When I was thinking about what I could do differently this weekend on my shutter therapy session, I thought about the now underutilized Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm F2.8 pancake lens. This lens is probably one of the over-looked and under-rated lens from the standard grade Olympus line-up. It is not difficult to see why, I have been shooting more frequently with the High Grade 11-22mm and 50mm macro lenses that offer much more superior image quality, in terms of sharpness as well as shallower depth of field rendering abilities. Also, this pancake lens has a special place in me, since it was the first lens I have purchase as an addition to my original Olympus gear (besides the twin kit lens of course). Remembering the good old days I have had and plenty of great images the 25mm pancake lens has produced, I decided to pair it up with my old yet still very trusty Olympus DSLR E-520. Together with a group of friends, we attacked Pudu this morning.
All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-520 and Zuiko Digital 25mm F2.8 pancake lens
Watch where you were going !!
Tired of waiting
By the main road.
Layers of motion
Work and rest
Since location of shoot was Pudu, one of my usual street hunting grounds, there was no problem looking for subjects or approaching the people there, having been there countless times for street shooting now. However, most of the time I was there I was more comfortable shooting with the 50mm F2 macro lens, allowing me a few advantages: 1) being able to shoot from a comfortable distance away from the subject and 2) the ability to blur the background away at F2, for subject isolation. Knowing that a huge part of Pudu shooting would be at the open air wet market area, the background was composed of unimaginably ugly and messy things, using the 25mm lens, at a much wider perspective than my usual preference, would give me a lot of problems when it comes to composition. Arranging my subjects against all the other distractions was the biggest challenge. Not only that, I have to be that much closer to get the kind of images that I seek, and to produce at least some sort of subject isolation (shooting nearer to your subject will have their presence filling your frame, and increase the blur background).
Oh the joy of shooting with E-520 and the pancake lens was just indescribable. Did I feel at one brief moment that this combination was less than my expectations from my usual gear (E-5 with high grade lenses)? Not really, the autofocus was very fast under bright conditions, and if I did miss the opportunities it was my own fault for not reacting quick enough anyway. The beefy grip on the E-520, though the body was smaller, was good enough for very comfortable and long hour shooting. The small size pancake, almost feather weight on the E-520, was another great advantage, I felt like I was hanging nothing at all on my neck, after so many hours using the much larger and heavier E-5. The E-520 in comparison just screams fun, and that was what I had plenty dosage of this morning. The images the E-520 + pancake delivered were nothing short of satisfactory. They were not perfect, could have been better (add in any 100 reasons of choice on how to improve this set of images) but I was pleased with them.
I also intended to shoot and presented everything in color, but the weather was terrible, having over-cast and thick ugly white cloud overhanging everything. The color output was dull and boring, creating very flat and uninteresting photographs. Not having the diligence to post-process and add vibrancy to each photo, I decided to convert all images to monotone, and increase the contrast to add the sense of depth. Not something most photographers would recommend you to do, since they would care to preserve the highlight details and not have them overblown. For me, I want my street photographs (bear in mind, this processing is only valid for my street photographs only) to have the whites as white as they can get, and the black to be truly black.
How to kill someone with an umbrella
How to torture a dead chicken
The religious man
A cup on the knee
Luke Ding (click blog here) and Nick Wade (from London, UK)
And this was me shooting the image earlier. Photo credit: Kelvin Ng (blog here)
Weekend is here.
So are you out for some shutter therapy session? Do share some images !!