where images speak

Photo of the Day . 251010

Wedding Photography Tip: MOVE BACK!

We often forget to distance ourselves when we are caught up in the midst of activities during a wedding. It’s excellent to shoot close ups with a wide angle lens, getting intimate, candid expressions (if you are a good “people-person”), achieving all those “being-involved-in-the-action” shots… BUT there are times we need to Step Back a little…

The same goes in life, when being up close and personal to someone you love ALL the time gives the person NO private space and you will most likely end up being “bashed”! LOL…

So, MOVE BACK or STEP BACK a little… and you will begin to see a different world altogether…

Photo of the Day . 221010

Kids. Wedding Photojournalism.

Wedding Photojournalism is to capture un-posed moments in an unobtrusive style. By now, “everyone” seem to be doing it… as digital seems so easy… without the stress of wasting films. It has also become a lot more sloppy in the industry.

This started in the early 1990s, when black and white films were being used due to the need for high speed ASA1600-3200. As there were (and still is if not worse…) limited choice of high speed film available in the market, wedding photojournalists had to shoot black and white, as choices were limited to either the Fuji Neopan 1600 or the Ilford Delta 3200. Of course, some chose to push process ASA400 B&W films…

The color film choice would be the Fuji Superia 1600 but it seemed that grains in color film were NOT as widely accepted as grains in black and white films so wedding photojournalism ended up mostly black and white.

Just yesterday, I received news from a friend’s email that Fuji is discontinuing it’s Neopan1600 film. I find this totally idiotic when in recent years, there has been a significant resurgence of film users! And Kodak has just developed 2 NEW films for us over the last 2 years! (though they also discontinued the Kodachrome)

It’s sad news to me and to many B&W film users…

I’m Impressed By the E-1…

… … Yes! It’s Olympus E-1! Not the latest E-5… Hahaha…

I HAVE NOT USED A DIGITAL CAMERA WITH SUCH BEAUTIFUL STRAIGHT-OUT-OF-CAMERA IMAGES IN MY LIFE!

Digital sucked when I switched from film to digital more than 10 years ago and today, it still sucks when it comes to straight-out-of-camera images when I compare with my lab film scans in terms of colors and brightness…

Okay, I’m speaking in general terms here… the Nikon D60 is alright… the Canon 5Dmk2 when mounted with my old Zeiss lenses is alright… the Olympus E-30 and E-620 are quite good… the Olympus E-P1/2/L1 are slightly better than the E-30/620… the Nikon D700 is “clinically perfect” with not much character I know how to appreciate… the Leica M8/9 maintain that Leica look with stunning optics BUT auto white balance can be cranky…

If I look back at all the digital cameras I have used before, NOT ONE impressed me like this Olympus E-1 I just touched few nights ago!

This is a Year 2003 Camera! The detailed review can be found HERE.

I’m mad! No one is gonna read this post! But I am writing it. Cause I don’t write for money. I write for my own passion.

Camera images taken by Brandon Eu:

Image taken by Brandon Eu using Nikon D3, 50/1.8, Photoshop minimally-corrected.

It’s a 5MP Camera with a “whopping” 1.8inch LCD!

Image taken by Brandon Eu using Nikon D3, 50/1.8, Photoshop minimally-corrected.

Image taken by Brandon Eu using Nikon D3, 50/1.8, Photoshop minimally-corrected.

The ergonomics of the camera is perfect! I love the way the CF Card Compartment Door gently springs open with a twist… I used it without the extra battery grip and it’s perfect… It sits perfectly in my palm and works as if it’s a part of my body!

It’s shutter sound is as quiet as my Leica M6! This is shocking!

I like how luminous-landscape describes it’s ergonomics.

Do you believe that a camera has a “soul”? I do. It basically means you can feel the “spirit” of the designer, the amount of effort put in, the intricate thoughts put into each detail of the design meticulously, the direction and belief of the designer, whether the designer is an artist OR just someone out to make money from consumers… …

Let’s look at what the great Olympus Designer Yoshihisa Maitani once said:

“A photographer’s duty is to improve and increase his techniques! For knowledge of technique is the only tool for ensuring that the camera may be used to its maximum capability. So many photographers overestimate the function of the camera by itself – but I’m afraid a cook who relies on nothing but a sharp knife has no guarantee of producing excellent dishes.”

another quote would be:

“Even if your camera can capture shots of outer space or bacteria, it’s useless if you don’t have it with you …”

Yoshihisa Maitani is a legend.


