Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Moving pictures

I have often told myself, and others on some occasions, that I have no intention of getting into video, simply because of the higher complexity of it. It is a lot easier snapping a bunch of frames and selecting one than it is recording continuously at ~25 frames per second. Yet, I have started thinking about it, after getting involved in another short film project. But as I am very particular about how things should look it will probably take a while for anything at all to come to fruition from that thought.

I have however started thinking about what to use in practice. Already having cameras with video function I would try to get the most out of those, but for audio I'm looking at a couple of Zooms combined with cheap lavalier mics. Lighting I would try to use a cheap halogen work light, which I actually was able to rig to am umbrella holder in a very roundabout way. I'd still want to do a shorter, easier video project first to see how long it would take...

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Usage notes: pros and cons

I have had notes for this sitting for a while, cummulating according to the usage of the X-E1. So it's not really a review so much as usage notes.

Stuff I like about it in no particular order:

  • The design and form factor. It's not a big DSLR covering the whole face and therefore looks and feels more discrete.
  • Image quality. It has an adjustable maximum auto-ISO, for me set at 6400, because I know it can handle it.
  • The 18-55 kit lens is nearly a full stop faster than most other kit lenses.
  • Since my main eye is the right one I can use the electronic viewfinder without pushing my nose against the main LCD. This sounds like a small issue, but wiping fat-prints from the LCD left by my nose is a thing I don't miss doing.
  • The sound of the shutter. Very subjective, but I like the sound.
  • Manual focus mode with focus peaking, and a nifty feature where the exposure/focus-lock button works as temporary focus activator.

Then there are of course some things I don't like...

  • Growing pains. It's a completely different system, new buttons, new GUI, learning where and how everything works was not an easy process. Sort of like walking in new shoes.
  • First model. As the "1" in the name indicates, it's the first in the line, and it feels a lot like version 1 of a software, some strange bugs and weird behaviour.
  • Auto-focus. This is a big one for me, with DSLRs the auto-focus is usually fast and works in darker environments. The X-E1 auto-focus starts struggling as soon as a room is dimmed a bit, which negates the high-ISO capabilities somewhat...
  • The electronic viewfinder also starts lagging a bit in dark environments. And speaking of the viewfinder, in what has to be one of the strangest design decisions ever, there is no option to use the viewfinder for shooting and the main LCD only for playback and menus. If you have the viewfinder active, all menus come up on that by default.
  • Battery life. Compared to a DSLR the battery runs empty quite quickly.

There is a very long way to go before this type of camera could become my regular camera, the one I go to for actual realisation of my imagination (mostly because some flash sync issues I've been having). But it definitely fills a role for me that the other cameras I have used just haven't been able to, which I think is one of the casual, more observational camera. When creating images from ground up using lighting it is a more constructional approach I use; I have an image in my head and I need to construct it into the real world. I have experimented with some cameras with a smaller form factor than DSLRs for just walking around, observing and snapshooting. (I've tried some pocket cameras, the old Powershot A520, an IXUS 960 IS which was quite good but has strangely disappeared, some cheap plastic film pocket cameras, and a rangefinder Yashica Electro.)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Another evening with whiskey in the glass and Death Cab for Cutie playing, becoming something of a habit, I suppose. Songs to reminisce to. Good or bad memories? A little of both maybe. Lyrics hitting home. It's very, very easy to just wallow in self-pity, but the only way out is through.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Isn't it peculiar how much creation is born from sadness? Or is it that sadness resonates more in us, makes a deeper print, so that is what we remember the most. At least it is what is most often left unprocessed in us.

As a person who regularly uses emotions in creating images (with the goal of vice versa) it is something both painful and necessary. It's something that I am looking for, something that resonates. If it resonates within me then it is a hint that it will also resonate within others.

Currently drinking whiskey and listening to Death Cab for Cutie.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The X effect

So I fell to the temptation and jumped on the mirrorless bandwagon, with a Fuji X-E1. (Purchased second-hand, because of obvious reasons.)

Pictures will be forthcoming. Eventually!

Friday, March 06, 2015

Pause for breath

This year has gotten quite a slow start, due to some of my addictions. Dragon Quest IX being the biggest perpetrator in this case. I have still been taking pictures, but making pictures. To me the difference is crucial. Other things have also been weighing on my mind, which to me is rarely a good thing; when I have things I worry about I seem to have a much harder time getting things done, as I escape responsibilities with passive time-sinks like endless browsing.

One new thing, though, is the thought of getting more into video. After having found a reasonably priced 550D I have been exploring the video options and thought more about the realities of making a short movie (ca. 15 minutes). It is a long way from bearing fruit but the seed has been planted.

Friday, January 30, 2015


This image is not too interesting other than the story behind it.

I was out one fall (no pun intended) doing strobist stuff, searching for interesting imagery. I had the light set up a couple of meters camera right, a single Speedlight shooting into an umbrella, when I learned once again that using an umbrella light-modifier outdoors is a bad idea, as with a small wind the stand toppled over, landing it flash-down into a ditch. With water, of course.

So I aborted the photoing and headed indoors, threw the flash in a bag with rice and waited. A week later I took it out and loaded up some batteries, and found it in working order!

Long story short: rice is not only for food.

Thursday, January 08, 2015


Here it is, the big sigh. Sighing for lack of motivation, time lost in video games (curse you Dragon Quest 9), lack of time.

The pendulum of life is multi-dimensional; when it starts swinging from one extreme the natural way is not diametrically opposite. Let's see where it lands next.