A change in perspective

Today at the office I was talking about cameras and lenses with a colleague. He mentioned zooms, and even “super” zooms with a wide range of focal lengths, and these are really popular, especially with beginners of photography.

Wide angle lenses are for landscapes, “normal” focal lenghts for “normal” photography, and tele lenses for things far away, like wild animals. Right? Well yes, and I had to think about the fact that most people use their zoom lenses just like that. They stand still in the same position, and turn the zoom ring, and voilĂ  – they have totally different pictures. Like these:

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14mm (equivalent focal length with a film, or a so-called “full frame” camera: 28mm)

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25mm (50mm-e)

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42mm (84mm-e)

Well – are these photos really that different? I don’t think so. And why not? Because they were all taken from the same spot, with only the “zoom” (the focal length) changed, nothing else. And that means that from the first photo you could actually take crops, or print them out and then cut off the borders, to get the second and the third photo. Ok; depth of field would be a bit different, but the perspective did not change.

But a changed perspective is for me the biggest advantage of having different focal lengths. What if we try to keep the cup on the right, and the word on it at almost the same size with these three different focal lengths? We would get something like this:

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14mm (28mm-e)

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25mm (50mm-e)

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42mm (84mm-e)

Now these three pictures are indeed very different, because I changed the position of the camera to keep that cup at approximately the same size, and with doing this, I changed the perspective quite dramatically.

This also explains that even when keeping the focal length the same (and thus, changing magnification), the term “zooming with your feet” is totally wrong. If you move, you’ll change perspective, simple as that.

Look at the first three photos again. The dark blue, almost black cup in the background doesn’t have something written on it, it’s uniformly dark blue, or almost black. Right? Wrong, if you look at the lower three. There are many more hints even in this simple (and otherwise kind of boring) example of how perspective changes everything. The “compression” effect for example: with a longer focal length and the camera farther away, distant things seem to come nearer to the front objects. Of course they don’t – I moved nothing in this scene except the camera, but the relative distance of those objects to each other shrinks indeed if you consider that the camera is more distant in the 42mm photo. Same goes for the “surrounding” of the objects: a shorter focal length even when used close shows more “context” than a tele lens which concentrates your view on just those objects.

All these photos were made with an Olympus E-PL5 and its 14-42mm “kit lens”, but once you start thinking about different focal lengths as ways to influence and change your perspective rather than just the angle of view, you’ll discover totally new views on your world. It’s fun even with a simple and cheap kit like this, so use what you have already, and start experimenting – and learning to see. And all of a sudden, be it landscapes, animals, people, whatever, you’ll learn how to deal with your backgrounds, and what you want to show and include, and what to leave out. You’ll learn what position you have to be in to get what you want – and that’s a lot more than just to stand still and to turn that zoom ring.

As always, thanks for reading.

Some portraits from last week

So – it’s Sunday again, and I look at what I’ve got during the last week:

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Julika

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Andrea

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Vyshantha

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Zuleikha

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Arno

That’s it – only 5 portraits in 7 days this time. And I’ll change my little project and self-assignment with this, because I cannot guarantee to get at least one each day (I’m not living in the middle of a big city with millions of people, let alone having a lunch break/walk in its pedestrian zone like Markus Schwarze did).

Anyway: this is lots of fun, and I’ll continue collecting photos like these. Just might be a bit slower than I had hoped for.

Thanks for viewing.

Some portraits from last week

Another week went by, and I took at least one portrait each day. Here they are:

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Daniel

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Marion

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Elvis

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Doris

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Svenja

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Matthias

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Gerda

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Jutta

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Ricardo

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Stefan

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Franciel

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Dimi

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Pha

Just ordered some prints for those who I know like always. The last ones arrived only yesterday, since our postal services are on strike right now, so it can last a while until I get them. But since I don’t tell the people that they’ll get one, they’re not really waiting anyway.

Thanks for viewing.

Some portraits from last week

Without many words:

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Margarita

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Edith

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Natalia

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Klaus

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Petra

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Viola

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Adalbert

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Uschi

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Vasily

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Alexey

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Dmetry

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Untitled

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Christoph

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Untitled

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Nele

As always, thanks to all who attended – those whose address I have will get prints soon; some others got them via email already.

