Featured Wedding in Washington State (excerpts and link to full gallery)

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by Hamsong, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. Hamsong

    Hamsong Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Dec 15, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    Bradley Hanson
    A brief introduction: I've been photographing weddings all over the world since 1999. I've photographed over 600 weddings myself. I started shooting when I was 10 thanks to a camera I got from my parents from their time in Germany (a real Voigtlander) and at age 15 I started photographing for my school paper and yearbook. Fast forward to my early 20s and I worked in a professional photo lab in Minneapolis way back when there was Kodachrome, Agfa Scala and Fuji Neopan 1600, as well as Cibachrome direct prints from slide film. I learned a lot during that time, which also gave me the encouragement to eventually go pro in 1999 and it's been my sole source of income since then. I love film and thought I'd never leave it. My first digital camera, the original EOS-1D, was TERRIBLE. Truly terrible. Bad color and crunchy digital noise even at ISO400. Dynamic range was limited, leaving bizarre highlight shapes and transitions from milky shadows to hot white clipped whites. Things have changed quite a bit, with digital almost on part with the best film scans, character aside.

    In my transition to digital, I was shooting both Hasselblad medium format film and 3 Leica M bodies (2 M6s and an M7). I wanted something smaller (I guess Leica were the original "mirrorless"), so I started with the Epson RD-1, a Leica mount digital rangefinder (actually, the first, even before Leica) made by Cosina. It was also not very good. Low quality build (3 of them broke before I gave up) and image quality significantly worse than high speed film. I've used everything from Canon full frame (the first two 5D models), various Nikons, etc. I ended up getting the original Fujifilm X-Pro1 in December of 2012 and despite it's issues with glacial AF and various bugs like shutter chatter in the 35 f1.4, stuck with the system as it matured until November of 2016, when my original X-Pro1 finally broke. I had been reading about the Olympus Pen-F, and thought I'd replace my X-Pro1 with the Pen-F and 17mm f1.8 lens to take care of my 35mm needs. Well, I loved that camera much more than I would have guessed, so, to my surprise, I sold my X-Pro2, my other X-Pro1 and the X100s and bought a used Pen F, EM1 and EM5II with the 17 f1.8, 25 f1.2, 45 f1.8 and 75 f1.8. I was never completely thrilled with Fujifilm color smearing from the NR buried in their files, but it wasn't until I was able to compare X-Trans files to the Olympus RAW files that I really saw the difference. The Olympus files had a slightly higher amount of noise (maybe 2/3 to 1 stop more), but the detail was BETTER and the noise itself was finer and more organic than what I had been used to after 4 years with the Fujifilm system.

    At first, while I was thrilled with the touch screen, 5 stops IBIS and the quality of the files and lenses, I was completely overwhelmed by Olympus detailed and seemingly circular menu system. Flash details are in several different menus, and I couldn't even figure out how to do some things until I discovered hitting "OK" to pull up the super menu! In the grand scheme of things, it's a minor problem, but while I love the ability to customize everything, I feel like the menu could use a reorganization and overhaul. When I was shooting Fujifilm, I probably personally converted a 100 people to the system with a long blog post I made about my experience, which was largely positive, due to a long blog post originally titled "My Three Years With the Fujifilm X-System."

    What's funny in hindsight is that had my X-Pro1 not broken, I may never have tried the M43 system. I had a friend who was an Olympus user, and he was responsible for giving my my first Olympus OM-2 camera and the 50mm f1.2 lens, both stunningly well made. Olympus has always been well engineered products with their origin as a scientific instrument company, and the current line is no exception. The prime lenses (I don't care for zooms) have an out of focus background rendering (aka "bokeh") that is as good as Leica pre-ASPH lenses, the heyday of character. Fujifilm lenses, like those from Zeiss, are designed for sharpness and contrast and often have distractingly busy backgrounds. To some, this is trivial, to others, it either goes unnoticed or is off putting. I never read anything about this particular aspect, so I feel like maybe I can shine some light on that, as well as shatter some myths about M43. I never really considered M43 system when I went from "full-frame" to APS-C. I underestimated the quality and bought into the myths that are perpetuated, largely by camera fans rather than actual photographers. If you believe the nonsense on many forums, APS-C is "as good as FF" while M43 is more like an iPhone. This is rubbish. The M43 sensor is barely smaller than APS-C, and the ideal that the slightly larger sensor is as good as the largest non-medium format sensor while M43 is not is not rooted in fact.

    I could write about this forever, but I'm going to do so in a separate blog post rather than in this forum. I have no desire to "convert" people from one system to another, but rather to illuminate some myths and half-truths about one system vs another. Steve Huff has written a very illuminating article comparing Olympus/Sony/Fujifilm that I recently found, and most M43 users are aware of the quality Robin Wong is getting from his M43 system.

