First Roll of 2019

Frame 1: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

This was the first frame I took this year. My cat sits on the air purifier while I sit at my desk. I guess she likes the fan. We should have called her Marilyn. The light from the window to her left was particularly strong. I’m happy I got a full frame from this considering it was first. My wife said “how can you make the cutest kitten in the world look so scary?..”

Frame 7: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

So my plan for this post was simply to go through most of the photos from my first roll of the year. I had a bit of a contemplation during the end of last year. One thing that continually came to me was how much I needed to shoot film. I don’t know what it is honestly. It isn’t some hipster nonsense “look” or anything of the sort. It just works for my brain. I was sitting down last night scanning these mediocre photos and I felt near-on giddy.


Frame 3: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

These photos aren’t in any particular order. I’ll probably share 20 or so. The way I shoot film is I shoot 4 to 5 frames of most scenes. Even mundane stuff like my lunch (the Soju bottle actually houses sesame oil ;)). I got in the habit of doing this because I shoot without a meter. I guess you can call it self bracketing.

Frame 5: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Would I benefit from a camera with a meter? Maybe. I never end up using them after the battery dies. I never agree with the meters either. Maybe I’m weird. I end up second guessing myself with a meter. I prefer to just trust that I’m right.

Frame 18: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.
Frame 19: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

My way of developing is quite strange too. I develop a roll based on my brain’s version of what it thinks the roll was shot like. For example, if I feel I slightly over exposed the more memorable photos in the roll I will develop the roll slightly less than I might normally do.

Frame 9: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

People hate watching me develop because I don’t use a thermometer, don’t clean my negatives, and only use a wall clock for timing things.

Frame 10: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

As I developed this roll a friend from Seoul was watching me. He was cringing the whole time constantly saying I’m crazy. I changed the developing time midway because I remembered something from the roll. He wanted to bet with me that they wouldn’t turn out.

Frame 24: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.
Frame 25: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I don’t want this to come off as I’m some kind of mad genius. In fact, I’m quite lazy, hate maths, and lost my thermometer years ago. The fact of the matter is, black and white film is so forgiving that it is a joke to care so much. At least for me.

Frame 27: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

One thing I’d say is clean your negatives before you develop. I never do aside from a slight dip in my magic sauce (classified information and no dirty ideas it is safe for work ;)). This is basically the reason for the cloudy look of my negatives.

Frame 14: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Well, that is what has been hypothesized by those whom have watched me develop. Who knows. I just keep doing the same thing. I hate being introduced to new developers or fixers. I’m too lazy to learn something new.

Frame 15: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Ah, I guess then I should tell you what I do use. I use T-max developer and Ilford fixer. I love Tmax with Tmax film but these days it has just become too expensive. It is also okay with HP5 like this roll was.

Frame 21: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I didn’t shoot much street on this roll. It was the first roll with a camera I wasn’t used to. Wish I would have shot more “normally” though considering every frame (exposure / focus wise) came out great.

Frame 22: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Forgot to mention some big news! Yesterday I started shooting the introduction for my YouTube channel. I know I’ve promised this many times. I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve ever taken it seriously.

Frame 23: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I even hired someone to take care of the filming outside. Yesterday was supposedly the “practice” session but there was lots of useable footage from the day.

And yes, I know you video guys are going to tell my the Olympus camera I have sucks for video. I’m sure it does. Basically it is what I have and it works. The footage looked fine to me. Maybe later I’ll get something “better.”

Frame 30: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

That’s about it for today.

What’s up next?

Well, I’m waiting on my 40mm Summicron to come back from service to shoot another roll of film. In the meantime, I’ve got two reviews coming up. One of the Leica C-Lux and another of the Google Pixel 3.

You can expect the Pixel review by the end of the week. Small spoiler, the camera is really, really good. Really good. Like, really. The Pixel has never been available in Korea so I’d never even held one until recently. I don’t know how I can go back to anything else.

Friends in Japan wanna be on call to send me one when needed 😉 ?

Anyway, kitten picture to end the day.

Manbo. Google Pixel 3, Portrait Mode.

Peace kids.

