Some good advice from Ming Thein

If you ask yourself (or even other photographers) which camera you should probably buy, Ming’s latest article “System thinking” has some good advice.

For most people the answer would be either “none”, or a mirrorless camera. Go and read it; he explains why (and has some alternatives mentioned for people who instead ask which next camera they should probably buy).

Recommended reading.

A recently “expored” photo, and some of today

A week ago I took a photo of Zuleikha, which I converted to black & white. She had just taken a bath, and we were about to have dinner. It was “explored” on Flickr, so it had lots of views, and some “favorites” (like “likes” in FB):

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Zuleikha, September 2014. Olympus E-PL5 with 45mm/1.8 lens and a bounced flash.

Today we took a short walk, and I had the 14-42mm zoom on my camera, set to 17mm. Zuleikha was collecting some leaves:

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Three colours: red, yellow, green

And back home I asked Mitchie if she wanted to swap our macro lenses (she’s documenting some of Zuleikha’s work for school a bit). So I gave my ZD 50mm/2 macro lens to her, and took her manual OM Zuiko Auto Macro 50mm/3.5 lens instead. Of course I had to immediately test it:

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Red hot chili pepper. Olympus E-PL5 with OM Zuiko Auto Macro 50mm/3.5 lens at f/8. *Not* sharpened.

Thanks for viewing.

Time to cover up…

These are my knees. It’s autumn, and getting cooler pretty quick. One of our thermometers shows 19.6°C, the other one 17.6°C, in the flat. So I guess the truth is maybe somewhere in the middle. And it’s definitely:

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Time to cover up…

Otherwise, my days are busy, and because of two construction areas on my commute I need some more time to get to work and especially for my way back home.

I’ve been asked to take photos at work on the 8th and 9th of October, but I won’t be able to show most of these here on my blog or on Flickr, especially not those with most of the people. I have something like carte blanche from my colleague Arno, but he’s about the only one. Oh, and from Markus, too. But it will be hard to avoid those other two dozen or more people, including our management. But who knows? Maybe they find something good enough to use it for advertising? For me it will be just a lesson in something like event photography, which I rarely do, so it’s going to be a fun challenge. And even if it’s only documentary, it will still be worth it.

Anyway – as always, thanks for reading.

A photo, not taken by me

Normally I rarely show photos here which I didn’t take myself. But here’s one I found at work:

IBM Debuts Analytics for Everyone

IBM Debuts Analytics for Everyone, by ibmphoto24 on Flickr

The photo shows IBMs next big thing, called Watson Analytics. And the slightly blurred colleague who holds the tablet PC is actually IBMs youngest Vice President (of IBM Big Data and Analytics, and since I’m working in Business Intelligence and in the IBM Software Group like her, she’s actually one of my highest bosses), Mrs. Inhi Cho Suh.

It’s an impressive technology, and if you want to know more about it, just visit IBM. I’m just showing it here because I also think that this is a nice photo.

Thanks for viewing.

Reverting back to jpg

I was playing around with my camera today. First I reset my usual settings back to “normal”, with both contrast and saturation back to “0” (normally I have them at “-2″). Then, still indoors, I took a custom white balance photo and stored it in the camera. And finally, I set my picture parameters from jpg “fine” plus raw to just jpg “super fine”.

Which means that I *have to* get everything right in camera. No post processing, no tricks, no safety net. Oh, and because my Olympus camera exposes for the highlights just a bit (which makes images darker but “protects” those highlights from bleeding out), I also decided to ignore that and set a + 0.3EV correction. Maybe I’ll keep those settings for a while, just to get used to doing things right, because I’m forcing myself to.

Those indoor shots are boring of course, just interesting for myself. So I set the white balance back to “auto”, with the option to “keep warm colours = off”, and went outside to have a smoke. To get a nice and dark sky in the evenings with any automatic settings, you have to apply some negative correction, minus 1 is like my base setting for night shots. And with my newly assumed standard setting of + 0.3, minus 1 from there means – 0.7 in total. Simple enough that I can still do this without much thinking at all. I let the ISO on “auto” as well, so it went up to my default max setting of 800. Et voilà, here’s my out-of-camera-during-a-smoke shot:

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A quiet evening, almost autumn. Olympus E-PL5 and PanaLeica 25mm/1.4.

Thanks for viewing.

About using different aspect ratios

I rarely crop photos, mostly I compose them like I see them in the viewfinder or on the rear display of my camera (and sometimes I decide on a square or on a 16:9 TV-like format, which both can show before taking the shot).

But there are times when some other aspect ratio than the native 4:3 one fits better. I like 5:4, especially in portrait orientation (and for portraits), it has that large format look somehow. And when I crop in post production, I tend to do it only on one side, and into the “classic” formats. Here are some shots from today, all in different aspect ratios:

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Fairies (or mini models with wings?). Cropped 3:2 during post.

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Chilies (there are still some left). Uncropped 4:3 full frame from my Four Thirds sensor.

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Peanuts, roasted and salted. Cropped 7:6 during post.

All taken with my Olympus E-PL5 camera and the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 lens, at apertures 4, 2, and 2, and with ISO 800, 200, and 800.

Thanks for viewing.