Sunday, May 11, 2014

Looking Through a Wider Perspective

I have been meeting quite a few amazing local street photographers in Kuala Lumpur recently, and I have the privilege to have meaningful conversations with them, gaining much useful insight on street photography in general and being fully inspired to just grab the camera and go out for more shutter therapy sessions. Some of the interesting points I have learned included composing differently, by adding more elements of interest within one frame. And using less of shallow depth of field and really pay attention to everything that is happening within the composition, especially true for shooting with wide angle. Yes, wide angle, to cover more things which is not my usual choice because I prefer to selectively include the elements I want in my photograph rather than working with the clutter and mess. That is the interesting thing about photography, there is always a new technique, or new style to try and explore. And it gets even more interesting when you get suggestions and comments from other fellow photographers. 

This morning was the first free time slot I have had after one long week of super busy-ness with work. My hands were extremely itchy, hence I decided to go to Chow Kit. Accompanying me was a prominent Malaysian wedding photographer, Johan Sopiee, but the world was so small that we bumped into Luke Chua and his friend, Leong. We grouped up and attacked Chow Kit together. I utilize my full set of lenses, but I paid more attention to wider angle coverage for this session. Wide angle photography is not exactly my strength but I do acknowledge the importance of having and using a wide angle lens. I will not hesitate to go wide angle when the necessity arises, and I will make no excuse to make the shot happen. 

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5, PEN E-PL5 and M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8, 25mm F1.8, or Panasonic 14mm F2.5 


The Beautiful Kuala Lumpur


An Old Market

The Cat Knows

Empty Crates

Pulling Water

Portrait of a Stranger

Storage Area

Dried Produce

Conversation - ISO5,000

Morning Read

Green

Banana 

Malaysian Friendliness

Conversation between Two Photographers. Luke and Johan, great to have both of you with me this morning. 

To any of you who do shoot street photography, let me know what your take is on wide angle lenses. Do you use wider perspective to frame your shots? If so, what are your thoughts?

24 comments :

  1. Nice captures, Robin! I'm sure it was a nice stroll with your colleagues and you all had lots of fun while shooting!
    As for my personal way of approaching street photography, I always use a wide to normal zoom, as I don't have any wide angle prime lens yet (but that is going to change very soon with the upcoming panaleica 15mm). My go-to lens used to be the Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 lens for the most part of last year, but ever since I bough the tiny GM1 with the 12-32mm lens, I have been using that lens much more, it's so small and easy to carry but so sharp and flexible at the same time! Most of the times my pictures are taken at both extremes of the zoom range, either 12-14 or 25-32, depending on my needs, but generally I stay at the wider end, and that's the reason why my next purchase will be the 15mm lens. When I need something longer, then I use our beloved M.Zuiko 45mm, that also fits the GM1 like a glove, and I have most needs covered!
    I just uploaded my last set of street captures with these lenses to my blog, check them if you like! http://gonzalobroto.blogspot.com/2014/05/looking-for-light.html

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    1. Thanks for sharing Gonzalo Broto. Though I have not tried the Panasonic pancake zoom I have been using (reviewing) the Olympus pancake zoom and I know what you mean, because it is so small and light it is so easy to use, and we shoot more with it! Indeed wide to normal perspective is very much important and most people would cover this range.
      Oh yes, that 45mm rocks. I am curious about that 15mm lens too, wish I can get my hands on one.

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  2. Always enjoy your street photos, very fresh and in the moment. I think that when I intend to shoot a "street" situation or a day of street shooting. I tend to look at 24mm or a 35mm focal length. But that is only as the people are details that show the flow of action. If I am looking for street portraits then I am normally looking at a 90mm or ( 45mm for 4/3 ) as a minimum focal length. Many times it ends up being even longer....135mm or 180mm 9 fixed) focal length. Your subject seem much more at ease with having a photo taken of them....in our end of the world, not so much. The 45mm really does crank out a crispy sharp image.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Shadowman. You are spot on about the comfortable shooting length, the 45mm allows some distance between me and the subject so that they do not feel too awkward! Very important point for close up portrait shooting.

