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All that Jazz...

A Blog Post by Ivan Muller

Last Sunday, my daughters boyfriends mother (what a mouthful!) Barbora Tellinger, the well known jazz singer, invited us to her show.

It was held at the Musaion at the TUKS campus. The venue is intimate with beautiful natural wood paneling.

I sat a few rows up from the front so that I would have a good view of the stage because Barbora had asked me to take some photographs of the performance...the only snag being that, as they were also recoring the show on video, I had to stay put and could not walk around..

I used my Canon Eos 5D2 and a 40mm pancake, the 24-105L zoom and my 70-300L zoom. When I measured my exposures I noticed that to get reasonably high shutter speeds I would have to bump up my ISO settings considerably higher than what I am used to. ISO was between 3200 and 6400! I had never use such high(6400) ISO before and was curious to see how it all panned out. I also mounted my camera on a small lightweight carbon fibre tripod...not something one would associate with 'live' shooting but it worked well and at least I knew the background would be sharp.....

The spotlight was brightest on Barbora, but even then I could only manage, at ISO 6400, a shutterspeed of 1/125th at F5.6..wide open at 300mm on my zoom. Sometimes my shutterpeed would drop as low as 1/20th sec! which showed up subject movement blur, but a bit of movement, imo, contributes to the overall 'feel' of the performance...after all music is not a static thing...especially not the drummer who was bouncing on moving all over the place while remaining seated!

Back home I processed everything with Lightroom3. I kept the luminance noise reduction in LR3 to a minimum, about 15, so there is still some luminance noise but the images still look sharp.

Overall i was quite amazed at how well the 5D2 behaved at these high ISO settings and how sharp the lenses were even wide open. The definitely is noise in the images, in fact one can eliminate it completely, but I don't like the look of these super smooth images. colour noise bugs me more and that was completely or sufficiently eliminated via LR. I sharpened the images a tad more than the default setting in LR, but I find the 5D2 does need a bit of extra sharpening..

All in all I learned quite a bit more about my camera..the AF was accurate even the af areas around the centre spot, noise very controllable and the much talked about banding issues weren't as bad as I thought they would be...of course looking at these images at 100% enlargement shows up all the 'mistakes' but even so I am quite confident that these images will handle big print enlargements, especially on canvas very well.

...and BTW the performance was superb, especially the rendition of 'Georgia', which is not one of my favourite songs!

...regards, Ivan

'Normal' view from my seat taken with the pancake lens..
'Normal' view from my seat taken with the pancake lens..
Bassist, Marc Duby
Bassist, Marc Duby
100% crop of above
100% crop of above
Barbora Tellinger
Barbora Tellinger
John Fresk &
John Fresk &
100% crop, ISO3200 1/10sec and F5.6. 70-300 L zoom.
100% crop, ISO3200 1/10sec and F5.6. 70-300 L zoom.
Juan Floors Oosthuizen
Juan Floors Oosthuizen
Rob Watson
Rob Watson
guitar man...
guitar man...
I reduced the yellow cast a bit but not all the way to neutral, looks more natural...
I reduced the yellow cast a bit but not all the way to neutral, looks more natural...
...encore...!
...encore...!
Created: Tue, 04/09/2012 - 17:41

The Colours of the City

A Blog Post by Ivan Muller

I took my new 40mm pancake lens for another spin of the city last week...

What struck me once again was the bright colours juxtaposed against the patina of decades old structures. These old structures, often build with orange or grey face brick and showing the wear and tear of decades gone past become the backdrop for bright motorcycles, cars, clothing even items as banal as rubbish bins.

Voortrekker and Paul Kruger street is no exception and I love the bright colours that suddenly and unexpectantly appear...

These images are the result of a two hour leisurely walk down these two old middle class streets to the north of Pretoria.

As always I desaturate the colours with an increase in the micro contrast. These images were processed using Lightroom and Photoshop.

regards, Ivan

The Colours of the City
The Colours of the City
The Colours of the City
The Colours of the City
The Colours of the City
The Colours of the City
Created: Mon, 20/08/2012 - 17:16

An Island, in a Lake in Italy...

