Woke up to a beautiful morning, a public holiday in Malaysia, and that means catching up on my much needed, and very deprived shutter therapy sessions. Joining me this morning was a group of Olympus Micro Four Thirds shooters, and it has actually been quite a while since I joined an Olympus only group for any shoot. Of course, this was also officially the first session I have done a shutter therapy (for non-review purpose) with my newly acquired Olympus OM-D E-M5. The gang met up at Masjid Jamek and we shot around the area, ending up for lunch just before noon at Yut Kee. I have been looking forward to this particular shooting session, mainly because I have not been doing any shooting for myself only (as usual, not review related).
I only have two lenses with me, the M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 and the 45mm F1.8. I felt that I can exclusively shoot with just the 45mm F1.8 lens, but I also wanted to test out the 12-50mm lens, you know, just to get myself re-familiarized with it, since it has been quite a while since I last used the 12-50mm. The E-M5 did a splendid job in grabbing nearly 100% focus accuracy (with blazing speed). When I was using the E-M5, it did not feel alien at all, and somehow, I was quite comfortable with it. The menu system is basically the same with the E-5, and coming from Olympus background, it was quite easy to pick up the camera and just shoot. The basic setup and settings are the same.
Portrait of a Stranger 1
Slow Morning Walk
Portrait of a Stranger 2
Portrait of a Stranger 3
At the Windows
I think every time someone came along with me to the street, somehow there was some expectation that I have some special techniques to share when it comes to shooting strangers. To be entirely honest, I do not have any secrets, and techniques. I just pointed the camera at the stranger, and shoot. And no, I do not just randomly point my lens at any stranger on the street. If the people look approachable and friendly, I would give it a try. And yes, I do get rejected from time to time, but we do have to respect another person's privacy and request not to have photos taken. Move on from there, it does not matter if there was lost opportunities, there is virtually no consequence! Just find another subject along the street and who knows, the next one will be even better. It is important to keep an open mind, be bold and not be discouraged. Approach street people that you feel comfortable to do so. If there was this old grumpy man that seemed like he would devour you when you get too close, then avoid him! If you think that he looked fierce and unfriendly, surely he is not worth to be included in your frame, unless you have something specific you needed that subject somehow.
The main reason I used the 45mm F1.8 (or previously, my favourite Zuiko Digital 50mm F2 macro lens) for my street portrait, was obvious, allowing me some working distance between me and my subject. The people would feel a lot less threatened with you shooting a few feet away, in contrast to you using a wider angle lenses and pointing the camera just inches away from their nose. I also believe that there is the personal space which we have to watch out for. Get in too close and somehow the reaction would change. Wonder how I managed to have my subjects still feel at ease while I was shooting them? Provide some shooting distance, and do not get to close. Just get close enough.
An Old Building
It was great shooting in a group of friends who use the same system. The main advantage? We can switch lenses and accessories. Collectively in a pool, we had the following lenses: M.Zuiko 12mm F2, 12-50mm F3.5-6.3, 45mm F1.8, 60mm F2.8 macro, 40-150mm F4-5.6, Panasonic 25mm F1.4, as well as an OM 50mm F1.8 lens. Since everyone can only practically use one lens at one time, there was plenty of opportunity to try and use any lens. I used mainly the 45mm F1.8, hence it was no issue for me to loan the 12-50mm around, if needed.
I am very, very happy with what the 45mm F1.8 lens can do. It basically did what I would have expected my older 50mm F2 macro lens can, on the street. On the other hand, the performance of the kit lens 12-50mm is not to be underestimated. It may not be stellar, but it can do general shooting rather well, especially on the street, with plenty of good available light. At 12mm, I practially have a wide angle coverage, which was handy to cover some wide shots with background emphasis in mind.
Friends joining me this session:
Alex, Carmen and Jackie
Can't wait for the next shutter therapy session. I really, really wish I have more time to shoot. Hands are still itchy!