Thursday, November 28, 2013

Almost an Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Lens Review. Almost

I actually intended to do a full blog review on that amazing Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens. I got out shooting most of the weekend, but at the same time I also had visitors from Germany who travelled to Kuala Lumpur to spend a day trip here, and I was more than happy to show them around my usual street hunting grounds. Well, I was not really a good multi-tasker anyway, and I really enjoyed myself with Robin and Jenny whom I brought along to Chow Kit, Kampung Baru and Masjid Jamek area. 

Having the 12-40mm F2.8 lens review in my mind, I did make some effort to shoot, but coming home and reviewing my collection of images, they were somewhat insufficient to constitute a full review. There were so many things to cover for this lens, some notable strong points such as good close up shooting capability was not tested. 

So in this blog entry, instead of being a blog review for the M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens, this shall be a small collection of images I have taken over the weekend.



All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens. 

Robin and Jenny from Germany. Check out Robin Schimko's amazing photos here (click)
1/80sec, F2.8, ISO640, 40mm

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Olympus Walkabout with Robin Wong

Hello beautiful people! There will be a street shooting session this Sunday (1 December 2013) at Pudu (my favourite steet hunting ground) and I will be leading the walkabout. If you are in Kuala Lumpur and you are free, why not join us and have fun shooting and sharing knowledge and experience on using Olympus gear. Do register (PM to Olympus Malaysia FB Page) and this event is only for Olympus users. I sure hope to see some of you there this weekend! My hands are getting itchy already. 


Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Wedding in Perth, Australia: Christopher & Charmaine

A wedding assignment earlier this year in Perth, Australia. Great friends Charmaine and Christopher got married, and I was privileged to shoot their wedding. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I have been to, and I have them both to thank for. 

Can't wait to return to Perth again for another wedding assignment next year!

Original images were in 4:3 aspect ratio, I recropped the images just for the fun of it, into a cinematic 16:9 ratio. I thought it worked well!

All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital lenses 11-22mm F2.8-3.5, 50mm F2 macro, 25mm F2.8 pancake or 50-200mm F2.8-3.5


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Meeting a German Professional Wedding Photographer Who Uses Olympus OM-D

Kindly support the Prints For Philippines project, a unique collaboration of photographers selling highly collectable photographic prints to raise funds for the DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal - 100% of sales go directly to the Disasters Emergency Committee.

I feel very privileged to have blog audience reaching far outside of Malaysia, and whenever I have foreign visitors dropping by Kuala Lumpur and requested to meet up, I get extra excited. This is especially true when I get to connect with photographers from different culture and background, yet sharing the same faith in the Olympus Micro Four Thirds system (sounds like a religion, now that I have typed that wordings out). This evening, I had a great chance to get to know a wonderful German professional photographer, who visited Malaysia. 

The cool thing about this guy is that, he name is also Robin. This was probably the first time I was writing an email starting with 'Dear Robin', and ending with "Regards, Robin". Nonetheless, this Robin Schimko from Germany has earned my respect after he showed me his photographs, both from his professional work as well as his personal street photographs. For his professional work, he has used Fuji and Nikon cameras, and recently made a jump into the Olympus system. Robin claimed that he was very happy with the output from his Olympus system (he now uses OM-D E-M1 and PEN E-P5) and was amazed by how reliable and blazing fast the AF performance of the Olympus system. He has also shown me some of his works in prints and was amazed by the quality he could accomplish even shooting at high ISO on the PEN E-P5. I admire his style of street shooting, which was completely different from mine, as he prefers environmental portraits and uses dominantly wide angle coverage, which I rarely practise. 

 Robin Schimko 
 his blog here: http://www.fotodesign-rs.de/


Although I have been a long time Olympus believer, it is reassuring to hear another photographer tell me wonderful things about his choice of using Olympus. I guess I have been shooting with Olympus all this time, and being an Olympus meaning I have been in the minority group and most of my other friends actually shoot with... well, what else if not Canon and Nikon cameras. My friends have always been supportive and understanding and not many people questioned my work or choice of equipment. Nonetheless, it would be a dream come true to form a larger group of Olympus community, and have more people realize the wonderful things that Olympus gear is capable of. Instead of me telling others how great Olympus is, it was rewarding to hear someone telling me instead!