-Jt

Five Goals For 2019

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

So, it is 2019. How time flies. I can’t believe last year went by so quickly. Was shocking to me. Was really one of the best years in my life. That is, at least personally. It almost felt like a vacation of a year. 2019 is here and I need to buckle down and get productive. Here are my five goals for 2019:

They rarely leave me alone.. 😉

Number One: Blog More

This one is kind of a must. The beginning of all this photography stuff from me came from my blog. I’ve become more lazy when it comes to my blog. I posted five or six times all of last year. That isn’t enough. I need to be better.

I plan to blog at least once a week, rain or shine. Some of the posts may very well be boring. I am still going to write them though. It is something I need to do for me.

I purchased a domain for the first time in my life today: jtinseoul.com.

#feelsgoodman

Iksan, South Korea. Sometime in 2018.

Number Two: Take More Photos

This one may seem obvious. I took around 500 photos last year. That is down from the 800 the year before. Down again from the 1100 in 2016. I need to be better at this too. I think this goes hand in hand with my blog posts being down. I write my blog posts based on my photos and not the other way round.

I have started walking in the mornings with my camera. This isn’t something I’d done in a really long time. I very rarely just take photos. I always needed to have a purpose. Another purpose. I consider my other purpose to be getting in better shape.

Iksan, 2017. Leica M3.

Number Three: Get in Better Shape

Well, how about that for a segway. I have gained 15kgs since 2016. Not good. Basically the happier I am the lazier I am. Also not good. Last year was a happy year. That means lots of beer, good food, and very little exercise. Time to change that. I plan on doing those morning walks every day. It may not seem like much but it is a hell of a lot more than I’ve been doing for about 18 months. Hopefully I can keep this up. I promised my wife I would lose weight this year. I have to keep my promise. She literally dances like a ballerina while she cleans (see above picture) so I have a tough critic to please.

Maybe they should be the stars…

Number Four: Actually Start my YouTube Channel

This one I have been promising for years. I have tried several times to get it going but have never had the gumption nor the equipment to do it properly. Truth be told I was never really sure how to start. I was never really sure what content you guys may want. I will gladly take advice on this! I filmed a video last week about a laptop I got from Samsung. An unboxing, of sorts. Not sure how well it turned out yet. I’m scared to sit down and edit it, haha. I will do so this week. It won’t be the first video I post, however. I plan on shooting a channel introduction this week as well. I even hired someone to help me shoot it. No turning back now!

On the way to Busan.

Number Five: Transitional Year

During this year one thing I really want to do is transition into an artist. Sounds cliche. Sounds stupid even. I’ve never given this lifestyle a real chance. I have never really taken this whole thing very seriously. I know it isn’t easy. I know it is in fact, really hard. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. I feel I owe it to myself to try. So, I will do so! I have already started the remodeling process of a darkroom and studio in my house. I have always dreamed about having an analogue studio in my house and I am going to make it happen. I am most excited about this of all the things I’ve mentioned so far.

This is perhaps the biggest of these goals. Again, I’m open to advice! In fact, I really enjoyed reading the advice from some of you after my post last weekend. It all helps.

Up Next: My favourite 10 Photos of 2018. Stay tuned 😉 One of the photos in this post is on the list.. can you guess which? haha.

September 15th Artist Talk – Leica Store Gangnam

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Korea, 2017.

Hi Everyone!

It’s been a while. Some new stuff to announce!

As of this week I started as the Leica Akademie Ambassador in Korea. What does this mean? It means workshops, lectures, exhibitions and more! I’m really excited by what is to come.

First! This Saturday, September 15th at 1:00 at the Leica Store Gangnam I will be having an artist talk introducing myself and my work. It costs just 10,000 won and drinks will be served! So if you’re in an around Seoul please stop by and say hi!

There are limited spots available, so please sign up at the website below. If you have any questions please let me know!

http://leica-store.co.kr/main/akademie/akademie_view.php?idx=79

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Korea, 2018. 

Who wouldn’t want to come out and see this face?

haha.

See you soon 😉

 

Workshop: Jtinseoul in Seoul

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Seoul, South Korea. 

Hello everyone! I’m happy to announce a workshop I will be hosting in Seoul at the end of July.

