As the year 2016 is coming to an end, it is time for me to look back the entire year worth of photographs I have taken.

Here are a few facts: the year 2016 is the year I have taken the least number of photographs in comparison to each year I have started photography in a more serious-hobbyist level since 2008. This was largely due to my work with Olympus which required me to work on weekends (consumer workshops, walkabout events, touch and try for new products, etc). Consequently, the year 2016 has the least number of posts, having only 70 blog entries in total, in stark contrast of 220 blog entries in 2012. While the number of photographs taken and blog updates have dropped significantly, I have ensured that whenever I was out there shooting (for myself, excluding the product reviews) I would do my best and put in extra effort to get the shot that I really wanted. Shutter therapy may not have happened as often as I liked, but I still managed to find time to shoot for pleasure from time to time.

I think as a hobbyist, and even if you are a professional photographer, you do need to find time to just shoot for the fun of shooting, and not stress out on any specific goals or "project" objectives. I acknowledge that many photography websites and photographer "gurus" would recommend sticking to a vision, having a running theme to adhere to and stick strictly to the rules of how to shoot for a series of photographs (typically with an end goal of publishing book/gallery/exhibition in mind), I beg to differ in opinion. I find there is nothing wrong to just wield the camera and just point it at the things that drew your attention, and shoot the things that you like to shoot. These images may not need to mean anything to anyone, they should mean something to you. If this is true, and you continue to stay true to yourself, after shooting for a while you will realize that you have inserted your own personality, characteristics and identity in your photography. Your images tell stories about yourself. Is it not better to shoot something that you actually love shooting and enjoy yourself thoroughly throughout the whole process, instead of pressuring yourself, stressing out on your final delivery of a "project"?

No I do not have a photography project specifically and I do not intend to start one. I may not have cohesive story-telling when it comes to my street photography, which by itself is a far deviation from the conventional approach. Does this mean I will never achieve the "high level" of photography required for standard gallery exhibitions, or does this disqualify myself from being regarded as a serious photographer? At the end of the day, as long as I come home, happy with my own set of images, I believe that is what truly matters.

Yellow Shirt
How has the holiday season been for everyone?

I had a quiet Christmas, which followed by my Birthday. Yes I was born on a Boxing Day. I did some light street shooting around town, spend almost entire Christmas and Boxing Day reading a book, the "Doctor Sleep" from Stephen King which was a direct sequel to "The Shining" and had some small gathering with friends. I could not have asked for a better way to spend the holidays. A bit of shutter therapy, some coffee, awesome friends, and finally, some time off to actually read a book!

My adventures with the Panasonic LX100 continues with my recent shutter therapy sessions. As I have mentioned in my previous blog entry, as long as I shot everything in RAW and spent some time post-processing the images, the LX100 can deliver beautiful images. While the camera operations (mainly dials, rings and manual controls) can get overwhelming, I have simplified my street shooting workflow and made the LX100 work for me. The focusing was quick enough for me to grab some spontaneous shots, which was crucial for my street shooting.

I did however find that the lens was an interesting aspect of the camera, not being clinically sharp at any focal length, but it offers a very pleasing overall rendering of an image. I particularly love how the wide angle 24mm shot wide open at F1.7 can still create decent amount of shallow depth of field for subject isolation (though you should really not look at 100% view, the mushiness of details is disturbing). Also, zooming in at 75mm F2.8, the lens is decent in sharpness.

LX100 vs The Antman
If any of you remembered the post I did not too long ago about the three cameras that I was lusting for (read here if you have not done so), in the list there was a Panasonic Lumix LX100. The idea of owning a compact camera with a Micro Four Thirds sized image sensor and bright zoom lens was quite an attractive one, held back only by the hefty price tag, which I could not justify spending on. Honestly, I would think that an Olympus E-M10 Mark II, priced about the same though with a slower aperture zoom lens is a much better deal and overall more feature-packed package. Nonetheless, I found a used Panasonic LX100 with a bargain I cannot refuse, hence I thought to myself, since Christmas and my birthday are coming soon, I deserve to reward myself with something nice. Something like a camera that I have lusted for all this time. Yes, alright I admit it, it was all GAS but I am human too. Cut me some slack.

Panasonic LX100, while not a small camera, is still quite compact in overall form factor.