Monday, January 07, 2013

Birds of Different Feathers

This has been an Olympus only weekend, and it was indeed refreshing to re-acquaint myself with dear old trusty OIympus DSLR E-5. Together with friends Jason, Ronnie and Carol we attacked the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. It has been a while since I last put the amazing Olympus Zuiko Digital 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 lens to good use, and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a thorough workout. The lens never failed to impress me, each and every time I used it. 

I also believe one important missing link in the already awesome micro 4/3 lens collection would be a fast/bright long zoom lens. Yes, we have that Panasonic 35-100mm F2.8 lens, but it is short of two important aspects: at 100mm, it was barely long enough for many meaningful telephoto photography, and from the samples and reviews I have seen at various sources online, I have reasons to believe the image quality (sharpness, etc) still cannot match what my old Zuiko Digital 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 lens can offer. I am not entirely sure what is delaying Olympus or Panasonic, surely having such a lens, sharp and bright, would make it the best selling lens of the year. Telephoto zoom lens will always, always be in high demand. 

Surely, one of the few reasons I do not upgrade to the OM-D would be the absence of such a lens, which I do need for my shooting needs. I believe the images in this entry would illustrate my point clearly. Nothing beats using a bright aperture long zoom lens to shoot birds !! 

























Ronnie Oh

Speaking about birds, my name, Robin, is a name of a common bird, which, I am afraid, surprisingly I have not seen, or encountered in real life before. I do not think you can find the bird Robin in Malaysia, or anywhere in South East Asia (I could be wrong). It would be really interesting to find a real one, and capture it with my camera !! 

I think I have a very broad acceptance when it comes to shooting just about anything. I may be known to be shooting mostly on the streets on weekends, but truth to be told, street shooting is a lot easier to do in comparison to many other genres of photography. It was perhaps me being lazy to put in more effort or time to try out and explore something else, or me being just comfortable doing what I want to do, and stuck doing all this time. I realized that the world of photography is vast, and there is much that I need to learn, and see. I do not have narrow preference on what I want to get involved in, I usually stay very open and flexible when opportunity presents itself. I generally seldom say no to shooting invitations. Perhaps, I should dare myself to be more adventurous, and try out different things, or shoot more of what I usually do not shoot, rather than just confining myself to the familiar environment. 

I also acknowledged that I may not be putting my gear to its fullest potential. I know the Olympus DSLR E-5 is a lot more capable and can produce greater results than what I am currently able to make out of it. I have very decent lenses to go along the E-5: 11-22mm wide angle, 50mm F2 macro and the lens which I used for this blog entry at Bird Park, the 50-200mm F2.8-3.5. Having those three lenses surely covered almost all my needs, from wide angle to tele-photo, and even macro shooting. All the lenses are superbly sharp, even being used wide open, and can deliver amazingly crisp results. Now what have I been using those lenses for? Besides macro and street photography, nothing much really. 

I understand that everyone has their own choices of things to do and not to do, when it comes to photography, and there really is no right and wrong. I just cannot help but wonder what if I was getting involved with a photography crowd that is a lot more competitive and having much higher level of drive and motivation to go further, to achieve greater heights. Those who have strong desire to push their boundaries and get better and stronger, and not just stay stagnant and not grow, doing the same thing over and over again. I often ponder and wonder, if that competitive nature in me still exists. Passion in photography, or the things that I do, yes, they are there, no doubt, they kept me going, and they kept me alive. They made my journey in photography worth-while, and extremely enjoyable. I just thought perhaps, if I have someone to "push" me, spur me, and guided me, I might be led into an entirely different path. I am looking at another flock of birds with different feathers. What if I can soar higher with them?

Much of these questions will have to be left unanswered. The answers surely do not come easily. I do not need to force myself to do anything drastic. I act when I have to, and when I see the need to. I often stay true to myself and honest, and I rarely hide my intentions, especially when I show so many of my photographs here, I feel like I am being almost completely naked, with so many people viewing and analyzing them. Nevertheless, discovering where I am going, and what I will become, will be more interesting as I go along the journey called life. Where will photography lead me? I am still very new to photography, should I be looking too far ahead into this road?

I should keep an open mind. I should say yes to trying new things. I should accept bigger challenges, And most importantly, I should remind myself to push the boundaries, and see just how high and how far I can fly. 