A camera is not just a camera. It’s used to take photographs. And it’s the person behind it who does it. And it’s the individual soul you see reflected in each person’s works.

The photography process is emotional! It’s NOT just about holding a photograph in your hand or looking at a 72dpi image on the screen! It goes far beyond that! It starts the moment when we hold a camera!!!

Why do I love Leica? It’s NOT because it’s a luxurious brand. It’s purely because I could feel the spirit of the Leica designer Oskar Barnack!

The same goes when I hold my Olympus OM-1, the PEN FT, and now the E-1. Though the E-1 was not designed by Maitani, it definitely followed after much of his spirit.

The entire process into making a photograph should NOT be restricted just to the final image.

I’ve always believed, if you hold a camera you love in your hands, you are naturally a happier person. A happier and more confident person already has half the battle won!

(this I learned from a good friend named Joe Meng)

Now, let’s continue my madness into searching for the old and forgotten…

Let’s look at how I managed the E-1 with the zuiko digital 25mm F2.8 pancake lens, with the restriction of ISO400 (I was told that ISO800 is not really useable by David Ching who lent me the E-1), shooting in a Pasar Malam (night market)!

I shot ALL wide open at F2.8! And the E-1 has beautiful TIFF files! The shutter is so quiet that I managed to take a couple of really close distance shots of strangers and NOT get caught.

The following images are resized as jpegs for easier uploading/downloading. Do email me if you are interested to see the full res images. (If you even bother to read this far regarding a 2003 model… LOL…)

If you would like to use my images, please inform me via email, CREDIT and LINK to my site. Thank you!

(NOTE: I just realized that the 5MP TIFF files are so “BEEFY” that I need to resize them much further due to WordPress restrictions! I’ll be really curious to try how large an enlargement I can make next… stay tuned for future posts…)

waiting for food. accidentally set to F3.5, and minus 1EV, brighten up a little in Photoshop, A-mode, ISO400, 1/15sec, AWB.

Handicapped Performer. A-mode, ISO 400, F2.8, 1/13sec, AWB, EV-1.

Clothes Seller. When the camera was handled to me in the dark, it was at EV-1 by accident, so I brightened up this shot a little in Photoshop. A-mode, ISO400, F2.8, 1/30sec, AWB.

Kids, A-mode, ISO400, F2.8, 1/30sec, AWB, 0EV, absolutely no touch-up done except resizing.

Baby. A-mode, ISO400, F2.8, 1/25sec, AWB, 0EV, absolutely no touch up except resizing.

Fruit Seller. A-mode, ISO400, F8, 1/10sec, AWB, 0EV, absolutely no touch up except resizing.

Dog. A-mode, ISO400, F2.8, 1/200sec, AWB, 0EV, absolutely no touch up except resizing.

Moving Kid. A-mode, ISO400, F2.8, 1/13sec, AWB, 0EV, absolutely no touch up except resizing.

Moving Car. A-mode, ISO400, F2.8, 1/2sec, AWB, 0EV, absolutely no touch up except resizing.

Lady considering what to buy. A-mode, ISO400, F2.8, 1/25sec, AWB, 0EV, absolutely no touch up except resizing.

Piggy Back. A-mode, ISO400, F2.8, 1/60sec, AWB, 0EV, absolutely no touch up except resizing.

Man. A-mode, ISO400, F2.8, 1/30sec, AWB, 0EV, absolutely no touch up except resizing.

Mail in Danger. A-mode, ISO400, F2.8, 1/10sec, AWB, 0EV, absolutely no touch up except resizing.

Counting Cash. A-mode, ISO400, F2.8, 1/25sec, AWB, 0EV, absolutely no touch up except resizing.

Now, a search on eBay shows a MINT condition E-1 body is around USD450.00.

Like Maitani said, “… … a cook who relies on nothing but a sharp knife has no guarantee of producing excellent dishes.”

Will you consider restricting yourself to ISO400 or maximum 800, 5MP TIFF files and a 1.8inch LCD?

For all I know, I love this camera, and I shoot it like a film camera, with absolute confidence of getting what I want out of the camera! And I think the E-1 with the 25mm pancake is a perfect combination!

My Supportive Wife . 191010

done on 4 x 5 B&W negative.

Photography as an ART is emotional! You photograph what moves you. You photograph that which makes your blood rush inside you. You photograph that which makes the pores of your skin tingles. You photograph what drives you. You photograph what you MOST love.

If you love something or someone, you will photograph it/him/her.

At least, that’s my belief.