A great thank you to Robin Schimko for having time for me, and it was great knowing you. I surely hope we can find a bit of time for shutter therapy! It would be my genuine pleasure to show you around Kuala Lumpur streets, and I am curious to see what you can do with your street photography style here. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Let's Talk Images

Kindly support the Prints For Philippines project, a unique collaboration of photographers selling highly collectable photographic prints to raise funds for the DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal - 100% of sales go directly to the Disasters Emergency Committee.

When people think about me, or see me in person, they often associate me with a few things, notable one being a camera reviewer. Eric Kim, during his short visit to Malaysia did ask me before if my blog is gear review oriented, in an attempt to persuade me to use a proper website domain name (eg, robinwong.com) instead of having the suffix dot blogspot dot com after my blog name. He was trying to determine the purpose of this site, and I can truly understand his observation and analysis that my blog somehow has transformed into a site where people come here with the main intention of reading my gear reviews (or more specifically put, Olympus gear reviews because I rarely do review any other stuff).

Not that I mind people seeing me as a camera reviewer, but that was not my sole purpose of photography involvement and surely not the only thing I want to be known for. Thank goodness I do blog religiously week after week with fresh photographs from my shutter therapy adventures, to fill in the long gap between gear reviews, which only happened about 3 times per year! I would like to think that the reason people come to my blog is a lot more than just reading my reviews. And surely I am doing my best to improve my photography skills (by shooting more and experimenting with techniques, meeting new photographers, etc) and as usual, share as much as I can along this never-ending journey of photography.

In this blog entry, I am re-cycling some of my photographs taken within this year 2013 and I am taking a deeper look into them, describing to you how I managed to capture the shots, what caught my attention in the first place and why I thought the shots worked. I am more or less thinking out loud. That, and of course, an excuse for not having fresh photographs recently to make my usual blog entry but that is besides the point.


Holi Festival 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show 2013

We take a short break from usual street shooting, for the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show 2013 which was happening at PWTC. Some change is good, and a little difference can make things more interesting, right? So there I was, just clicking away merrily. 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thank You, KK and Kuching

Over the past weekend, Olympus Malaysia has made an appearance in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Kuching, Sarawak, bringing over our hero Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the accompanying micro 4/3 lenses. During the brief user events in both places, I have met many wonderful people, and I am truly thankful to have so many people coming up to me and saying hi, and telling me that they come to my blog here often. I just want to say that without you beautiful people, this place would not even exist in the first place. Without your constant visits and support, I am not where I am here today, and I would not be able to do what I am doing now. So, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! I treasure every single one of you, though I might not have the chance to speak to every one, but your presence to the event and your show of faith and support meant a whole world to me. 

I have told myself to make an effort to shoot every single people who attended the event, but being nervous, and taking every opportunity I can find to talk to the attendees, I have missed out more people than I thought I would. I think I only took about less than half of the people who came to our events, and I am showing them all here. I am only one person after all, I cannot do everything at once. And during the event I have had a thousand things running in my mind, and so many things I have to look after. So if your image is not here, it is my fault, do not think that you are not important. 

I try my best to remember everyone's name, but having to meet SO MANY people at once, I failed miserably. My facial recognition ability is at the noobest level, and that is my weakness, which I must learn to improve. If you do not find your name here (or wrongly labeled) I apologize in advance. 

Kuching is my hometown. Many of the people who came were my personal friends, some I have known for a very long time. It was an occasion where I thought I was truly home, because it was that special. It was strange speaking in front of everyone. Nonetheless, it was so good to see so many people, so many familiar faces, and I was overwhelmed at the same time. 

I was using my own Olympus OM-D E-M5, and I was pushing myself to use the M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 lens for all the shots here (except the group shot of course). 

Dexter

Monday, November 11, 2013

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

I have taken six flights over the past weekend, and boy, was it exhausting! On Friday I had a whole day business trip to Singapore, which was a day visit only. The following Saturday, I took the early flight to Kota Kinabalu (KK), Sabah, which was the northern territory of Borneo island. We had the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Touch and Try session at KK on Saturday, and the following morning, Sunday, we brought the Touch and Try session to my hometown, Kuching, Sarawak. This must have been one of the craziest weekend in my life, with so many moving around, meeting so many people (amazing and beautiful people!!). Despite the hectic schedule, I managed to squeeze in a bit of time for shutter therapy. 

