Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Street Photography Is About....

Found an old image of myself, taken several years ago by a dear friend, Luke Ding during one of our many photowalks around KL city area. 

There was a background with a gigantic word "Fun" on it. 

I figured, this could make a good introduction slide in my upcoming Street Photography presentation that I am working on now. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Keeping Things Simple And Fun

I have been witnessing the urge in many local photographer friends to push through boundaries, trying to accomplish something great with their photographs. Talks about tips and tricks to win that prestigious competition, being featured in a local art gallery for exhibitions and generally how to gain recognition from their photography work. Somehow, all this made my own photography attempts during my weekly shutter therapy sessions look so... plain and simple. Perhaps, too simplistic, knowing well that none of these photographs I have taken or shown here would win me any competition, or be printed and proudly hung in Art Gallery walls. 

As I was about to question the whole purpose of me picking up the camera and shoot week after week, I paused for a second and realized that, it was never about competitions or exhibitions in the first place. It would be awesome for you if you have a strict goal to achieve, something to aim for, hence the powerful motivation to go far, and break down barriers. It all comes down to how much you want something, how desperate you want it to happen and how much you are willing to sacrifice to accomplish your goals. As much as I have given up and can set aside to the expansion of my photography goals, I would never, ever sacrifice one particularly important aspect: the JOY of photography. 

That was the difference between me and many people that I know, while some photographers pick up the camera hoping to capture that miracle shot that will be featured in the National Geographic, I on the other hand could care less about anything, really, except making darn sure I was having a blast of a time, as if it was my last shutter therapy session I have had. Why bother picking up a hobby if you cannot even enjoy every single process of it? 

Keeping in-line with the spirit of simple and fun, I decided to use just the kit lens for last weekend's shutter therapy session. All images were taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ Kit Lens. 

Sometimes I cannot believe how small the E-M10 Mark II is. Not that much difference in size in comparison to a cup of Flat White

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Sigma 19mm F2.8 Lens Review That Almost Happened

I bought a new lens last week. It was in the used market, and the deal was just too hard to resist. It was the not so new, Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN lens, not the new Art version, but the original first generation released about four years ago. 

Why would I want a new lens, at an odd focal length of 19mm? I have always had the 35mm perspective in mind, and I wanted a lens just for that. I did not quite click with the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 version, and I was not happy with the slow autofocus speed of the older pancake version of Olympus 17mm F2.8 lens. No, that Panasonic 20mm F1.7 is even slower, though I do like the image output from that lens. I was left with not many choices left, and that Sigma 19mm F2.8, after going through some online reviews, looks promising. Focusing was reported to be fast and the lens performs considerably well optically. Yes, it is very close to Olympus 25mm F1.8, and even larger, but at a super low selling price, I thought why not give it a try?

Imagine, having a newly acquired lens in hand, with a mission to do a long, extensive shoot to compose a blog review for that Sigma 19mm F2.8 lens, I was fired up and fully enthusiastic on last Saturday morning. The enthusiasm lasted as long as the lens was still alive, which was about 30 minutes into my street shooting session. Unfortunately, the Sigma 19mm lens decided to die on me. IT DIED ON ME while I was shooting halfway, and the camera just refused to recognize the lens mounted on it. I brought two of my own Olympus cameras out: E-M10 Mark II and E-P5, both failed to recognize the lens. I then tried the Sigma 19mm on my friend's E-M1, and it did not work either. After half an hour of rubbing the electronic contacts and praying to the Photography God, I must have not done anything right at all as the lens still remained dead. 

I figured, I could just give up and move on to the fully air conditioned nearest cinema to catch The Jungle Book, or put the Sigma lens away and substituted it with my faithful Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 which I did bring along, continued with the shutter therapy and then ended the day with The Jungle Book. I went with the latter option. Never let a dead lens stop you from shooting. And The Jungle Book was super freaking awesome, so awesome I think I am going to watch it again soon. 

Here are a handful of images I shot with the Sigma 19mm F2.8 lens on my E-M10 Mark II before it died on me. And yes I have used these images in my previous blog entry. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

5 Reasons Why Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Is An Awesome Camera For New Comers To Photography

I have written an extensive review for the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II (please do read if you have not), I loved the camera so much I purchased one not too long after the review. I have owned the E-M10 Mark II for more than half a year now, and have used it extensively for my own shutter therapy sessions, as well as some assignment shoots (event coverage, pre-wedding shoots, and actual day wedding photography). Throughout my use of the E-M10 Mark II, I cannot help but always feel that this is perhaps one of the best camera I would recommend for new comers to photography!

If you are already an experienced photographer and have been shooting religiously for a while now, this article may not be relevant to you. However, if you are shooting mostly with your smartphone cameras, or a compact, basic point and shoot and are thinking of taking your photography game to the next level, you may want to take a good look at the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II. It is not the cheapest value for money budget system camera (entry level DSLR or CSC). In fact, I would not label the E-M10 Mark II as an entry level camera, after using it extensively for half a year, I believe it is a lot more capable in terms of field performance and delivering high quality images than most entry level DSLR or mirrorless system. In this blog entry, I shall discuss the advantages and strengths of the E-M10 Mark II against most other entry level systems available out there.