Here is all the info:

Workshop: Jtinseoul in Seoul

07.29.2018

Overview

This workshop is meant to be an informal, fun, and informative. During the workshop, students will spend time with myself, JT, in the streets of Seoul. We will take photos, edit photos, discuss projects, and most importantly, have fun!

Goals

  1. Students will experience be given a small and fun tasks to complete on the street. These will be fun and easy but informative. Students will take photos together with the instructor and receive instruction as necessary during this time.
  2. Students will join the teacher to discuss their photos, their goals, and concerns they currently have.
  3. Workshop will not focus much on the technical aspects of photography. It is meant more to help the students feel more comfortable taking photos on both the street and in their personal life. Of course, any technical questions will be answered by myself if needed.

Schedule (Tentative)

– We will start with a short meeting in the morning (10:00AM) to discuss the goals for the day.

– Everyone will share a small sample of their work with the group as well as give a short introduction of themselves.

– We will shoot for 3-4 hours and then sit down in an informal atmosphere to talk about, process, and talk about the day’s photos.

– I will give a short presentation on the processing and editing I do to my photos and share some tips and tricks that relate to the day’s shooting. We will wrap up around 17:00.

– Students are welcome to join myself for dinner afterwards.

Equipment needed

Digital Camera

Students will be asked to use a digital camera during the day’s shooting. I know some of us enjoy shooting film, however, shooting with a digital camera during the day means we can discuss the photos taking during the day during the second part of the workshop.

Note: Any digital camera is fine for this situation. You can use anything from a Leica to a DSLR to a smartphone. All of the things discussed in the workshop will apply to any type of camera.
A Computer, Tablet, or Smartphone

Students will be asked to bring a laptop, tablet, or smartphone to use during the “processing” part of the workshop. These will basically be used to edit and share your work with the other participants of the workshop.

 

Price

In order to find out pricing information please email me at the email address below. This price includes one signed print of any photo of the students choice (225mm x 160mm approx.).

 

Attendance and Payment

To confirm attendance please reply to this email. Payment options will be sent following confirmation of attendance. The workshop will be capped at 6-8 students to be determined by a first come, first serve basis.

 

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email  me jtinseoul@gmail.com.

The workshop will be held on July 29th, Sunday. The workshop will be capped at 6-8 students. If demand permits a second workshop will be scheduled for July 28th, Saturday.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Best regards,

JT

Olympus OM-D EM-1 / Pen-F Review

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

I’ve got some good news and some bad news about this ‘review.’

The bad news first.

I’d been waiting to do this review because I didn’t have any photos. Literally, I didn’t have any time since I promised this review to even take photos. Not even a spare hour to walk around. Feck.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 12-50mm 3.5-6.3.

My days most often look like above. Having recently bought a house here in Korea I haven’t really had much time for anything else. A fixer-upper would be being kind. That said, I’m loving the process of re-building. I will remember the blood, sweat, and tears that went into making it a house.

My house.

You might say, why not photography the process? There is one main reason for this:

  1. This is Korea and people here work.

What do I mean? Well, if I am walking around taking photos while other people work then I look lazy. I should be working just as hard as the people around me. If my wife is working harder than me I can’t help but feel guilty. Also, I’ve never done anything like this before and I think that the process of “doing” is more important than the “documenting” of the process.

I’ve taken some photos of the stages, but very little. I guess I’ve come to realize this experience is better experienced,

As it were.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

So, the good news! I have taken some photos during that time. I think I’ve taken enough to illustrate my thoughts on both the cameras in question. So, in the next 2000 or so words I’ll tell you about my experience with both the Olympus Pen-F and OM-D EM-1. I’ll tell you why I eventually got rid of one and kept the other. I’ll also talk a little about the system as a whole.

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Olympus Pen-F, 50mm Leica Summilux V2.

So, can you guess which of them I kept? In all honesty, it wasn’t a difficult decision in the end. Not even slightly.

Let’s start with the Pen-F.

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Olympus Pen-F, 17mm f1.8.

Let me say this first, I think the Pen-F is one of the prettiest digital cameras I’ve ever seen. I’ve used a lot of pretty cameras -Leica Ms, Leica Q, almost all the Fujis – but I still think the Pen-F is as pretty as any of them. It’s a beautiful thing to look at.

