Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Personal Photographs vs Gear Review Photographs

Whenever someone commented on my photographs shown during my camera review, I always find it difficult to explain that I was not exactly doing my best when I was shooting for reviews. Whenever there was an end product set in my mind, something to expect, or something to work towards, such as reviewing the new camera or lens, I was not concentrating on making art, I was merely making images that fit the purpose of the review, either to demonstrate certain features, or to show some improvements that the new gear has over its predecessors. As my mind was occupied by these "to do checklist", it was difficult to create photographs which I usually like. I always find this a struggle. Yes, I do enjoy taking new cameras and lenses out to play and test them out, but at the end of the day, photography is something a lot more personal, and it involves the photographer's freedom to express his ideas, messages, or emotions. I have done nothing of that sort for the past few weeks. 

I also believe that it is the very "engineering" trait of me to focus on prioritized tasks, and not be distracted by other unrelated activities while working on accomplishing set-out to do objectives. I have come to a point last Saturday, when I was trying out the Color Creator, that it hit me, I should take a break from my long list of checklist of items to shoot for my review, and shoot some photos that I personally wanted to shoot. I was walking on a very fine line here, those photographs that I personally like will not be suitable for use for any of the review entries. I did not have the luxury of time, weekend was short, and I had tonnes and tonnes of things to do. Nevertheless, I decided to make them happen anyway, as I saw the opportunities happen and I just could not help it. Therefore, there is a separate set of small collection of photographs which I am showing here, that I took together with my review entry. One or two photographs may be the same from the review blog but I am processing them differently. 

At the end of the day, after playing with any cameras and lenses, ultimately what a photographer wants, is to photograph. And it is always, always important to listen to that photographer self in you, and shoot what you really want to. Those are the photographs that will feed your soul. 

Narrow Gap



Empty Carts

At The Market

Ropes

Pudu Wet Market

The Butcher

Hat and Love

23 comments :

  1. I think that one of the things your "followers" really appreciate about your photography is that even when your mind is occupied by your review/testing "to do checklist," you still manage to create some great and even stunning photographs, despite the distractions and difficulties. For myself, and probably for many others, we would not be able to create such wonderful photos even if we were to give our full attention to it! I think your inherent talent shows through clearly, even when you feel that you are shooting under way less than ideal conditions. This is why we all keep coming back for more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Brian,
      Thanks for the kind words! But not very true though. I do feel that, after looking back my review photos, they all lack "something", and I can find so many ways to make them better! or maybe I was just thinking too much, but surely the shots that I go "YES" are a lot lesser than usual non-review shooting days.

      Delete
  2. Love the Pudu wet market shot...so evocative. Now I know why you were up there on the roof!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surely high angle view can be refreshing sometimes!

      Delete
  3. Hey Robin,

    All of your "testing/reviewing" pictures are admirable, and some of them are downright wonderful. The one of the red (I think they're called) Chinese lanterns you took for the 17mm M.Zuiko lens review was stunning. I could look at that picture all day long. Some of your portraits (especially the ones of children) are also amazingly good.

    Okay, that's enough pats on the back. Get back to work, hahahaha!

    Steve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, Seadrive! You are being too kind really.
      And I am amazed that you would remember some of the shots! those were taken about a year ago!

      Delete
  4. Mr Robin, I fully agree photography is a personal expression no matter what camera or lens one use, I like your sincerity inthis post ! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Robin

    I think the best thing that can be said about your Blog, your Reviews and your Photography is Honesty. Your reviews have not changed since you have become an employee of Olympus, we all have a bias because we are all individuals and see things differently.

    I am glad to hear that your mother is doing so well.

    I just replaced the 17mm f2.8 lens on my EP-1 with a 17mm f1.8, and hope to do some shooting later today.

    Keep up the good work.

    Don

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Don,
      Thanks for the kind words, and yes, honesty is the best policy!
      Thanks for the kind support and concern, my mum appreciates it!
      I am sure you will be making great images with the 17mm F1.8 lens!

      Delete
  6. "Those are the photographs that will feed your soul. " Well said!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I always smile inside when I read about your worries-as-an-engineer. In your heart of hearts you are an engineer, a perfectionist. Which is fine, of course, but -and I sense that between the lines- it causes you quite a few internal struggles. Your artistic side is clashing at times with your engineering side. Take a tip from this old fossil: always, always, always take the pictures you want. Follow your vision, and your vision only.