    I shoot everything in RAW format, with the EVF set to monochrome, yellow filter and the shadows and highlights set to +5. This allows me to better compose because the abstraction without the color makes the shapes and lighting more obvious. Once I download and back up the RAW files, I import them into Lightroom CC. I am convinced that the Olympus editor is noticeably better than Lightroom for extracting detail, but I rely on the custom presets I've created for B&W and color files in Lightroom. I've been a Lightroom user since 1.0 in 2004. It's not the best, but I know it and it works for me. One of the advantages to Lightroom is I can import my RAW files with my custom settings applied upon import, making it easier to cull favorites. I shot film for most of my career and my portfolio is 25% film still. This means making my digital output match my work from color film and my B&W film work, most of which was created with Fuji Neopan 400 and 1600 B&W films, sadly, discontinued. I still love film and the mechanical quality of shooting it, but it just isn't ideal for me for weddings because of the lack of high speed color films (Portra 800 is the fastest now) and the added cost and generational loss from film scans, as well as the files from 3 bodies not being in chronological order. Again, more about that in another post.

    So, on to this wedding. Everything was created with two original Olympus EM-1 bodies and an EM-5II, along with only three lenses: the 17mm f1.8, the 25mm f1.2 and the 75mm f1.8. I used to rely on the 35/50/90 trio with the Leicas, but it's nice to have 150mm reach at ceremonies, especially with the quality of the 75mm f1.8. I am blown away by the quality and character of this lens trio. I could shoot an entire wedding with the 25 f1.2, but sometimes need wider or the reach of the long tele.

    The 9 images in this post are from a wedding from Swiftwater Cellars Winery in Cle Elum, Washington, an hour east of Seattle. I met the groom 10 years ago when I photographed his big brother's wedding at the Woodmark Hotel in Seattle in 2007, (almost entirely on film back then). It was a beautiful sunny day, and at the altitude of the Cascade Mountain range, it was so intensely windy that the bride's veil went flying while we were walking outside in the snow.

    There are about 40 images in the post on my blog if you'd like to see more from this wedding.
    Nikki and Brett's wedding at Swiftwater Cellars Winery in Washington State

    My website is Portfolio.

    My Facebook business page: Bradley Hanson Photography, LLC | Facebook

    OLYMPUS_EM1_25f12_wilson_neopan1600-114545_1600. OLYMPUS_EM1_25f12_wilson_neopan1600-114584_1600. OLYMPUS_EM1_25f12_wilson_neopan1600-114731_1600. OLYMPUS_EM1_25f12_wilson_neopan1600-114893_1600. OLYMPUS_EM1_25f12_wilson_neopan1600-115176_1600. OLYMPUS_EM1_25f12_wilson_superia400-114471_1800_1600. OLYMPUS_EM1_25f12_wilson_superia400-114689_1600. OLYMPUS_EM5_17_wilson_neopan1600-510431_1600. OLYMPUS_EM5II_17_wilson_superia400-510396_1600. OLYMPUS_EM1_75_wilson_neopan1600-120128_1600.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
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  2. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Cle Elum is the wind capital of Washington. :) Did you notice the wind farms?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
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  3. Hamsong

    Hamsong Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Dec 15, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    Bradley Hanson
    Hi- I lived in Seattle for 12 years, but my experiences in Cle Elum were usually just passing through on my way to somewhere else. I have lived in Minneapolis now for 10 years since then, but I still love the PNW. Yes for wind farms!
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  4. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    One of my favorite slide films. I have many sheets of mounted Scala images that I shot in the mid-90's. Those days it was a roll of Scala or Ilford XP-2 (for negatives) and my Konca Hexar and I was a happy camper. Appreciate your detailed post. Looking forward to the blog post as well.

    --Ken
     
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  5. Hamsong

    Hamsong Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Dec 15, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    Bradley Hanson
    Yes! I loved Scala and the Konica Hexar RF. All the Agfa films and papers were wonderful. I loved shooting on Agfapan 400 and printing on Portriga fiber based paper.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
  6. wolfie

    wolfie Mu-43 Veteran

    305
    Apr 15, 2009
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Like your control of the grain on the interior shots - what ISO were you shooting at mostly?
     
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  7. Hamsong

    Hamsong Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Dec 15, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    Bradley Hanson
    Hi- Pretty much ISO 4000 to 6400 unless it was by a window, and then as low as 400. The kind M43 admin told me the gallery sharpens the images slightly during upload processing, which might boost the appearance of grain slightly, but I really love the grain from the Oly bodies at high ISO. Much more to my liking than the smearing that happens with Fujifilm RAW files. I didn't notice as much until I had a chance to compare files. This article by Steve Huff shows some remarkable differences in Olympus, Fuji and Sony files: MIRRORLESS BATTLE! Micro 4/3 vs APS-C vs Full Frame! – STEVE HUFF PHOTOS
     
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  8. fader

    fader Mu-43 Veteran

    265
    Aug 20, 2016
    Brest, France
    Isaac
    May I suggest a rename of your user ID to Lord ISO. :bowdown: Outstanding work, and I really love the grain in these shots. I've been shooting ISO 1600 in daylight and 3200 at night, and rarely apply noise reduction (downscaling for web usually kills the grain, anyway). It's great to see such beautifully captured images at the higher ISO's and using the noise to an artistic advantage.
     
