Sunday, March 01, 2015

More Ariff AB

I was at KLCC yesterday, hoping to find Kirk Tuck's book "The Lisbon Portfolio" at Kinokuniya Bookstore (though in the online listing it was out of stock, I was hoping it was wrong, but it was indeed out of stock) that I randomly checked my Facebook timeline, and I saw that Ariff AB was going to perform at a festival happening at Dataran Underground. Time of the performance was scheduled at 4.15pm and what a bummer what I saw my watch, it was already almost 4.30pm! I rushed from KLCC to Dataran Merdeka via the LRT and arrived on location at about 4.45pm, and I went straight to the book festival, and noticed that the stage was rather empty. I sat around hoping that perhaps the show was delayed. Out of nowhere, Ariff actually appeared and guess what, he was performing alright, but on an entirely different stage (which was NOT underground, where I was). 

It was not all lost. He was performing again the following day, at the same time and location. I only had my Panasonic GM-1 with me and I did not bring any tripod (for video recording), and I was running out of battery from my prior shutter therapy session. So I returned again the next day, armed with OM-D E-M1 and ready to shoot Ariff's awesome performance!

Here are some photography note:

1) That M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 never gets old. 
My favourite lens for street shooting as well as portrait photography, the 45mm F1,8 worked well for this particular session. It provided me just enough reach to get close, and good enough shallow depth of field to isolate Ariff from the busy background. Lighting was flat due to overcast weather (it rained heavily an hour or two later, after I got home) and the lens did a good job delivering the "pop" in the image. In my post processing I boosted the contrast to add more depth to the image. Considering I could get very near to the stage, 45mm was the best choice. If I was further away, perhaps the 40-150mm or 75mm could do better. 

2) Shooting live performance under sunlight is different
I have been shooting many live performance under stage lighting, usually dim, indoor, horrible mix of destructive light sources. This particular performance was done under abundant, bright daylight and it was such a joy not having to worry about varying exposure flashes and changes, as well as horrible color casts! Skin tone was as good as what you can expect from amazing Olympus colors and everything came out natural and beautiful. I can get used to this. Not that I have anything against indoor concert light setup, there were amazing light setup on stage which can really create dramatic and epic output for the performance, but most of the ones I have attended were quite bad. 

3) Autofocus speed and accuracy
One of the extremely important strength of the camera put to test for shooting any live performance would be the AF performance of the camera. The singer would be constantly moving the OM-D has always delivered great results. I can give one tip, if I have not shared it here. Before even you start to compose the frame with your camera and lens, already have the final composed frame in your mind. Pre-visualize before hand where you want the main focus of your subject to be. Then quickly move your focusing point (using many methods available in your camera) to where you want it to be. Frame your subject, fire and fire and fire. Using this method I almost never miss focus. The problem I observed  in many learning photographer is framing the subject first and slowly moving the focusing point while they were shooting the subject. That way, while you were moving the focusing point, the subject might just move out of your frame and you miss the shot completely. Or worse, some  people did not even pay attention to where the focusing point was and simply snap the photograph letting the camera decide! 

4) 5-Axis Image Stabilization
For some strange reasons there were plenty of flies around the area I was standing while shooting the video, and the flies were buzzling around my ankles (I was wearing shorts), my ears and some even landed on my fingers! For goodness sake, it was difficult to stay still and not move. This really put the Image Stabilization to test and I did move my ankles a bit to shake off the flies. I thought the videos would come out more jittery than usual, but whoah, it was still smooth and steady as usual. I just wished I had the new OM-D E-M5 Mark II with me. 

Ariff was kind enough to spend time chatting with me after his show! I felt privileged to be there and I do hope more people find out about his amazing music. 

You can check out his music and follow him here:

Here are video clips of two songs Ariff performed. I was standing behind the speakers hence the sound was a little muffled (blurred). Nonetheless I caught two songs from Ariff which I have not heard before, The Journey Man and After Glow! Ariff said The Journey Man was a new song!



Great music, and a chance of clicking my camera away. Weekend was beautiful!


  1. Great images, as usual!!! The images look very good even are made under different lightning conditions!!!!!

  2. Hey Robin,
    Great pictures! I'm usually stuck indoors and restricted to ambient light due to a lot of local places banning flash, so I envy you! :) The 45mm lens is my all around favourite but I also fancy older OM glass such as the 50mm f/1.4 and 135 f/2.8.

    Regarding video recording, I've played around with the colour profiles a lot on both the EM-5 and EM-1 and determined that I like shooting as "flat" as possible by setting the picture profile this way...

    Profile: Muted
    Contrast: -2
    Sharpness: -2
    Saturation: -2
    Gradation: Normal
    Shadows: -7
    Highlights: +7

    In post I'm able to tweak the final image a good amount. Have you ever tried this method?

    I should be getting my OM-D E-M5 II in the mail soon so I'm going to use the same settings to see what I can produce with the higher bitrate at 24fps.

  3. As usual, excellent shots. Tack sharp, with lots of "pop". Love it!
    I do recommend perhaps a change of aftershave, Robin, if you attract so many flies :-)