16 comments:

  1. Donald W Leitzel1/07/2013 01:05:00 AM

    Robin

    I'm not sure of the range of the Robin, but during the spring, summer and fall they are quite common in Pennsylvania. In the winter when the temperatures fall into the 30's and below you do not see them.
    Glad to see that you still use you Olympus gear.

    Don

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    1. Hello Don,
      Would love to find one myself !

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  2. some shots are amazing!

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    1. Thanks but please do leave a name when you comment.

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  3. Hi Robin,

    The second picture of the peacock is beautiful!

    In NZ, we have three types of Robin. And all of them are protected (as they are native species).

    I've heard rumors, that the new Olympus camera will be made to handle both 4/3 and m4/3 lenses. Maybe that would warrant an update for you? :) (Unfortunately, this also depends of money).
    And I agree, a bright tele lens would be great addition! If anything, I wish Oly would release one this year.

    Cheers,
    JE

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    1. Thanks JE !
      Lets hope that rumour about the camera that can use both 4/3 and micro 4/3 lenses is true ! That would open up a whole new world of possibilities.

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  4. Some very, very good ones again, Robin. I love the first one, especially since it's such a lovely bright image, well-metered despite the difficult light. Some would whine about "blown highlight", I, on the other hand, love it as this is natural, this is how the human eye would see it too. If you'd follow the modern rules of preserving the highlights it would be a dull picture and you'd need to dodge and burn afterward. So yes, great technique here showing the beautiful bright white feathers of the animal.

    The second is quite spectacular because of the perfect composition. The left bird is almost a mirror image of the right one. A very good shot, in spite of the somewhat "nervous" bokeh in this particular shot. The peacock shots are great too, especially the second one. Some shots could have used some fill flash, maybe, but that's easier said than done, especially with a longer lens like this. And boy, this lens is really sharp!

    Great work! Also, I think that it is extremely important that you truly enjoy what you are doing. It will not only feed that passion for the art and the craft, but also provides you with inherent drive to explore further, and excelling at what you do. You are very, VERY good at it already. Just follow your heart, listen to the passion, and do what YOU enjoy and love. That is what makes you work unique, and I am convinced that is what makes a master.

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    1. Hello Andre,
      Thanks for the kind words !! Imperfections are what made the shots unique, and more believeable. Indeed perfection made the shots dull, predictable and uninteresting.
      Also the words of wisdom. I guess I do have to follow my heart.

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  7. Wow, those shots are really amazing. I love the photos of peacock and parrot, so colorful.

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    1. Thanks !! I love the colors too !

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  8. Great shots, Robin.

    It looks like your DSLR does continuous auto-focusing well (the bird flying through the hoop). I cannot get shots like that with my E-P3 because the C-AF sucks. Also, as you say, there is no decent long telephoto for M43 yet. I would be willing to spend quite a bit of money on an M. Zuiko 300mm f4 if one ever came out. The one time I went to the KL bird park with my E-P3 I found the 40-150 to be a bit frustrating because it lacked reach and was not bright and sharp enough at the long end (although it is quite sharp in the 40-100 range).

    But then, as you said in one of your other recent blogs, the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence!

    I heard that Olympus will announce its first bright zoom for M43 this month, so hopefully we will soon have some glass that matches those wonderful Zuiko zooms.

    Good cheer,
    Scott

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    1. Thanks Scott
      Surely the E-5's AF is better, when it comes to continuous focusing, but that AF is from an older generation, and cannot compete with whatever newer system that is available currently from the "other side" of the fence.
      Nonetheless, it is good enough for my current needs. I cannot say the same for those demanding sports and action shooters !
      We really need Olympus or Panasonic to produce better and brighter long tele lenses for the micro 4/3 system ! And the need to improve the continuous focusing should be a priority too.

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  9. Hi Robin,
    Your pictures are spectacular! As usual thank you for sharing them.
    As a OM-D owner, I agree with you that an M. version of the 50-200mm would be a perfect addition for the M4/3 line of Zuiko lenses.
    Have a good day,
    Daniel M from Montreal (under the snow!)

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    1. Hello Daniel,
      Oh my, you have snow now !! How I wish I can shoot that.
      Yes, we are eagerly all waiting for thet 50-200 equivalent for micro 4/3 system !

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