Saturday, September 15, 2012

River of Light

First and foremost, a HUGE congratulations to Sanjitpaal Singh, a dear friend, and a great photographer who has just won the International Photography Award (IPA) for the pro category Nature (he won second place). Sanjit is no stranger to this blog, in fact, most of you will recognize and remember him from my Olympus OM-D E-M5 review series earlier this year, he was the man behind all the videos and he was the reviewer for the video part for the OM-D. Sanjit, you have made us all very proud, and I know, more and more great accomplishments will come your way. Stay true to yourself, and keep that passion burning brighter. 

I was joining the Google + Photowalk Malaysia today with a group of crazy fun photographers, and the venue for shooting was Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM). We went into the jungle trail, trekking and hiking our way up to the canopy walk, and I must admit it was quite a challenging walk physically. Little did I expect, I believe I have come across the spot where Sanjit took that winning photograph for his entry to IPA. I was not entirely sure if this was the place (well, Sanjit could have taken the similar shot at some other rainforests anywhere in Malaysia) but the scene looked very, eerily similar. 

Now my question to you is: Do you believe in coincidences? I am not sure if there is such thing as a photography god, but if there is, I would like to think that I was given some sort of a message or sign. Not sure what it is, but the timing of the events were too beautifully arranged to be just a coincidence. Lets hope I am not reading into this the wrong way. 







Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital 11-22mm F2.8-3.5

I know, I know, a "Full Frame" sensor could have produced much more details with the superbly high megapixel counts in the newer models these days (24MP on Nikon D600, newly launched, 200% more pixels than my current E-5). And yes, the "Full Frame" sensor may have more dynamic range to pull out more details from the shadows and preserve the highlights from blowing out. Of course, the "Full Frame" sensor allows you to boost up your ISO so you do not have to worry about shaking your camera. And my photographs could have been better in this and that way and everything could be better if only I used a better camera. 

Wait, what camera did Sanjit use to win that international contest? 

Olympus DSLR E-3. Oops, it was not a full frame. At the end of the day, it was Sanjit's passion and artistic sense that got him the winning shot. 

Lets hope I can stay true to that, and I must remind myself that, often it is the photographer that decides the outcome of his photographs, and the quality of his works, not his tools. 


19 comments:

  1. Hi Robin... the first shot was fantastic.
    can you provide a link to Sanjit's photo? I'm dying to see his award winning shot.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The link is in the first sentence, "international photgraphy award ....." click that.
      Thanks for the kind compliments !

      Delete

  2. Photography was never meant to be about megapixels, full frame, etc. After using my E-410 extensively, I too got swayed by the Canon and Nikon brand names and bought a Canon 50D but never got along with it. Then I ended up buying the expensive 24-105 but still didnt enjoy it. Then I sold that and bought expensive D300S + expensive lenses. Now after another year of dissatisfaction I've solåd the Nikon too and I'm going to continue using Olympus because the sharpness, detail and straight out of the camera jpg image didn't have me stressed out as to whether I was failing in photography or just no good at it. Im more at peace now knowing that its Olympus cameras that I feel the most comfortable with. I have tried the E-30 and loved it. But Im quite impressed with the E-5 and E-m5 but I have no which one to buy although Im leaning towards the E-m5. Help!

    I may sound like someone not liking Nikon and Canon, but it's not the truth. I never felt comfortable with them. And Canon and Nikon users are the ones distorting the view for everyone by being insanely brand crazy and knocking down other brands with their gangster style loyalty. It's very silly to hate a brand but it's become very easy now to dislike the die hard users who have never pressed the olympus shutter. It's a shame because photographs are supposed to invoke feelings of aestheticism and an eye for beauty and not ISO, sensor size or number of f-stops.

    Congratulations to Sanjit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Sdass,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the gear lust matter, yes indeed we can argue on and on about which is the best gear, but that does not contribute in the improvement of photography. Photography growth involves personal vision of the photographer, and how far he is willing to push to be more creative and different from others, not completely emphasizing on megapixels, high ISO performance, etc etc. I have seen too many people who went crazy about better and better equipment but in the end they just lost the passion and desire to shoot. All they care about is how amazing their camera is, and how huge their lens can be.

