Tuesday, October 15, 2013

At Last, Shutter Therapy! With OM-D E-M5

Woke up to a beautiful morning, a public holiday in Malaysia, and that means catching up on my much needed, and very deprived shutter therapy sessions. Joining me this morning was a group of Olympus Micro Four Thirds shooters, and it has actually been quite a while since I joined an Olympus only group for any shoot. Of course, this was also officially the first session I have done a shutter therapy (for non-review purpose) with my newly acquired Olympus OM-D E-M5. The gang met up at Masjid Jamek and we shot around the area, ending up for lunch just before noon at Yut Kee. I have been looking forward to this particular shooting session, mainly because I have not been doing any shooting for myself only (as usual, not review related). 

I only have two lenses with me, the M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 and the 45mm F1.8. I felt that I can exclusively shoot with just the 45mm F1.8 lens, but I also wanted to test out the 12-50mm lens, you know, just to get myself re-familiarized with it, since it has been quite a while since I last used the 12-50mm. The E-M5 did a splendid job in grabbing nearly 100% focus accuracy (with blazing speed). When I was using the E-M5, it did not feel alien at all, and somehow, I was quite comfortable with it. The menu system is basically the same with the E-5, and coming from Olympus background, it was quite easy to pick up the camera and just shoot. The basic setup and settings are the same. 

Portrait of a Stranger 1



Slow Morning Walk

Portrait of a Stranger 2

Portrait of a Stranger 3

At the Windows

Fenced up

I think every time someone came along with me to the street, somehow there was some expectation that I have some special techniques to share when it comes to shooting strangers. To be entirely honest, I do not have any secrets, and techniques. I just pointed the camera at the stranger, and shoot. And no, I do not just randomly point my lens at any stranger on the street. If the people look approachable and friendly, I would give it a try. And yes, I do get rejected from time to time, but we do have to respect another person's privacy and request not to have photos taken. Move on from there, it does not matter if there was lost opportunities, there is virtually no consequence! Just find another subject along the street and who knows, the next one will be even better. It is important to keep an open mind, be bold and not be discouraged. Approach street people that you feel comfortable to do so. If there was this old grumpy man that seemed like he would devour you when you get too close, then avoid him! If you think that he looked fierce and unfriendly, surely he is not worth to be included in your frame, unless you have something specific you needed that subject somehow. 

The main reason I used the 45mm F1.8 (or previously, my favourite Zuiko Digital 50mm F2 macro lens) for my street portrait, was obvious, allowing me some working distance between me and my subject. The people would feel a lot less threatened with you shooting a few feet away, in contrast to you using a wider angle lenses and pointing the camera just inches away from their nose. I also believe that there is the personal space which we have to watch out for. Get in too close and somehow the reaction would change. Wonder how I managed to have my subjects still feel at ease while I was shooting them? Provide some shooting distance, and do not get to close. Just get close enough.

Flowers

An Old Building

Morning Paper

Closed Shops

Windows

Big Eyes


It was great shooting in a group of friends who use the same system. The main advantage? We can switch lenses and accessories. Collectively in a pool, we had the following lenses: M.Zuiko 12mm F2, 12-50mm F3.5-6.3, 45mm F1.8, 60mm F2.8 macro, 40-150mm F4-5.6, Panasonic 25mm F1.4, as well as an OM 50mm F1.8 lens. Since everyone can only practically use one lens at one time, there was plenty of opportunity to try and use any lens. I used mainly the 45mm F1.8, hence it was no issue for me to loan the 12-50mm around, if needed. 

I am very, very happy with what the 45mm F1.8 lens can do. It basically did what I would have expected my older 50mm F2 macro lens can, on the street. On the other hand, the performance of the kit lens 12-50mm is not to be underestimated. It may not be stellar, but it can do general shooting rather well, especially on the street, with plenty of good available light. At 12mm, I practially have a wide angle coverage, which was handy to cover some wide shots with background emphasis in mind. 

Friends joining me this session:




Alex, Carmen and Jackie



Can't wait for the next shutter therapy session. I really, really wish I have more time to shoot. Hands are still itchy!


24 comments :

  1. Drooling. I want to do this too.

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  2. I want to join too..where to sign up for the next session?

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    1. No need to sign up. Just drop me an email. If I am free and I am shooting anyone is free to join

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  3. Wonderful photo Shoot. That 45mm is a dream I have to get myself that lens.

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    1. Thanks! and the lens is not expensive!

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  4. Great sense of composition and creativity.... Like fenced up - for the perspective and the bokeh in the foreground leading the eyes to the main subjects...

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    1. Thanks Johan. That fence was newly erected, safety measures for KL streets.

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  5. Great set of photos, taken with a great little lens on a great little camera. It's nice to see you are back into your "street shooting groove"! Very nice blog post, Robin!

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    1. Thanks Gregg, it felt great to be back on the street.

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  6. Good to see your first shutter therapy with the E-M5 :) just read on your FB 'bout your little accident, hopefully everything is ok, you and your gears ;)

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    1. Thanks Edwin! I am ok don't worry.

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  7. Hi Robin,
    Very jealous that you guys are having such a wonderful time. Would like to join for the next session.
    XiaoKS

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    1. Busy schedule ahead will see what i can do this weekend

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  8. Ah, the Robinesque portraits are back! Always a joy to behold. I loved the florist and the morning paper guy. Good to see you enjoy that -of course still!- lovely M5.

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  9. Excellent set of photos Robin! Quick question about how you focus, do you generally leave the focus point in the centre and focus and recompose? Or move the focus point before taking the shot? Cheers!

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    1. Hey Matt,
      For subjects very close to me I would select the focusing area and move it to the point I want to focus. The closer the subject is to the lens/camera the more crucial the focusing will be, so the recompose method is not recommended, especially for shooting close up portraits. For subjects standing far away (5-10meters away) it is perfectly fine to just focus and recompose.

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  10. The 45mm is a great little lens, but I must admit I still prefer the 50mm f/2. Can't wait to get a body with phase detect ! If you had the EM1, which do you think you'd head out with?

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    1. Of course, without a doubt, the 50mm F2! But I must admit, even with phase detect on E-5 or E-M1, the focusing is slower (and less reliable) than the new 45mm F1.8

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  11. hi robin, it's good to see you bought yourself an em5..just be careful of the eye cup thingy ..superglue it before it drops off like mine. also get the grip if you can because it does improve the handling by a long mile. i love shooting portrait with the grips....

    ive just bought a 45mm f1.8 like i told u in kpf ,.penang was a good place to test out the 45mm .

    regards
    joshua tan

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    1. Hey Joshua,
      I am sure you will love the 45mm F1.8 lens, there is so much the lens can do, creating shallow depth of field and shooting in low light conditions!

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  13. I've done many shutter therapy sessions with the OMD since acquiring it over a month ago. Great for night shooting:

    http://alphawhiskey.slickpic.com/photoblog/post/ADryNightInLondon

    And had a great time chasing waterfalls with my EM5 at the weekend. Got some 1 sec silk water shots hand-held thanks to the excellent IBIS system.

    http://alphawhiskey.slickpic.com/photoblog/post/ChasingWaterfalls

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