Interview with Pictor

Discussion in 'Member Interviews' started by Herman, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. Herman

    Herman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2010
    The Netherlands
    I wanna thank Pictor for accepting the invitation for an interview.
    Members with questions for Pictor are welcome, just ask.

    First question:
    Who's the person behind Pictor and how did you get landed at this great forum?
     
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  2. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    635
    Jul 17, 2010
    The pleasure is all mine.

    I hope you won't mind, if I quote my lengthy introduction (https://www.mu-43.com/f69/introduction-my-path-micro-four-thirds-4707/#post43799):

    In my introduction I wrote, that I took many photographs of butterflies and dragonflies with my Canon gear. Unfortunately I don't have any digitalized pictures of those photographs and not many pictures of butterflies taken with my digital cameras. But at least I can show one picture I have taken with my Olympus recently:

    [​IMG]
    Olympus E-PL1, 90mm @ f/5.5, 1/500, ISO 1600

    How did I land at this forum? Well, after buying the Canon S90 my interest in small cameras was awakened. Somehow I found the site Serious Compacts, which was inactive then, but I studied the archive. When I found SeriousCompacts.com, I discovered this forum. Short after that I bought my Olympus and now I am here.

    Christian
     
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  3. Herman

    Herman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Thanks Christian for your answers. Seems that size and weight wins from heavy gear.
    The butterfly image is great!

    How did you get in touch with macro photography?

    Do you have other hobbies?

    I like your avatar. Can you tell us why you choose this picture. (I expected that you might use a butterfly or dragonfly)
     
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  4. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    635
    Jul 17, 2010
    I was about 18 years old when my local photographic shop had the 200mm macro on sale. Until then I had spared my pocket money diligently and when I saw the offer, I knew that I just needed this lens, took all my money and bought the lens at the same day I saw the offer. This was neither a planned buy, nor had I any money left afterwards. I have never had any regrets about buying the lens, because this lens was my favorite lens with which I took most of my pictures.

    One of the highlights of my macro photography were my shots of the (male) beautiful demoiselle. I can remember that it took several days to shot this dragonfly. I took the pictures standing in the waist-deep water in a water meadow. These dragonflies keep returning to the same perch, which helps a lot. However, at the begin of every session I needed about half an hour until I succeeded to get near enough to take photographs. These dragonflies are extremely dark and thus I got pictures with black dragonflies or much too light leaves. Therefore I began using a flash. It took some time to find out the correct setting (today it would be easier, because of the immediate feedback), but finally I had several shots I could be very happy with.

    Besides taking pictures I love hearing music (mostly classical music), hiking and reading good books very much.

    I tend to change my avatar from time to time. In the moment my avatar shows Seneca the Younger. It's taken from a photograph I showed here:

    [​IMG]

    Don't expect me to do the expected (but don't expect me to do the unexpected either). :tongue:

    Christian
     
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  5. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    Jun 13, 2010
    Japan
    Christian, I have an additional question at this phase (and above Herman invited everybody to interrupt with questions).
    - Macro and light weight m43 (camera + lens) is probably not the most common match seen on this site.

    I don't see you run into the water with tripod and manual focus lens to catch the moment of a dragon fly, but still, you don't feel a need to buy a nice big old lens and attach it to your Olympus?
     
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  6. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    635
    Jul 17, 2010
    When I bought my Nikon, I bought a macro lens, too, and used it a lot. But I realized, that I did not want to continue exactly the same kind of photography as I did before the longer break, when I did not take photographs. I want to concentrate on other subjects now.

    I already have a big old lens, the 200mm macro, but this is a really big lens, which I would not carry it with me during hiking. However, I don't care driving to the botanical garden to take pictures with my heavy tripod and this lens on my E-PL1, which I won't do very often anyway. I suppose, that if Olympus releases a macro lens in September (as suggested in their roadmap), I will try to buy it only when needed, but most probably I won't be able to withstand the temptation. This lens should be light enough to be carried during hiking. My 9-18mm and a 50mm macro lens would be a fine and light combination.

    Christian
     
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  7. Herman

    Herman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Good morning Christian.

    Fujifilm has a 3D camera. For sale in Germany for 449 and in Holland for 499.
    Panasonic has a 3D camcorder.
    It's rumored that Sony will announce a 3D camera at Photokina.
    There are many 3D tv sets for sale at affordable prices, starting at about 1000 euro.
    Would it not be great investing in 3D, taking 3D macro images and video?

    What's your preferred breakfast?
    I like yoghurt, being on vacation I prefer english breakfast over continental.
    So now and then we have english breakfast at home.
     
