Friday, December 30, 2011

Late Lunch

One of the reasons for carrying a camera like the Pen is because it's small, discreet, and non-intimidating — everything a full-blown DSLR isn't. So when the Wife and I went out for a late-afternoon lunch at the local Chipotle (where else), I started to practice discreet "street" photography with the E-P2 and the Panasonic 20mm. The key to this kind of photography using this kind of camera is to hold it in a non-photographer stance, meaning you don't call attention to yourself by lifting the camera up to your face, or putting on the V-F2 and focusing with your eye like, well, a DSLR.

The Dining Family

Instead I hold the body non-chilantly down around my chest, and just far enough out to see the screen out of the corner of my eye. If I'm standing near something like a waist-high wall, I lean against it casually and make sure the lens is pointing out, then reach over with my thumb and trip the shutter. I can do that one-handed because I have fairly large hands.

Over the decades of using classic film SLRs I have learned how to see with both eyes open, and to integrate what I see in such a way to better frame and capture the decisive moment, as well as be aware of what is happening around me. With that personal capability I use the E-P2's back screen as a simple framing aid out of the corner of one eye while depending on the Pen's autofocus to get the focus right. The M.Zuiko is an MSC lens, meaning it's wonderfully silent while focusing as well as being reasonably quick. The only sound the camera makes is the low shutter sound, and with the noise of people and music around me it's sufficiently drowned out that no one pays attention.

If none of this technology works and the photo comes out blurry or poorly exposed, then I calmly accept the fact and move on.

Pervasive Computing

One of the little items that caught my eye was the number of iPads around the store. I don't mean iPad-like, or table-like, I mean iPads. I counted at least four, and one of them was in an elaborate cover with a Bluetooth keyboard. In the not-too-distant past I would have seen a lot of notebooks on the tables being used while the patrons ate and talked, but I'm now seeing them replaced with iPads. And why not? They're a lot smaller, lighter, last a lot longer on a charge, and they do what everybody was doing with their notebooks anyway — reading email, sending texts, surfing the web, and playing games (like the woman above). I'm watching an on-going shift in personal tech, to smaller, lighter devices such as the iPad. I can't provide absolute evidence, but it looks like the iPad is also taking over a bit from the smartphone. If anyone had a smartphone out, it was sitting next to the iPad, unused, like the example above.

Yellow Hibiscus

The M.Zuiko 45mm is also a nice little close focusing lens. It's closest focusing distance is a half meter (about 1 2/3rds feet). It's close enough that I was able to fill the frame (sensor) with this image of a yellow hibiscus blooming in the back yard this evening. In spite of the fact that the sun had well set when I took this, there was still enough twilight left to back-light the flower and allow me to close the 45mm down to f/2.8 before taking the exposure. In this instance I moved the focus square over to the lower right corner where the stamen is located. The composition, orientation, and lens aperture gave me a nice plane of focus across the flower to pick up just enough detail in reasonable focus. I wanted something of the afterglow of twilight about the flower. I processed it as black-and-white, then gave it an Ambrotype (24) tone via Silver Efex Pro.

When I'm not busy giving myself ulcers worrying over the technical capabilities of my gear (or the supposed lack thereof), I tend to relax and have a lot of easy fun with the setup.

Edit 1 January 2012

I screwed up. The restaurant portraits were taken with the Panasonic 20mm. I carry it and the 45 with me, one on the body, the other in a pocket. Only the bottom photo was taken with the 45mm.

1 comment:

  1. The IPad is definitely picking up steam as the quick go to and carry everywhere device. I have owned mine for over a year and a half and I find myself grabbing it instead of my laptop the vast majority of the time. Instant on/off, portability and long battery life have made it my favorite for most things. I seem to only break out my laptop for photo work any more.

    That is a great shot and processing of the hibiscus!


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