so I was especially happy that I had the little Olympus OM-D E-M10 with me. It is so small and the screen folds out and up so that I could even get a shot of Kieran sitting directly behind me as we were lifting off. There was not a lot of room to actually turn my body, so I was able to point the camera back at him through the open space at the side of my seat and angle the LCD towards me to get this image! Oh the sweet cautious face of one small boy who just had his very first window seat on an airplane the day before, now sitting at the glass door of a helicopter as the world tilts and drops away! Kieran has never been that quiet in his life.

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 The views.

Everything is just right there in front of you. And below you and to the side! The waterfalls, the mountainsides, the farmland, the canyons and cliffs. It was like being the proverbial bird in paradise.

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We flew over private beaches and caves that can only be reached by air or sea.

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Last we reverently hovered just about 5,000 feet above the ground in the curve of a crater below the ever-present clouds that mark what many say is the rainiest spot on earth. A “wall of tears” for sure as the many delicate waterfalls streamed down the lush green cliffs. It went from delight to awe at that point.

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An hour after lifting off with heads spinning and hearts full of delight, we landed…a changed family.

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A few Olympus OM-D E-M10 features that shined during this particular test.

Size: The compact size and light weight of the camera made it easy to carry and keep at the ready so that I did not miss a single shot. It is sturdy though and has been designed with a thumb balance grip to feel like an extension of your hand. 

LCD: The touchscreen LCD tilts out away from the camera as well as up and down which meant I could get my photos in the tiny space. Being able to touch the screen for not only focus but to take the picture too was perfect for capturing the views without having to hide behind the camera looking through the viewfinder! I keep the camera set to focus by touch on the LCD, but turned on the option to also release the shutter at the same time for this occasion.

Scene modes: Unless you are sent up to photograph the landscape for National Geographic, you really don’t want to waste time (and miss one second of the experience) fiddling in manual mode while soaring in a helicopter for the first time! I’m not too proud a professional photographer to not admit that I take the easy way out when I am sure that the quality will be there in the result. Landscape and Landscape Portrait modes made easy work of recording the stunning colours and breathtaking details of the Kauai landscape.

 

As a Kidspot Voices of 2014 Personal and Parenting Top 30 blogger, I was given the opportunity by Olympus to test their OM-D E-M10 camera with the standard 14-42mm lens for a few months. From the 30th of June (although I started a bit early to not miss Hawaii) through the 30th of August, I will be posting my thoughts on and images taken with this delightful camera. Different aspects of the camera will be featured in different posts, so consider the entire series my complete review. All images in these posts will be from the Olympus OM-D E-M10. For outtakes, special shots and more, follow along with my Olympus adventures through the hashtag #myfamilylens on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

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