A Blog Post by Ivan Muller

There are three small little islands in Lake Maggiore near Stresa on the Italian side.

One of them is called Isola Bella. Isola Bella is a short boat ride from Stresa. There is a castle, shops and restaurants and a famous garden on the island. The lake is surrounded by dramatic alpine mountains and some of the mountain tops are covered in snow.

My wife, Cheryl and I visited the island early on a chilly May morning. The sky was filled with dramatic clouds that changed all the time, the air was crisp and the light was bright.

Here is what I saw...

Regards, Ivan

An Island, in a Lake in Italy...
An Island, in a Lake in Italy...
An Island, in a Lake in Italy...
An Island, in a Lake in Italy...
An Island, in a Lake in Italy...
An Island, in a Lake in Italy...
An Island, in a Lake in Italy...
An Island, in a Lake in Italy...
Created: Thu, 16/08/2012 - 19:25

a Pancake in the Studio

A Blog Post by Ivan Muller

Part two of my review of the new Canon Ef 40mm f2.8 STM 'pancake' lens.

Traditionally lenses were accorded certain 'roles'. "Short telephotos" for portraits, "wide angle's" for landscapes, "shift" lenses for architecture etc etc. Not much has changed over the years and I am always amused how photographers like to put lenses and cameras into neat little boxes and what they may be used for and what not. And here I am not even talking about all the rules that get made up by magazines, camera clubs, photographers etc etc. As far as I am concerned there are no rules in photography, Full Stop!

In my quest for the "perfect" "one-lens-to-do-it-all" I tried using the Leica X1 with its 35mm equivalent lens. For more than a year I used this lens almost exclusively for all of my personal photography. I used it for portraits, landscapes, documentary and street photography. I found that this lens suited my photography perfectly and now I see this lens or its equivalent as my "must have" and indispensable "standard" lens.

The drawbacks were mainly camera related and I saw the new pancake from Canon as a solution to the shortcomings of the X1 camera(the X1 has a fixed lens). The main problems with the X1 camera was slow focus, inaccurate and awkward viewfinder, slow buffer and problematic point focus ability. I have a Canon 5D2 and all the problems with the X1 would be solved with this camera....I just needed a good (and affordable) lens...

Enter Canon's new pancake...

In part one of my review I discussed how the pancake behaved on the street and now I will look at how it behaves in the studio.

The 40mm is a slightly wider than normal lens and as such has a more pronounced wide angle "look". Usually this rules out very close up face portraits but waist up and full length it works fine. With the wider lens you get more background and thus you need to prepare for that in the studio. One also has to get in closer which is never a bad thing. I grew up with the American photographer Irvin Penn's studio portraits. He used a painted canvas and got in really close with his wide angle lenses mostly showing arms and upper torso. My favourite 'nude' photographer, Jock Sturges also uses a very wide angle lens on his 8x10 camera, a 240mm. This lens although wide on a large format camera has the same depth of field as a "normal" 240mm lens. Thus his 'look' is wide angle but with very little depth of field...something that is only possible with a very large format film camera like a 8x10 or larger...

Anyway armed with my pancake on my 5D2, a plain painted gray backdrop and my eldest daughter, Elle as a model I tried my luck in the studio. I picked the coldest day in years, it even snowed here on the highveld which is very rare!

My home studio has a large south facing window that gives a soft window light effect but it being so dark and overcast I mostly used my Canon 580ex2 flash on a soft box triggered by a Canon speedlite transmitter.

The first thing I noticed was how close I was to my subject, even at full length. I tried all sorts of apertures from wide open to F11 but most of the portraits were made at F5.6. which is the pancakes sharpest setting and also allows for sufficient depth of field. All the images were pin sharp at all apertures even wide open.

For portraits I like a simple one light setup. I like shadows on the face but with the slower shutter speeds and higher iso's some window fill was noticeable. As it was an overcast day the light from my south facing window was a bit cooler than my flash, which was set for "daylight".

I am really pleased with the portraits and I think the pancake will be quite useful in the studio especially for full length portraits...

