Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my photography and where its been, where’s it at, and where its going. To be honest, all these questions sometimes bother me, as its a constant revaluation of the things one has done. But I’m old enough to realize that like all things there is a learning curve which guides you through this path and this is a rite of passage to a better photographic eye which sees more, absorbs more, and thinks more about what’s in his frame. I’d like to think of it as a kind of metamorphosis. So I started to think about how I wanted to document such changes and I thought creating a special project to describe such changes, queries, questions, thoughts, would be apropos and hence today marks the beginning of a new project titled – The Fortnightly Review.
I drew inspiration from the original Fortnightly Review, “founded in 1865 by Anthony Trollope and others with the mission of providing an open forum for the discussion of issues and ideas” – but in my case, The Fortnightly Review will be my canvas to explore different concepts in photography, my thought process, and in general, an open canvas into my photographic world and its raison d’etre. Think of it as a personal journal with several goals in mind, and that is to explore, to probe, to submerge myself into my own photographic vision and metamorphosis and perhaps by being so open about my own, you, the reader/photographer/viewer, will perhaps take my experience and shape your own.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my other sources of inspiration which is the amazing work of a couple of photographers I’m fortunate enough to call my friends — Wouter Brandsma and Josh White. Wouter Brandsma has been exploring the depth of his photography in his wonderful weekly project which is truly a labor of love and dedication to this great craft. While on the other hand, Josh White, continues to push the limits of photography through his photographic essays that probe the inner psyche to a new level – to both “thank you”. So with that said, I decided to do my own with a more modest time frame hence the biweekly sessions and its title — The Fortnightly Review. To those that have not followed as of yet, this is a great opportunity to subscribe to the site’s feed via RSS and catch me on Twitter to stay up to date as this journey begins today.
“Just for Two” Lumix G1 + Olympus 50mm MF
I suppose a great place to begin is to divulge all the formalities out of the way and I’m always being asked questions of this nature. I shoot with m4/3 cameras – the Lumix G1 and the Olympus EPL-2 alongside a few legacy lenses from Hexanon and Olympus and the 17mm Oly pancake and process my images via Lightroom 3 and Silver Efex Pro 2. I used to shoot with a various other cams including the Nikon d80, Nikon P7000, Ricoh GRD III, Lumix LX3, and even the Canon S90 some years ago. As you can see I tend to favor small sensor cameras but as I my own photographic vision continues to expand, my requirements have changed and I know favor a decent size sensor(m4/3) which gives me better IQ, wider range of DR, and all the good stuff biggger sensors brings to this craft but all in a small package.
“Paradise” Lumix G1 + Olympus 50mm MF
Some have questioned my choices and yet others seem perplexed from such jumping around. But I like say, I don’t need to be with a camera 5 months to realize I just don’t have a connection with it. And its not because I was not able to create images which I felt were fine but for me photography tools(and any other tool for that matter) are just that, tools which aid my photographic eye. I suppose with all this “Gadget Addiction Syndrome” (GAS) I’ve learned quite a few things along the way about my likes and dislikes.
“Mermaid” Lumix G1 + Olympus 50mm MF
Just the other day some family members and myself headed over to Metro Zoo. I caught some great frames and I was generally very happy with my keepers but something happened that day. I was shooting with the Nikon D80 and a zoom and after 3 hours of shooting my hand felt like it was working on a construction site for the better half of the day. My hands had gotten a workout like no other, and it was not a comfortable feeling as my hands are the primary tool with which my training requires. Several days after that, I decided to dump my dslr kit to make room for something else and that something else proved to be the venerable m4/3 format which seemed to encase all the requisite I wanted to fulfill. So that’s how I ended up with this format.
“Bayside Marina” Lumix G1 + Olympus 50mm MF
The amazing Ricoh GRD III, I’ve owned the GRD for a few months already and I’ve created some of my best images with this small and unassuming camera but I think I’ll save this story for another episode. Its certainly worthy of its own show.
“US of A” Olympus EPL-2 + Olympus 17mm pancake
Now that we got that out of the way I wanted to share a few initial first impressions on the m4/3 format. As you know Panasonic and Olympus are the leaders in this market and have really done something special with the format. Their cameras are beautiful(more on that later), function superbly, and the images they produce upto a nice ISO range(1600) are incredibly crisp and sharp.
“My Brother” Olympus EPL-2 + Olympus 50mm MF
I participate in various forums and read extensively on these topics and a lot folks seem to be concerned with the infamous megapixel war and the off course the Nikon vs Canon debate etc. To me, this is all “garbage”. What I don’t here is if you actually took the time to learn your system and more importantly if you bonded with that equipment. Call me a dreamer or whatever but for me, its important to have a bond with the tools I choose to photograph. Key word, being “choose” right, after all, I selected this gear on some preconceived notions that this was going to work. Sometimes we get a chance to try them out in our local stores but for that’s usually never the case, my good ole friend the internet takes care of that. Lesson learned here as well, it does not always work out(the Nikon P7000 was super bulky) but most of the time it does especially when talking about these smaller type of cameras.
“Dreamy Wood” Lumix G1 + Olympus 17mm
So as I took these images you’re now viewing I could not help but think that instead of focusing in on the negatives of each systems why not focus on the positives and work within the limitations of your chosen systems. When I shot with the Olympus EPL-2 I was immediately smitten by its rich and saturated colors which are extremely sharp but I also noticed its no GRD III or IV you know what mean. Well, if you’ve ever handled the GRD you’ll know that the experience is close to perfection. The Ricoh folks sure know how to make a camera and I’ll say one thing if you can add a Ricoh GRD to your kit, then hurry up and do so you’ll never regret it.
“253” Olympus EPL-2 + Olympus 17mm pancake
Now back to m4/3rds I continue to be amazed at the quality of the frames and how much fun this system has become. I’m shooting with various old school legacy prime lenses from Olympus and Hexanon and who says old glass is not worthy of being kept alive. These lenses produce beautiful imagery and in the end, the sky is the limit.
“White Cup” Lumix G1 + Olympus 50mm MF
So what’s my setup exactly? Well I use the Lumix G1 coupled with the Olympus 50mm f/1.8 or the Hexanon 40mm f/1.8 as my go to lenses. The G1’s great button setup really lens itself well to shoot and focus legacy lenses. Meanwhile the Olympus EPL-2 has replaced my Ricoh GRD III. Its small and also very unassuming(in my opinion) but it produces images that are crispier because its sensor is simply a whole lot bigger. I will say this though, you can’t compare the Ricoh GRD III’s snap focus mode to anything out there, no way, there is nothing like it, zone focus on the digital world perfected. On the Oly EPL-2 I have to slow things down a bit but like I said, work within the limitations of your system and the result will be ok.
“Olympus” Lumix G1 + Hexanon 40mm MF
So now that we got that out of the way folks, I’ll see you in two weeks for the next edition of “The Fortnightly Review”. Well, feel free to visit anytime. Cheers and thanks for stopping by.
“Jaded” Lumix G1 + Olympus 17mm