Tuesday, January 17, 2017

5 Reasons Why You Need Image Stabilization

Oh dear, so much for a fresh start of a New Year, I have not been updating this blog as frequently as I initially have planned. I did however get plenty of chance to shoot, so I do have fresh images to share, and plenty of ideas to talk about here. Nonetheless, lately there are many things I do need to take care of in real life which negated much of my free time to just sit down and compose a proper blog entry. Even now, a Sunday (at the time of writing), I am currently at a cafe an hour earlier, hoping to squeeze in some time to write before a local favourite band performance starts here.

Right, lets get into the topic, image stabilization.

When it comes to purchasing a new camera, some of the prioritized considerations include the image sensor performance, image quality output (resolution, high ISO, dynamic range, etc), autofocus performance, but not many people will tell you to take a good look at the image stabilization. Some photographers would boldly claim that image stabilization is not a crucial necessity, and for serious photography that requires absolutely steady camera setup, tripods are used instead. However, it has been a long while since image stablization was introduced to consumer photography market, and Olympus has come a long way since the introduction of 5-Axis Image Stabilization in the OM-D E-M5 in 2012. Much improvements have been made, some photographers who have experienced what the image stabibilization offers, never looked back.

Therefore, in this particular blog entry, I want to explore the necessity of a powerful image stabilization system, how relevant is it for non-professional, casual photographers (because, well, I am not a pro photographer myself, just a hobbyst like 95% of other photographers out there) and what you can do maximizing the potential of the image stabilization.

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with M.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 IS PRO lens. All images were taken hand-held. 

This image was taken hand-held, at 1.3 seconds to achieve the smooth water effect. 

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Panasonic LX100 + Raynox DCR-250 Macro Converter: An Experiment

I have always heard of the existence of the Raynox DCR-250, an inexpensive, yet superbly high in quality macro converter (basically, a close up lens), but never actually tried one, or found a reason to get one. I have had friends who have shown incredible results using the Raynox, and the macro photographers have highly recommended this converter, even if you are doing serious macro photography.

When I found out that the native screw on thread of the Raynox DCR-250 is 43mm which can be fitted directly into the Panasonic LX100's lens, I went and bought one immediately.

My humble, simple setup for insect macro photography last weekend. Panasonic Lumix LX100 with the supplied add on flash, Raynox DCR-250 Macro Adapter, and a white sheet of paper as a diffuser for the flash. 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

How To Create Drama In Street Photography

Happy New Year 2017 to all of you beautiful blog readers! I wish everything awesome flowing into your lives throughout 2017.

I have had quite a great head start to 2017, and on today's local paper, The Borneo Post, I was featured in an article about creative artists' resolutions for the 2017 year. Special thanks to the amazing Georgette Tan for the interview and featuring me.

It was a long weekend, and when I have some spare time to myself, you know the only thing I would do is to get out and shoot some photographs! My experimentation with the Panasonic Lumix LX100 continues, and this time I had a friend tagging along. Nick Wade (oops, forgot to take a portrait shot of Nick in action this time) was with me shooting on the morning of the New Year's Eve and I could not think of a better way to spend my time.

From what happened to be my last shutter therapy session of 2016, I came home with a few images that looked a little more dramatic than usual, and I thought why not compile the images and write a blog article about that?

If you look at the pool of street photographs (which has become a growingly common genre practiced widely everywhere now), the images that stood out usually have some drama in them. The drama can usually be the split second action of something happening, the creative play of merging visually stunning lines and perspectives or something completely unpredictable and random yet beautifully conceived in a photograph. To have that drama in a street photograph immediately elevated the status of that photograph from the otherwise, ordinary, uninteresting and cliche snapshots which have been done to death. There is no clear defining characteristics of these "dramatic traits" but each photographer can inject his or her own input.

In this blog entry I am sharing what I normally do, what I look for, and how I add drama to my street photography.


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Thursday, December 29, 2016

My Personal Favourite Photographs Taken In 2016

As the year 2016 is coming to an end, it is time for me to look back the entire year worth of photographs I have taken.

Here are a few facts: the year 2016 is the year I have taken the least number of photographs in comparison to each year I have started photography in a more serious-hobbyist level since 2008. This was largely due to my work with Olympus which required me to work on weekends (consumer workshops, walkabout events, touch and try for new products, etc). Consequently, the year 2016 has the least number of posts, having only 70 blog entries in total, in stark contrast of 220 blog entries in 2012. While the number of photographs taken and blog updates have dropped significantly, I have ensured that whenever I was out there shooting (for myself, excluding the product reviews) I would do my best and put in extra effort to get the shot that I really wanted. Shutter therapy may not have happened as often as I liked, but I still managed to find time to shoot for pleasure from time to time.

I think as a hobbyist, and even if you are a professional photographer, you do need to find time to just shoot for the fun of shooting, and not stress out on any specific goals or "project" objectives. I acknowledge that many photography websites and photographer "gurus" would recommend sticking to a vision, having a running theme to adhere to and stick strictly to the rules of how to shoot for a series of photographs (typically with an end goal of publishing book/gallery/exhibition in mind), I beg to differ in opinion. I find there is nothing wrong to just wield the camera and just point it at the things that drew your attention, and shoot the things that you like to shoot. These images may not need to mean anything to anyone, they should mean something to you. If this is true, and you continue to stay true to yourself, after shooting for a while you will realize that you have inserted your own personality, characteristics and identity in your photography. Your images tell stories about yourself. Is it not better to shoot something that you actually love shooting and enjoy yourself thoroughly throughout the whole process, instead of pressuring yourself, stressing out on your final delivery of a "project"?

No I do not have a photography project specifically and I do not intend to start one. I may not have cohesive story-telling when it comes to my street photography, which by itself is a far deviation from the conventional approach. Does this mean I will never achieve the "high level" of photography required for standard gallery exhibitions, or does this disqualify myself from being regarded as a serious photographer? At the end of the day, as long as I come home, happy with my own set of images, I believe that is what truly matters.

Yellow Shirt