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  8. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    635
    Jul 17, 2010
    Some years ago I experimented with 3D. I built something to make two slides from a tripod. The subjects had to be very static, since I took two consecutive pictures instead of two simultaneous ones. I had two small devices for looking at slides, which one could hold in front of ones eyes. But I did not pursue this further and stopped the experiment quickly. Of course it could be fascinating to do this with an equipment which is suited much better for 3D, but I have never experimented with 3D since then and I have no further plans to investigate in 3D.

    I am not very hungry in the morning. Sometimes I eat a muesli and most times I drink a cup of hot chocolate and a cup of coffee later at work.

    Christian
     
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  9. Herman

    Herman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Hi Christian, a few questions:

    Do you photograph in all kind of weather conditions?

    What is your preferred time to go out for a photoshooting?

    Name Christian makes me almost believe your German or French.
    Am I right or wrong?
     
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  10. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    635
    Jul 17, 2010
    I prefer weather conditions which are good for hiking. :smile:

    This depends on what I want to photograph. During the week I go out late in the afternoon or early in the evening before it gets dark, because I have to work for my living during the day. Apart from that I prefer the times of the day when the light is best, if I can choose.

    You are wrong.
     
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  11. Herman

    Herman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Am I wrong?
    Huh? Haha!
    Thanks for your reply.

    What is your wish list for next Photokina?

    What kind of photographic genres attracks you next too macro?

    How do you store your images?

    Will you stick to m43, or move to Sony A33 / A55?
     
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  12. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    635
    Jul 17, 2010
    Olympus has published a roadmap which suggests, that a macro lens will come in September. Since I'd like a fast lens, too, a fast macro lens would be perfect. Although I would not buy another body this year, I wish that Olympus introduces a pen with a better sensor than in their current models. I wish that Olympus will expand µ4/3, since two bodies and four lenses is not enough to be called a system.

    In the moment I am still experimenting. I like to photograph nature, landscapes, architecture and sometimes I even try street. I take snap shots during my walks after work and like to take pictures of urban decay. This is a picture I took during a hike last Sunday:

    [​IMG]
    Olympus E-PL1, 18mm @ f/8.0, 1/350, ISO 100

    This is no spectacular picture, but I like it. By the way, it shows the same field as in the picture I took one week earlier:

    [​IMG]
    Olympus E-PL1, 18mm @ f/8.0, 1/350, ISO 100

    At the moment I don't plan shots, but take my camera with one lens and let myself be surprised.

    I am photographing raw only. When I came home today, I started Lightroom and imported the pictures. The raws came in the following folder:

    Pictures/2010/201008/20100826

    After the import I selected the keepers and deleted some bad shots. After developing the raws, I rename all pictures like this: 20100826_193344.ORF The developed pictures are exported as JPEGS (maximal quality, full size) in a different folder, for example:

    Pictures/USA/New York/Manhattan/201008/

    The big advantage of this method is, that I can find the raw file of a JPEG immediately. I can use more than one camera and still have all pictures ordered.

    I have configured Lightroom to store the development informations in XMP-files, which are stored in the same folder as the raw files. This makes it easy to backup all pictures. In the worst case I have to import the whole tree, but then I have all informations available again. This helped me a lot when I switched from Lightroom 3 Beta to Bridge/ACR and from Bridge/ACR back to Lightroom 3.

    All of my pictures are saved on the hard drive of my computer and on my external hard drive. From time to time I burn my pictures on DVD which I store somewhere else.

    I have just switched from Nikon to µ4/3 and don't consider any other system change at the moment.

    Christian
     
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  13. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    Jun 13, 2010
    Japan
    Christian, Nice organization of your photo's, I hope my wife could do that (for me) as well!!!

    But I wanted to comment on your two landscape pictures. IMO both really nice, if you would have taken "exactly" the same location and only change height and/or vertical angle it could have been part of very sweet changing season series.
    • Personally I like the contrast / balance in the second photo most, the sky is perfect including the open area above the piece of forrest as well as the "silent base".
    • Maybe lowering the horizon of the first phone will make it more "eye-catching" - at least more contrasting if displayed together with the second one (vertically, or left top vs right bottom in one frame, in inversed order).
    Are identical camera settings for both pictures an incident or on purpose?
     
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  14. Herman

    Herman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Hi Christian, you moved from Nikon to mft Oly.
    The Nikon has an OVF, the PEN hasn't an EVF aboard.
    Was it hard for you to get used composing on the backscreen LCD?

    Which camera is user friendlier when it comes to menus etc?

    How you shoot with your PEN, what are your preferred settings?

    Enjoy your weekend!
     
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  15. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    635
    Jul 17, 2010
    Joep, thanks for your comments about my pictures. It was not my intent to take the same picture twice, although it was the same field. To be honest, I did not even think of doing a series of season changes. If I thought of that, I would have taken another picture with the same angle of view as in the picture with the clouds.

