2018: Top 10 Photos (1-5)

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

5

This is a photo of my mom. My mom came to Korea for the first time in 2018. I cherished that time with her. We didn’t have a great relationship when I was young. She’s a bit like Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. Tons of heart but extremely strict and can be borderline scary. She was a high school teacher and the type that you’d imagine still might have a belt lying around. That said, she has softened much in her old age. I took this after my wedding reception. She was hungover. My mom literally never drinks. Well, Junku bro and friends had her drinking at my reception and she was feeling the effects. She stayed like this for a whole day. She’s coming back this may. I can’t wait.

Iksan, South Korea. July 2018.

4

I shared this in my last post as well. I absolutely love this photo. When my wife cleans the floors she dances like a ballerina. It is one of the most beautiful and graceful things I’ve ever seen. She clears the floors of obstructions, plays a classical piano arrangement and floats through the rooms with a cloth and some water. I’d never been able to get a very good photo during the routine. She’s embarrassed by it. I haven’t a clue why.

Iksan, South Korea. February 2018.

3

This was also taken during the unusual snow storms that plagued Iksan for a couple of days in 2018. I was on my way to class when I saw this loan man just kind of standing there contemplating his plight. I took this without much care to be honest. I was cold and had no gloves so I wasn’t much in the mood to be taking photos. I’m glad I did. Prints of this now hang in many countries throughout the world. It was my most requested photo from this year. Generally I don’t agree with those numbers but in this case, I love this photo.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

2

So the last two photos were taken one right after the other with the above having been taken second.

I took this photo of my wife on our wedding day. I didn’t take many photos during the day, perhaps 10. Every time I see this photo I am filled with happiness. She was talking to a friend or something but I couldn’t see anything but her.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

1

This is my favourite photo of 2018. It isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken technically. It is a photo that I would describe as an amalgamation of compromises. I took the photo in our then unfinished living room. The lighting was a simple placeholder light that struggled to light the entire room. I had 400 speed Ilford film loaded in my camera and no flash. I’d shot the previous 15 photos on the roll at 400 because I’d dreamed of my wedding photos being “clean.” Realizing this wasn’t going to work I just said f%$k it and decided to shoot this at what I’d thought to be 3200 (no meter on my camera). I think continued to take 6 photos of her during the next 3-5 minutes (number 2 on this list being also taken during that time) at what I judged to be 3200. I developed the film as such and just threw out the rest of the negatives. I only wanted these photos. They are grainy, and show the lack of dynamic range in the film at 3200. I don’t care. I wanted to get those photos. Do I wish they were digital? Not at all. I can’t tell you how much happier it makes me to look through my book of negatives and see these photos. Those pieces of film were there with me at that moment. Cheesy? Maybe.

I could give a f%$k.

Hope you enjoyed this year’s top 10. I didn’t take many photos this year. Around 500 in total. That’s okay. I love the photos I did get. Nowadays I’m more than happy to get 2-3 photos a year I consider to be good.

Much love.

Josh

2018: Top 10 Photos (6-10)

Busan, South Korea.

10

So, here goes. My top ten photos of 2018. Well, in fact this post will just go through 6-10 in reverse order.

Above is number 10. Admittedly this year was slim pickings for street photography. I quite literally didn’t do much of it. In February I participated in the 24 hour project in Busan. That was probably the only time I really concentrated on taking street photos in any seriousness. I took the above in Busan, but not during that event. My wife and I went back later for a housing convention. These people were having their eyes massaged. Honestly, this type of photo I’ve seen hundreds of times. I don’t really want to like it but I kind of do. Their blank expressions perfectly mimicked my own boredom at that moment. Picking tiles, not my thing.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

9

This is a photo of one of my bros and mentors, Junku Nishimura, and my wife Seonju. They have become quite close. He treats me like a little brother so I guess they spend lots of their time discussing my ineptness at being a real man, ha. He is easily my favourite photographer. I think it is easy to see the influence. He came to Korea in May for our wedding even though it was the busiest time of his year. I think their pose was great. Like some noir movie. Also in one of my favourite places in Iksan, a place we just call Palm Tree because of the outside neon palm tree shaped light. It’s gone now.

8

I’m not sure many people will agree with this one. It is just a photo of a tree. I remember that day well. It had snowed all night and was a proper snow storm in the afternoon as well. I took photos of this tree often as I left my house as a kind of warm up (guess I’m still an athlete at heart). I moved from this place shortly after this. I am happy I have this photo. It is an important memory.

Iksan, South Korea. August, 2018.

7

Well, you’ll start to see a theme from here on out. This is my wife. I make no excuses for this. I love taking photos of my wife. You may be surprised it is a colour photo. This is one of those moments I was so happy I had a digital camera instead of a film one. The sunset behind her was so great. The light from an oncoming car light her face. One of those moments I could never recreate.

Iksan, South Korea.

