Sunday, December 21, 2014

From World's Fastest Autofocus to No Autofocus

It was a lazy, lazy weekend, I was hanging out with friends, shooting on the streets with the still new to me full manual legacy lens, OM Zuiko 55mm F1.2, which I have used on the OM-D E-M5. For the first few times I used the lens it was very awkward indeed, and I admit rather difficult for me to do my usual street shots, considering I have always been so used to the blazing fast Olympus autofocus system. Taking the AF away was like ripping apart a limb from me, and I felt somewhat handicapped. Nonetheless, in life we are rarely complete, we usually do not have everything that we want or need, hence we strive, we struggle and we work harder. The lack of AF allows me to push myself further, and plan my shots more carefully, rather than just machine-gunning my way around. 

I am proud to say that after many attempts in using the manual focus lens, now I am getting more and more comfortable with it! My reaction is a lot quicker and my estimates are more accurate now. 

Although the lens requires a lot more hard work, gosh, at the end of the day, when you nail it, the shots came out very rewarding indeed. I do like the look of the out of focus (bokeh) area this lens is rendering, and when stopped down to F2, or smaller, the images are VERY sharp indeed. 

My settings on the OM-D E-M5, using the OM Zuiko 55mm F1.2 lens:

1) Aperture Priority, with constant fiddling of exposure compensation to get the exposure balance as I judge on the fly through the electronic viewfinder (what you see is what you get)

2) Image Stabilization set to focal length 55mm. This is crucial, to ensure the IS works with the lens and not cause unwanted shake. 

3) Magnify 7x on focus area for manual focus assist. I used the magnification preview while manual focusing, to aid in getting a tact sharp in focus image, and this worked very well so far. No, focus peaking did not help (we have been through this before and I do not intend to get into another discussion). I assigned the magnify function to Fn2 button. 

4) White Balance adjust in Post. There is something wrong with the white balance engine using a non-digital lens, it was not as consistent and accurate as I expected, hence most of the white balance was adjusted manually in post processing. 

5) I rarely use F1.2 wide open, I normally stopped down a little, in between F1.2 and F2 (I am guessing around F1.4 or F1.8). Still having a 55mm at F1.4 to F1.8 can render superbly shallow depth of field. For subjects further away, or in scenes I require more depth of field, I do stop down the lens to F4 or even F8. 

6) Shutter speed was watched carefully, not to go below 1/50sec, since I was shooting hand-held all the time. 

7) Contrast was boosted significantly in post-processing. The out of camera images lack contrast generally. 

Jackie and Calvin

Into the Morning Light

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Darren Ashley and Paperplane Pursuit Live at #Ohhsome Festival 2014

Last weekend, on stage for the #Ohhsome Festival, one of the act I was looking forward to, besides WongFu Productions and David Choi was our local star, Darren Ashley. Halfway through Dash's performance, John Oommen, the lead singer from another band, Paperplane Pursuit came up and did a duet to their now very popular song on the radiowave, "Beat of Your Love". When John went on stage, the crowd went on the overdrive frenzy mode! I joined in the cheer and I personally that this was the best performance for the whole night at #Ohhsome Festival. 

Do check out their cool stuff at the official Youtube Channels:

All images were taken with OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Lens

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Round 2 with the Zuiko OM 55mm F1.2 Lens

I am loving the good old OM lens, Zuiko 55mm F1.2 the more I use it. I have forced myself to just use this one lens on an Olympus OM-D E-M1 this time, shooting people that I get the opportunity to meet over the weekend. Using the 55mm F1.2 on the E-M1 is a lot easier in comparison to the E-M5, mainly due to the much larger, brighter and higher resolution electronic viewfinder in the E-M1, allowing much faster and easier manual focusing. Although the E-M1 has built in focus peaking to assist manual focusing, I still find it rather difficult to use for critically sharp photographs, and I resorted to the slower magnify the area to focus method, for better accuracy. What is the point of shooting if you cannot even get the images in focus in the first place? Accuracy is almost always more important than speed. 
All images were taken with Olympus Zuiko OM 55mm F1.2 lens, mounted on OM-D E-M1

Meet Pekchekkia and Akiraceo, both very prominent comic bloggers in Malaysia, whom I am proud to know personally. They came over to give a presentation/speech at the #Ohhsome festival. 

Cyril Dason, the founder of Sarawak Bloggers, and one person whom I know can make things happen with sheer determination and will power. Congratulations to Cyril on the newborn baby girl! 

Shaun Nykvist, one photographer from Brisbane, Australia that I envy so much, for having the opportunities to travel all over the world and shoot amazing photographs! Shaun is also an Olympus shooter, with amazing street, travel and underwater photography in his portfolio!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wong Fu Productions and David Choi Live in Malaysia at #Ohhsome Festival 2014

I have been a huge fan of Wong Fu Productions for many years. I followed Wong Fu even when I was in my university days, since they first released their Yellow Fever (I saw the video some time in 2007 I think). Wong Fu Productions is perhaps, one of the biggest motivations to me, to pursue what I love doing, and dare myself to go the distance. I can relate to Wong Fu very well, considering two of the core members Philip Wang and Wesley Chan share the same age as me, but look at how far they have come and all their huge accomplishments! They started from filming just for fun in college, and as the Youtube age hit the internet, they took advantage of that and over time, they have improved in their film productions in every single possible angle, from script writing to cinematography. Their passion to go further, dedication to their art and surely, pure determination have brought them far..They made it, and they made it HUGE, turned their passion into a living dream, and have inspired millions of people around the world. 

When I heard Wong Fu was coming to Malaysia, I MUST go and see them. I managed to do that earlier this evening, at #Ohhsome Festival happening at Avenue K, Kuala Lumpur. They travelled halfway across the globe to Malaysia, and I must snap a frame or two of their photographs!

Oohsome Festival was a celebration of the power of social media, including Youtube, Instagram and Facebook. Many social media experts or celebrities, both internationally and locally were invited to perform, or deliver talks to inspire the general crowd. The headliner was surely Wong Fu Productions, and along with them also appearing on stage the same evening was David Choi, whom happened to be one of my favourite non-mainstream artists. Seeing both David Choi and Wong Fu, my Saturday night could not have been spent better. It was a night to remember, though my feet hurt so much from standing for more than 5 hours securing the standing spot before the final appearance of Wong Fu on stage. It was all worth it. 

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko lenses 40-150mm F2.8 PRO or 75mm F1.8

David Choi performed about 5 songs on stage, and totally melted the hearts of all the girls there.