time (a somewhat prosaic short essay)

Time is a thing of wonder, beauty even. We are traveling down its one way street, sometimes oblivious, sometimes we feel it’s passage deeply. And yet, after all these years, all this time, we still don’t take it at face value. We mope about the past and worry ourselves sick over the future, not realizing that time spent doing this is time we can use to repair mistakes we made in the past or prepare for the future. Until someone invents time travel, we can’t fix the burnt bridges of the past, and we have to cross the bridges of the future when we get to them. We have to live in the now, the split second of time we have at our disposal.

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its all good!

Really, pretty much all lenses are good enough for most uses. Unless you are a pro, you don’t need the best lenses. Unless you are looking for specific qualities, reading countless reviews is a waste of time. My Minolta 50mm f1.4 at f5.6 is almost as good as my Olympus 60mm 2.8 wide open, which is amazing. Almost, but still, almost as good as that lens is as good as a lot of lenses get, and is good enough for me, and I pixel peep sometimes (just for noise, but still).

photography is like video games

Dang, evening light is gorgeous! I didn’t have a camera, though. Darn! At least I had an excuse (I was mowing someone’s lawn). But anyway, like the title says, photography is kinda like video games, if it’s your hobby that is. Like in video games, it’s just for fun, so if it isn’t, stop for a while.

I don’t really agree with the ‘one camera, one lens’ philosophy for photographic ‘discipline’. Like I said up there ^, it’s for fun, so don’t force yourself into doing something you don’t want to do. If you want to, go ahead! But I’d rather use the right tool for the job. Creativity loves constraints, but don’t take it too far. I usually take only two lenses, the 60mm f2.8 and the kit lens, but might only take one lens. I think my opinion is: use one or two lenses at a time, but have the right lenses for what you want to do.

In conclusion, if photography is a hobby and not you job, ‘have it your way’. Do it to please yourself. If you are happy with the pictures you’re making, keep doing it that way.

first in a series

Starting now, I’m going to post images apart from anything else, not really a photo essay, and explain some things about the shot. Critiques are welcome!

This is the first one:

IMG_0107.JPG

I was testing out my new iPad mini’s camera out the window of an airplane, and also trying to get a new perspective on airplane window shots by focusing on the window. This is probably my favorite shot using my iPad mini’s camera, and probably the only airplane shot that I’ll ever keep.

Panasonic G5 mini-review

This is my review of the Panasonic G5 m4/3 camera. Its not in-depth or exact, just a short user-experience review. With that said, here goes nothing:

The G5 is my first real camera, so I don’t have much to compare it to, but anyway, the iq from this camera is usually more than enough for my needs, good detail and dynamic range very clean to ISO 1600, from there it gets a bit noisy, 3200 is the limit for me. Autofocus is snappy in good light, but, with my Olympus 60mm especially (not being known for extremely fast focusing, it slows down a bit in lower light. The G5 feels nice, not to heavy, it doesn’t, IMO, have ‘soul’, but I don’t have a problem with that. Once I got the buttons set how I wanted them shooting with it is fluid, this camera doesn’t get in the way, it lets you shoot how you want to, instead of forcing you to adjust your shooting style. The full-articulating screen is nice, especially on a tripod, and I love the touch pad feature. The two dials are nice, a wheel/button on the back and a rocker on the top near the shutter button. I wish that you could set the rear wheel to alternate between (in aperture priority) aperture and ISO, instead of exposure┬ácompensation, which is taken care of by the rocker. The viewfinder is very good, better than Olympus’ VF-2, in my opinion, sharp and big, though it is a bit too contrasty.
Overall a very good camera, and a great entry into m4/3 right now at Panasonic’s fire sale prices.

(Edit): after pixel peeping a bit, I can see noise in the shadows even at ISO 160 (base), but it isn’t too much, and can be easily done away with all the way up to 1600, with the newest version of ACR.

Zooms vs primes, the epitome of photography gear.

The eternal gear argument, zooms vs primes. Zooms for convenience/versatility, primes for size, cost, or that last bit of quality (but certainly not all three at the same time!). It is a question of ‘how much’: how much weight are you willing to carry, how much money are you willing to spend, how much image quality are you willing to give up. It’s about finding your own compromise, somewhere in between a large format film system, and a p&s/iPhone. For me, micro 4/3’s is about perfect: small and light enough, more than good enough sensor quality, great lenses. Others may require, say, medium format digital, while others may be satisfied with only an old point and shoot. By the way, don’t think I’m too much of a gearhead, I will post a rather long photoessay after I get my workflow up and running again (my computer broke). Please post your opinions on primes vs zooms. (And if you want a look at how a photography blog should be, IMO, take a look at http://blog.mingthein.com/ .)

A somewhat random collection of articles, thoughts and ideas.