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  3. "Do you use wider perspective to frame your shots? If so, what are your thoughts?"

    Well, I'm shooting with Ricoh GR, so I'm practically stuck with one lens, and one lens only. It's a 18mm lens on APS-C (Equivalent FOV of 28mm). Honestly, it's not my favorite focal length, where 35mm FOV would be my fav. But, I learn to like it. It's versatile, and becomes natural after sometime. I think it's easier to capture/create story with wider lens as I tend to put more things inside the composition. Longer lens would make one subject, and often detached from the surrounding. Of course, that's not always the case.

    Close-up portrait is never my interest, that's why wider length would suit me better. I've been following your blog for sometime, and so far think that close-up portrait is one of your stronger interests. Perhaps with wider lens you can start looking for other perspective like environmental portrait?

    Anyhow... have fun! :-)

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    1. I am all in exploring different facets of street photography. I may not necessary attach myself to a single style. You will see here that I do try out different techniques and I gladly shared my successes and failures openly here.

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  4. By the way, a little suggestion if I may. I've been wanting to make comments on your post, but a bit turned off due to limited option to "comment as".
    Perhaps you can add the option to put (name/URL)? Thanks!

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    1. Unfortunately that is not something I have control over. It is standard Blogger comment template.

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    2. Are you sure? In some other Blogspot sites, I can make comments with Name/URL format.
      You might want to check on that... if you have time :D

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  5. Robin,

    Wonderful shots...as always:) Somewhat off the topic here, however still on the topic of "wide". I currently own the em-1, 12-40 pro, 25mm f1.8 and 45mm f1.8. love them all. Im getting ready to head to iceland this summer - the ultimate landscape shooters dream right:)

    I will probably be happy enough with the 12-40pro for wide shots. I do wish the to be released 7-14mm pro was out :):):):) Come on Robin cant you pull some p;y strings and get this lens released sooner then the proposed 2015 :) ha

    So whats your thoughts or anyone else for that matter. Should i just roll with the 12-40pro or rent the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 ?

    thanks and keep up the good work Robin

    chuck

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    1. Hi Chuck,

      I was there 3 years ago my my old E-520 and I basically used the 9-18mm (also available in m4/3) and the 12-60mm (and you have the 12-40).. The 9/18 is very good for this kind of shooting.

      Regards,

      gilles

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    2. Chuck,
      I am an employee in Olympus Malaysia, which is far away from the HQ in Japan. I do not have that special privilege you spoke of. Nonetheless I am sure they are rushing the 7-14mm development.

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  6. I've shot for one year street/architectural with an adapted 28mm on M4/3 - so 56mm Equivalent FoV, and I found that the "normal" 50mm FoV is what I best like (besides, I've grown up shooting film with a 50mm lens). Now I own the new Olympus 25mm and very satisfied of it...

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    1. Oh yes, I am very happy with the new Olympus 25mm too!

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  7. I wish olympus would make a 14mm f2 pancake

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    1. Whats wrong with the Panasonic one?

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Well silly me, I completely forgot about the Panny and didnt bother reading that some of these pics are from the Panny. I wasnt too impress with the IQ on it when I had it with the GF1 but the photos here looks great. But then again, youre a truly great photographer and would probably make any lens work. Might give it another go now that I have the EM1.

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    4. Yes, you should give it a try!

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  8. Love the low angle cat shot

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  9. Based on your recommendations I bought the 25mm 1.8. I am very pleased with it. Performs quite well in low-light conditions, my main reason for buying it. Used to live in Kuala Lumpur. We often went for a nice local dinner at the Pantai Hill Park area. That time I was still using a Canon 50D with a 50mm 1.4 USM. People were always looking funny when I would carry that camera along (the battery grip made it look huge). Now I can visit those places with a small and unobtrusive camera :).

    Anyway. Thanks Robin for your input. We lived in KL from 2009 to 2013. I own and operate Wonderful Malaysia and Veelzijdig Maleisie (Dutch); two very popular travel guides on Malaysia. Love your photographs!

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  10. your blog is very nice Click here for more Photos
    Photographer



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