Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stuck in My Mind

Important Note: 
For those beautiful Penang folks, if you are free this weekend, there is the Olympus PEN E-P5 Touch and Try session happening on 26th May 2013. Do register, and have up close and personal experience with the new Olympus PEN E-P5!
More information and registration here: http://home.olympusimage.com.my/eventlist.php
There are limited seats, so hurry up!

I was strolling along the Forest Chase building (first floor) with open view over Murray Street Mall in Perth, and I saw this man and a child feeding the pigeons on the interlocking pavement walkway. Being an engineer I was instinctively drawn to the interlocking patterns of the pavement, and having a high ground means a top view can create something out of the ordinary. The street was getting busier with people passing by, but I thought the shot would look too "normal". I was using my Olympus E-5 and the wide angle lens 11-22mm F2.8-3.5, and I zoomed the lens until I found the right perspective (surprise, surprise, it was zoomed at 17mm which was equivalent to 35mm field of view, a focal length which was not my favourite and I seldom worked with) and then I framed the scene with some empty space to allow passer-bys to enter my frame. I regretted not bringing around my ND8 filter, but I improvised on the spot and set my camera settings to allow the slowest shutter speed possible: setting ISO to lowest 100, and aperture to smallest F/22 which the lens permitted. The aperture priority shooting mode gave me about 1/10 sec shutter speed which was correctly exposed, and then I switched the shooting mode to fully manual to override the shutter speed and deliberately overexposed the shot to get even slower shutter speed. It was the motion blur which I sought after, and I could care less about overblown highlights in this shot at that moment. I did 1/3 sec shutter speed (with all other settings maintained) and I managed to get the movement blurry effect that I wanted. Thank goodness for the built in body Image Stabilization I got away with a usable image (without the whole frame being shaken into blur). I indexed this image in my mind, that I would pay special attention to it when post-processing because I have over-exposed the image intentionally. 

Interlocking pavement

When I returned from Perth, I had more than a thousand things to do, and in the midst of compiling photographs from my Perth trip to blog here, I accidentally missed out this particular shot. 

Not only until a few days ago, I am not sure how or why, the "index" started blinking in my mind and the image popped out, screaming for attention!! I dug out all the RAW files and you have no idea how happy I was to find this image, after having forgotten about it for a few weeks! The image was exactly as I have planned and visualized and it was there, waiting for me to put in some final touches. I converted it into black and white (I wanted this to be a monotone) and cropped it into square, not because of any other reasons but the distracting elements on both left and right of the frame. Thankfully it was shot in RAW, I managed to tone down the over-exposure by a few notches and the image still appeared good. 

Of all the images I have taken when I was in Perth (read here if you have not seen the photos) I love this image the most!

11 comments:

  1. Nice shot, once again :) I think I would have done this in monochrome as well, it just fits the image perfectly.
    The subject is nice and rather sharp. This is quite well timed to have them sharp without moving much, but still a slow enough shutter speed to blur out the people.

    Many (including myself) would have probably resorted to shooting several pictures and then photoshopping the people out. Technically that would probably even be superior to your image - but it would also steal some of the character.

    Doing it in a single shot without doing much in Photoshop (except some color correcting / cropping) does have some magic to it :)

    But really, I do resort to some kind of Photoshop sorcery every now and then myself, so I'm probably not the best example :D

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    1. Thanks for the kind comments. Photoshop can do almost everything these days!! But the fun part was when I was using the camera, and forcing/bending the camera to work was a huge part of the excitement that gets me going!

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  2. really nice..like how u frame d pic..like how u manage d gear setting..want to tell u..b4 this i dunno how to manipulate d gear..only use auto setup..after join d workshop then i learn how to set d gear by manual setting..know how to join all d combination setting in d gear..for now i try to play with manual focus for all my shooting pic..really like with manual thing as i can fully manipulate d gear to take a pic follow my needed..for this coming school holiday i will join my wife office trip to a famosa resort for their family day..in my mind now i stat to frame wat i want to shoot..experimentation with manual focus..
    *hadi nik*

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    1. Hello Hadi,
      Glad to see that you are experimenting and pushing your gear further! Your NEX is very useful for manual focusing, because of the focus peaking feature. Once you are used to it, you can mount older legacy lenses which do not have aufofocus, and those lenses are cheap, yet deliver very impressive image quality!

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  3. Robin,

    Motion blur, very excellent idea in a bright day.
    I admire your stable hand with 1/3 sec shutter speed.
    My limit with OMD is the half of the focus length, so 1/9sec for 17mm lens.

    paul tirajoh

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    1. Thanks Paul!
      Thanks to the built in image stabilization!

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    2. Truth be told the OM-D does have the world's best IS system now.

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  4. Love the contraposition of still/sharp and motion, Robin. It's not easy to manipulate the camera so deftly on the fly and grab that fleeting moment.

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    1. Thanks snowy! It was not easy, but it was worth every effort!

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  5. Absolutely great shot, Robin! I like this contrast of motion and this "island of silence" and the black & white just underlines it (at least in my point of view). We should all be glad that you had a successful re-search for it! ;-)

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    1. Hello Klaus,
      Thanks for the kind words. I cannot believe I almost forgot about taking this shot!

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