Thursday, May 10, 2012

Eyes W I D E open

New addition to the gang. Sadly, while trying to take this picture, the 50mm is starting to show more problems, mainly intermittent contact with the body. Boo Hoo.

Voigtlander Ultra Wide Heliar 12mm F5.6.

Gives the GXR an equivalent of 18mm. Not quite easy to focus using Mode 2 focus assist, as everything appears to be in focus. Throw the image up on the computer screen and you start to notice blurry areas.

It has the shortest minimum shooting distance of 0.5m among the M Voigtlanders, so coupled with the incredibly deep depth of field, close up shots should be quite interesting, though light would be a problem as the apertures would be quite small.

There is a fair bit of vignetting which you can diminish or enhance to taste using the M Module built in compensation.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Talent and Hard Work

Real talent on YouTube. I am so amazed and jealous at the same time.

The first one is just fun, from the Simpsons.

Next is just simply amazing.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Happy Family

My Ricoh family.

Sometimes I wonder which to bring, each has its strength.

Unfortunately the 50mm GR lens module has lost it's manual focus function, happily the auto focus works a lot better than initially. 

Friday, May 04, 2012

Ricoh GXR Mount A12

Yes, it is the "Poor Man's Leica". Getting the module and a lens is definitely enough to make you poor! The module's street price is almost SGD$900 and the Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.4 sets you back another $700. Ouch. Thankfully I have been saving up since they launched the module. The Mount module is very easy to use, although it takes some time getting used to going all manual for focusing.

The heart behind the picture

Tonight I attended my first ever photography talk, sponsored by Canon, featuring adventure photographer Tyler Stableford. It was an interesting 2 hours long of distraction from daily life.

There are 3 types of speakers in my experience of attending talks. The worst are those who do the peacock dance, it's all me me me, see how good I am. Sure they can put up a good show, but that is all there is, a show. In the middle is the average and technically competent, probably good for technical knowledge, but can be painfully dull at times. The best will share their knowledge, philosophy and experience in a clear sincere manner. Whether you agree with the speaker's point of view or not, you will feel the need to think deeply and develop your own path of thought.

Mr Stableford is a photographer who thrives in extreme locations, his showcase of work takes him from the depths of the earth to mountain tops. Yet the whole lecture wasn't about the extreme settings, it was all about the telling the story of the subject in their natural environment. Of course there were the obligatory parts about equipment (being sponsored of course he mentioned plenty about that) and techniques, but what stuck in my mind was about connecting to the subject with your heart. In fact one of the question asked of him was, which of his techniques or principles can be applied where the subject was non human.  His opinion was, no matter what subject, the story behind the subject and heart of the photographer were key. In fact a photograph was also a  reflection of the photographer as much as the subject matter. It is how we see the subject that should also be present to the viewer.

When asked about his greatest achievement, he was genuinely stumped as he had not thought about it. He didn't feel it should be about the ego, that a photograph should define what he is. To paraphrase (I have an atrocious memory), it was about finding the joy in the process of the project. I think what helps is that he connects well to his subjects who range from almost nameless miners toiling away deep underground to double amputee war veteran Heath Calhoun who found a purpose in life doing competitive skiing. That connection is their quiet perseverance to overcoming odds.

Another answer that Mr Stableford gave stuck in my mind. A audience member asked, what could someone in Singapore, being devoid of majestic mountains vistas, draw inspiration from. He quickly described our ports with the huge container cranes as one of the areas that he would like to explore. It wasn't simply the imagery of huge machines, but the story of the men operating the cranes that draw him in.

It is always the story that can make the difference between a technically perfect picture and a masterpiece. Something I have only learnt lately.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Times when you only have your cell

Nokia N9. 

Don't need no insta-whatchacallit.

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