    The lower picture lives because of the sky with the clouds. I like the structure of the clouds very much. They form two diagonals and the big cloud is located exactly above the bigger group of trees. By the way, I had shown a different version of this picture before:

    [​IMG]
    Olympus E-PL1, 18mm @ f/8.0, 1/350, ISO 100

    It happens, that I am not sure about which version I should favor. I tend to prefer the black and white version, but all people I showed both versions in real life favor the colored version. What do you prefer?

    However, there were no clouds in the sky when I took the upper picture one week after the lower one. I chose to place the horizon in a way, such that the structure of the cut field dominates the picture. There are long piles of straw and I wanted them to lead away from the viewer, which is the main reason that I took a different angle of view. I tried different balances, too, but I came to the conclusion that I like this composition best. On the other hand I cannot rule out the possibility, that an other photographer had chosen a completely different composition, which I might prefer to mine.

    This was an incident. I saw this when I wrote above post and I am still a little amazed by this coincidence, although both days were sunny and thus at least the same exposure value is not that big surprise.

    I bought my pen I had photographed thousands of pictures with my Canon S90. So I was already used to composing with a screen and I have nearly never missed an OVF. This sounds quite surprising. There have been some situations when I didn't see anything on the screen of my Canon S90 because of the sun in my back and these situations were the only exceptions.

    The screen of the pen has less resolution, which I considered as a disadvantage at first, but then I realized, that the screen of the pen is great even with the sun in my back after turning the brightness of the pen's display a little bit up (it is at about 3/4 of the scale).

    As a matter of fact I like the screen better. With the screen it is possible or at least much easier to keep an eye on the surroundings. I can see things happening which I would miss, if I narrowed my field of view by using an OVF. I find it easier to compose with a screen than with an OVF and I can take angles of view which would be impossible with an OVF. Having an articulated screen would be even better.

    Sometimes it is much easier to take photos with a screen because I feel to be much more unobtrusive. Let me demonstrate this by the following picture:

    [​IMG]
    Olympus E-PL1, 36mm @ f/5.6, 1/90, ISO 200

    I saw these dummies and the cigarette automat and positioned myself to take a photograph of these dummies when a man went to the automat. Suddenly he turned around and looked at me holding my camera at waist level. I looked at him, too, and released the shutter quickly. The interaction between this man, the dummies and me would have been completely different with me holding a big DSLR in front of my face. At least I feel much more relaxed with a pen in such situations.

    I do not miss my Nikon, but I find it user friendlier having more direct possibilities to access settings like ISO and white balance instead of being forced to press many buttons. On the other hand the E-PL1 has some advantages over the Nikon D90, which I find much more essential than not having these additional buttons and wheels.

    Although I don't have any problems with the pen's menues, my impression is, that the Nikon's menues are better tidied up. The advantage might be small, but I think it is the Nikon which has slightly better menues. On the other hand the E-PL1 has more possibilities to be configured to ones own needs, which results in a more complex menue system nearly necessarily.

    The pen offers me to save two different configurations to which I can reset the camera. I missed this feature so much when I had the Nikon! It is possible to reset the Nikon, but there are always some settings which I had to change every time I reset the camera. This was rather annoying.

    The default setting is the professional mode P, auto ISO and auto white balance. I switch to whatever I need, but this is the most basic setting I start with. I always shoot in raw only. The red button is set to AE-Lock using spot metering. The function key is set to the switch between AF and MF. In MF the red button activates the AF and is exactly that, which is the AF-On button of Nikon's and Canon's professional cameras. The AF is set to S-AF with manual override. Please ask, if you are interested in further details or in why I use specific settings.

    Thank you, the same to you!

    Christian
     
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  16. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Just a quick comment, if that's OK, rather than a question. Regarding your shot of the stand of trees in the field, I love your black and white rendition - really wonderful!

    Now back to the interview.
     
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  17. arpoador

    arpoador Mu-43 Regular Charter Member

    Seneca the Younger

    Now that sounds like an early photograph. :rolleyes:
     
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  18. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    Jun 13, 2010
    Japan
    Although I typically like color (don't want to throw away information) I think I would also prefer the B&W version of this "cloud" picture (but not by much).
     
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  19. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    635
    Jul 17, 2010
    It was taken on 7th of August 2010.
     
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  20. Herman

    Herman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2010
    The Netherlands
    It's weekend, sun is shining here after days with a lot of rain.
    Thanks Pictor for your replies.
    A few questions to keep you busy, hope you don't mind.

    What specific settings do you use?

    Can you post a few of your most favorite photographs?

    Do you consider photography being art?

    What makes a good picture, is it the camera or the man behind the camera?

    Do you go on your own for photoshootings?
    (Einzelgänger)

    Ich wünsche Ihnen ein angenehmes Wochenend!
     
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