Saturday, May 12, 2012
When I say I hit the odd patch in my life where I don't take photos, that's not exactly accurate. When I hit the odd patch, I slow down my photography. Normally I travel around with three cameras hidden away in my Prius (an E-1, an E-3, and the E-P2). When I find a subject or view that catches my attention I stop and attempt to capture it with one of those cameras (or two, or all three if needed) what it was that induced me to stop and look closer in the first place. Normally I diligently download and process every photo every day. But during those odd patches the photography slows down and the photos that are taken stack up in the cameras until I finally import them all into Lightroom and sort everything out. And then I export a few of what I consider the better photos (in common parlance, the "keepers"), and from those upload a smaller subset to Flickr or wherever I choose to display them. When I'm being diligent, lots go up. When I'm feeling morose about the world, very few go out.
Photos are in reverse chronological order. The top and one following came from today's trip to Millenia Mall and a local eyeglass store. I'd had my eyes checked earlier in the week, and I decided to come by here to check selections and prices. I found nothing I wanted, and what was available was very expensive, but at least I have a price point from which to work. I'm planning on going back to where I had my eye examination and talking with the optometrist there. Hopefully they'll be a bit lower and use more of my insurance plan.
While I was there I practiced my nascent "street shooting" skills, doing my best to hold my camera in as nonchalant a manner as possible away from the face. I got a lot of exposures this way, but very, very few worth keeping. I processed the photo above in black and white to work with just detail and tonality. With all the mid-day Florida sunlight coming in from above it's a high key photo and the colors were overwhelming. If I were to go back and redo this as color I would try to heavily desaturate the colors. I tried to capture the sweep of lines down this hallway towards infinity, and the flow of shoppers down this stretch. It's a lot like my pencil sketching style from art school. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
I'm still following the construction project going on next to the Burger King on University. In this case, I almost accidentally captured this one. I was standing on the edge and just happened to see the lone worker looking back over his shoulder towards the scoop (or maybe it was me). I wanted this one because this lone individual in the middle of all this gives the photo an immediate sense of scale. Sometimes you need that reference to fully appreciate what's happening.
And then, finally, as I was headed home Friday afternoon I stopped by to fill up the Prius, and documented the price of gas. Gas has fallen forty cents since the it's high of $3.95 around the first part of March. Gas has been on a steady decline now since the last week of March, and there's talk that we may test the $3/gallon price point. Compare this talk with the dire predictions around February that we would be testing $5/gallon by Memorial day. Welcome to the commodities markets, folks.
New Camera News
I pulled the trigger today and purchased the E-PL1 for $150 from Amazon. I also picked up a VF-2 EVF. Delivery is expected sometime late next week. I had thought about picking up another budget µ4/3rds lens, the Sigma 2.8/30mm. But I have a deliberate cap on my camera expenses, and I already have a nice enough lens selection. But still...
I've seen some realistic appraisals and some good work using the 30mm from Steve Collin's Photo Travel Asia blog. I first came across his work simultaniously via Steve Huff's blog and a link in The Visual Science Lab Flickr group. Interestingly, it was his work using the Nikon V1 while traveling in Vietnam that first caught my eye. Later, he wrote about using µ4/3rds cameras while traveling, the most recent being the OM-D E-M5. He's picked up a Sigma 30mm which he says he's finding more interesting as time goes along.
Another Blog of Note
I've stumbled upon Ming Thein's blog via 1001 Noisy Cameras. Ming Thein reviewed the Leica X2. It's not the camera I'm interested in but the photography he produced with it. To my eyes his work is gorgeous. It embodies the kind of quality I aspire to create in my own work, and fall so short of achieving. Of course, I feel that way when I look at Kirk Tuck's body or work, or Matthew Robertson's, or Wolfgang Lonien's, or Hank Hauptmann's, or any of the other talented folk I follow or accidentally stumble upon. All of that is a reminder that I need to pick my game up, considerably.
Towards the Future
I flipped the E-P2's picture mode to monochrome tonight. I'll do the same thing to the E-PL2 when it arrives. I'm going back in time to when all I could afford and shoot with was black and white film (Pan-X, Plus-X, and Tri-X). I'm going back to a time where I saw the world in black and white, as composition and tonality. What's going to help this time is the advanced technology of the E-P2 and E-PL1. When in monochrome mode, you see the image on the screen or in the viewfinder in black and white, which makes composition a whole lot easier. I can also appreciate the fact I get immediate feedback as I change up the exposure via aperture/shutter or EV override. Some of Ming Thein's photos are black and white, with wide swaths of deep rich dark tones, plenty of mid tones, and lots of interesting highlights. Again, a look to shoot for (no pun intended), but not to slavishly copy.
Top two photos are Olympus E-P2 and Panasonic 2.5/14mm. Construction photo was taken with the E-3 and the Zuiko Digital 12-60mm. I wish Olympus would produce a native µ4/3rds version of this zoom; the M.Zuiko 12-50mm isn't it. Until that day comes, or Olympus figures out how to effectively use regular 4/3rds lenses on µ4/3rds bodies, I'll keep this combination near at hand so I can easily reach for it when needed. Bottom photo is the E-P2 and the wonderful M.Zuiko 1.8/45mm. Post processing in Lightroom 4 and Silver Efex Pro 2.