I self invited myself to a studio portrait shooting session organized by photographer and friend, Jojo. He was collaborating with Canon Malaysia, with the R5 and 70-200mm F4 on loan, and he arranged a model photoshoot with make-up artists and all, and I just shamelessly tagged along and planned to have a little fun. I brought along the old, budget Olympus PEN E-PL7, which is more than 10 years old now, together with the cheapest AF Micro Four Thirds kit lenses you can find, the Lumix 12-32mm and Olympus 40-150mm R. While these are super budget setup, I thought they performed incredibly well in this studio shoot and delivered amazingly sharp and detailed results. This is a reminder to myself that I don't need the latest and greatest gear to produce excellent results, there are many other factors that can determine the outcome of the photography results - lighting, talent, make-up, the photographer's vision, just to name a few. And of course, in my latest video showcasing the E-PL7 in action, I also shared some tips on optimizing E-PL7 for this shooting situation. You can find the video here (click). 

As for this blog entry, I shall share the selected images taken from that shooting session. 

Organizer & Lead Photographer: Julius Elisan (IG @jojoelisan)
Model: Ivani Leang (IG @ivani_leang)
Make Up Artist: Jojie (IG @iamjojiemakeupartist)

I was dining out with my friend Spencer at this Pork Steak specialist place called Ante, and we wanted to try their Pork Burger. Of course we ordered the usual stuff, the Pork Shoulder Steak and some pasta to go along all the crazy amount of meat we were consuming. With so much food for two people, I thought it would be a nice idea to share the burger, since we won't be able to finish one all by one person. I asked the waiter to have the burger cut in half. It was too bad the lighting in the restaurant was so dim and flat, else this would have been quite an awesome photograph of a burger cross section, something I have never shot before in my life!

So my main photography YouTube Channel has hit 75,000 subscribers in early January 2024, and almost at the same time my secondary vlog channel just surpassed 2,000 subscribers. I had hoped that both these milestones would be accomplished by end of 2023, so I can have a nice wrap up for the year, but no, they needed to be extended to one month later. Not that there was any conseqeunce, these were self-decided deadlines, and I missed them by just a hair's width. 75,000 subscribers is no small feat, never had I thought I would achieve this in several years, and now 100k subs count seems very attainable and not too far away. I treated myself with a pair of new in-ear monitor headphones. I went to Starspicker Audio with Andrew Chow, a fellow photographer and friend and we spent hours auditioning various IEMs from different brands. I finally settled with EPZ Q5, mainly because the sound profile was completely different from my usual preference (I have used the Sennheiser IE 800 regularly for years, so that is my reference). It is nowhere near as good as the IE 800 in terms of soundstage imaging, and detail retrieval but I do like that it sounds completely different from my usual listening experience, a bit more warmth and the vocals in the EPZ Q5 is a lot more forward. Nevertheless, it was not too much damage to the wallet, and a good little celebration of a small milestone. Gotta celebrate the small wins, right?

Andrew, a fellow audio-enthusiast, enjoying coffee and some eargasm
If you have been around this blog long enough you would have seen Jason Lioh appearing quite prominently in this blog since the beginning. We were born on the same year, started photography at about the same time, and we had even shared some similar photography journey for some time. He has just turned 40 recently, and we or course, celebrated his birthday with a feast. This only reminded me of my very limited time remaining for my time in my thirties, as I too, will turn 40 at the end of this year. We went to a newish Italian Restaurant in Bangsar, Trattoria Dacristian, and if you have seen some of my older blog entries, we always ate too much food, sometimes I think it is a different level of sin in itself. Anyways, here are some random shots from that dinner, and I wish you Happy Belated Birthday, Jason Lioh. May there be many, many more glorious feasts to come. 

I managed to have a quick hands on with the newly launched Fujifilm X100VI at Artishutter X N4 Camera store, where they had a demo unit available for touch and try. I was happy to find out that finally Fuji included 5-Axis Image Stabilization into their latest iteration of X100 series. The lack of any form of image stabilization in the previous X100 incarnations was one of the few complains I had with the camera, which held it back from being a truly great street shooting machine. If you have truly experienced the reliability of powerful image stabilization and how much it can improve your photography, you won't use a camera without one. I took this opportunity to test the 5-Axis IS in the X100VI out during my brief session with the camera, and I made a video to share my findings, as well as my initial thoughts on the camera here (click). 

After countless bashing online by fans and supporters on the lack of firmware updates for OM-1, followed by my vocal live stream session about the importance of having firmware updates for flagship cameras last week, and finally the online petition that went live just yesterday, OM Digital Solutions has finally broke silence today. They announced that a new firmware is in the works for the OM-1 original and will be available by fall this year. The announcement at this moment (you can view it here) is only available in Japanese, and the content is translated of course, but good enough to indicate what is to come.