In use, I found the Pen-F to be fast and competent. That “dial” on the front to change from colour filters to black and white filters never bothered me and I even found myself using it now and then. I did find the Pen in general a bit uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time without the optional (and expensive) grip which I eventually borrowed. When I was using the Pen for a job about halfway through my hand started to cramp a little. The grip seemed to solve this, however.

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Olympus Pen-F, 17mm f1.8

The photos from the Pen looked great to me, but I have always been a huge fan of Micro Four Thirds cameras in general. I find this sensor size to be the absolute best compromise between depth of field and image quality. When shooting on the street, I love smaller sensors. The deeper depth of field makes things easier and allows for more context. Of course, when shooting full frame (or film) I just stop down and get a similar thing. That said, light becomes a bit of a problem in that case. It’s strange but, I think being able to get the light of f/4 with the same depth of field as f8 on film is a real plus to me. I’ll cover “bokeh” later if that is a reason you’ve decided this sensor might not be for you.

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Olympus Pen-F, 17mm f1.8.

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Olympus Pen-F, 17mm f1.8.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

The M43s sensor also seems to process better than any other sensor I’ve used. The photos take almost no work in comparison to files from a Ricoh, Sony, Fuji, or even Leica. They seem to look good almost straight out of camera a lot more often than anything from those other brands. I know, you’ll be thinking I’ve sang the praises of those other brands often enough. Fair, enough. All I can say is every time I use a M43s camera I am always surprised by how little the photos need. All my presets seem to be way “too much” for the photos. I like this a lot as I can do a lot more a lot more quickly. As you can see from the above photo, the original and the one processed to match my normal look aren’t far off each other. You’d find a much greater difference from something like a Ricoh for example.

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Puke. Olympus Pen-F, 17mm f1.8.

 

So, the big question regarding image quality that I most often get about M43s is something like this:

“Is it still possible to get bokeh like I can with a full frame camera?” 

First, let me say that I think bokeh is the most overrated cop-out of a photographic effect there is. It is for lazy people that don’t want to compose an image with “thought.” When I’m feeling really lazy I use it to get rid of distractions in the background of a photo. Otherwise, I just don’t get it. Anyway, I digress.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 50mm Leica Summilux V2 at 1.4.

The answer is simple. Yes, it is easy to get bokeh from a M43s sensor. In fact, I find it almost laughable when people talk about it. It’s laziness that creates this argument. Let me explain (apologies in advance for my terrible understanding of this – bare with me):

So, my Leica Summilux 50mm lens looks at 1.4 like 2.8 might on a full frame camera. That is to say, the depth of field is doubled? Doubly deep? Trust me when I say technical aspects of cameras are not my thing. How most people explain this to me the “bokeh” will be – ahem – half what it might be on a full frame camera. But then, the Summilux becomes a 100mm 2.8 (effectively in terms of depth of field) on M43s. A 100mm lens has more “bokeh” than a 50mm lens by double (assuming everything else is the same) as far as I understand it so what is the difference? Aren’t they the same then…? At least, to me, I can’t really tell the difference aside from compression.

Well, I guess lazy people will say they have to walk back twice as far to frame something. Sounds like laziness pure and simple. Sure, some situations won’t allow it but then that’s where that thing between your ears is supposed to come into play. Creative constraints have allowed me to make some of my favourite photographs.

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Newfoundland, Canada.

Take the above photo for example. I had left my Leica M5 and Summilux in the car. I had brought an ND filter in the thoughts to make a pretty bokeh-ed out portrait. Left with nothing but my compact camera, I had to think and compose the photo in such a way where the “distractions” worked in my favour. I had to elevate to frame her head against the road. That turned out to be one of my favourite photos of the year. The context that was captured here would never have been possible with my initial plan. Creative constraints “created” this photo.

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Olympus Pen-F, 50mm Leica Summilux at 1.4.

Anyway.

