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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Zuiko and "The Beautiful Game" Challenge

E-3 with Zuiko Digital ED50-200mm f2.8-3.5 & FL-50R
76mm, F/10, 1/160s, ISO100, Wireless Flash TTL

So far, this is my best entry to the challenge. It earned 12th spot. This challenge was titled as such because the theme was to capture "anything to do with sports aside from the players or the action itself".

The flash was located remotely to the right of the frame, approximately the same distance as the camera to the balls. This created an isosceles triangle with the balls being the reference point. Thus, the TTL measurement for the camera and the flash was similar and exposure was spot on!

The low angle of the flash created a long shadow as if the balls were witnessing a sunrise. In my opinion, that's what caught the eye of the voters in the Challenge.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Zuiko and "In a Private World" Challenge

E-510, Zuiko Digital 11-22mm f2.8-3.5
22mm, f/5, 1/500s, ISO400

This entry was for Challenge #10 in In a Private world challenge the photographer needed to "show images of people who appear to be in their own world not noticing what is going on around them."

This image was an old image that I mined from my database. This image depicted the scene prior to the start of Sepang MotoGP event in October 2007. The lone spectator was just sitting under my terrace, and quickly I captured this moment. Such solace in the sole presence, the deafening silence of the terrace was soon reverberated with the thunderous sounds of the 200hp bikes!!

By getting the theme spot on, the forumers agree to rate this image quite highly #31 out of 400 submissions. If you look at the quality of submissions, actually to finish at the Top 10% is already a great achievement!

I will continue participating into these challenges in the future...

Zuiko and "A wind blows" Challenge

Lately, I have been entering my images, either from my database in or by making new shots, into the dpReview Challenges.

E-30, Zuiko Digital ED7-14mm F4.0
7mm, F/10, 1/100s, ISO200

In Challenge #11, A Wind Blows, I was tasked to capture an image that "show how winds effects nature, people or animals and how it can have both a gentle caress and be an unstoppable force."

I was walking in the Shah Alam Lake Gardens on Sunday morning after shopping at Pasar Tani, aka Farmer's Market. The sight of these tall trees struck me. The tallest tree bent with the wind blow. With the ultra-wide angle zoom lens, I was able to capture the converging perspective of the towering trees, with the flopped one being the centerpiece!

The early morning sun brought added depth to the shadows and highlights, with the light and dark intertwined majestically bring out the glow in the shot. The strong blue sky prodded in fresh perspective, too. Not too shabby, I would say.

And much to my delight, the dpreview forum crowd also appreciated my effort, and this image got 30th place out of 313 entries.

Not a bad effort, I would say!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Zuiko 7-14mm F4.0, An Ultrawide Zoom

E-30 with Zuiko Digital ED7-14mm F4.0
7mm, F/16, 1/25s, ISO100

When Olympus announced the Zuiko Digital ED7-14mm F4.0 lens back in September 2004, it was the widest ultra-wide zoom in the market. This was a strong selling point for quite a while until Nikon released the Nikkor 14-24mm lens in Fall 2007.

This is lens is meant to be a pro lens. Typical of an award-winning lens, the optical quality is superb, with strong control in barrel distortion and chromatic abberrations that are synonimous with this type of lens. Sharpness is superb across the frame, too!

The wide vista, with a 114-degree angle-of-view, allows for creative photography in confined spaces which are suitable for architecture. The superb rectilinear performance further enhances its pedigree for reliable and accurate rendition of the scene.

This lens is just simply superb!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Zuiko and FP Flash Portraits

Shooting with flash in bright sunlight is very important. With the correct balance between the sunlight and flash power, beautiful images can be created with minimum shadow harshness.

One of the problem with DSLR shooting outdoors with flash is the use of the focal-plane shutter. This archaic design is the bane of modern photography, and should be banned, in my opinion. But, the strength of this design compared to current modern design is still valid, though. With focal-plane (FP) shutter, very fast speeds up to 1/8000s is possible. Modern leaf shutter can only go up to 1/2000s which is evident in current point-and-shoot digicams.

With focal plane shutter, there are 2 mechanisms being used to control exposure.

For lower shutter speed, the exposure is done instanteneously throughout the frame; thus, there are no issues to sync with the flash. In olden cameras, fastest sync speed were typically 1/125s. Nowadays, most modern DSLRs have sync up to even 1/500s. Typical sync speeds are 1/180s to 1/250s.

For shutter speeds higher than the sync speed, the DSLR controls shutter exposure differently. Instead of exposing the whole frame in one moment, the shutter moves from one end of the frame to the other end of the frame creating a stroboscopic sweep of exposure. Now, here lies the problem... In order to sync with higher shutter speed, the flash needs to have FP Flash support. If not, only part of the frame will be exposed with the flash as the stroboscopic sweep is not in-sync with the flash burst.

Normal TTL flash uses impulse response upon trigger, with the flash emitting the maximum power set by the camera. It only lasts for a few microseconds. It does not need high sync accuracy; hence, the speed limitation.

FP TTL flash, an invention of Olympus back in 1986, uses step response upon trigger. The burst is set to low power but longer duration, maybe 50-100x longer than Normal TTL. With the longer burst, it is possible for the shutter sweep to be illuminated throughout the frame; thus, achieving accurately exposed image.

E-3 with Zuiko Digital ED14-35mm F2.0 SWD & FL-50R
21mm, f/3.5, 1/800s, ISO100, -1.3EV, FP Flash +2EV

In this image, I manage to get a balance between the sky and subject. Usually the camera will over-expose the sky to white to get the subject bright enough. In this case, I override by -1.3EV so that it's enough to render the sky strong blue. In order to compensate for the loss of exposure to the subject, I override the flash power to +2.0EV. Overall balance is flash +0.7EV over sunlight. In this instance, I will get a darkened effect rather than natural exposure.

Notice the shutter speed is 1/800s, which is way off E-3s 1/250s flash sync. FP Flash technology made it possible. If not, there will be two situations: white sky with nice subject, or blue sky with silhoutte subject.

Two more samples at different apertures for different Depth-of-Field.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Zuiko and Selective Focus

Sometimes, it is very important to have the focal plane align with the subject to emphasize the composition. If the subject and the overall image are identical in shape, color and size, the use of selective focus will be more effective.

E-510 with Zuiko Digital 14-54mm f2.8-3.5
54mm, f/3.5, 1/250s, ISO100, -0.3EV

In this image, I selected the three-leaves clusters to align to focal plane. And I selected a medium aperture value to capture enough depth of field to render the clusters in focus. The rest of the image was blurred.

The morning sunlight provided a nice angle for the leaves to reflect the rays that casted a lovely maze of highlights and shadows. Somehow, the leaves looked very lifelike and 3D-ish. Awesome.