There will not be any further equipment acquisition for the next couple of years, particularly the lenses and bodies. My equipment rationalization is complete; with two high-end DSLR bodies, four pro-grade lenses and two flashes.
E-30 with Zuiko Digital ED50mm F2.0 Macro with Hoya C-PL filter
50mm, f/5.6, 1/13s, ISO800, maximum polarization
I have decided that the next step of my photographic journey is to expand my knowledge into new areas, in particular with creative lighting and post-processing techniques that include printing.
I already set up my complete digital darkroom last August that consists of a HP Pavillion Elite with a 19" screen and a Canon iP4500 printer. Main software includes Olympus Studio for RAW files processing and GIMP for image manipulation and editing. I feel that this setup is adequate for my post-processing requirements.
E-3 with Zuiko Digital ED14-35mm F2.0 SWD
14mm, f/4, 1/25s, ISO800, -0.3ev
What is next? Definitely more depth and experimentation. Maybe more creative lighting techniques, emphasizing on shadow placements and details. Maybe more on context and texture. Definitely more content emphasis.
So why these books?
Well I guess that my last serious book purchase was back in 2004, particularly more into the technicality of getting the perfect exposure. One book that I really learned a lot from is Creative Exposure Control by Les Meehan. The way he conveys the idea of getting the perfect exposure is clean and simple, and all within 128 pages!!
I have to confess that I am actually in a minor state of photography mental block. The new lenses that I acquired force me to explore new methods and techniques. These lenses are very different in application and results. And, it definitely has affected my previous casual workflow.
I need new ideas, new leads. I have been reading professional magazines, mostly out-of-circulation copies that I can get for a few ringgits. I find the ideas refreshing and new, but I cannot relate them to my style. I need a sense of control in finding my new photographic direction.
I need to re-educate myself.
What other than a book written by pros who use the Olympus E-system. Really perfect! The book, aptly titled Perfect Digital Photography was written by Olympus Visionaries Jay Kinghorn and Jay Dickman. The coverage includes the complete workflow starting with image capture, to image correction, and concluding at image printing. I have learnt throughout my digital adventure, digital image making requires perfect workflow to make the image outstanding. This book, I hope, will help me re-educate on the much finer aspects of digital workflow.
E-3 with Zuiko Digital ED50mm F2.0 Macro with FL-36
50mm, f/2, 1/100s, ISO100, -0.3ev
I am also an avid fan of minimal lighting. Most of my flash photography philosophy revolves around the use of minimal flash without affecting the ambient or available light. I guess my skills need to be updated, particularly with the more complex wireless flash system. I find that Kirk Tuck's idea of flash techniques is ideal for me. I stumbled upon his blog by accident, particularly in my search for a pro who is using Olympus E-system. Well, incidentally he just moved into Olympus from Nikon; thus, I will be following his blogs to discover more interesting ideas.
Well, re-educating myself will be the next challenge. I don't know how fast I can accept new ideas, or I even change. Hmmm... new discoveries beckon?