Travel photographer Lisa Michele Burns loves landscapes – and water. [Olympus Promotion]


Hamnø¸y, Norway.  

Lisa Michele Burns is a recent and very enthusiastic convert to the Olympus system. ‘I was looking for a lightweight kit after having ongoing back issues from years of shooting weddings with two heavy DSLR’s,’ she says. ‘Early in 2017 I had a bunch of trips planned to photograph in the arctic winter, so when the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II was released with its weatherproof features I did a little happy dance.

‘My first time travelling with the Olympus system in Iceland and Norway’s Lofoten Islands changed the way I photograph. Having a new camera body to work with forced me to think about things differently. Transitioning to a new menu system and taking advantage of features like Live Composition and the Live View has helped me capture landscapes with a new vision.’


Provence, France.

Asked which lenses she favours for her landscape photography, Lisa says she relies on three in particular: the 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO, the 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO and the 40-150mm f/2.8. ‘The 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens will remain on my camera most of the time,’ she says. ‘It’s such a versatile lens that’s really suited to travel hotography and performs beautifully in low light.

‘One thing that’s surprised me since travelling with these lenses is how much I’ve also used the 40-150mm zoom lens. Typically I prefer a wider composition but this lens showcases details within a landscape so clearly that I’ve been quite swayed by its abilities and found myself shooting with it more and more. In Japan recently for the autumn foliage, it was on my camera 70 percent of the time to capture distant scenes framed by vibrant leaves and a soft bokeh.’


Museo Atlantico – Europe’s First Underwater Museum, Lanzarote, Spain.

As someone who had her own landscape photography gallery on Queensland’s Hayman Island for six years, Lisa says ‘being surrounded by water, I got a little obsessed with underwater photography. I left the island in 2014 and set off travelling with the idea of capturing ‘The World from the Water’, visiting as many photogenic coastlines as I could to photograph them from the seas, lakes and oceans in a split-level format.

‘Seeing the world above and below the water in a single image captivates me. It’s like blending two worlds together but the best part is that water is a natural element. Sometimes the results can turn out unexpectedly brilliant or, a total mess. That’s all part of the fun!’

And for her water shooting gear, Lisa says ‘I use the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens housed safely inside the PT-EP14 underwater housing. If I’m shooting in city fountains or somewhere it’s tricky to carry the housing, I’ll use the Olympus TG-5 due to its ability to capture RAW files.’


‘It’s been such a gamechanger to use Olympus for my underwater work because all of the settings are accessible at the touch of a button on the housing and it’s just a matter of slipping the camera in and closing it shut. Having the ability to adjust settings while underwater means no more getting in and out of the water every time I need to adjust the ISO or focal length. It’s a total breeze shooting with the Olympus system underwater now and that means I can spend more time thinking about the creative aspects instead of the technical!’


Eiffel Tower, Paris, France.

Lisa’s fascination with water extends beyond her ocean and lake perspectives too. For some time she’s had a thing for reflections and she loves to spice up her travel photography with creative mirroring.

‘It’s a bit of a personal challenge of mine to attempt a new angle at locations ““ like the Eiffel Tower ““  that are shot billions of times,’ she says. ‘I always have a water bottle with me to make reflections and when I was in the Lofoten Islands earlier this year, I used it to make puddles on top of the railings of a bridge in Hamnø¸y. It’s where photographers go to capture the iconic shot of red Norwegian fishing huts and the reflections worked beautifully to offer an alternate angle ““ plus I didn’t have to wait for rain!  I’ve also started using my iPhone screen as a reflection surface, it’s really handy and a fun little trick I love teaching people on my photo tours.’  

Visionaries & Storytelling, presented by Photo Review and Olympus:


Visionaries & Storytelling (PDF 9MB download)