London, a New Camera and a Couple of Books.

London

Bit of a laid-back and lazy blog post today – just ‘cos that is the way I am feeling. First up London. I did not get a chance to do any Street Photography in London as it was a whirlwind stop over and there were far too many other things to do. However, I was staying just behind the Tate Modern and managed to take the photo below from the viewing tower. Although this looks like an architectural photo, I took a while to find some people that would stand out in the gap between the two buildings. I believe that the inclusion of the two people, who are defined, place this photo into the classification of Street. The inclusion of the two people also add a story to the shot, where are they going, and why are there so few people in such a large area? As always, I would love to here your views – ‘what is street photography?’ is a hotly debated topic!

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View from the Tate Modern

Larry Fink, on Composition and Improvisation

The Tate Modern has a beautiful collection of books on Photography. I purchased ‘Larry Fink, on Composition and Improvisation. Larry’s photos consistently fill the frame with action and a story. This book does not contain stark minimalism and negative space! I chose this book as I often feel that my photos are too minimalist – often to the point where I am cloning out distractions in search of the ‘perfect frame.’ Of course, the perfect frame does not exist, but looking through this book, I can see numerous ways that my work can continue to grow. The second book I purchased is ‘Why It Does Not Have To Be In Focus – Modern Photography Explained,’ by Jackie Higgins. Again, my choice of book is pulling me away from ‘perfect frames’ and towards greater experimentation – an example of which is below!

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Taken at the Tate Modern Viewing Tower. My Son appears in the frame on the right – at least he has a camera in hand!

The Sony Rx100 iv

Since my Ricoh Gr died, I have been looking for a small compact camera. I have gone with the Sony Rx100 iv. It is tiny and goes into my pocket, while still having a reasonably sized sensor. With this camera I lose a lot of creativity – so it will never replace my Olympus. The camera will likely remain in Aperture Priority mode, and I will leave the computer to set the white balance and ISO. With a couple of clicks, the camera also appears to know what I want to be in focus, although I have no idea of the magic that is at work here. Tomorrow I will try this camera out for Street Photography, as I am in a small Market Town, which should be busy on Easter Monday (starting with a canoe race on the canal). As ever, I will let you know how I get on.

One last ‘plug’ – I purchased my second camera bag made by ‘Crumpler’, these are excellent camera bags and I strongly recommend their gear.

Take Care and Keep Clicking,

Chris

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Traveling with the Olympus EM5ii.

During the last couple of weeks, I have not been posting much online. I have been visiting a remote location with no wifi and a phone that ran out of credit. However, I have still been busy on a couple of projects. The photos will emerge at some point, so watch this space. Here is a little teaser of what I have been doing.

Karate Kid

Karate Kid was happy to perform for the camera.

The Nilgiris Hills, India

I am fortunate to have spent the last week camping out with my Grade 6 class at the Nilgiris Hills, in Southern India. As well as being responsible for student wellbeing, I also had the task of photographing the week’s events. My gear of choice was the Olympus Em5ii with the 12-40mm and 25mm lenses. I am used to using this camera for a day’s photography. However, using it for a full week, from when I woke up to when I went to bed was going to show up its strengths and weaknesses.

Battery Life

I took two batteries with me; one is an official Olympus battery and one a cheap knock-off from China. In general, there was always a charging point nearby. However, the life of these batteries is still way shorter than with my Nikon D7100, which can run for days without a charge. A couple of tips, turn the screen around and just use the EVF. I also turned off the image stabilization for a lot of the time; mainly when there was a lot of sunlight. Mirrorless has caught up with DSLR’s in every aspect but battery life, and the Olympus range of cameras is no exception.

Lens Choice

The 12-40mm lens will remain my go-to choice for Street and People Photography. However, in this situation, there were times when I wished my lens had more reach. While nature photography is not my usual bag, if I see a wild animal then I damn well want to capture of shot of it. As well as a plethora of exciting bird life, I was privileged to witness a herd of wild Gaur, these are huge horned cows and are pretty dangerous. I managed to get reasonably close for a picture but would have loved a longer lens. The 12-40mm range also falls short when needed for sporting activities, such as abseiling. On the Street, I can get close to people, but with nature and sport, this intimacy is not so achievable. Olympus have a 12-100mm lens that would be ideal for this kind of camp, but I don’t think I would want to be using a lens that big and heavy every day. The strength of the 4/3’s system is, in part, due to its compactness.

Wild Gaur

A Wild Gaur. One of the few times I wish I had more reach with my zoom.

Firmware and User Experience

I had updated the firmware and lost my customized settings, and this meant I had to set my camera up once more. Re customizing my camera turned out to be a good thing, and I am now pretty happy with my settings, which I will share with you at some point. People criticise the controls of the Olympus cameras, but time spent customizing your Olympus camera will make it sing. While away I also had a chance to play with the pixel shift technology, for some reason the camera chose to shoot in Jpeg format, which while not ideal, helped to ensure that I got it right ‘in camera.’ However, this is not a feature I am likely to use much.

Nilgiri Hills

Landscape taken using the Olympus ‘pixel shift’ technology. Edited with a filter using On1.

Photos and Video Quality

Once again, I love the images captured with this camera. For a short period, I will leave the album up on this site (https://pagespics.com/nilgiris-camp/). The photos are a little different from my usual fare, but it is a great way to share the images with the students who came on camp. Again, I always shoot RAW to get the best out of my camera.   To edit the multiple photos quickly, I used the synchronize option in Lightroom.

I do not usually use my Olympus for a lot of video. However, this may change as I am happy with the footage captured. The 5 axis image stabilisation worked a treat. You can see the final edited version of the movie on my YouTube channel. The image stabilization meant I could leave my tripod in the bag. Again, with Micro 4/3’s less is more! I love to travel light. My editing was carried out using iMovie, although basic, it is a piece of software that gets the job done, plus the price is perfect!

Final Thoughts

I had a great week, taking pics with my camera. I loved its compactness and versatility, and the photos look great. I would have liked the batteries to have had a better life and would have appreciated a little more length on the zoom. If I threw money at these issues, I could get a battery grip and the 12-100mm lens. However, there is no extra pay for taking photos when I am at work, so it would be hard to justify the cost. Adding these extra’s would also negate the advantage of the system’s compactness, plus I do not need either of these items for my Street Photography.

The Week Ahead.

Tonight I head for a brief stint in the UK, which is covered in snow. It has been a few years (at least) since I last experienced cold weather and I own NO warm clothes. Hopefully I will get a chance get out and capture a little Street Photography.

Old Cameras Needed In India.

I am publishing next week’s post now as I am away next week on a school camp. And yes, you read the above correctly. I am asking you to give me your cameras! Do not panic, I am not after your brand new Sony A7iii (although I would take it). Many of you will have old discarded and outdated cameras. Unused cameras could have a chance of a second life in India.

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Happiness

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B+W vs Color (Again)

Photographing India

India is heading into the summer, and it is getting seriously hot. This weekend I headed out at 3.30pm and was roasted alive. The summer months are going to force my shooting to the early mornings and late afternoons, which is possibly a good thing as the light is excellent at these times of the day. On another note, my youtube channel is taking off with eight subscribers! Maybe the midday can be used to work on my vlogging skills – they need it! Here is the link my channel, which is in its very early days.

https://youtube.com/channel/UCX8f_HNdZ7zyl9qQK1Z7p7w?view_as=subscriber

Mother and Child

Mother and Child

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