When you have problem pointing your camera at someone real close to you in your life, it shows some relationship struggles/entanglements/problems you need to confront. Well, at least that’s for me.

Photography NOT just helps me discover about my surroundings BUT helps me discover about myself. I thank God for photography. He speaks to me in photography.

There is no substitute for the person I love and respect in the above photograph. Not ever.

Enough Is Enough!

NOTE: (This post is not intended for professionals who require different tool for different job. It is meant for end-users).

For all of you who have been following my blog, I have taken 2 days rest from my Daily Photo Series. Since the Olympus E-5 has been circulated around for reviews in Malaysia, I have also not spoken much about Olympus yet. (I requested to be the last to touch the E-5)

There are much rumors out there that the four-thirds system is dead/dying, that E-5 might be the last Olympus SLR, etc. and etc.  The Nikon and Canon fans never fail to bash Olympus through the years for it’s small four-thirds sensor.

Now, the mirrorless Micro Four-thirds PEN system is also under fierce competition from Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and soon Nikon and Canon…

In the world of photographic gears, we love to compete. Who has the biggest sensor, who has the highest megapixels, who has the fastest frame rates, who has the quickest AF, who has the fastest lens, etc. and etc…

We seem to have let technology taken over us. We grew highly dependent on what technology can do for us.

Soon, we will have electronic shutters on high resolution digital cameras doing more than 100 frames per sec. The photography concept may evolve into the “Motion-Jpeg Concept”, where photographers literally sit down in front of their 60inch HD TV, pausing images for screen captures.

Photoshop already has auto-color, auto-tone, auto-contrast and soon we might have auto-crop since more 21MP 5Dmk2-alike DSLRs are likely to surface, when photographers can crop to a small part of the image and with 21MP, it’s still useable. And the auto-crop function might have the computer diagnose and crop the images for us…

With the amount of photographic software available today, it’s not difficult to see that a batch-processing program of “art filters” would probably surface too. Photographers don’t even have to spend much time thinking and doing what they want to their digital images as such software can diagnose and batch-process for you. Maybe you just need to do selective re-processing.

If you like bokeh, here is an excellent plug-in for you: BOKEH 2. (Now you save yourself some money buying L lenses…)

Now, can we just come back to photography, photography as a craft, photography as a D.I.Y. craft instead of letting technology take over our work?

The Olympus followers are a strange crowd. They do not follow the “Big Numbers Game”. Some of them might whine about the restrictions they face with Olympus gear at times but they come back to making images. I know of at least 2 fervent users who stick to their Olympus E-1.

The specs of Olympus’s AF and frame rate per sec may lose out to the big boys BUT the Olympus users carefully compose each shot, knowing that they can’t be overly dependent on the automation.

Having not more than 13MP on a small four-thirds sensor also means that Olympus users MUST compose each shot carefully, to avoid post-production cropping. I bet you see lotsa lame shooters firing away with their 21MP 5Dmk2. I know of those who proudly proclaim that they own a camera with “2-sensors”, a crop one and a full one literally, and they crop 90-95% of their shots at post-processing. This practice only produce sloppiness.

With the restriction of Olympus high ISO noise through the years (which has since been solved in the digital PEN series and the E-5), Olympus users are known to use tripods for their shoots, and that again trains our discipline in the whole composition process.

With it’s amazing in-body I.S., which also requires users to hand-hold the camera stably, Olympus users are trained to stop breathing for seconds. LOL…

See? Restrictions can be beneficial!

The following are some shots I have done at a birthday party with the Olympus PEN E-P1, mostly shot at ISO1600. I am still amazed at it’s sharpness and color rendition, it’s consistency in auto white balance, it’s IQ at handling mixed lighting and hotshoe flash. I can tell you, even the Leica M8/9 doesn’t quite have such IQ in AWB.

E-P1, 14-42mm kit lens, ISO1600.

E-P1, 14-42mm kit lens, ISO1600

E-P1, 14-42mm kit lens, ISO1600

E-P1, 14-42mm kit lens, ISO1600

A crop of the above. Look at the sharpness and detail at ISO1600, simply amazing!

Client's Sony Alpha "waxed". Shot with E-P1, 14-42mm kit lens, ISO 1600.

Shot with E-P1 with Olympus hotshoe FL36R Flash attached.

Enough Is Enough! Let’s get down to making images!

As I have quoted in my facebook sometime ago…

“Photography: there’s more than one way/tool/camera/lens to get what you want. Just choose one and start creating.”

Have you started yet? When was the last time you shared a really proud piece of work you did?