    You are certainly not one of them, but too many photographers spend tons of money on gear and stuff trying to emulate a certain shot, a certain style, a certain way of working they have seen from others. Guess what - most of them fail miserably. One can spend a fortune on a Leica with (only) a 50mm, a pretend to be HCB. Go to the same places, the same time, the same light - and still the shot will be not the same.

    And that's the point: HCB had his own way of working, his own vision and never strayed away from it, and that's what made much of his work excellent and unique. He was a perfectionist too, but never worried about technicalities such as "lens sharpness" and "resolution" and :"grain" and whatnot. He was an artist first.

    That's why you, too, should always follow your heart. Only take the pictures that feed your soul, even when reviewing. Let the forum armchair 'experts" worry about "sharpness". It is, in the end, all irrelevant. HCB, would he have lived today and be a budding photographer, would not have survived a week in between the ranting and raving idiots on forums - his photographs would never have met any of their criteria and approval. See my point?

    your pictures, your art and your craft speak for themselves. Don't sweat the technicalities. Your work is excellent; just focus on your vision and technique. Keep up the good work!

    End of ye olde farte rant :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know Andre, sometimes it is scary how much you know about me, though we have never met. I guess you can read between the lines very well! And me being honest with my writing, it is easier to understand what I am going through.

      Thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement. Really appreciate it. I do need to stay true to myself, and will do my best! You rock Andre!

      Delete
  8. Those crates are crazy.

    Great photography!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Graham! Loving that shot too.

      Delete
  9. Those crates are crazy.

    Great photography!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Robin, very well said and I truly admire your plain honesty and ability to listen to that "soft" voice, or the gentle tugging on the strings of your (photographer's) heart...

    I can see that you are born both an engineer in spirit, and an artist in soul. But the most precious trait you have is honesty to yourself, the ability to be true to your calling and passion, and most importantly the courage and humility to openly share and confess what you are happy with and what you are not. This is a precious trait that so few people have these days, especially for those who blog their "works".

    Yes, the technical specs of the tools we use to photograph with is important, but only so that we can familiarise ourselves with what is possible and to know what limitations we are faced with. Beyond that, photography is meant to be an art, and not a technocrat's medium for "mass-debating".

    Thank you so much for sharing your great works of art, and for your plain and honest views. Your work is always an inspiration! Keep feeding us with more!

    ReplyDelete
  11. It is probably a good topic for a blog - why we take different images for reviews to show a new camera. It makes one question if reviews expose parts of the camera that really matter. I personally find that I want to push the camera to its limits at home, so I know what I'm dealing with for a real shot. For example, I might wish to know how a lens performs wat wide apertues in bright light. None of that requires interesting images. The danger for a reviewer is if you only output the mundane shots to the web for your reviews. Also, it tends to over emphasize difference of small importance and ignore the truth - most cameras are capable of excellent results, if you step up with a vision. I like your blog because you post personal shots that you are proud of, and stick with a camera long enough to have interesting thought about living with it. I hope my blog does the same (though I can't say I'm much of a reviewer!). Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love those umbrellas Robin. But it's the "cat and the mop" in "Narrow Gap" that stick in my mind from this session. Hoping there will an E-M1 on sale in Malaysia this Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well I bought the em1 and 4 prime lens 2 pany 14 and 25 and 2 oly 45 and 60. Sold Canon f and L lens and love the em1. Flip down screen reminds me of taking photos with Hassy awhile back. This Aug I'll take photos at largest vegetarian festival in North America and share images using all 4 lens. My 2 favs are 25 and 60. I always carry the pany 14mm cause its so small never miss a shot!
    Bob g www.veggiepowerburgers.com took all photos then ate the burgers.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well I bought the em1 and 4 prime lens 2 pany 14 and 25 and 2 oly 45 and 60. Sold Canon f and L lens and love the em1. Flip down screen reminds me of taking photos with Hassy awhile back. This Aug I'll take photos at largest vegetarian festival in North America and share images using all 4 lens. My 2 favs are 25 and 60. I always carry the pany 14mm cause its so small never miss a shot!
    Bob g www.veggiepowerburgers.com took all photos then ate the burgers.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well I bought the em1 and 4 prime lens 2 pany 14 and 25 and 2 oly 45 and 60. Sold Canon f and L lens and love the em1. Flip down screen reminds me of taking photos with Hassy awhile back. This Aug I'll take photos at largest vegetarian festival in North America and share images using all 4 lens. My 2 favs are 25 and 60. I always carry the pany 14mm cause its so small never miss a shot!
    Bob g www.veggiepowerburgers.com took all photos then ate the burgers.

    ReplyDelete