Sunday, May 19, 2013

Seeing Colorless Squares

It has been a long, traumatizing week at work place and the only consolation I had to cap off the otherwise fruitless week was something I looked forward to very much, my shutter therapy session, and this time, I have a guest from Sydney, Australia, Tom Truong! Together with usual suspects, Nick Wade and Kelvin Ng we attacked Petaling Street in the morning. I used my newly acquired Sony A57 and one lens only, the 50mm F1.8 lens. I shot everything in RAW, but as I was processing the files, my hands got a little itchy and I started cropping everything in squares, and yes, suddenly the black and white bug bit me again. In many cases on the street photos, I actually preferred the square format presentation. I do not know quite how to explain it, composition seemed to work better generally. 

All images were taken with Sony Alpha A57 and 50mm F1.8 lens

Your Neck is Mine


Friendly Stranger

Leaning

Waiting

Push Harder

Double Dragons

A Box of Vegetable

Piercing

Prayers

On the Road

Laugh

Pavement

Tom Truong, a professional photographer from Sydney, Australia. 

Nick Wade, finally out shooting!! Been missing you for a while

Oops, I thought I shot more of Kelvin, but this was the only one I had. My bad. 

So what do you guys think of squares and black and white? I am loving them.

33 comments:

  1. I think it works great. I have found myself cropping squares a lot lately and I'm quite surprised how well it works on a lot of stuff.

    BTW you should get out more Robin. Too long between your shutter therapy blogs. Quit your engineering job already ;)

    Dr No

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    Replies
    1. Dr No,
      Oh my, I wish that could happen too! But I need to eat and pay rent!

      Delete
    2. But i know right, God knows I do not have enough shutter therapy these days!

      Delete
  2. I have experimented with different croppings lately.
    Sometimes squares work great - at other times (especially with landscapes) I even go exactly the opposite route by cropping it down to 16:9.
    I learned that sometimes a subject can benefit greatly from being cropped - even though its always hard to sacrifice part of an image you worked hard to get.

    Nice shots as always, looked like everyone had plenty of fun.
    I hope to be shooting with you too one day, when I'm back in KL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words. I agree with you on the different cropping for different presentation and subjects, there are certain crop factors that work better in some ways.
      Do look me up when you are in KL!

      Delete
  3. I like the square format. Lately, I use square format for most of my family photo too.

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  4. Reminds me of framing in my twin-lens reflex camera. Link to some 60s photos taken in Berkeley California during the People's Park Memorial Day March:
    http://dwkee.blogspot.com/2012/03/peoples-park-1969-memorial-day-march.html

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    Replies
    1. Hey dan,
      Thanks for sharing the photos!

      Delete
  5. Robin, you squares of B&W look like Fine Art photography to me. I especially like the one called Waiting. The shadows and light on that gentleman's face is very interesting! After viewing all of the B&W square images, the ones of your fellow photographer friends really seemed to pop right off of my screen.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Gregg,
      I initially wanted to turn everything into black and white but in the end decided to leave my friends with full glorious colors! The morning light was great!

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. HI Robin!

    I liked the way u make the shutter therapy session sound like a sequence from a action movie ....."U ATTACKED the Petaling street " with the "USUAL SUSPECTS " and u " SHOT Every Thing

    with a sony A57 "...somewhere along u got "BITTEN by the B&W bug" and u "SQUARED" every thing...:):)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That can only mean one thing, I've watched too many action movies!

      Delete
  8. The square crop adds an interesting composition to this shutter therapy session and works well with the headshots too ... Square format is also a de facto format on social media like facebook and instagram for previewing. Great job... really love it!

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    Replies
    1. Hello Johan,
      I initially did the square crops on the headshot images, before making everything square after that! The square format worked exceptionally well on headshot portraits!

      Delete
  9. Robin, fantastic.

    I agree with you.
    B&W : less distraction than colour photo.
    Square : nothing to choose horizontal or vertical one.
    The concentration is on expression, composition and background.

    paul tirajoh

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    Replies
    1. Hey Paul,
      I could not have said that better myself! You summarized the blog content in those few points!

