Roaming The Streets Once Again

The lockdown situation in Malaysia is gradually eased, with more restrictions being lifted. The 10km travel limit is no longer applicable, and we can travel inter-district now, allowing me to go to places that I usually go to for street shooting, especially at downtown Kuala Lumpur. The rules are not entirely clear if photography and filming are allowed in public spaces, for both commercial purposes and personal activities, but I guess now that we are allowed to roam more freely out in the open, there is less harm bringing a camera out and about. After all, I do my street shooting solo, keeping to strict social distancing at all times and I am not causing any trouble or disturbance to any one. I figured, it was time to do some shutter therapy!

I brought out the Canon 5D and 50mm F1.8 for a spin at my favourite street hunting ground, Chow Kit. I refrained from entering the wet market to not contribute to the tight crowd situation in the market, and allow those who actually need to get something from the market to enter. Photography as a hobby is still quite a selfish thing to do, so I was very cautious of where I went and what I did with my camera, not making unnecessary nuisance or inconveniences to others. Nevertheless, Chow Kit is a huge ground to cover, lots to explore and photo opportunities waiting to happen at almost every corner, there is a reason why I love this place so, so much. And the people here are often so inviting and friendly, most of my portraits of strangers images were shot here!






















Shooting with the 5D and 50mm was very familiar to me. I was already so used to using Olympus 25mm F1.8 and F1.2 PRO over the years, the framing and composition when shooting with 50mm lens came naturally to me, without putting too much effort. I knew exactly where to stand, how far to position myself from the subject, or if I need to relocate myself to get a different variation of framing. Since the focal length was almost second nature to me, it was also easier for me to look out for interesting subjects, something out of the ordinary and put more effort in adding drama in my street shots. 

An interesting observation - I acknowledge a lot of people loving full frame for that super shallow depth of field, ability to blur off the background into oblivion. Strangely, I found the 50mm F1.8 on full frame to render too much shallow depth of field, I constantly found myself stopping down the aperture to F2.8 or F3.5, just to get sufficient zone in focus. I guess it all comes down to what you want to do with your photography, and if your goal is to blur as much as possible in your frame, then you will love full frame. I need at least the parts I want to be in focus to be in focus to tell a better story. Too much blur is not necessarily a good thing, and may take away meaning from a shot, or eat into important elements that can help tell a more compelling story through the photograph. There were times I have stopped down to F8 and still found myself not having enough depth of field to work with, and that has become a problem. Some will argue, you can stop down the aperture further in full frame for more depth of field but you cannot open it up wider in Micro Four Thirds due to sensor size limitation. I disagree. Are you asking me to stop down to F16 just to get sufficient depth of field? Shooting at F16 introduces a whole lot of other issues - low light shutter speed high ISO, and not to mention lens diffraction. 

As for me, I was just happy that I can now go out and shoot. I will probably dare myself to go out to film a video soon. I think it is relatively safe now. I am just an innocent photographer trying to create content, doing my own thing, I am not breaking any rules, I am not doing anything wrong. The kind of photographs that I am able to shoot being outside is a lot different than the kind that I tried to shoot indoors. 

Wherever you are, I hope you are able to continue enjoy your photography! Keep the shutter clicking. 

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  2. Glad you are able to get out for some "photo therapy." Having followed your work with the Olympus, I thought these Canon photos were less appealing than your Olympus work. The "smeared" focus away from your central focus made me think the photos were "off." I kept thinking "that really isn't a very good lens." Not that the whole scene needed to be sharp, just that something seemed off. That is not the feeling I got from your Olympus work. I'm not an Olympus fanatic; I enjoyed using it for many years but am a Nikon Z6ii user now with the Panasonic GX9 as a backup various Olympus lenses. And where is the cat? Anyway, glad to see you are active and sharing. Frank

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  4. Glad to hear you could get out again. I noticed long ago in clubs, if I wanted a certain depth of field shutter speed to capture the movement, I had to use a slower aperture and higher ISO with full frame so I gained nothing except size and weight. AS always, I love the photos of a land I will never see with my own eyes.

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