Monday, November 30, 2015

A Short Shutter Therapy Session is Better Than No Shutter Therapy At All

I don't think I have been getting sufficient shutter therapy sessions recently. I was shooting a friend's registration of marriage ceremony on Saturday and spent a huge chunk of Sunday on post-processing the preliminary edits. I did manage to squeeze some hours out for quick rounds at Pudu Markets and boy, it sure was fun just being able to walk aimlessly and enjoy shooting random strangers. 

I am now actively using the Olympus PEN E-P5, since no one came forth and claim it (a suspected stolen unit). I paired the E-P5 with the M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens, and this combo is quickly becoming my favourite street shooting gear. I have always loved the 50mm equivalent perspective when I am out there attacking the streets, that will not change. 

I have heard from a prominent photographer who mentioned that he will not use 50mm or 35mm for his usual photography work (portraits, weddings, commercial/product shoots) because these focal lengths too closely resemble human natural vision, and he wanted exaggerated perspective to create depth and impact. I do agree with him, but that only applies if you are shooting to impress. Often the main objective of many photographers (myself included sometimes, surely) is to find images that will "wow" our audience. We want people to "like" our photographs that we share on Facebook, 500px, Flickr, etc. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and encouragement with positive, real human feedback can be great motivators to push harder and improve in photography. 

However, when I am doing shutter therapy, the main objective is actually to do whatever I want to do, and the main person I am doing my best to please is, myself. 

Sometimes, I compose in a certain manner that only makes sense to me, and it does not matter because photography is a selfish game. At some point of shooting for the fun of it, I have to start having fun. I have to be the one enjoying the game, I have to do what I want to do to make the best out of the limited time I have. I do acknowledge that the photos I show here are not National Geographic worthy and will never be award-winning. Should I care about these achievements? 

To me, I am just happy being able to pick up a camera and shoot. That is one of the simplest joy, and I can do that and end the day with an expensive cup of coffee. 

A Saturday Morning



Brothers

A closed stall

Portrait of a Stranger

Loading or Unloading?

Open

Flying Chicken (obviously a composite image, just for the fun of it)

Greens

Quality Inspection

The making of a local "kueh". 



35 comments :

  1. Yes, you have to reconcile with yourself and your centre of subjective art appreciation - following a trend or complying with a client request, in many ways, takes away from you. Came across this NYT article - have you seen it?

    I had a bit of ST myself on Sunday, been working a bit serious and needed a change. Shooting silent on the E-M1 with wide aperture to see whether I get it....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Ananda, the link displayed the NYT site with "Page Not Found". Lemme google the article a bit.
      Oh I see you have upgraded the firmware! Silent shutter is a total joy to use. Just make sure you are not shooting something too fast (jello effect).

      Delete
    2. Oh, sorry, Robin, This one http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/lens/2015/11/24/who-wins-in-photo-contests/?_r=0&referer=http://m.facebook.com/

      Delete
    3. Yeap I have found that after some googling. Good read!

      Delete
    4. By the way, over at some Facebook forums, I notice some people have trouble getting Olympus Updater to work. I have no issues even though I am Windows 10. I remember that Panasonic procedure is to put an executable or binary file on the SD card and then the camera runs the update, no need for cable or connection. Is that possible, viable with Olympus bodies? 90% or more seem to have got their update, a small percentage have problems

      Delete
  2. Ahhhh, shutter therapy. I work a serious job (medical research) and at the end of the day, all seriousness is out the door and I grab my camera - EP-5 as well with the 25mm f1.8, along with my 12-40mm. We have over 200 waterfalls and plenty of parks in Tennessee, and I have only been to 20 of them.

    That gives plenty of other ones to shoot, something to look forward too. Photography is an outlet, granted it can be a technical one, but I get to choose what, when, where and how. It feeds the creative side when the technical part of me is overwhelmed by work.

    BTW, love all the articles and photos, been a reader of your work for some time now, keep it up man!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Reiner,
      Thanks so much for the kind words! Whoahhhh I would looooove to visit some awesome waterfalls and parks! I do need to get out of a busy city once in a while.

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ahhhh, shutter therapy. I work a serious job (medical research) and at the end of the day, all seriousness is out the door and I grab my camera - EP-5 as well with the 25mm f1.8, along with my 12-40mm. We have over 200 waterfalls and plenty of parks in Tennessee, and I have only been to 20 of them.

    That gives plenty of other ones to shoot, something to look forward too. Photography is an outlet, granted it can be a technical one, but I get to choose what, when, where and how. It feeds the creative side when the technical part of me is overwhelmed by work.

    BTW, love all the articles and photos, been a reader of your work for some time now, keep it up man!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, that's true. A 50mm fc lens have limitation if I want take a street photography or full body portrait (I use 50mm manual lens). But in other way, I enjoy use 50mm on my E-M5 for close up portrait and sometimes for macro too. It's quite sharp. But still, I dream for 17 or 25 MZD lens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Owh, I was referring to the usual 25mm F1.8 lens having the equivalent 50mm focal length (x2). But yes, I do get your issues as well, as I am frequent user of 45mm (close to 50mm).