Below a selection of my images at different apertures, iso's and with a mix of flash and window light.

Please also note that these are not 'fashion' images but portraits.

Lastly a few things to take into account when using a speedlite as a studio flash...These flashes are really not that powerful and when put inside a soft box with a double baffle it can lose a lot of its power. There is no modelling lamp but with experience is not much of a problem, that's why cameras have lcd screens. Lastly the speedlites overheat quickly and then there is a longish wait for them to cool down...which can be a bit awkward when on a paid assignment!

regards, Ivan

My standard studio set up with painted gray backdrop and soft box visible...
My standard studio set up with painted gray backdrop and soft box visible...
Converted to sepia via Nik Silver Efex2.
Converted to sepia via Nik Silver Efex2.
100% detail of image above. 200iso, f5.6 and 1/30sec and Speedlite flash
100% detail of image above. 200iso, f5.6 and 1/30sec and Speedlite flash
320iso, f4 and 1/45sec. Speedlite flash through double baffled softbox and some window fill
320iso, f4 and 1/45sec. Speedlite flash through double baffled softbox and some window fill
Window light only...640iso f5.6 1/45sec on tripod and no reflector to fill in shadows
Window light only...640iso f5.6 1/45sec on tripod and no reflector to fill in shadows
250iso f8 at 1/90 sec. Speedlite flash and octagonal softbox.
250iso f8 at 1/90 sec. Speedlite flash and octagonal softbox.
Detail crop to show image quality of camera and lens...
Detail crop to show image quality of camera and lens...
Detail of Canon Speedlite 580exii and octagonal softbox. Light, portable and battery powered.
Detail of Canon Speedlite 580exii and octagonal softbox. Light, portable and battery powered.
My south facing studio window with softbox.
My south facing studio window with softbox.
My studio also doubles as a four car garage...
My studio also doubles as a four car garage...
..and lastly my equipment used to make the portraits above...just add a softbox and....voila!
..and lastly my equipment used to make the portraits above...just add a softbox and....voila!
Created: Wed, 08/08/2012 - 11:48

Body Portraits

A Blog Post by Ivan Muller

This is a 'body portrait' of Alex, he is 19 years old and a body builder...

Two weeks ago Alex participated in his first bodybuilding competition and asked me to take some photographs of him just before his 'peak'

A strict training and diet regime starts at about 12 weeks before the competition and the idea is to reach peak condition on the day of the competition.

So with a new haircut and some bronze tanning spray Alex was ready for his photo session!

I experimented with a few lighting set ups...initially I had a octagon soft box overhead so that the shadows would fall below the muscles. In the end the most dramatic light was a simple strip light on the left. When I used the dark grey painted backdrop the strip light was my only light source, positioned far left to eliminate any shadows from the body falling on the backdrop behind the model.

When I used a white seamless pvc backdrop, I used another light with a white translucent umbrella to the right as a fill light and two lights directly on the white backdrop to make it 'blow out'.

Thus a fairly simple lighting setup...with the main effort trying to get as much muscle definition as possible.

I took many photographs but the ones I personally like the most were the ones after the main 'posed' images..were Alex was a little bit more relaxed and the poses were more 'normal' than at peak tension.

To train for a body building competition is hard work. The regime starts about 12 weeks before the actual competition. The idea is not to bulk up anymore but to lose as much fat as possible but without losing any muscle. The reason for this is to show as much muscle definition as possible.

Alex did six weight training sessions a week plus six cardio sessions. To lose fat Alex followed a strict diet of high protein and low carbs and fat....5 meals a day! The last week before the competition is called 'peak week' and here the object is to cut out the carbs almost completely to obtain a 'dry' look so that the skin is as tight as possible for max muscle definition.

On top of that there are a few layers of bronze spray tan to be put on, a tiny posing trunk, and many many posing sessions plus a routine to be worked out and choreographed together with music!

For more info on all of this have a look at Alex's website and blog here at www.alexmuller.org.

All the hard work paid off and Alex came 5'th in his first competition ever! Well actually 4'th because one of the competitors was 28 years old and this competition was for under 23's only!

