Saturday, 1 January 2011

Countdown with Linzi Stoppard

DSC00558L (Camera: Sony A55 with Minolta 70-300mm, hand-held)

The first post in 2011 features the gorgeous Linzi of the violin duo FUSE from the UK, which staged a free performance for a countdown party in Hong Kong last night.  The accompanying rock music in the background was so loud that the violin tune could barely be heard, but anyway the focus was undoubtedly much on the once-model Linzi.  She is truly photogenic.

Happy New Year!

DSC00564L DSC00566L DSC00576L DSC00577L DSC00578LDSC00579L

Friday, 31 December 2010

A Fruitful Year

SAM_2247L

(Camera: Samsung NX100)

How fruitful you can say for yourself in 2010 at the close of the year?  A cartful of fruits maybe?  For readers whose 2010 has not been really productive, congratulations to you for the less burdened year.

The best wishes to you for even more better shots in 2011!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Illusion

DSC00510L

(Camera: Sony A55)

Keep looking at the red balloon... Now, is the background real or a reflection of some sort?

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

When I Grow Big

R1230900L(Camera: Ricoh GX200)

"I'll have a square head and a broad shoulder. Taller.  Bigger."

These questions pop up in most people's childhood at some point: What will I be like as a grown-up, what will I do for a career and who will I marry?  And these were the questions immediately sprung up when the author noticed this scene.  With years of training to see through a viewfinder, the author instantly saw with his bare eyes an intriguing abstract image from it. The scene could be mundane to most passers-by, or photographers being less observant. Fact is, the framed image was surrounded by many distracting elements while people were hurrying past behind the author to work.  The scene did not appear to be as philosophical or "serene" on the spot.

The simple composition against the empty wall gives much room for the viewers' imagination to take flight.  The contrast of the shapes, of the colours (big black shadow and other elements in pastel colour), of the light and shadow, of the material foreground (the physical signal lamp) and the virtual background (the imaginary grown-up shadow of it) all add up to hold the scene as an integral whole. Nothing irrelevant is included. This coherence effectively directs the viewers' focus on working out their own interpretation of the image.

Another issue which has to be raised is giving a title to the image, which is "When I Grow Big" for this one.  The author has come across photographers who said that they didn't give titles to their works.  Maybe they were trying not to sound pretentious.  That's their choice.  But thinking up a title to an image is a training in disguise. This is because in the process, the photographer has to grill themselves in the heart about the real themes and focuses of the images.  Keep doing this and you will in turn become more conscious and observant about what scenes would make intriguing images and, most importantly, why.  This is not to say that those who do otherwise cannot make images as good.  The point is, this is one of the training with which photographers can harvest the benefits to mature in photography.

When you grow big in photography, what will your dream be?


Monday, 27 December 2010

Need for Speed

RIMG4625L(Camera: GXR A12 50mm in 1:1 format, standard colour)

Thanks to Laikok, the sole dealer of Ricoh cameras in Hong Kong, GX Garnerings have the chance to update the verdict on the focusing speed of the A12 50mm module upon installing in it the firmware version 1.29 released on 1 November 2010.

Previously, the major issue of the 50mm module (actually it is 50mm equiv.)  was the sluggish focusing speed.  With the previous firmware, the AF of the module could take as long as 4 seconds to confirm, but sometimes even to no avail after the time spent on focusing under, say, indoor lighting.  The average time for locking the focus was about 2 seconds.
 
When the Marco function was turned on, the searching for the right focus took so long that the MF was preferable in the first place.  Undoubtedly, this could be frustrating in some situations.

SAM_2468L(Camera: Samsung WB600)

Now, the Ricoh engineers are known as issue fixers not for no reason.  With the latest firmware v1.29, the issue is completely gone.  The focusing takes less than a second to confirm for a normal scene, that is to say, brightly lit and with good contrast.  In low light situations, it takes roughly up to 2 seconds.  When the Marco is turned on, the focus is confirmed after 1 to 2 seconds.

SAM_2474L(Camera: Samsung WB600)

No, with the new firmware, the focusing speed cannot be said to be impressive still.  But it is not unbearable either.  Certainly, the speed is slightly behind the NX100 as far as the author's experience goes.

A side note: the first two shots today were designed to suit the topic.  The first shot was done with the continuous shooting function on.  The second shot was made possible by using the M mode to drag the shutter speed (hence, overexposing the image a bit for effect) and panning down a bit when full-pressing the shutter release.  The best about the cheapy WB600 is that it has PASM modes, which is very handy when using its farthest focal length at 360mm equiv.


Heavily Coloured

SAM_1906(L)

(Camera: Samsung NX100)

The small mirror-less cameras have the advantage in size compared with the regular big boys.  But there are some reasons that they still cannot edge out the smaller-sensor serious compacts (sc) or the DSLRs as they lack:

1) the deeper depth of field (vs. sc; important for street photographers)

2) a pocketable size (vs. sc)

3) the convenience of no lenses changing (vs. sc)

4) an excellent focusing performance (vs. DSLR)

5) a good gripping (vs. DSLR)

6) the good weight balance between the lens and the camera body (vs. DSLR)

These are the general observations after the hands-on with the several mirror-less cameras.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Disappearing

R0014676(L)

(Camera: Ricoh GXR A12 28mm; without pp)

Absolutely not referring to the holiday mood.