      Delete
  6. The photos with the chicken is pretty cool. At first I didn't notice the caption that it was a composite. So for a few minutes I was trying to figure out how 3 chickens ended up like that lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I shot the image in fast sequential burst (10 frames per second). The original image (any one of the sequential shots) looked too ordinary and boring. So I decided to do something different.

      Delete
  7. Really, really great photos, Robin! This year in summer I bought myself a refurbished E-P5 which is a really nice camera. Unfortunately, I experienced this shutter shock effect. The firmware was updated to the latest version and the anti-shock settings were set but at speeds below 1/320 s I did not manage to get really sharp photos. I had to sent it back which mad me really sad because I want this camera! But maybe there was something wrong with it. It was refurbished. Are you experiencing absolutely no shutter effect at all?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Luke,
      I have never experienced any shutter shock of any kind, but then I am not speaking for everyone. I understand that the issue is very real and can be problematic, but my E-P5 gave me perfectly sharp images. I am sure the guys ate the service will take care of the problem for you.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your answer, Robin. Hmm, maybe I try another exemplar of the E-P5 or I wait for the new PEN next year 😁.

      Delete
    3. I use a pen mini (e-pm1) and have some instances of shutter shock. It is quite impredictable though: it appears once every so many photos at speeds between 1/60 and 1/200. My solution? I shoot important photos twice, because it does not happen every time, and very rarely twice in a row.

      Delete
  8. Robin, I can't see why some of your photos could not be National Geographic worthy. To me they look very good and quite exotic. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Andrea for the kind words. I think there is still plenty of room for improvement, but yes, everyone's vision is unique! Important thing is to show the images as I intended it.

      Delete
  9. Great read and accompanying images. Yes, sometimes one wants or needs images to WOW, to impress the viewer or client. But there is also something to be said for the as-is aesthetic, known in Japan as "sono-mama"--appreciation of things the way they are, un-manipulated, as the human eye(s) see them. I started out in photography around 1970 with a 50mm lens on a 24x36mm camera, aka "full-frame." Over the years--man it's been decades!--I've switched to and from wide angles to zooms to telephotos. Now I've returned full circle to the 50mm albeit on m4/3's with a 25mm/1.8 lens. It's comforting to use, and relates closely to my internal visual memories as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad that you are discovering the joy of using the 50mm perspective as well. Indeed, it is rather comforting to use, especially for shooting on the street.

      Delete
  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nice blog entry Robin.
    Surely the shutter shot titled open ,should be closing, his hands are pulling the shutter down.
    I like the whole set and as it was shutter therapy, what I think does not mater after all.
    Lucky you having such a fine area to carry out the therapy in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well what happened was tha the roller shutter was stuck, so he had to push up and pull down a few times to get it open. But yes that was a sharp observation!

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the back story to the roller shutter, that option had not crossed my mind.
      Great set still, enjoy your street style Robin.

      Delete
    3. Thank you for the back story to the roller shutter, that option had not crossed my mind.
      Great set still, enjoy your street style Robin.

      Delete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Takes a lot of courage to approach strangers for portraits, furthermore of different races (or nationality?).
    Kudos, always amazing street portraits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the compliments! Still learning and improving here.

      Delete
  14. Robin, exceptional work once again. Your straight on non-candid street portraits continue to be my favorite. I learned quite a lot about setting up my OMD E5 ll from your OMD "cheat sheet" piece. Coincidentally, I have an EP 5 on its way and I was hoping you might share your current settings for the EP5 that you are currently using with us. Keep up the great work!
    Stephen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words Stephen, The OM-D cheat sheet also applies to the E-P5, minus the EVF part of course.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Robin. Nice to know your recommended set up for the EP5 is the same(similar) to the OMDs. When the EP5 was introduced in 2013 I considered buying one but the cost then for me was a bit high. I found a truly great price on a new EP5 last week and pulled the trigger without a lot of research on what menus/settings were different from what I was experimenting with for the OMD E5ll. I wanted a second body for travel and certain situations. The EP5 remains a very cool camera and I look forward to putting it into use. As an aside, I hope that Olympus is paying you well as you are a great ambassador for the brand! You teach through the lens showing what their products are capable of and your photographic eye is just a joy to look at. All the best,Stephen.

      Delete
  15. I've been following your blog and this is my first posting. I particularly love your shutter therapy concept and pics.Your OMD set ups was a great help. Thanks, hope to join you one day for the shutter therapy.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great photos, as usual! I've been an avid reader of your blog for some years already, but this is my first time commenting. You always seem to fill your frames properly with the subject, something I'm still struggling with. The photos have a great balance to them.

    I have one question though: how do you go about approaching subjects on the street? Do you ask for permission to take a photo or just shoot? I've tried to do some street photography, but I'm often afraid to get close enough to get good photos. You can check some of my work over at my blog, if you like :) http://www.matiasautio.com/ Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I searched around and found many posts on the subject on how to approach. I must have missed them somehow. Thanks for the tips!

      Delete