....and Alex did all of this without using any steroids!

regards, Ivan

Body Portraits
Body Portraits
Body Portraits
Body Portraits
Body Portraits
Body Portraits
Body Portraits
Created: Tue, 31/07/2012 - 17:06

I love pancakes!

A Blog Post by Ivan Muller

My review of the new Canon EF 40mm F2.8 STM Pancake lens....

(Part one: first impressions & images)

'WHY?'...

Ever since it was announced I have been looking forward to the new pancake lens from Canon, if only because of its size and price. Not all Canon lenses are sharp but I have noticed that the new releases all seem to get fairly good reviews. My only 'new' lens is the 70-300L and that lens is very versatile and very sharp, unlike my previous 70-300 non 'L' lens which was really only good as a paper weight! Canon has definitely upped their game and I get the impression from some of the technical reviews that the new stuff is a step in the right direction i.t.o quality and sharpness...including the new pancake...so it all sounds good so far!

Back in the days of film my favourite two 'walk about' cameras were a Konica Hexar with a 35mm f2 lens and a Contax G1 with a 28mm, 45mm and 90mm lens. I think most photographers have a 'workhorse' system and another smaller camera for 'personal' photographs. In the days of film we had lots to choose from but only recently has these 'niche' cameras and lenses become available in digital. I have been looking at the micro four third offerings but I dislike having too many different camera brands and I also believe the bigger the sensor the better! It just means that I have to learn to use too many usually completely different systems. At the moment I have three and I recon that's more than enough!

About 18months ago I purchased the small little Leica X1 and I liked it so much that I used it almost exclusively for my personal work. It had many flaws but I learned to work around them. The X1 with its small size and lightweight body, very good metering accuracy and image quality were pluses that made it my favorite 'personal' tool. The cherry on top was its easy 'zone focusing' ability. This meant that at f11 everything was in focus from about 1.7m to infinity. Thus my X1 became the easiest camera to use, just point and shoot! But, it had a few quality issues like a broken flash, a slow buffer, a very dirty sensor (with no way to clean it!) etc etc...not at all what I would have expected from a brand like Leica...The Leica has a 35mm equivalent lens and I have come to regard this focal length as my 'standard' and almost all my personal images are made with this one lens only.

The pancake 'only' has a f2.8 maximum aperture, which most people would consider a disadvantage. However I rarely shoot wide open, usually between f5.6 and f11. Most lenses are at their sharpest here. Focus becomes less critical and the extra depth of field would cover it in any case. Thus I have no need for a super fast lens with the resulting corner sharpness difficulties, extra weight and extra cost. Slow lenses are easier to design and as in the case of this pancake lens quite cost effective as well.

Why only one lens and does this not limit my 'vision'? One lens (and camera) makes everything easier and there are less decisions to make. I think 'less' is 'more' and the past 18months with only one lens and camera combination has reaffirmed this. I can recommend it to anyone wanting to learn how to see and improve their photographic vision

I thought that perhaps the new small 40mm pancake lens from Canon together with my (albeit big and bulky) Canon 5D2 could 'replace' my X1....the lens is a bit narrower than my 'standard' 35mm but I recon it was close enough not to mess with my shooting style...

I use Canon equipment for almost all of my 'professional' work and I have come to rely on it always just doing the job without any problems. Build quality is very good. I have only had to fix one item and that was my 35mm lens that I bought way back in 2004. So I thought a small lens on my 5d2 body could do the trick as a everyday walk about camera...

'5D2 VS X1'...

Why the 5D2 and is it a fair comparison against the much smaller X1?

Well the fist question is easy to answer...I already have a 5D2.

Is it a fair comparison? Well, I think so, for the simple reason that they cost almost the same.

Here are some major differences, advantages and disadvantages of the two cameras in point form:

Leica X1...

Lightweight and small

Accurate metering

Good image quality from aps-c sensor

Best 'zone focusing' capabilities

Quiet.

....but so so build quality, dirty sensor and broken flash. Price. smaller sensor

Canon Eos5D2...

