Sunset at Lumut

Side Note:  I am currently away from my usual photo-work computer, and using an old dying laptop. There might be slight inconsistencies in brightness/contrast and colour balance.

I am currently away from Kuala Lumpur for the long weekend, spending time with my colleagues at Swiss Garden Resort in Lumut. So far, the activities lined up for the day have drained me off my biological batteries. For some unknown reasons, I did not feel like firing my shutter at all. I brought along only the Olympus PEN E-PL1 and the kit lens 14-42mm.

I only came back to my room with less than 10 photos, and only one I found usable. It was a sunset shot taken at the beach of the resort. Nothing fancy. I have seen better and more dramatic sunsets before. Nonetheless, it has been a long, long time since I last saw a sunset in the beach.

Nothing, but just an ordinary sunset at Lumut. Taken with E-PL1 and 14-42mm mk1.

I sure hope the days ahead would be more exciting than what we had today. I sure hope that I have better photography opportunities, or be able to find more inspirations and motivations to make that shutter click. Tomorrow, we will be having a half-day trip to Pangkor Island. Lets make sure I come back with more than 20 photos this time, that is not too hard to achieve, right?

The Tiny Built-In Pop-Up Flash That Makes the Difference

I just cannot understand how people can hate flash. I just do not know where people get the idea that flash will destroy the beauty of the photograph. I still do not quite get the opinion that flash is a "preference". There are many situations that natural light would be favourable and results would come out better without the intervention of flash, but in certain circumstances that the natural light is not good enough, that is when the availability of flash can save your day.

One of the most common situation faced is backlit. When you have a strong light source, flash can come to rescue. Force the flash to fill in to counter the harsh light source.

I was on the way to work in early morning that I encountered a dragonfly on a wall, bathed in glorious morning light, creating a glowing golden effect on its wings. The problem is, the light was in the wrong direction. Normally, people would just pass, but I thought, why not see whether the tiny little pop-up flash on the Olympus PEN E-PL1 can help. I let you see and tell the difference between the two photographs as listed below, one with flash, and one without.

Street Expressions

I have been putting the Olympus E-5 aside for almost one week now, indulging myself to the smaller, lighter and cuter Olympus PEN E-PL1 for my everyday shooting, and even a short trip down to Ipoh, Perak. Yes, I admit, even in such short duration of time, I started to miss the feel of Olympus E-5 on my hands. How my fingers fit comfortably on the rubberized grip, and I do want to find my vision through the optical viewfinder again. Oh, one more important thing not to be missed out, I miss the shutter-mirror-slapping sound of E-5 !! It just has a distinctive quality to it that I felt really confident and reassured once I heard the sound.

Therefore, on Sunday, I brought the E-5 for a short spin in the city. Not so much of wanting to do a serious all out shoot like what I did on the previous day in Ipoh, but more like a leisure, slow and relaxing stroll along the streets of Kuala Lumpur. It felt really good to shoot with the Olympus E-5 again.

All the following images were taken with Olympus E-5 with 50mm f2 macro and 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 lenses.

I found that the way your subjects on the street look at you is very important. It cannot be too forceful, it should not be too transparent, it should be natural with a strong connection to the photographer. Not an easy thing to accomplish.

Ipoh Street Shooting with Olympus E-PL1

This marks my first ever shutter therapy session officially with an Olympus PEN E-PL1, where I brought the camera out for a whole day long shooting on the streets of Ipoh, Perak, which is about two hours drive north from where I currently reside in Kuala Lumpur. Ipoh still maintains its old town, where the streets are full of old shops and people living in cultures resembling what we found in the olden days, still well preserved and remained untainted. Such beautiful opportunity arose when I joined the PEN Lovers group's outing, hence a day trip was made speficially for photo-shooting in Ipoh.

I decided to just bring the PEN and the kit lens, mainly because this was a PEN outing, and of course, to fully try out the performance of the PEN on the streets. Only through real life shooting that I can honestly comment further on what I think and feel about this camera, and find its strengths and weaknesses (or confirm the many running theories or preconceptions I have had in mind for a while now on the PEN). Indeed the PEN did not dissappoint. In fact, it was the total opposite, I found myself immersed so deep into it, and I was really impressed by the PEN in almost everything it offers.

Eight-Wheeled Monster

Shooting Anywhere, Anytime !!

Side Note: All images were taken with Olympus PEN E-PL1. All images were post-processed.

I feel liberated with the Olympus PEN E-PL1. I can bring it everywhere I go to. And most importantly, I do WANT to shoot with it !!

Who is to say that we can only take out the camera and shoot during paid assignment, or photography outings? As I walk the streets that I take to my work place, sometimes I chanced upon an interesting subject or moment that instantaneously had my hands searching my bag for the camera. If photography is your passion, you should live it as your lifestyle. Photography as a lifestyle means having the camera with you at all times, and you have the desire to come home with a handful (not necessarily many) of photographs at the end of the day.

Building Lights against threatening skies.
1/60s, F/3.8, ISO800

Four PEN Lovers Under Spotlight

There was a plain walled corner, and a single mini-spotlight at a low ceiling. I immediately requested all the guys to stand directly under the spotlight and gently tilted their head upwards. No, I did not really intend to do anything at all, it was a spur of the moment sort of thing that ran across my mind, and I managed to snap this shot with the PEN.