      Delete
    2. Here's an interesting quote from Albert Watson in PhotoMedia magazine http://www.photomediaonline.com/columns/in-the-loupe/item/1654-in-the-loupe-albert-watson.html

      "Pet peeves: "Sometimes the thing with photography, especially for male photographers, is that there's a great danger in it. People get sucked into photography because the thing that they're fascinated with is the equipment, cameras and what they do, and not making photographs. And of course when digital came along with computers, it was a match made in heaven for some of those guys."

      All you have to do is read the various fora and camera-rumor-sites to know that Albert Watson's got-it-right.

      c.d.embrey

      Delete
    3. Hello cd embrey,
      Thanks for sharing the quote. I cannot help but to agree, most people are doing photography because they enjoy playing with the camera and lenses, not because they want to shoot or make good photography. The joy comes from using the camera, not shooting.

      Delete
  3. Indeed, not the brand, nor the megapixel mania, nor any other of those marketing hypes matter. What matters is color, tonality, composition, and just being there and pointing the camera in the right direction at the right time. The artists eye, that is what matters. Great photographers can make great pictures with cellphone cameras. Sure, good gear helps to make it easier - but then again here is no "bad" gear anymore.

    Fanaticism ("brand loyalty") is not good - any form of fanaticism is not good and frankly rather primitive. I like Nikon gear, as I inherited lots of great glass from my father, so it's logical I stick with the brand my optics are compatible with. But I have some great old film cameras too, both 35mm film and medium format, and each and every one is capable of stunning pictures in the right hands (not necessarily mine!). Heck, the resolution and tonality of a well-exposed Velvia 6x6 or 6x9 slide even today still completely smokes the best of the best in digital-land. Not to mention what large format film can do.

    Photography should touch the soul. Any competent photographer can do that as long as he masters the craft and his camera. The camera is just a tool, nothing more, nothing less. These great pictures prove it, and I have great respect for both Sanjit's winning shot and Robin's work. It's simply stunning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Andre for the kind compliments, I truly do not deserve it.
      I agree with you, it does not matter which gear, what matters more is the photographer's artistic eye and how he sees and approaches photography.

      Delete
    2. I checked-out Sanjit's site, and he does very good work. He's very deserving of the award.

      Pros seem to be embracing New Ideas, much faster than Photo Enthusiasts. Several years ago a NYTimes photographer won a World Press Award using an iPhone and Hipstamatic. Recently Sports Illustrated ran a multi-page story shot with an iPhone. Editorial shooters are getting magazine covers using m4/3 cameras. In a results oriented world, the only people who care about gear is the fan-boys.

      c.d.embrey

      Delete
    3. It was a pleasure to be able to learn and work together with Sanjit !!

      Delete
  4. I personally use 2 different cameras (A nikon D90 and my Olympus e-410)
    The Nikon suits me better for when I am working in dark places or I just need the speed and access to the controls in fast moving situations. But when it comes to landscape work I practically always use my trusty E-410.
    It's sharp nice and light to carry about the hill side and for the Olympus many faults what this camera does it does so well. I completely agree with Andre's comments it is about the image not the gear. If I could afford it I would have 1 of every camera but I cannot.
    Many people have asked me why am I using the Olympus? and I simply show them an image and they just cannot fault the quality or the detail such a small four thirds camera can create.
    I also used 35mm Olympus Om-1 and Om-2n and loved them both especially with a 28mm lens attached.
    I personally will always have an Olympus camera in my collection and good luck to the person who will try and talk me out of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I miss my E-410 which was snatched away from me. Great camera it is, always under-estimated but the results speak otherwise, as you have mentioned.

      Delete
  5. Now, when I go to the forest, I shall look up, and see that three 'separation' lines. Amazing!

    ..and to Sanjit, way to go man!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cyril,
      it was my first time seeing too, I think its unique to our own rainforest.

      Delete
  6. thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank You Robin, keep the fire burning mate!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey Robin. I'm so touched reading this. I'm always telling Sanjit what a great photographer he is, but as his wife,I guess he feels i'm 'obligated' to say this. Thank you for your generosity with such kind words. Your an amazing photographer as well, and I would love to join both of you again, on the next photo excursion.

    Rav

    ReplyDelete
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