      Delete
  10. who want my neck??..hahaha..i luv that pic..like ur presentation in bnw..thats why i eventually read ur blog..can see more detail when u present in bnw..i try before to capture in bnw n its really nice to see d detail..soon i will try to capture d night market in bnw mode as i want to see d beautiful moment in bnw..any suggestion robin..
    *hadi nik*

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    Replies
    1. Hey Had Nik,
      Shooting pasar malam in black and white, now that is something I've not done before! Hmmm... I think your pasar malam shots are doing quite well, the only tip I can give you is watching how the light falls on the subject. Sometimes interesting light and shadow can create dramatic photos,

      Delete
    2. thnx for ur tip..still in learning proses..dunno why i like shoot pasar malam..maybe coz of light condition..and there are so much story that i can see in pasar malam..hopefully one day we can shoot together in pasar malam session..
      *hadi nik*

      Delete
  11. As usual love the tone of your black and white...wish I could replicate that...Square cropping aint for everyone i suppose unless you've been shooting at effectively 50mm- 70mm focal length.

    now that im shooting a 34mm focal length (17mm f1.8) ...square cropping might work when i shoot street.

    how did you do your sharpening btw.? in camera or during RAW processing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think square format can work even with wider angle lenses, but the general rules of composition applies, as well as knowing what to include and exclude in your framing.
      I shot everything in RAW so it was not done in camera, I applied sharpening at the end of my postprocessing routine.

      Delete
  12. Robin

    Of course you like square! You are an engineer and the draw of symmetry is strong with us.

    Beware square is addicting. Plus it might be a little easier for composition; just keep your subject out of the center, unless you are really pushing the symmetry thing and you have lots of it.

    PaulB

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    Replies
    1. Hello Paul,
      Now that you mentioned it is true, it must have something to do with engineering and symmetry!

      Delete
  13. Hi Robin,
    Nice series of photos.

    With 50 1.8, you must have been really close to your subjects for the portrait shots. All of them look friendly too...

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    Replies
    1. Actually 50mm is equivalent to 75mm on cropped sensor and that provided me sufficient working distance!

      Delete
  14. The force is strong with these ones, Robin. Yes, square format often works extremely well for portraits and streetscenes. Not so much for landscapes, unless one stitches several shots into a pano. Reminds my of the 6x6 days, the Bronica's and the Hassies. Often also with Tri-X and just a 80-90mm standard or a 120mm for tight portraits. It focuses the shots on expression, and in B/W portraits are often far more powerful.

    Great work! Love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thansk Andre!
      I agree somehow for portraits square crops focuses right into the expressions!! I do not have any experience with those medium or large format cameras, so I can't really compare, but I am loving this square + B&W so far!

      Delete
  15. Hi Robin,
    I am here at last. It's nice to smell the street again in your great images. I really miss the street. Square? I am still an infant in this format and love to learn and experiment in due time. Square format looks great though.
    On the other note, for the past week I am familiarized myself with OMD-EM5's camera function as I will roam the street this coming Saturday with OMD-EM5 only and leave my D7000 at home. BTW thanks for some of the notes on OMD in your review which really help.
    May you have a great evening.
    John Ragai

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  16. I love "Push Harder." You get a sense of the man pushing the borders of the picture out.

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  17. I love the square format, great job on these shots. I especially love shooting square with a mirrorless as you can preview the framing (and B+W for that matter). That said, I don't do square as much with my OM-D as I did with my GF1. Now I have to try and figure out why :)

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  18. It's always a pleasure seeing your work and I am loving the square b/w shots. I'm a long time reader but usually not that chatty. :)
    I wanted to take the time to say thanks, your reviews of the OMD and EPL5 led to me buying both those cameras and I can say it has really helped take my street shooting to another level.

    I'll be in KL in July for a week, so if you're up to it I'd love to meet up and go street one day.

    ReplyDelete