Photo of the Month – June

Young Steam PunkOlympus OM-D E-M10
Olympus M 14-150mm f/4-5.6 Mk II
47mm, 1/250 Sec at f/8, ISO1000
Post Processed in Adobe Lightroom CC2015.1 V6
On a MacBook Pro, OS-X 10.10.3

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Street Photography – What Camera, What Lens

There seems to be a lot of interest in Street Photography currently. With that comes lots of advice on what camera you should use and what lens.

From my previous article on whether you are a fisherman or hunter, the other main consideration is your lens and camera choice which can make a big difference.

Coffee Time

The definitive camera for Street Photography has for a long time been the Leica M film camera, pre-focused its silent and deadly.

Today many would say the Ricoh GR with its small form factor and its snap focus ability is one of the top contenders and certainly if you can accept the lack of viewfinder its certainly up there. The other top contender is of course the Fuji X100, with its optical viewfinder and fast f/2 35mm equivalent lens, its another top choice.

Farming Tools

But why not an SLR, well there are easily spotted and mark you out as a ‘photographer but one of the smaller bodies and a pancake lens is an option, the other option is of course a long lens and picking your subjects off from a distance.

Leica M8 50mm Summicron

Leica M8 50mm Summicron

The current mirrorless cameras with their tillable rear screens are also another good potential, allowing waist level composition and not alerting your subject as you raise the camera.

Leica M4, Summicron 35mm Ilford Delta 400

Leica M4, Summicron 35mm Ilford Delta 400

But what about the lens?

Olympus OM-D E-M10 14-150mm

Olympus OM-D E-M10 14-150mm

Well the above shots were taken with 24mm, 35mm and 50mm on a Leica M8 or a film full frame Leica M4, and a superzoom on an Olympus OM-D E-M10; the shot below was taken with a Nikon V1 with a fixed 10mm (28mm equivalent) lens.

Nikon V1 10mm f/2.8

Nikon V1 10mm f/2.8

While a telephoto zoom can be useful especially when combined with a waist level viewfinder ie the tilt rear lcd screen, traditionally a fixed length wideangle or 50mm standard has been the one to go for.

If you use a fixed length prime for any length of time you get to instinctively know the angle of view and can then take pictures that much quicker. With a camera with fast autofocus or decent manual focus and the ability to manual prefocus.

So what should you use, well once again its down to you.  Do you have an affinity with the longer lens or a wide angle.  Does the thought of getting in close with a 28 or 35mm thrill you or terrify you.  Do you like to rely on autofocus, or manual zone focus.  Finally the body, SLR, rangefinder, mirrorless what best suits you?

Leica M8

Leica M8

In my case I most enjoy a Leica rangefinder with 35mm lens, but I possibly get better results from a mirrorless camera with either a fixed wide angle or telephoto zoom.  If I look through my back catalogue of photographs you will find that the majority of good Street Photography was taken with the Leica but that is just because I generally carry the Leica with me more often and that is possibly the most important point.

Its the camera with you that gets the shot, and which camera do you prefer to carry? for some thats an SLR for others a mirrorless, for me a Leica and for many looking at flicker that would be an iPhone.

Going Shopping, Nikone D200 SLR

Going Shopping, Nikon D200 SLR

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Fisherman or Hunter

On the recent ‘Driven to Abstraction’ day with Steve Gosling, he spoke about Street Photography, and asked us to consider whether we are Fishermen or Hunters.

https://ottokite.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/driven-to-abstraction/

Occasionally you will be walking and spot a really interesting person, now do you then follow that person and wait for the background to develop before you take the shot?Steep Hill Walk

Or are you a fisherman, you find the scene and wait for a suitable person to walk by?

For myself I am a fisherman, I have a number of locations in the Bailgate area of Lincoln and I wait for the scene to develop.  There is one shot in particular I am after, and I have been trying now for a number of years with out success, but I will keep trying.

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Setting up a new Machine – ICC Printer Profiles

Printer Profiles 1

 

Setting a new machine for Mac OS X users has always been relatively simple and iCloud continues to improve the experience, the latest version of Windows I hear have also caught up in this respect.

At the weekend I was checking my Lightroom settings and made sure that all my presets and profiles were correct.

The Lightroom presets are quite easy, there is an option to keep them with your catalogue, so you will get a setup for each catalogue or the default which puts them in your ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom.

Lightroom Presets

 

It was just a matter of copying over the folders I needed.

Checking out the printer module in Lightroom, while my presets were there, of course my printer profiles were missing.

Now profiles live in /Library/ColorSync/Profiles

 

Print Profiles - Lightroom

 

I tend to create a folder under here called Papers and I move all my printer paper profiles in to that.  Some companies you just download the icc file and drop it where you want, other like Epson install it (Epson when are you going to sign your installer!).  The Epson installer creates a folder called EPSON Stylus Pro 3880 and places it directly under the Profiles folder which I move to the Papers folder.

So thats my Lightroom all setup on my new machine, with scanner, printer and monitor all profiled and setup correctly.

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Film Friday – Lincoln Bailgate

Film Friday - Bailgate Whisky ShopAs I continue to refine my scanning technique heres another Film Friday for you, this is the Bailgate area of Lincoln.  I don’t believe the Yorkshire TV shop is there any more but the Whisky Shop definitely is and is worth a visit if your after a fine Whisky from all over the world.