Recently, I took some photos of my film director friend Dong-bin in Seoul with the Pen-F and the 50mm Summilux attached. Even in the tight streets of Seoul I never felt “trapped” by the lens being 100mm on this system. In fact, it gave me an appreciation for a focal length I would never normally use. I’ve always sworn by wide lenses. I’ve evolved a bit though and now I kind of subscribe to the mindset that I should be able to get a photo with whatever focal length I have.

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Olympus Pen-F, 50mm Leica Summilux at 1.4.

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Olympus Pen-F, 50mm Leica Summilux at 1.4.

Anyway, in my humble opinion there is plenty of “bokeh” for those who like it available in this system. Of course, this is a pretty pricey Leica lens but there are cheaper options and literally any 50mm 1.4 lens can be adapted to these cameras and some of them are like $30.

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Olympus Pen-F, 50mm Leica Summilux at 1.4.

It shouldn’t be an issue.

Really.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

The other thing people often ask about when it comes to M43s is about the aspect ratio being natively 4:3. Well, this is a bit of a weird one for me. I find myself preferring 4:3 (for work) because it provides more context to me in a shot. I’m not sure why this is, but I find when I’m working on a job I prefer the look of 4:3 and seem to “see” that way a little better. In any case, purists who swear by 3:2 because it is the “same” as film are kinda off anyway. My negatives are never 3:2. Slightly wider from my M3, for example.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

Another weird thing is I found that shooting the Pen-F in 4:3 felt weird whereas it seems to make sense to my brain with the OM-D. WEIRD, I know. I can’t really explain this aside from the fact that the form factor of the cameras might have something to do with my craziness.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

Either way, I generally crop most images if I am posting them on Instagram to around 3:2 for continuity. This kind of thing doesn’t bother me very much anymore. Just, whatever works you know?

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

Anyway, I’ve gone WAY off topic. Back to the cameras. Have you been able to guess which I decided to keep yet?

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I call him Frank. Olympus OM-D EM-1 with Optional grip and 12-50 3.5-6.3.

Well, a lot of factors went into me deciding to keep the OM-D over the Pen-F. The Pen-F is obviously so much prettier. I loved to look at it. That being said, I already have a camera that is more beautiful to look at than even the Pen.

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Leica and a Beer.

I’m fairly certain if I wanted to go out with a camera that looks good I’d still take this. So, that was the first thing that made the Pen-F redundant to me.

Secondly, I needed to consider what I needed for work. I am not a full time photographer but I do have some more serious projects I am working on. For those, I needed a camera that was better to “use” – not just better to look at. The OM-D, for example, is so, so much more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. The large grip just makes it so nice in use. Also, it generally just feels much faster. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but the OM-D feels more like a tool to me. Things are all where they should be. Settings just are where I need them. When I mount my 50mm Summilux the placement of the function buttons just makes the OM-D a much easier camera to focus and shoot. The viewfinder is also nicer to my eye (at least, bigger). I find the image quality to be about the same. Also, the battery seemed to last longer and the fact that the optional grip carries an extra battery (if I need) makes it a lot more of a “pro” experience. In Korea this is important as people expect a photographer to have a big camera. It’s funny, I used to show up to shoots with a 5D or an A7 and huge lens but take all the photos with an RX100 or X100. The other camera was just for show.

Also..

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Can you spot the OM-D?

I used to prefer pretty motorcycles. These days, I ride this scooter around because it is reliable and literally just works. No one would argue it being pretty, surely. The OM-D is kind of like that. I never feel the need to baby it. While the Pen-F is built very nicely it feels nowhere near as nice in the hand as the OM-D. It feels like there is no way it would take the abuse that the OM-D would. The OM-D is also weather and dust sealed which is a great plus considering the dust and things I’ve been dealing with lately. I picked up the cheap 12-50mm lens which is also weather-sealed and together they make a nice tight package.

Another reason I decided on the OM-D is video. While it lacks the pop out screen of the Pen-F it has a mic-input which I find a lot more important. I’ve been putting together some vlog posts (planning to launch first with new house completion) and I just generally found the OM-D to work a lot easier to use for video. It isn’t the best camera around for video, obviously, but is more than enough for what I need.

All those things aside, the OM-D was just the one I reached for all the time. I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about it. I can toss it around without care or worry. This part especially fits into my lifestyle these days.

