It has been one long week which passed so slowly it felt more like a dreadful month. There were plenty to do at work, and my lack of sleep due to unknown reasons just did not help much at all. Waking up early on Saturday like a Zombie to help settle an errand for a friend, I pondered whether I should jump right back onto my comfy bed after completing the task, or storm out with Ollie and my favourite lens (Zuiko 40-150mm F3.5-4.5) for a merry round of shutter therapy. My body was telling me to take it slow, but somehow my willpower overcame the accumulated exhaustion, hence the somehow-becoming-routine weekend shutter adventure resumes.
Note: I found this bird on my way to the park.
I actually made plans with Amstrong, Mwky and LKM (from mychiaroscuro.net) for a round of macro shooting at the Butterfly Park (again), but the session would take place at ungodly 3pm in the late afternoon. I had plenty of time in between my morning errand and the 3pm macro session, but my hands were already itching for some shutter action. Therefore, after a quick breakfast which resembled more like a heavy lunch, I made my way to the lake gardens, the area where all my usual previous photo hunts, such as Bird Park, Orchid Garden, Butterfly Park were at. I decided to take a stroll along the garden, and just snap along randomly whatever that caught my attention. Little did I know I have chanced upon something awesome !!
I have known that the Deer Park existed somewhere in this Lake Gardens, but the last time I visited it was closed down for some weird reasons. I had the impression that the place was gone for good, and never gave it much of a thought ever since. Even if it was opened, I thought the deers would resemble something I would find at the zoo, and nothing out of the ordinary would be gained from going into the park. I was glad that I proved myself so dead wrong this time. The park was very well alive, after minor renovations. I accidentally found it along my aimless walk-around the Lake Garden, and with Ollie in hand, how can I not go in with a couple of shots, right?
To my surprise the place was actually quite huge, a lot bigger than what I came to expect. And the numbers of deers there actually were more than three dozens in total, including the younger smaller ones. Also, the deers were all so healthy looking and seemed to beam in life under the glow of harsh afternoon sun. It was definitely the total opposite of what you would see at the zoo with very small limited fenced area, and the deers there were just boringly motionless and dull in expressions. Fortunately that was not the case in the Deer Park. I suspect that the deers could be very new, or they have been very well fed and taken care of.
The visitors are allowed to get really upclose to the deers, and even touch and pet them as you wish. There were breads on sale to be fed to the deers, and I was waiting patiently for the tourists to do just that. You see, this is the disadvantage of shooting alone. I only have my own two hands, and I cannot feed the deers while at the same time, taking photos of myself feeding the deers. Hence, I make use of the tourists feeding the oh so hungry looking deers and viola !!! I have got all the shots that I needed for that session.
You have no idea how friendly the deers were. They just carefully took off the pieces of food from the human hands, and did not even come close of biting the fingers. The scene of the feeding felt so surreal, as if the deers were so gentle and tame as domestic pets !! This was something wrong I believe, since deers were supposed to be wild animals, and belonged to the world where humans should not corrupt. This I am afraid is a reality we cannot escape, to ensure our survival, we humans consume everything around us, and we keep consuming and destroying the path we walk on until there is nothing left.
So what was the focus on this session in terms of photography?
1) Sharpness versus Bokeh
It was interesting to blend in the sharpness of the lens with the potential of bokeh it was able to produce. Other manufacturers (C and N) always boast on how much details their sensor can capture, but coupled with their entry level kit lens, those details just could not be resolved accordingly. Now, this is one undeniable truth about Olympus E-system, even the kit lens can produce awe-worthy sharpness, shooting at all range of focal length, even at full zoom and aperture full wide open. And who says Olympus can't produce good bokeh?
Forgive me for being so defensive, but sometimes I just cannot take the bashing from C or N worshippers who claim that their system is above everything else. Therefore in this session, I focused on getting the maximum sharpness, at full zoom most of the time. On the sideline, the creamy bokeh was nothing short of pleasurable.
2) Super FP Flash / High-Speed Sync flash
I know there are people who would swear by shooting without flash at all times, even at pitch dark situations. They proclaim that flash destroys the natural feel to the photo, and alters the colours and details in such a way that the world will come to an end if you still keep engaging your flash for your subsequent photographs. they doomed flash as evil and I just have had enough of such non-sense.
You know what? I use flash, even under bright sunlight. People must think that I am nuts. So bright what, why need flash? Won't your flash over expose your image? Or you think your flash is brighter than the sun?
Sometimes, if I defend myself in such technical manner, people will think I am talking to myself in my own language. On the other hand, if I do not defend myself at all, I do seem like I have lost my mind doing what I choose to do: eg shooting with flash under sunlight. It has become a lose-lose situation to me in whatever response that I voice up, but there are also times when it is best to just remain silent, and let the photographs, aka end results speak the truth. Let my photos do the justifications.
The reason why I use the flash is to combat the harshness of the afternoon sun. I cannot change how the sky would be, of course cloudy situation would work perfectly, but it was not the case so I had to shoot under super hot burning sun. This would create very harsh shadows all over the subjects, and also certain parts over-exposed. To balance out the bright and dark areas, proper use of flash can do the trick. Blending the flash and the bright sun light may not be easy, but once you start to delve into the concept of FP flash/high speed sync flash, you can create very dramatic and flattering outcomes. The results would be reduced shadows, and toned down harsh highlights, producing a more pleasing and balanced looking picture.
3) Getting in close
Note: This pigeon just appeared in front of me out of nowhere, no more than 1.5m away from my camera. So it was shot with my tele lens mercilessly.
If you have seen enough photographs from the National Geographic magazines, or any wildlife photography displays, the factor that got the viewers to go WHOAHHHHHH would be how close the photographers brought you to the wild animals. It was as if you can touch their fur, smell their breath and feel their sharp claws and teeth. of course, I was not prepared to get eaten alive by the deers. I pushed my lens as close as I could to the deer, and I originally had the concept of just filling the entire frame with one deer eye. Unfortunately my lens has its limit of magnification factor, thus what you saw in the pictures here are the closest I could get.
It was so much fun photographing the deers. Call me nuts, but I find joy in such things, and it does not matter what you say, but the deers were just so adorable.
The photography session has just started. Next on I met up with the Oly gang and we stormed into the Butterfly Park, and that shall be the story I am telling in the coming entry.
BBQ Deer Meat, anyone? I am hungry.