 

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Leica Q RAW Files and on Line Reviews

Leica Q FocusingIt seems the Leica Q is making quite an impact, a lot of reviewers have now gone out and bought one, it impressed them that much.

I had a quick look at Thorsten Overgaard’s website and as well as a very quick review he has kindly linked to some of his RAW files that you can download.

I had a quick play with the files and there quite robust and very flexible.  At a price cheaper then a Leica 28mm it is tempting.

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Olympus OM-D M10 – High ISO with a consumer zoom

PhotoWalk-Cathedral OM-D M10The great thing about a Nikon D800 is that the files are very robust and very clean.  Very few cameras can come close.

The above picture is from a Leica OM-D M10 and a 14-150mm consumer lens at the long end and at ISO1250.

I keep saying that there is not a bad camera today and I still think that is true.  The key is to use a camera to its strengths and not its weaknesses.

The above shot was taken on Saturday while I was on the Driven to Abstraction Photo Walk I went on.

If you want to read more about this then check out Chris’s blog post.

https://ottokite.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/driven-to-abstraction/

 

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The Olympus Photo Walk with Steve Gosling

Saturday was the Olympus LCE Lincoln day with Steve Gosling. Olympus was there lending equipment and buying the coffee while Steve gave us his advice on Steet and Urban Landscape Photography.

I will not bore you with the details apart from suggest you attend a training day yourself on a subject that interests you, it will do more for your photography then buying new gear, but the gear was also an important part of this day.

Its one thing using a camera in a shop for five minutes and reading reviews, quite another to actually go out and shoot with it for real for a whole day.

I started the day with the Olympus 14-42mm compact zoom, on the OM-D M10 this is a tiny CSC option and can easily replace and does out perform most compacts, you could argue that you might get better results from a Ricoh GR, Nikon Coolpix A which are similar sizes but they don’t have the EVF or flexibility that this little Olympus brings to the table.
 

PhotoWalk

We started off after coffee at the excellent independent coffee shop ‘The Angel’ and after a discussion walked up to the cathedral quarter to start shooting.

PhotoWalk-8

Steve kept coming round offering his advice, making us try and think before we tripped the shutter about what we were trying to say.

On the picture taking front, I did a mix of architecture, street photography and some fine detail shots.

PhotoWalk-7

Half way round the walk I switched lens and tried something a little different, the Olympus super zoom, 14-150mm, this on micro four thirds gives you a 300mm reach.

PhotoWalk-6

The lens is a little slow and I did suffer from noise in some of my shots, it was not the brightest of days but for such a little lens with a huge zoom range it performs better then expected.

PhotoWalk-5 (Who says Microfourthirds cannot do shallow depth of field)

On the camera front, the little OM-D is a fantastic performer, while noise can come in at higher ISO’s the images are still pleasing if not quite as malleable in post processing as say a Nikon D800 file, but you would not walk round with a D800 and 300mm lens.

PhotoWalk-4

Some of my images were soft, I have to admit I was using the camera in a very casual fashion and not using what I would call proper camera technique, the think I liked was the movable rear screen, allowing me to shoot from the hip, but this does mean camera shake can be an issue.

PhotoWalk-3

In many of my street shots I was shooting 1/250 second at f/8 and auto ISO, these generally where sharper but had noise, when I was in aperture priority my shutter speed dropped and I had more subject motion in my shots.

PhotoWalk-2

When I stopped and took care then the shots were sharp and excellent quality.

Apart from Steve’s advice I took three things away from the day.

    Not matter what the camera, good camera technique is still required.
    The OM-D system is fantastic and hard to fault for its size advantages.
    I really appreciate the simplicity of my Leica after all that technology.
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New Ricoh GR II

Ricoh GRIt nearly slipped my notice but Ricoh have released a new GR II. I has a quick play on Friday with the old model to remind me what it is like.

The new model is basically the old with new firmware and adds Wifi from what I can see.

As a compact this and the Nikon Coolpix A are about the best you can get with their large DX sensors.  I really like the Ricoh have have come close to buying one a number of times but the lack of viewfinder really puts me off.

Tomorrow there is a sponsored photowalk by Olympus, I’ll be borrowing the little OM-D M10 and some consumer glass to use as a compact, this has a viewfinder and may be a better option.

Of course there is the Leica X and Leica Q but optically this Ricoh is very nearly as good, its more down to the viewfinder options and which interface and handling you prefer, if you ignore the price of course!

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Hex Core Mac Pro

As those of you know who read this blog, I have been thinking hard about what my next computer will be. 

Buying high end  Mac Laptops has so far done me well. I get seven years out of them before Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom force me to upgrade. 

Looking at machines now I am driven my the want (not need) of a smaller lighter laptop, eg a MacBook Air. 

The Air great as it is, is not really suited to Adobe heavy lifting. So instead I have been looking at refurb MacPro Desktops. 

Well after much waiting a range of MacPros from Quad core 256GB SSD 12 GB RAM to Octo core 1TB SSD 32GB models appeared. 

A mid range Hex core with 512 SSD 16GB look good and I had a good think. This was Tuesday night. 

By the time I had decided to buy it had gone. 

But on Wednesday morning one of the spec I wanted was back. A quick email to my wife to approve the purchase and I clicked buy. 

Well it arrived Thursday morning and I’ll be spending the next few days setting it from scratch rather then importing all my junk off my laptop. 

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