After frequent pestering from friends as well as dozens and dozens of emails and comments from blog readers asking for me to setup a Facebook Page, at last, I have an official FACEBOOK PAGE for this blog. You can find the page here (click). I think it is crucial in separating my own Facebook account from the page which is dedicated specifically for blog readers and people who come to know me through the photography world. I am sure you are not interested to know what I ate for lunch or places I go to shop for my sweater which I put on my own Facebook account. The official Facebook Page shall be fully photography oriented, including updates from my latest gear review (lets hope something interesting to happen soon) as well as sharing of anything related to photography in general.
Do bear with me as the Facebook Page is still rather empty at the moment, as I have not yet find the time to post photographs and update all the relevant information/details. Working life has become unforgivingly busy (I needed to work till over midnight in many occasions throughout the weekdays, and sometimes, Saturday too). so whatever precious time I have left, I would rather spend it outdoor shooting, doing my shutter therapy, rather than in front of computer. Nonetheless, I shall do my best to get the Facebook Page up and running as soon as I can. At this moment, please do support me by clicking "LIKE" on the my Facebook Page.
All images in this entry were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital 50mm F2 macro lens
Ciggy in Hand
Portrait of a Stranger 1
Transparent Protective Sheet
As I have mentioned in my previous blog entry, my hands were very itchy for some shooting for this weekend, and there was no better place to scratch the itch than Pudu. Together with me this morning were Ripi and Tai Foong. It has been a while since I last came to shoot in Pudu, and I almost forgot how alive the place was. This was a place busy with people doing all sorts of things, and most important of all, everyone (well, almost) was friendly here and we had no issues approaching the people here at all. In fact, there were a few occasions it was the street people who asked us to take photographs of them, rather than us requesting permission to shoot them !! Generally I like the vibe and positive energy here. I always come home with shots that I personally like from Pudu. They may not be the strongest set of images (I admit my images from Chow kit usually turn out stronger in terms of subject content and the story I want to tell) but Pudu is the fail-proof shooting ground that I always come home with a set of usable images.
I utilize only one lens for this session, which is the amazing Zuiko Digital 50mm F2 macro lens. I think I am starting to become lazy, I used to switch lenses a lot, especially with the 11-22mm to cover my wide angle needs. Strangely I did not find the very long focal length, 100mm in 35mm format equivalent (extremely long for any "conventional" sense of street photography) limiting at all. It was the complete opposite, it did what I intended, and I have no trouble framing my subjects with a little bit of necessary background or surrounding elements to support the main subject. Yes, I do have to stand a few steps backward, but what was wrong with that? I prefer to stand a little further away, than say sticking a 28mm lens just inches away from the stranger's face, which in turn will result in the "WTF" look and cartoon-ish distorted face. I always watch out for the comfortable working distance between myself and my subject. If they feel any disconfort or having their personal space violated, it will show in their facial expression !! I do not understand why would any street photographer want that kind of negative reaction at all.
Laughter in a Wet Market
Portrait of a Stranger 2
At the rate of me hunting my photographs from a wet market, I think my shooting sessions will never qualify to be street photography. The purists will say these are wet market shots after all. To a certain degree I do agree, but seriously, who cares right? Even those close up portrait shots are not exactly categorized as street photography, since at the true definition, street photographs should not be staged, and the direct eye contact just disqualified my images. Yet every single time the stranger smiled for my camera, and I managed to capture the natural, unintimidated and welcoming friendly look on their faces, I somehow felt I have done something magical. There was that sense that I have done something right. Perhaps that sense of accomplishment was at a personal level, but the good feeling was important to me, and I like having that feeling. It may not be universally acceptable, or agreed upon. Then again, I am known for not playing by the rules all the time, and I bend them necessarily.
While shooting this particular session, a random thought hit me. It has dawned to me how cinema photography has influenced my own style of shooting. Good movies and television shows are great examples of strong composition, with excellent execution of principle photography to draw your attention toward the main subject in the movie or TV show, yet at the same time providing sufficient variety and drama to keep you interested throughout the whole show. What are the camera tricks? Nothing new really. Using longer focal lengths for framing is a good start. Then working from multiple angles, so the main subject appear more dynamic, and not just being seen from one flat dimension. And always there is the way the sense of location is being established. I think there is much we can learn from watching movies or TV shows alone. Finding the wow factor in composition is not easy, since the usual compostion techniques have been overused again and again by millions of photographers worldwide, now seen in popular photo-sharing sites such as 500px and Flickr. I found myself
copying adopting the composition methods from the popular movies or TV dramas that I watch into my own shooting.
On High Place
Portrait of a Stranger 3
Tai Foong (top) and Ripi (bottom). Both using the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the new M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 lens !!
It has been a while since I last brought the Olympus gear for street shooting. As you all have probably known I was using my Sony A350 and a few primes for my street hunting recently, and while they worked out great and I generally do love the images that the Sony system produces, somehow there is something that the Olympus can do, and do so much better. There is that spark in the images, a kind of mystical "glow" that makes the Olympus files stand out. I know now I sound like an Olympus fanboy (not that I am denying this), but the truth is I also love the older Sony dearly and I am far from trash-talking it. I also admit Olympus has its flaws, but gosh, after coming back to Olympus for a full length street shooting session, I missed how my street images used to look like !! It was like "wow, this was what I have been missing all this time not shooting with Olympus". The images look very much more alive and vibrant (even though in black and white presentation!!).
I sure hope whatever rumor (NOT FROM ME) that is circulating out there about a hybrid camera capable of taking in both 4/3 DSLR and micro 4/3 lenses will come true !! I want to be able to use my current AMAZING Zuiko Digital DSLR lenses in a micro 4/3 body with FULL Autofocus capability, in terms of focusing speed, accuracy and reliability. When that day comes, I will do whatever it takes to make sure I own that camera. What say you guys?