Oh, and I forgot this part:

The OM-D costs about one third the price of the Pen-F used here in Korea. That alone means I’d pick it every single time. Building a house has made me frugal so this is probably one of the most important factors in all of this. I could buy the 12-50, grip, extra battery, 17mm, and OM-D EM-1 body for about the price of the Pen-F body and grip. Doesn’t make sense to me anymore.

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My niece. Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

Also, for family trips and what not the OM-D can be handed to anyone to use and I never worry about it. I wouldn’t in a million years just hand my M3 over to a kid to play with. At least not while sober.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

The one thing I forgot to mention that many people asked me was about the electronic shutter on both cameras. Well, to be honest I am not the type to shoot in silence. I quite like to be seen or heard. I did try it a little but as you can see from above it is quite difficult if the lights are the cycling variety. Unless, of course, you like that sort of thing. In my opinion the shutter on both cameras is quite quiet so this shouldn’t really be a deciding factor. I just thought I would add it since some people asked. I found the problem to be very similar on both cameras.

So, this wasn’t much of a review. I apologize.

I don’t have the time I once did. I do hope I can balance things a little more effectively once the house is finished. I also will be undergoing some changes in my job soon which should give me more time for this sort of thing. I have a couple of reviews I want to get done.

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Sony RX100V.

I recently picked up the Sony RX100V for example, for my mom and spent some time with it before sending it off. A really nice little camera, and the fact it is the one I purchased for my mother should say quite a bit about how highly I think of it. That will be the next mini-review I plan on doing.

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Sony RX100III.

I took Eric Kim’s longtime profile photo with an older version of that camera. Also used two phones for lighting, but that is another story. A rip-off of the Irving Penn portrait of Truman Capote. So stay tuned for that post. Should be done before 2028. Maybe.

Considering how bad this review was, I wanna open up the comments to questions about the cameras. I figure if you have anything you want to know that I didn’t talk about I am more than happy to answer! I think this type of back and forth might be better than what I actually wrote… :/

Finally, thank you so much to everyone that ordered my zine, Neverland: Korea Volume I. I was blown away by the support. So much so, I’ve already started putting together Volume II (suggestions?). It will be slightly shorter and slightly cheaper and probably will be available sometime this summer.

Volume I is still available here:

MAGCLOUD.

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Neverland: Korea Volume I.

Thanks again!

Pen-F “Pre” Review

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Iksan, South Korea. Olympus Pen-F, 17mm F1.8 Olympus.

So, I’m gonna start by saying this is not a review. The review is still in progress. My thoughts about the Pen-F are actually pretty well concluded. I know how I feel about it in use. I know how I feel about it with the 17mm Olympus lens and I know how I feel about it with an adapter Leica Summilux. I would say I know how it does for video if I knew anything about video. I know how I feel about the art profiles (I didn’t use them). I know how I feel about the jpgs (f#$k raw).

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Iksan, South Korea. Olympus Pen-F, 50mm Leica Summilux V2.

That said, most of the photos I’ve taken with this camera are photos of beer cups in my apartment. Sad, I know. It’s just with a complete house renovation ongoing I don’t really have much time for trips to Seoul and photo taking.

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Olympus Pen-F, Leica 50mm Summilux V2. 

So, unfortunately, the proper review is waiting on this. Waiting on photos that aren’t of q-tips ha.

Maybe you’re wondering why I am making this post in light of all that. Well, quite honestly, I’m writing this to ask you what you want to see in the review. I don’t normally do this but I don’t normally have as much interest in a review as this one seems to have. Are their any features you want properly tested? Any topics you want covered? Any types of photos you want to see?

More Q-tips?

Written from a Starbucks, some in Iksan, South Korea.

February 2018.

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Olympus Pen-F. Olympus 17mm f1.8.

Lunar New Years

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018.

I’ve lived in Korea for a long time. Nearly 10 years in fact all told. I’ve always been aware of the big holidays – of which there are two – Seolnal and Chuseok. Weirdly though, I’d never properly experienced one until this year.

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Iksan, February 2018. 

The week didn’t start off so good. The weather was about as bad as I’ve seen in Korea in Winter. Snowstorm after snowstorm. I’d even thought that maybe the holiday was going to be canceled.