TJ, Mun Keat, Yeow and Gerald.
E-PL1 at ISO1600. Source of light: undiffused small spotlight, from top.

High ISO is looking not too bad, with infamous Olympus faithful colours and unfailing skin tone.

This is what PEN is all about, instant opportunities and being able to capture them with minimal fuss.

I know there is nothing compellingly dramatic in this particular image, but there is something in the spontaneity on the look of their faces that I find intriguing. Or maybe I am just thinking too much.

Back to Basics with Olympus E-PL1

Side Note: All photographs in this entry were taken with Olympus PEN E-PL1. All images were post-processed.

As I have stated in my previous entry, the Olympus PEN allows me to get right back to basics, starting photography fresh, all over again.

I have only the E-PL1 body and a humble 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens. I am setting aside the mighty E-5, the versatility and sharpness of the High Grade lenses and just strip myself down to bare essence. Although I have always reminded myself that the photographer is the one producing photographs, not the cameras, I too, like any other geeks out there can get carried away with the worldly temptations of better high ISO performance on the camera and lusting for faster and longer lenses. Sometimes, after producing a shot, as satisfied as I was with the image outcome, I did ask myself, would I be able to produce the same output with just maybe a kit lens? The answer has almost every time turned out to be hauntingly YES. Then why use such a powerful camera and lens in the first place?

Friendly Smile

Honey, I Have Shrunk the Camera !!

Side Note:
All photographs in this entry were taken with Olympus E-PL1 and 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens (old version).
My opinions are based on my initial impressions and observations, and should not be taken as conclusive.
I obviously need time, and more shooting sessions to explore and understand this sexy PEN more.

I must say I was astounded by the overwhelming response I received from my previous blog entry: the teaser on my new acquisition of the Olympus PEN E-PL1. For some unexplained reasons I have been unwillingly labeled as the guy who uses the Olympus E-5, and the thought never crossed the minds of many that I too, am human, and have desires for other cameras also, other than the beloved Olympus E-5. I have calls, texts, emails, and even spiked up blog comments, with questions of all sorts being thrown to me left, right, front and back. I have not felt this hectic since my days of reviewing the loaned unit of Olympus E-5 in October 2010. This was crazy, but extremely fun as well.

Gloves come off.
1/15sec, F/4.1, ISO800
(wow the IS really worked well !!)

I am a PEN Lover

I should have done this long time ago.

I knew I have always wanted one.

Finally I have the guts to just jump in, and splash myself wet in the world of PENography.

Behold, my newly acquired
Olympus PEN E-PL1

I shall be blogging more about this PEN, my reasons for getting one, and what I think about Olympus PEN system as a whole this coming weekend, when I have more time to go out and do real life shooting.

I believe Micro 4/3 system is the future. If you have not gotten one yourself, what are you waiting for?

Black Coffee Canyon

The weekend has been sucked dry by chockfull of chores and appointments that on late Sunday afternoon I found myself running out of steam. Then I was asked by Gerald to join him, Yeow and Yong for a dinner. Although I was nearly flattened out, I thought to myself, hey why not just hang out with a cool group of friends instead of being on my own to wrap up the weekend? Just seeing beautiful smiles and hearing heartful laughter are more than enough to lift up my spirit.

The bunch and I met up at the Summit, which is not exactly one of the most popular shopping malls around, probably due to its generously innocuous distance away from the city. However, there are several good food joints in the Summit, and we decided to eat Thai food at the Black Canyon Coffee. We ordered set dinner that consisted of four main dishes, served with rice. The food presentation was rather interesting, with rice shaped into cubes on plates, who would not fancy that?

Hiding Out in a Recording Studio

A friend, Ivan from Silent Scenery has kindly invited me to come into their newly setup recording studio to just hang out and chill. They named the place "Studiohive". The band was doing some recording works for their upcoming album, which would sound totally awesome, and I will be blogging more about that soon. Arriving at the place, I was surprised to find the recording studio seemed more like a living room of some sort, with really cozy set up and dim ambient lighting. Perfect place to just lay around and let yourself drown away from the world.

Night Street Dance: High ISO on Olympus E-5

Last Sunday evening, just after sunset, I was strolling the Petaling Street area with Brandon and we stumbled upon this street dance performance which was shown in public in conjunction to the opening of the night market adjacent to the Pasar Seni. What an unexpected but lovely surprise. Time to put the camera and lens to good use !!

ISO 2500, 1/200s, F2

Shutter Therapy With Chun Chow & Lam

Boy was I really glad weekend has arrived, and time to charge up camera batteries, ready the gear and head out for some shutter therapy actions !! This time, Chun Chow and Lam tagged along a morning walk at Chow Kit. We met up at Sultan Ismail LRT station and walked our way to Chow Kit, attacking anything that caught our attention. In case many of you are new readers, Chun Chow was the one who inspired me to take up Olympus E-System (2 years ago) as my choice of weapon, which I have fell in love with and never looked back ever since.

Chilli Pan Mee @ Kin Kin Restaurant, a perfect breakfast before a photo-walk.