Cost the same as X1

Build like a tank

Fast AF, buffer and point focus capabilities

Accurate viewfinder and framing

Part of a huge system

22mp full frame sensor

Can put on filters and lens hoods

...but, loud shutter, big and heavy and no 'zone focusing'

Make no mistake the X1 zone focusing capabilities makes it one of the best 'street' cameras available, and imo even better than the Leica M series...but compared to the 5D2 it feels like an amateur camera compared to a professional tool....

'THE LENS'...

On opening my box back at home I was immediately impressed with the build quality and feel of the pancake. It is really quite small but feels reassuringly solid in the hands with nice fit and finish with a metal lens mount.

I prefer to put lens hoods on my lenses. It protects against flare and if I drop my lens I would rather brake a lens hood than the lens itself. I have read a few reviews where people complained about the totally inadequate lens hood and where the recommendation was to ignore it as it is totally pointless. I also have the very plasticky 50mm F1.8 that has a rather elaborate lens hood. First one has to screw in a metal ring and then clip the lens hood onto the ring. (why the lens has no metal mount but a metal ring to attach the lenshood, only the powers that be at Canon will be able to explain!) Anyhow I tried this whole contraption on my pancake lens and it worked! There is no vignetting and I can even reverse mount it with a few mm to spare. Of course it makes the whole thing more bulky but it is nice to know its there if I need it.

On my 5D2 the lens really is quite small and actually emphasizes the bulk of the camera. Focus is quick although not in the same league as my 'L' lenses. There is a bit of noise but one has to put your ear close to the lens to hear it. Even in manual focus one can hear the motor...in fact it sounds a bit louder than the AF noise. Many reviewers have complained about the manual focus ring but I found it to be smooth and more than adequate.

Wide open the center is very sharp but the corners softer. By F5.6 everything is sharp right across the frame even in the extreme corners. There is a bit of barrel distortion and also chromatic aberrations, both easily fixed in post processing.

Before I did any meaningfull tests for sharpness, distortion etc etc I thought I would just take the lens for a spin to see how I would like my new combination and if it would fit in with my shooting style.

'FIRST IMAGES'...

Below a series of images that I made on my first outing with the pancake lens. My walkabout lasted about 2hours. I chose one of the streets that I have been photographing over the past year.

Voortrekker street( soon to be called Steve Biko) north of Pretoria contains a mix of light industrial, shops and residential. I feel relatively safe walking around there and there is enough subject matter to keep me busy.

I have used my standard processing techniques for these images. This usually means an increase in micro contrast and 'black' levels and a decrease in saturation. Cropping absolutely minimal if at all except portraits which I sometimes crop square. I also correct for vertical perspective if I think the image will look better that way. All my processing is initially via LR3 and then fine tuned in PS4.

'CONCLUSION'...

I really liked the combination and the focus was fast enough to capture what I wanted. My 5D2 is not as quiet as my X1 but for this type of shooting it's really not necessary. Definitely a heavier combination but I could carry it the whole day without too much fuss. Compared to the X1 there are more things to worry about and the metering is not as accurate and fail safe as the X1. But the camera is far more responsive than the X1 and with 22mp at hand image quality is not an issue and makes up for the bigger bulk and noise.

Of course this has nothing to do with the lens and the good news is that I think the new pancake from Canon could become my new 'standard' lens for personal work! ...And did I mention the price?

regards Ivan.

