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Kitty Cat Diary with the E-M1 (not cats)

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by Lunatique, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. Lunatique

    Lunatique Mu-43 Regular

    97
    Sep 14, 2014
    Lincoln, CA
    I really enjoyed reading through the threads at Mu-43 (it's a nice community--better than a lot of other photography forums I've been to), and I figured I ought to contribute a little to

    A few months ago, I bought my first M43 camera (E-M1, 12-24 f/2.8 Pro, 45mm f/1.8). I got it because the 5D Mark III I shoot with is a bit too large and heavy to carry around as a casual snapshot camera (such as when traveling or just going out somewhere). It's much smaller/lighter than the 1D Mark II I shot with previously, but it's still not petite enough to not feel like a burden. I tried to just use the camera on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but the performance was abysmal (AF, response time, manual control, image quality, etc).

    So I did a lot of research and tried out some small cameras--from high-end compacts to various mirrorless cameras. The E-M1 was the one that had all the features and performance level I needed. I've been quite happy with it, and I find it easy to carry around in a top-loading holster bag (I use Ape Case 650), without feeling like it gets in the way or a burden.

    Although I used to shoot a variety of subjects in the past (including some pro gigs), over time, I realized what I enjoy shooting the most is simply casual/candid snapshots of my wife. I like the relaxed feeling I get when shooting her, and I try not to worry too much about creating the perfect composition, lighting, pose, etc, and just focus on capturing her essence in daily life. I'm sort of like a paparazzi that's following her around a lot, whether at home or when we're out, and she's really cooperative (she's comfortable in front of the camera since she used to be an actress and model in her youth). I've been shooting her and posting to the photography section on my site, in an area dedicated to her for about 13 years now (since we first started dating), and the area is called "Kitty Cat Diary." It's called that because my nickname for her is "Mau-mi," which is Chinese for "Kitty Cat."

    Anyway, she's pretty much all I've been shooting since I got the E-M1 (except for the occasional sunset), and although I like the photos I get with the 5D Mark III a bit more and the performance is a bit better, the E-M1 does a pretty damn good job for the way I use it. (I shoot with the AF set to C-AF-TR, intelligent face detection).

    Here are some photos I've taken with the E-M1 in the last few months. It's not great photography, since I just shoot casual/candid for fun of Elena. I could be more critical and shoot more seriously, but it wouldn't be as fun/casual anymore (I've tried before--it got too serious and started to feel like a paying gig for a client or something). I know a lot of photogs love to shoot their loved ones, so I'm sure you guys all understand the joy of combining your love of photography with your love for the people you adore in your life. We don't have kids or pets, so Kitty Cat gets all of my attention. :)

    P7215170. P8075975. P7104565-bw. P5160877-bw. P5161018. P8217009. P5130095. P5140150. P5231251. P5130037-2.
     
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  2. Lunatique

    Lunatique Mu-43 Regular

    97
    Sep 14, 2014
    Lincoln, CA
    • Like Like x 6
  3. Yoki Soufyan

    Yoki Soufyan Mu-43 Regular

    179
    Jan 12, 2013
    Jakarta
    Lovely shot, Lunatique. Her skin is so smooth like a silk. Did you applying gaussian blur on the images? They are so nice - not much, not less.
     
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  4. Lunatique

    Lunatique Mu-43 Regular

    97
    Sep 14, 2014
    Lincoln, CA
    Thank you.

    For this type of shooting, I do clean up the skin during post-processing as an aesthetic choice, and I try not to over-do it. If I'm shooting other subjects, then I would use a different approach. For example, if I shoot a portrait of an old and dignified wise man, I might increase the skin's micro-details in order to give his mien more gravitas.

    I find that everyone's got a different subjective threshold for what they think looks good, and what looks good to me might be too much for those who want to see every single pore and blemish and wrinkle regardless of subject matter, while there are photographers (including really famous ones) who make the skin look really smooth and surreal (much more so than in my photos), but it works for their aesthetic sensibility and fits their style very well.
     
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  5. Yoki Soufyan

    Yoki Soufyan Mu-43 Regular

    179
    Jan 12, 2013
    Jakarta
    Thank you for the insight, Lunatique.. You're right, different approach for a different subject. I have to say that your processing technique works for me, especially those in black and white. Well done.
     
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  6. Aniseedvan

    Aniseedvan Mu-43 Regular

    173
    Sep 25, 2011
    Northants,uk
    +1 it works well on the B&W in particular.

    Just because the light is so nice in that first shot I'd be having a go at getting rid of that car. I know these are candids, and a great set at that, but I would have a go to see if it could be gotten rid of easily enough...?
     
  7. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Australia
    borderline NSFW warning? :)

    Glad your enjoying your camera
     
  8. Lunatique

    Lunatique Mu-43 Regular

    97
    Sep 14, 2014
    Lincoln, CA
    Thanks. :smile:

    So does that mean for colored photos, the processing doesn't look as natural, and I need to dial back a bit, while on the B/W, it looks more natural?

    Someone else made the same suggestion, and I did try and see how much work it would take to get rid of the truck, and after just a few minutes it was apparent that it would take quite a bit of work to make it look convincing, since a whole patch of the drive way and lawn would have to be fabricated, and the cast shadow from the truck would have to be removed too. I'm not sure if it's worth the trouble since it's not a piece of work I'm selling or commercial work for a client, and I have thousands more of unprocessed RAW files of her just sitting on the hard drive waiting to get done (I'm back-logged all the way to last year's summer). I wish I could have 72 hours in a day so I can get some extra free time to do the stuff I enjoy (such as photography and processing images).

    It's funny you say that. Compared to a lot of the photos I see in photography forums or just in mainstream media in general, mine don't actually show nearly as much skin or have as much provocative sexualized intent (no pouting babes in bikini's or super-skimpy lingerie in suggestive poses). My photos are mainly just of me capturing Elena in everyday life, going about her day. I guess we all have different standards for propriety. I personally think what I shoot is very tame compared to the kind of stuff we see all over the web in photography forums these days, but that's just me. :smile:

    And yes, I'm quite happy with the E-M1. I think we're seeing the renaissance of post-SLR formats right now, and things will get more and more interesting from here on out. :thumbup:
     
  9. Aniseedvan

    Aniseedvan Mu-43 Regular

    173
    Sep 25, 2011
    Northants,uk
    Yes I think the processing suits black and white but makes it look a little plastic on the colour ones.
    I've just got my em1 after having an ep3 for 3 years and it's turning out to be the camera I wanted the pen to be - a capable compact/2nd camera to my Nikon. One day I'm hoping to drop the heavy full frame and grab the 40-150 2.8 for any sports shots I do. My back will thank me for it I suspect!
     
  10. Lunatique

    Lunatique Mu-43 Regular

    97
    Sep 14, 2014
    Lincoln, CA
    Thanks for the feedback. I'll try and do alternate versions that have less processing on the skin when I have time--hopefully those will look more natural. I'm still trying to find a good balance that's both flattering and natural. I think adding texture to the skin during processing can help--I just haven't experimented with it enough.

    Originally, I had hoped today's smartphones have become advanced enough to satisfy my causal shooting needs, but we're still years away from that, so I was pretty much forced to look into compact camera systems that are much smaller/lighter than my Canon 5D Mark III system (before that, I was using the 1D Mark II, which is even larger/heavier). I checked out all the available alternatives like the mirrorless and compact cameras on the market, and the E-M1 won out due to the feature set and performance. I just wish it had a fully articulated LCD screen like the GH4, and the ability to change exposure compensation for video during recording. :D