Friday, June 30, 2017

Street Photography 101: Composition vs Chasing People

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm f/2 R WR. Classic Chrome film profile
If someone asked what the #1 tip I can give for creating a great street photo, I would say focus on composition. It's even more important than finding interesting people. Really? Many prioritize the search for interesting people and then composition comes after, but my approach is the reverse. Most of us understand what the term 'composition' means, but do we know how to prioritize it in our photography, especially when it comes to street photography? I've conducted enough workshops to know that many of us need a little help, but once we get it, we get it. Developing a systematic approach to our composition will take time, but it's time well spent. Once we acquire an eye for it, our street photography will improve dramatically. So let's stop chasing people and focus on composition. But how? Let's begin now.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

First Impressions: Fujifilm GF 23mm F/4 R LM WR Lens

Fujifilm GFX 50S w/GF 23mm f/4. 1/125th sec f/4 @ ISO 3200. Classic Chrom. TJ Schneider of The Shop Vancouver
Back in the film days I was never a fan of the 18mm ultra wide angle focal length. I didn't trust it. The major manufactures would make 21mm prime lenses, or 21-35mm zooms; but rarely would they go to 18mm. The only brands who would go that wide was 3rd party manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc. I don't think there's anything wrong with the focal length, it's just the number seemed too.... even? Yes both 18 and 21 is divisible by 3 (sorry, I'm nerding out a bit), but the 21mm focal length just felt... better. The Fujifilm XF14mm, the WCL-X70 (for the X-70), the Ricoh GR-21,  Leica 21mm F/1.4 Summilux Asph, these are all 21mm equivalent (or actual) field-of-view lenses. I trust this focal length. But 18mm ultra wide? The APS-C equivalent is a 12mm, a focal length that Fujifilm does not make, but Samyang/Rokinon does... see the pattern? So when Fujifilm announced the GF 23mm f/4 lens instead of a GF 27mm f/4 (yes I did the math), I was a bit surprised. Would I dare test this unusual (for a major manufacturer) focal length prime lens for the GFX system? If so, would I enjoy shooting with it? Because of my experience shooting with the XF10-24mm zoom lens, I can safely say I am indeed reviewing and enjoying this crazy (good) prime lens for the GFX system.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Leica M10 vs Fujifilm X-T2 vs GFX 50S for High ISO Performance

The Leica M10 is very special. It's also very expensive. Of all the cameras I review, I get the most criticism from both fans and critics. The one thing we can't argue over is the final image quality. It is what it is. Although I rarely do back-to-back comparisons between various cameras, I was curious about the new sensor in the M10. I knew the new 24MP sensor in the Leica M10 has better higher ISO sensitivity, but how much better? It's definitely better than the older M240, but how about against the latest Fujifilm sensors, both the APS-C and the medium format sensor? I decided to shoot an impromptu portrait session with Marcello at Push Pull CafĂ© in Vancouver. Here is a quick indoor natural light comparison between the Leica M10, Fujifilm X-T2 and the GFX 50S at ISO 3200. Can you tell which sensor is which?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Why I Shoot Film: Hong Kong Edition

As someone who gets to review cameras for a living, as well as being a self-professed gear nerd for many years, I've had the opportunity to test drive a plethora of cameras. I started at the height of the film era (1990s), where amazing cameras were being built and innovative technological advancements were being made (OIS was invented during the film era). At the time everyone had access to a dozen film manufacturers and hundreds of film types. Used camera stores were stocked to the ceiling with old classics like the Nikon F3, Canon AE1, Minolta X700, etc. This was the final golden age of film photography.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Childhood Pictures: The Friendly Neighbourhood Photographer

In the mid 1970s, my family immigrated to Vancouver Canada from Okinawa Japan. We settled into East Vancouver, a working class community made up mostly of Hong Kong Chinese, Italian, Portuguese and Indian immigrants. It was a time when you could spend all day playing with the other kids on the block and parents didn't have to constantly monitor your whereabouts. Good times. I remember playing along the front of our house with my siblings with our bikes and scooters, creating a sort of social magnetic field, unwittingly pulling in the other kids from the neighbourhood. We would spend all afternoon doing absolutely nothing, but having a great time doing it. These definitely were my wonder years.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hong Kong, Bangkok and Beyond. Where Have I Been?

Chinatown, Bangkok. Fujifilm X-T2 + XF10-24mm @ 10mm
Yes, yes I know. I have not kept up my promise of writing an article once a week, even if it's just a short little ditty. Since my last article on the Fujifilm SQ10, I've been all over the place. I took off to Hong Kong, then to Bangkok, back to Hong Kong, back to Vancouver, and busy ever since. I've put myself in a position that I'm at least 20 videos behind schedule, and about 40 articles behind on my blog. My photography has been backed up as well. I've shot, but I have not yet looked at much of my images. I still have many rolls of film to send off to get processed and scanned.  If you follow me on Instagram, YouTube or Twitter, you can piece together what I've been up to. However, this is not a good thing. My personal blog and website is my home base. This is where the meat of my content should reside. For this I am sorry. I am sorry for all my readers who have not given up on this grossly neglected and horribly laid out website. I am still working on a plan to migrate this website to a WordPress or SquareSpace template, but it is still months away. For now, let's just try and play a bit of catch up shall we?