Thanks for viewing.

One bird from today

We’ve been to the “Fasanerie” in Gross-Gerau today, where I took the portraits of Adalbert and Uschi. Didn’t take many animal photos, but I decided to show one bird who was busy climbing around in a cage, while another one of its kind was singing and even imitating other birds. These are parrots, from the Congo:

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Parrot

Thanks for viewing.

Half a week of portraits

Last Tuesday I was in Mainz, and I showed some pictures from there in my last blog post. And Wednesday, I took a photo of a colleague.

And then I took more. And more. Two on Thursday, four on Friday, and so on. And I decided to go on and take at least one portrait a day.

Yesterday I wasn’t really lucky. Tho I had some photos (and some of them of strikingly beautiful young women), somehow it wasn’t my day. They were either unsharp, or taken in too crappy light, or they just didn’t fit into what I was taking before – tight shots of faces. It’s also a learning experience, not only technically but at least as much in what is nowadays called “soft”, or “people skills” – so these photos still benefit a lot, even if only to learn from errors.

So here are some photos which I took since Wednesday:

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Markus

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Arno

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Matthias

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Marion

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Roland

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Gertrud

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Jonathan

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Sophie

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Babi

I took some more, but like I wrote above I also made errors. The photo of Sophie above for instance isn’t as sharp as it could (and probably should) be, and it’s also more about the dress and costume than about the person. But ok; I’ll try to learn from that, and to improve.

Technical: the first two were taken with the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4, all others with the Micro Zuiko 45mm/1.8 lens, all used wide open on my Olympus OM-D E-M10 camera. In-camera black & white with simulated orange filter, and in post processing with the Olympus Viewer 3 software I also turned on “auto” gradation in most cases. Slight but global corrections with RawTherapee, which I also used to add some Exif data like title and tags, but no “retouching” of any kind – so these photos are as good as out of camera, as most of my photos are.

Thanks for viewing. And of course thanks to those whose portraits I was allowed to take. You’ll get some prints in a few days.

Pictures from an exhibition

Well – the title is slightly misleading. Firstly, yesterday’s event was way more than just an exhibition, and it also has nothing to do with Emerson, Lake & Palmer (or Mussorgsky for that matter, and that is why I didn’t call it pictures *of* an exhibition). So here are a few photos from “Home is where…”:

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Markus

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Huge prints

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Huge camera

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Goj T-A-TR

And while speaking the keynote (or the laudatio), Markus took my picture as well, and he kindly allowed me to show it here:

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_DSC1679 ©Markus Kuhn

See lots of more photos in Markus’ Flickr album. Or go there if you want to see those photos yourself – those prints are really impressive, and they will stay there for the next two weeks.

Thanks for viewing.

We’ve had some visitors

Some friends of Mitchie’s visited us over the weekend, and tho they came well-equipped themselves (everything from smartphones/tablets over a GoPro and some Sony mirrorless), I took some photos of them and uploaded them on Flickr – but for friends & family only. These 4 have some pretty high level positions, and since they post their photos in a closed Facebook group only, I’d rather not show any here without asking first.

First thing on their pretty busy schedule was a visit to Eltz Castle, which we did:

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Burg Eltz

This is a photo which almost everyone takes, and which you can even buy as a postcard inside of the castle, but I thought if they want pictures like these, they can have them.

On the way back I almost managed to get back into the planned schedule (which was to check in into their hotel at 1700) – until we ran into a traffic jam exactly at Frankfurt airport, which cost us an hour again:

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In a traffic jam

This is under a newly built bridge where aircraft passes the A3 motorway, and yes, we had to stay in this lane. After the traffic cleared and we found their hotel in the vicinity of Frankfurt’s trade fair area, I left Mitchie, Zuleikha and the four friends who had planned some sight seeing and a girl’s day and sleepover.

And today at home I took a photo of these:

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Mitchie and Zuleikha bought some flowers

Thanks for viewing.