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Iksan, February 2018. 

Not a good start to a holiday I’d been looking forward to for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I like the snow, I just don’t like it when it ruins my plans.

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

Luckily, by Wednesday night the weather had cleared up. Still really cold though. We were going to Byeonsanbando to a resort. The point was to relax.

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

So, basically these holidays as I now am aware contain mostly a lot of drinking. By a lot of drinking, I mean a lot of drinking. I didn’t even take out my camera the first night. I was scared to vomit on it.

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

The main day of Seolnal involves the children of the family dressing traditionally and bowing to the elders. I actually thought this was quite lovely to watch. I don’t remember showing my grandparents that kind of respect. Ye-ji and Ye-nah here are pictured with their grandfather before the bowing starts.

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

Here the girls just finished their bows. Since I was also partaking in the ceremony I didn’t take too many photos. I kind of wanted to experience it properly. Ye-ji, the younger sister seemed to have wanted a present instead of money. Ye-nah seems quite content with what she will one day realize is much better than some sweets or a toy.

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

Lucky for her, her “scary” foreign uncle pulled through with some presents 😉

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Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

Everyone was pretty tired from the festivities the night before so we left early. I’ll maybe take more photos next year, I’m not sure. This year I enjoyed it for what it was and didn’t want it to be about me taking photos.

I think these experiences are better experienced first without a camera. I’m not sure I should have even taken one this time. I mostly took photos because I wanted to get some for my Pen-F review. That said, the family will be happy to have some prints from the Leica I’m sure.

February, 2018.

South Korea.

 

 

Home and the iPhone X

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X

It’s been a strange couple of weeks. Things that seem big rungs on life’s ladder all kind of happened at once. I guess that is how life works. Christmas also happened. I took this photo on Christmas morning. My navigation took me off the highway and I saw these birds.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

This is one of those examples where I really understand the power of a mobile device when it comes to photography. I know many of you are still holding out (I was a fairly early adopter of this premise) with the thought that a phone doesn’t “feel” like a real camera.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

A mobile phone works in the exact same way a compact film camera once did. It has taken that niche. People thought the Ricoh GR1V wasn’t a real camera once. Sure, one might argue that that camera is “full frame” (as if that matters) so the quality of a mobile device can’t compete. I think this is mostly hipster nonsense. You may not be a hipster, but that is a hipster mentality. The iPhone has been “good enough” for generations. The iPhone X I started playing with the last couple weeks really makes a pocket camera obsolete for me. Sure, in some cases you may have to actually think to take a good photo with a smaller sensor like this but I’ve NEVER felt like it couldn’t do something general I wanted it to do.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

I was eating Chinese the other day. The light inside the restaurant was lovely. Considering I was going to eat Chinese (something we do on Tuesdays) I hadn’t thought to take my camera. The iPhone X (and it’s portrait mode) did an admirable job. In fact, because it actually has two lenses it is better in my mind than zoom lens compact. Having a 50 and a 28 in my pocket is all I could ask for.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

Because of where we were sitting the 28 just didn’t work. It wasn’t flattering at all. Was great to have the 50.

A camera is a machine that takes a photo. 

Or some such.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

I saw these pandas on my way home from work. Again, no other camera but the iPhone did more than good enough.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

This is where this post starts to feel like two posts. Yesterday, I visited what will most likely be my house in the new year. Not a rental, literally my house. The room above is where I plan to build my dark room. I went to the house with someone from the bank. He didn’t want me to use my Leica. Had no trouble at all with my phone though.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

The house hasn’t been treated well. It needs a full on renovation. I plan to do a lot of the work myself over time. I don’t like luxury or modern anymore. Not sure where along the line this became the case.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

It has lots of problems. I don’t really care. It will take lots of love, but, I’m sure it will get it.

I’ve dreamed of living in a city house in Korea for a long time.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

Whatever happens, it seems to be becoming home and I’ll make it such.

Doors close and doors open.

As they say.

Iksan, South Korea.

December 2017.

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Iksan, South Korea. iPhone X.

My last blog post of the year. Have another one ready for the 1st. See you all then 😉 Have a happy and safe holidays.

  • JT