My favourite blue wall...400iso, F8 1/750sec
My favourite blue wall...400iso, F8 1/750sec
200iso f4 1/750sec
200iso f4 1/750sec
2000iso f8 1/60sec
2000iso f8 1/60sec
800iso f5.6 1/90sec
800iso f5.6 1/90sec
Thuly, security guard.
Thuly, security guard.
100% crop from above. 800iso f5.6 1/125sec
100% crop from above. 800iso f5.6 1/125sec
800iso F8 1/750sec
800iso F8 1/750sec
100% crop from above
100% crop from above
400iso f8 1/3000sec
400iso f8 1/3000sec
Stefaans, works at the caravan shop with lunch in hand
Stefaans, works at the caravan shop with lunch in hand
100% crop from above.400iso f5.6 1/60sec
100% crop from above.400iso f5.6 1/60sec
400iso f8 1/1000sec
400iso f8 1/1000sec
800iso f6.7 1/60sec
800iso f6.7 1/60sec
Eos 5d2 with pancake lens compared to Leica X1, OVF & grip
Eos 5d2 with pancake lens compared to Leica X1, OVF & grip
Pancake with ES-62 lens hood from 50mm F1.8
Pancake with ES-62 lens hood from 50mm F1.8
Es-62 lens hood reverse mounted on pancake lens
Es-62 lens hood reverse mounted on pancake lens
Created: Sun, 22/07/2012 - 18:26

Locarno's Visconti Castle

A Blog Post by Ivan Muller

In May 2010 my wife, Cheryl, and I stayed for a night in Locarno Switzerland.

We had traveled there by train from Lucerne on our way to Stresa.

Locarno lies on the northern banks of Lago Maggerriore. This part of the lake is in Switzerland and Stresa, on the southern shore, lies in Italy.

We stayed in a small hotel and the next morning went for a walk through town. Not far from our hotel we came across the beautiful remains of a castle built in 1210 and modified and demolished over the years. There is some speculation that Leonardo might have had a hand in some of the architecture in the 1500's but no concrete proof has been found to date...

I found the architecture much to my liking, which means I wanted to photograph it. Not knowing much about old architectural styles I can't tell you much about it but Locarno is very close to Italy and the vast majority of the inhabitants speak Italian, thus the Italian influence is heavy...and being a big admirer of most things Italian...well need I say more...! I also liked the muted almost monochrome colours....and the fact that we were the only ones there which made for a very calm and relaxed experience.

All the photographs were made with my, then brand new 5d2 and 24-105 zoom, which has IS that made my life a lot easier...it was quite dark and a tripod would have been the right tool but in its absence the IS did the job. IS is shorthand for Internal Stability which is a little gyro in the lens which counteracts lens movement.

Regards, Ivan

Locarno's Visconti Castle
Locarno's Visconti Castle
Locarno's Visconti Castle
Locarno's Visconti Castle
Locarno's Visconti Castle
Locarno's Visconti Castle
Locarno's Visconti Castle
Locarno's Visconti Castle
Locarno's Visconti Castle
Locarno's Visconti Castle
Locarno's Visconti Castle
Created: Sat, 14/07/2012 - 17:14

The Kruger park in Sepia

A Blog Post by Ivan Muller

In my previous post all the images were in colour.

Photographing the Kruger National Park from the confines of ones car is very limiting. In fact I would say that almost all ones photography there is a reaction to something seen...In the car one is limited to being on the road, behind the steering wheel and at the height of the seat. If something is seen on the passenger side then apart from turning the vehicle around one has to photograph through the passenger window. Same with something directly in front of the car, unless its photographed through the front windscreen one has to wait for the animal to walk/run/gallop past the drivers window before a photograph can be taken...all very very limiting!

Nevertheless countless great photographs are made from vehicles.

I suppose that's why zoom lenses are very popular because they afford the photographer some flexibility...

Generally I prefer B&W images but I sometimes find them a bit harsh for animals...so here are some more images of the Kruger Park but this time in Sepia...

regards, Ivan

The Kruger park in Sepia
The Kruger park in Sepia
The Kruger park in Sepia
The Kruger park in Sepia
The Kruger park in Sepia
The Kruger park in Sepia
The Kruger park in Sepia
The Kruger park in Sepia
The Kruger park in Sepia
Created: Tue, 10/07/2012 - 14:05

3 Nights in the Kruger Park..

A Blog Post by Ivan Muller

I have just come back from a most rewarding weekend in the Kruger National Park...

My wife, Cheryl and I stayed in a hut at Pretoriuskop restkamp. The huts are one of the most economical ways to stay in the Kruger park. The downside is that one has to use the communal bathrooms and kitchens and some of the huts don't have have any electrical plugs. Some huts have plugs and small fridges. Our total bill for the accommodation came to about R1200 (about Euro120) rand for three nights including entrance and conservation fees. Food and petrol was extra and we used about three tanks from Centurion and back including driving around the park. Definitely a great bargain in my book...