It was my first visit to KK Sabah, and I must admit this is one of the most beautiful places in Malaysia, and I was only at the city area, not exploring further. After the Touch and Try event, it was already 5pm, and I had about an hour before sunset. That was my only window of opportunity to shoot, because we had dinner arrangement and later appointment with friends. Though the shooting time was very brief, I made the best I can to experience the waterfront view, and take in the breathtaking scenery overlooking sunset. The place was beautiful and the people, even so heart-warming. I was standing still for quite a while doing some slow shutter speed shooting (resting the camera on flat surface), and a kind local man approached me to say hi. Initially I thought he wanted my help to take a photo of him and his friend/family, but I was surprised to see him holding a box of cigarette to me and asked me to grab one! I thought I stood still for a full 3 seconds before responding no, thank you. I was speechless. Too bad I do not smoke, but that kind gesture is rare in other parts of Malaysia, certainly something impossible to find in Kuala Lumpur. I fell in love with this place almost instantly. 



Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Tips on Improving Photography?

There are so many articles published online as well as in photography magazines and books on tips and tricks to quickly improve photography. There are many variety of techniques or special methods to help the photographer to get better shots, or achieve photographs nearer to the perceived standard of "perfection". Many would pay thousands and thousands of dollars to attend workshops or photography training by the photography gurus. Some go extra lengths to achieve that status and to be claimed a "pro". I believe I am the weird one out from the norm. I rarely read photography magazines, I do read tips and tricks of photography online, but honestly, when it comes to real life shooting, practical photography can be so different. 

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M.Zuiko Lenses 45mm F1.8 and 12-50mm F3.5-6.3

High Above the Ground. 45mm F1.8

Monday, November 04, 2013

Deepavali: Festival of Lights, my Second Attempt

Happy Deepavali to all of my readers who celebrate the Festival of Light!

Last year, in conjunction with the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 lens review, I went to Shree Lakshmi Narayan Mandir Temple at Jalan Ipoh for the Deepavali Eve, where the Hindu devotees would light up the whole temple with candles and oil lamps. I did have difficulties shooting that event, mainly with restrictions of the single focal length which happened to be my least favourite focal length to work with. This year, I was revisiting the temple to shoot the Deepavali Eve again, and this time with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the few M.Zuiko lenses that I do have now.

I consider myself very fortunate living in Malaysia, where there is a large Hindu Indian community that still practise the traditions and celebrate beautiful festivals such as Deepavali. In this occasion, the Hindus were dressed up in their traditional costumes and presented their best, which made the celebration such a colourful scene for photography. It was a celebration of joy and happiness, hence emotions and expressions were abundantly available as photography opportunities. 

If you were to ask any Olympus users 3  or more years ago, shooting in very dim light condition, many would have complained a few issues using the system, and I do admit to these shortcomings especially on slower focusing, as well as poorer high ISO noise handling in comparison to peer DSLR counterparts. In some conditions shooting this amazing Festival of Lights, it was near darkness with only available light from the not so brightly lit candles. So how did the OM-D and Olympus M.Zuiko lenses fare in this situation?

Lets see some photos first!

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M.Zuiko lenses: 45mm F1.8 and 17mm F1.8 

45mm F1.8

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Pushing Myself Further

One of the biggest mistakes that I see in many of my photographer friends, is being content with their photography level, and starting to brag about their own photographs and showing off how good they have become, claiming how much they have come and how far better they are than other photographers (their friends). Perhaps they do not speak that directly, but acknowledging that you are better than others and letting the "ego" take the better of you will not be good in your journey to improve in photography. Photography journey knows no end, it is ongoing, and those photographers who thought they have done it all, knew it all, did not realize that they have stopped growing, and won't improve further any more. 

I am afraid I will fall into that category. I am afraid one day people will think that I am lost in my own world that I no longer can connect to anyone else, and my photography work won't be able to speak to the audience any more. 

Therefore, it is a crucial thing to do for any photographer to always take a pause from time to time and truly reflect on their own work, what they have done, the good and the bad things, and in what ways that can be pushed even further, and be a better photographer. It is the process of continuous improving, even if the steps are little, tiny bit by bit, that gets any photographer to the place he wants to be. 

List of items that I strive for and am working on now:
1) Use more wide angle, and learn how to truly master wide angle shots. 
2) See things differently than what I already have, and challenge myself to find beauty in ordinary things. 
3) Consider more than one main subject in one frame. All this while I have always stayed with one subject one background rule.
4) Break rule of thirds. I noticed how strictly I adhere to this composition style. 
5) Meet more photographers and it is time to network and LEARN, while I share what I have as well. Time to brush up my networking skills.

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M.Zuiko lenses 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 and 45mm F1.8

Multiple Spirals. 12-50mm kit lens