Friday, May 26, 2017

Griffin Hammond - Film Making With Panasonic GH5 in Malaysia

Griffin Hammond, the Panasonic GH5 ambassador was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia speaking on documentary film making. One of the perks of leaving Olympus Malaysia, was the freedom to receive invitations to attend such cool events, and actually be there!

Griffin Hammond speaking for Panasonic Malaysia event. 

It was an event to showcase the capabilities of the new Panasonic GH5 which is regarded as a cinematography power house. Griffin Hammond flew in all the way from the US to speak about his experience as a film maker using the Panasonic GH-series cameras, starting from early days of GH1. What caught me by surprise was that Griffin did not start out as a photographer, in fact he had almost zero basics in photography or video shooting and he courageously  dived right into the world of film making with the Panasonic GH1. He specializes in documentary and has made some successful films, making it huge over the years. His documentary film "Sriracha" was a multi-award winning film and was shot entirely with Panasonic GH3. It was no surprise that Panasonic took notice of Griffin and offered him a role as their ambassador.

The world of film making was alien to me. I am, after all, just a mere, humble photographer. Nevertheless, I fully understand and acknowledge the importance and rise of film making, since most cameras these days come with versatility to shoot high quality video. Attending Griffin Hammond's talk on film making was an eye opener to me, exposing myself to a whole new world of possibilities. Hearing Griffin's background story, his motivation to shoot film and the process behind his film making were nothing short of inspirational. I needed that push, that reminder that art is a lot more than just photography, and there is more to see and experience. Griffin not only generously shared his work with us, but also step by step process on what goes behind the scenes of his conceptual planning, shooting and editing process. If Griffin were to come to Malaysia to conduct a full day film making workshop, I would definitely sign up.

I think some of you may start to question what the heck I was doing in a Panasonic event. I was invited, and yes, there is definitely a possibility of me trying out and reviewing their newer products. The Panasonic people expressed their interests in working with me and since I have been deeply involved in the world of Micro Four Thirds, I figured, why not?

Perhaps, a photography review of the Panasonic GH5 would be awesome. Maybe that will happen. No please do not ask me to do any video reviews, not yet at this moment. Please allow me time to learn and improve myself first!

I did not like the first image since it has very busy background, so I asked if Griffin would pose for me with a simpler background. He obliged! And I thought black and white worked much better for this shot. 

Lastly, I would like to share a very meaningful quote I heard from Griffin today:

"A 100,000 dollars camera is not 50 times better than a 2,000 dollars camera"

He said that in reference to laws of diminishing return. I shall let you sit on that and do let me know what you think. You may feel free to disagree!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Week In Kuching

I was back in my hometown, Kuching for the past few days. Those were full days of shooting, catching up with family and friends, shooting and even more shooting!

I was home to shoot for my cousin Andy's wedding, which was a beautiful ceremony and I cannot wait to share some photos here soon from that wedding shoot. It has been a while since I last shot any wedding assignment, so this was particularly challenging for me, but I had such a blast capturing overabundant joy and happiness of the newly weds together with their family, relatives and friends!

I also spent an evening volunteering myself to cover a local poetry/creative writing/spoken words event, Word Of Mouth 9 (WOM9): Hunger and it was quite an experience being immersed in a different artistic medium for a change. It was quite inspiring seeing local Kuching talents sharing their talent and creativity on stage.

I made sure that I spent as much time as I could with beloved mum, who is doing great by the way, and we celebrated a belated mother's day in Kuching. It was a miracle that I still managed to find time to catch up with a few other close friends.

I squeezed one morning just for shutter therapy. I did not get many usable shots, but it was amazing shooting alongside Jee and Madey, both street photographers whom I have exhibited together with earlier this year. I really did wish I had more time to shoot on the beautiful streets of Kuching, but I also believe that getting my priority right is more important. Time with beloved mum and friends was well spent.

All images were taken with an Olympus PEN E-P5, Panasonic 14mm F2.5 and M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lens.

Orange on Orange

Monday, May 15, 2017

How I Deal With Strong Backlight Situation

Lighting is the most important consideration when it comes to making a photograph, after all, a photograph consists of nothing but light and shadow. However, lighting is not ideal in most cases.

The worst that can happen, is a strong backlight, rendering the front subjects in dark shadows, and everything else in the background overexposed and burned out in highlights. This is especially true in street photography, you cannot relocate your subjects (I advice not to do so, but if you must, feel free to practice your own style), you cannot change the available light situations. Yet, some subjects are worth shooting despite the crappy light: interesting character in a portrait, which I have encountered so often.

Therefore, I would like to share how I deal with difficult lighting conditions when I am out doing my street shooting, especially when it comes to strong backlight. Kindly take note that these are my own shooting preferences that fit my personal photography style, they may not work for every one.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Challenging Myself: Revisiting 35mm Perspective

My old nemesis, the 35mm perspective that I never quite get when it comes to street photography, is something that is a work in progress. I have stated before, that 35mm is not something I prefer to use for my own photography, if I have the luxury of choice. Nevertheless, I am not giving up on 35mm just yet, and I intend to spend as much time I can with it, doing my shutter therapy session. Sometimes, to improve yourself, you have to face your weakness, put yourself in a difficult situation and deal with the issue head on.

I have kept the Olympus 17mm F2.8 pancake lens, one of the oldest Micro Four Thirds lenses out there, with possibly the slowest AF (perhaps the only other slower lens than this, is the Panasonic 20mm F1.7). I find myself difficult to let this lens go, since it is so small, and it does not cost much anyway. While the autofocus is not fast and the lens is not the sharpest of the bunch, I thought I would hang on to a 35mm equivalent focal length lens to help me with my personal battle.

Man, I just love pancake lenses. We should have more! 

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Moving On, And MORE Shutter Therapy

A lot of people have been asking me, so how is life after Olympus? What is next?

Honestly, I have taken a short break from everything for a while, to refresh myself, and to reorganize my life. My priority was fixing my sleep patterns, eating habits, sorting out plans for income generation since I do not have a full time employment now, and of course, focus more on photography growth.

What better time to focus on repairing my health than now, since I have the flexibility to do it, by having at least 8 hours of sleep daily, going to bed and waking up at consistent hours, eating more healthily, avoiding quick meals and convenient lunches that I have had so often for the past several years.

Mum visited last weekend, for the first time, in Kuala Lumpur, since I have worked here many years ago, and I spent the whole weekend with her.

Do not worry, I have not forgotten about this blog. Far from it actually. Oh I have such huge plans! And as I mentioned, all will be revealed soon. Just give me a bit more time to work out some kinks and finalize the preparations, before the official launch.

I have been busy shooting as well, both for myself, as well as taking in some paid assignment, just to keep some money flowing in.

Life in Olympus Malaysia was fantastic, but that life has come to an end, and it is time to move on.