We saw an incredible variety of wildlife including lions on three occasions! I don't consider myself an expert wildlife photographer and the photographs posted here are by no means 'great' wildlife images. I am just showing these photographs so that you the viewer can have an idea of the great variety of animals and landscapes that we saw...over just 3 nights and 4 days...

The Kruger park is quite wooded with few open areas. This makes photography both easy and difficult. Difficult in that the animals are sometimes difficult to see and easy because one doesn't need very long lenses.

I use two cameras and one lens almost 99% of the time. My newish Canon EF 70-300 f4-5.6 L IS was more than adequate on my Canon EOS 5D2 and when I needed to get even closer I swapped my 5D2 for my old 20D which then increased the equivalent focal length to 480mm...

ISO was somewhere between 400 and 1600 most of the time although later in the afternoon I increased it up to 3200...

There is something about this park that is truly magical...slowly driving in a pristine natural landscape and never knowing what you are going to see next...I cant wait to go back.....!

regards, Ivan

3 Nights in the Kruger Park..
Granite 'koppie' near Pretoriuskop
Granite 'koppie' near Pretoriuskop
Korhaan
Korhaan
Elephant
Elephant
Elephant
Elephant
Elephants tail
Elephants tail
Sabie river
Sabie river
Lioness
Lioness
Owl as seen on a night drive
Owl as seen on a night drive
Giraffe drinking water
Giraffe drinking water
Hippo in the Sabie river from Skukuza camp
Hippo in the Sabie river from Skukuza camp
Zebra
Zebra
Sabie river from skukuza camp
Sabie river from skukuza camp
Kudu
Kudu
Created: Mon, 09/07/2012 - 15:51

'Street' photographs at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg

A Blog Post by Ivan Muller

Last Saturday I made some images at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg.

The streets were filled with thousands of people and to my surprise there were hundreds of photographers around...Most of them had long lenses on their cameras but I did see a few with wider lenses. In fact there were so many photographers that they actually got in the way...thus I avoided the parades etc and explored the quieter areas and some of the side streets.

I am not someone that likes to push my camera into someones face..I saw lots of photographers come really close and when I say close I mean lenses only inches away from faces...

With thousands of people all around me it was difficult to get a picture as things happened so fast and people kept walking in front of the lens...

For me it worked better to find a 'scene' and then wait for the elements...read people...to fall into place.

Now the camera I used, the Leica X1 with a 35mm equivalent lens, has very slow focus. To get around this I use the 'hyperfocal length' focus method which means that I select F11 and then at a certain focus distance, clearly indicated on the cameras screen, everything from about 1.5 to 1.8 meter to infinity will be in focus. This works well because then the camera doesn't have to focus which makes the whole process a lot faster.

What I also did was, was to put the camera on 'motordrive' which meant that I could take about 6 photographs in rapid succession. So as the 'scene' happened in front of me I could follow it through the viewfinder and also tilt the camera more and more or less and less...

I made a few mistakes in that my iso wasn't high enough and thus I had more blurry images than I would have liked.

In hindsight my Canon 5D2 probably would have been a better choice with its much faster focusing and much better quality high iso images. But it is bigger and bulkier with a loud shutter noise which attracts attention. But in a 'street party' situation it would'nt really matter as there is so much noise and so many people with cameras that using the very visible Canon 5D2 would have been fine...

This time the images posted here are all in colour with my usual practice of increased micro contrast and muted colours...

regards, Ivan

'Street' photographs at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg
'Street' photographs at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg
'Street' photographs at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg
'Street' photographs at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg
'Street' photographs at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg
'Street' photographs at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg
'Street' photographs at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg
'Street' photographs at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg
'Street' photographs at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg
'Street' photographs at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg
'Street' photographs at the 'Fete de la Musique' in Melville, Johannesburg
Created: Wed, 04/07/2012 - 09:03