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  9. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Sep 28, 2015
    I'm afraid these do nothing for me at all. On the other hand, if your customers are happy, that's the important thing.
     
  10. Hamsong

    Hamsong Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Dec 15, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    Bradley Hanson
    Thank you kindly. I've always shot the same way, regardless of the tool I'm using, but I love the quality of the Olympus lenses, which are much smoother than anything from Fujifilm. The high ISO grain is very organic to me, having years of film scans to compare to.
     
  11. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I loved the photos and enjoyed the writeup as well! Would encourage folks to check out the blog post with many other excellent photos.

    I'll have to try those settings in the EVF. It's a sometimes overlooked advantage of EVFs over OVFs that we can see in B&W when intending to output in B&W. That's one reason I am a fan of the control wheel on the Pen F, which lets us change the view mode so easily, handy for seeing in the desired mode even when shooting RAW.
     
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  12. Hamsong

    Hamsong Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Dec 15, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    Bradley Hanson
    Thanks. I agree completely about the EVF, and the film simulation on the Pen F is rather good. It's something I did with the Fuji bodies, but it works even better on the Pen F because you have the option of changing to multiple saved settings. Even though I shoot RAW only, it's still helpful for composing. My very first shot with the Pen F (and 17mm f1.8 lens) was this JPEG with in-camera grain set to "high" in Mono 2 mode. It's probably going to crunch up a bit more in the upload process, but it looks like pushed Tri-X developed in Rodinal.
    OLYMPUS_PenF_17_PB230007-1800.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
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  13. geoawelch

    geoawelch Mu-43 Regular

    156
    Nov 18, 2011
    NH
    George Welch
    Bradley, just goes to show that it's not about the equipment, per se, but what equipment is right for the photographer and that s/he know how to use it.

    Wedding clients don't care about Canon/Nikon/Olympus/whatever but that the moments of their day are captured as you have.

    Lovely images here and on your blog.

    George
     
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  14. DWS

    DWS Mu-43 Regular

    102
    Jun 6, 2014
    Very nice work, Bradley. I like your style. :2thumbs:
     
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  15. bioduck

    bioduck Mu-43 Rookie

    19
    Jul 27, 2016
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Dan
    Bradley, incredible work! I am absolutely blown away at your style and use of grain in the shots. Beautiful work. I'm struggling to convey how impressed I am, hahaha.
     
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  16. Hamsong

    Hamsong Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Dec 15, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    Bradley Hanson
    Thank you for saying, Dan! I'm happy with how easy it was to move from Fujifilm to Olympus with no adjustments needed, and the files look even better to my eye.
     
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  17. Hamsong

    Hamsong Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Dec 15, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    Bradley Hanson
    Thank you, George. I've always been the same photographer, regardless of the gear. Sometimes we all fall into the trap of thinking that something else will make a dramatic difference, but as the old saying goes "Wherever you go, there you are!" I am thankful for the smaller cameras and less pain/fatigue at the end of a long wedding day, and I couldn't be happier with the Olympus lenses. Well, I wish the 25 f1.2 was shorter and fatter, but it's well balanced with the EM1. I hope the forthcoming 17 f1.2 (as rumored) won't be too big, but I love and will keep the 17 f1.8, which is my favorite lens.
     
  18. moonraker

    moonraker Mu-43 Veteran

    462
    Sep 6, 2013
    Wiltshire, UK
    Nice work, really enjoyed the grain (makes a nice change from obsessions about sharpness and clean images..)
     
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  19. Hamsong

    Hamsong Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Dec 15, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    Bradley Hanson
    Thank you. I worked in a lab for a few years, and I never understood the obsession with slow films like Ektar 25 and Ilford Pan F 50 unless the photographers were making billboards from the scans. I did like Velvia slide film because it was surreal, but other than that I always shot high speed films and developed them in Rodinal to make the grain and contrast pop. There is something for everyone, but I love the texture and character of grain and feel like chasing "clean" images is a fool's paradise. Because of the resolution of modern cameras, "clean" digital files with portraits can look like hair over plastic skin, too. Digital picks up on some subcutaneous circulatory issues, too, that I didn't see with film.
     
  20. Christop82

    Christop82 Mu-43 Regular

    168
    Sep 10, 2016
    I've never heard of a photographer desiring grain in their pictures. The model seems to be " grain and high ISO ruins pictures ". This definitely gives me a new perspective. I sort of have the same opinion when it comes to selling how sharp a lens is. I often find I like the softness an old manual lens captures.
     
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