Wednesday, January 21, 2015

No Strangers for One Weekend

I have always been shooting strangers on the street for my weekend activities. You know what, I decided to do things differently this time. I was with friends, spending time, having fun and catching up. Instead of shooting people that I do not know, I chose to shoot the people that I do know!

Last weekend has been quite interesting. There was a local photography exhibition organized by Exposure Plus group, and the exhibition opening happened at Feeka in Bukit Bintang. Such local event would surely pull together the photographers from many walks of life, and guess what, even our very own Ming Thein attended! Unfortunately I was too engrossed in conversation with him I did not manage to take a photograph of him before he disappeared. The exhibition featured the works of local photographers who underwent a 3 month mentoring program with respectable photographers from various industries. There was quite a wide variety of photographs being displayed. 

It was indeed a night of meeting photographers, catching up with friends, and making new connections as well. Here is a collection of random portraits of people who have been featured on my blog before (if you have been with me this long you would recognize some of them surely). 

Nick Wade, he spent months in Tokyo, Japan just to shoot on the streets! I want your life Nick. 



Luke Ding, the founder and head of KL Street Photographer's group, now getting involved with more and more fashion and editorial shoots! It sure is great seeing people around you grow. 

Vig, the founder and main brain behind the hugely successful Obscura Photography Festival, held in Penang annually for two years now. 

Alvin, when are you getting a blog? No more excuses man. 

A group photograph, with Scott and Tom in front. It was Scott's wall of photographs at the exhibition! Proud of you mate. 

Lets do a selfie

Scott Chung, one of the main exhibitors! Well done, and hope to see more wonderful stuff from you mate.

Tom Truong visiting from Sydney, Australia. He is pointing toward what true art is. The Art of Blur

Luke taking home a souvenir

Feet

Ahem... body parts, see the art. 

Now this is what we are talking about, street photography! By our Scott of course. 

The lady behind all this amazing event and exhibition, Nurul Munira "Moon". 


All the images above were taken with Panasonic GM1 of course, with Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens. 

I was still familiarizing myself with this camera. I found out a few surprising things after the weekend long shoot with GM1:

1) The battery life was better than expected. 
I have read from many reviews condemning the battery life. I thought it would have been seriously bad, with me probably getting away with only 150-200 shots in each charge, and believe me I was worried because I only have one battery with me. Last weekend I managed to squeeze about 300 shots (battery was still fine), and this weekend I managed to do about 450 shots, and the battery indicator showed 2/3 bar still. Not bad for a small camera with tiny battery inside. Nevertheless I will be getting spares, of course, no excuses for having more batteries. 

2) The JPEG High ISO Handling is Bad
The JPEG files, from lowest base ISO up to ISO1600 is doing great. However, at ISO3200 and above, you can really see heavy smearing of details. It is quite frustrating not having the option to turn off, or at least tone down the noise reduction setting in camera for shooting JPEG. I know I can shoot RAW, but honestly, I do not use Lightroom/Photoshop and I would do anything to avoid heavy processing work when I am using the GM1. Hey, it is supposed to be a fun, easy and no frills camera, right? Why spoil the fun with shooting RAW?

3) Handling was Good
I initially believe that using such a small camera, with no substantial grip for comfortable handling, it would be difficult to use, especially shooting for long hours. I was wrong. It was quite comfortable to hold, and I did not find myself struggling at all. I acknowledge that ergonomics wise, and overall handling, the OM-D and PEN series from Olympus are clearly better choices (so are the bigger siblings of Panasonic such as GX7 and GH4, so please do not banter me being an Olympus fanboy, just because I use Olympus cameras that I have used so many times and are so familiar with as examples)

On Sunday, I went to the butterfly park to shoot some macro. Now here is the thing, we have planned the macro outing since about a week ago, and I have always thought that a macro lens would be made available for me to use for this outing. On Friday, I discovered that all macro lenses were already loaned out to photographers, and I was left with no macro lens!

I contemplated on using the 12-50mm kit lens for macro shooting, but finally opted for the Olympus Macro Converter MCON-P02, which was released about one year ago together with the OM-D E-M10 and M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens. I mounted the macro converter on the M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8, and deciced to give this combo a spin. Oh, on the Panasonic GM1 of course. 

Calvin, with OM-D E-M1 and a mounted Tamron macro lens!

Carmen showing off her PEN E-PL7 with 60mm F2.8 Macro lens, and the DIY flash bouncer

Jackie's macro shot on the Olympus Tough TG-3








Group photo of everyone, including Tobias, who joined in the fun too!

The image quality coming out from the Olympus MCON-P02 Macro Converter was amazing! It also strongly shows how amazing that small Olympus 45mm F1.8 lens is. 

The magnification was only 0.3x using the macro converter on 45mm F1.8, but it was sufficient for butterflies (which were not small anyway) as well as some larger insects. I also got the chance to compose with negative space, not filling the entire frame with the subject, hence shooting macro differently this time. It is not always about the technicalities or how much magnification we can get, sometimes it is just all about fun and not thinking too much. I just wanted to shoot some shots, whatever that caught my eyes in the butterfly park, they do not necessarily have to be super close up anyway. It was a lazy Sunday and why sweat all the small stuff? 

In the spirit of just having fun and relax we had a coffee/lunch session right after the macro shoot. We "hang out like normal people" Carmen says. Yeap, that can be super fun too!

Clear Sky!

9mm F8 Fisheye Body Cap Lens

nothing beats a good coffee on a Sunday

Tobias' Sandwich

My sinful lunch

Tobias and Jackie, pixel peeping. Yes I encourage Pixel Peeping. What is wrong with that?



4 comments :

  1. Nice shots! BTW about spoiling the fun with shooting RAW, you can use the my Two-Step Lightroom Workflow (TM):
    Step1: Import RAW files
    Step2: Export Jpgs.
    Then go out and shoot more! :)

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  2. Hi Robin, regarding your issue with too much NR on jpeg files - I don't have the GM1 so I'm not 100% sure this option is available, but I have seen it on most Panasonic cameras (I'm using a GX7). Anyway, you can reduce NR in the profiles menu (Natural, Standard, Vivid,...). After you choose a profile to use there should be additional options for tweaking it to your liking: ie. reduce/increase contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction. So give it a try(if it's available on GM1) and give us your thoughts if you think it makes things any better/worse when just shooting jpeg. Love your blog, keep up the good work! Cheers from Croatia :)

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  3. "It is quite frustrating not having the option to turn off, or at least tone down the noise reduction setting in camera for shooting JPEG" Yes there is, page 120 - 121 ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/camera/dmcgm1k/dmc-gm1k_en_advanced_om.pdf I shoot panasonic too noise reduction sucks on jpeg like you say I turn mine all the way down.

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