6

Ironically this is from the same roll as the mushroom cloud tree above. Three photos from that roll were among my favourite ten of the year. This photo is a good example of why I think I need to shoot film the majority of the time. The was the sixth photo of six I took of the same scene. The first five were rubbish. This one, ended up being one of my favourites of the year. Interesting that. If I’d been shooting digital I’d have just left after the first looked trash. With film, I had the hope that any one of them would be good. It is kind of the opposite of what most people would think. I guess that is just the strange way my brain works. One thing I’ve come to realize however is that considering all the cameras I change one thing always stays similar. Of my best photos the best digital photos are usually from small cameras. Exactly the opposite with film. Go figure.

That was 6-10 of my favourite photos this year. You can probably guess some of the rest if you’ve followed me long enough. Have a go in the comments 😉

Also, I wanted to thank everyone for the overwhelming support with me picking the blog back up again.

Much love.

Josh

24 Hour Project: Busan (Final Kit Bag)

IMG_1949
24 Hour Project Kit Bag, 2018.

So, this is my bag for the @24hourproject this year. I’ll leave work tonight and head for the port/beach city of Busan. The cameras I’ve decided to take are the original Fujifilm X100, the Leica T (with 50mm Summilux v2), and my phone. I’ll use the Fuji for street, the Leica for portraits, and the phone if everything else dies haha. I chose the Leica T (which I’m sure will surprise some people) because the battery can be charged in camera with a power bank and the Summilux becomes a good portrait length on it. The Fuji, I chose because I literally have the most batteries for it. I don’t shoot that much but it’s meant to be cold tonight so they might come in handy. It’s the original x100 that I took some of my favourite photos with (smoking lady, for example). I’ve decided to take a MacBook Air just in case and since it’s small it doesn’t take up much room in my bag. The other stuff you can see are some airpods, the Fuji charger, and a huge power bank. The bag is a@vanguardworld Havana 48. I’m bringing my Leica M3, well, because I want to ;).

I did a live on my Instagram (@jt_inseoul) today talking a little about the kit as well as the project in general and some other things.

Also, just wanted to extend a huge thanks to my good friend Jay from @leicastore_seoul_bando in Seoul for helping me get the T on short notice! And for always dealing with the most difficult customer in the world 😉 If you need anything Leica related be sure to check them out! Plus, they have one of the coolest collections of Leica memorabilia that I’ve seen.

Anyway, that’s about it! Hopefully I survive. If you have any questions, leave them in comments or on my Instagram. Answering them might help keep me up.

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

IMG_1651-Edit-Edit
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with Snapseed.
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Olympus Pen-F, 17mm f1.8.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Olympus Pen-F, 17mm f1.8.

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

14315708093_42d7789649_o-Edit
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

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

It shouldn’t be an issue.

Really.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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?

IMG_1529
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.

DSCF1755
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..

IMG_1700
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with Snapseed.
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.

14707702176_e365186f31_o-Edit
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.

15606662638_3c9ef5796a_o-Edit
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.

Neverland_Korea.v1 2
Neverland: Korea Volume I.

Thanks again!

Lunar New Years

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

2018-02-16-0030-Edit
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.

2018-02-16-0033-Edit
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.

2018-02-16-0007-Edit
Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

2018-02-16-0008-Edit
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

2018-02-16-0022-Edit
Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

2018-02-16-0019-Edit
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

2018-02-16-0009-Edit
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

2018-02-16-0012-Edit
Byeonsanbando, February 2018. 

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

2018-02-16-0005-Edit
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.

 

 

Update: Blog and Upcoming Stuff

DSCF2032-2
Gear for Weekend Shoot. February 2018. 

I was surprised by the overwhelming response to my first blog post in a while earlier today. Because of some things happening lately, I should have a little bit more time to blog in the months to come. I am going to try really hard to blog at least once a week. That is my goal.

This morning I was packing for a shoot I have this weekend in Gwangju. I usually lay my gear out like this before I pack it to make sure I have everything I intend to bring. I don’t want to say too much about the shoot yet but it is mostly portraits in both film and digital. The obligatory top down photo always follows my pre-packing.

So, most of you know I change cameras pretty often. I don’t make any excuses for that anymore. That being said, it is something that has slowed down quite a bit of late.

Why? Well, first it was the M3 in the picture. When I bought the M3 I did so on a whim. It has now become like part of me. I can’t remember the last time I felt like this about a camera. Several years into owning it I don’t feel any desire to have anything else. It’s just that camera for me. The lens is a v2 50mm Summilux that once belonged to one of my closest friends, Nicholas Dominic Talvola. Again, a lifer will this lens be.

Some time ago I started to think about taking photography more seriously. Weirdly since my epiphany with the M3 I’ve stopped lusting after cameras like I had once done. I don’t even really read reviews or look at them online much anymore. Interesting, that.

So, with that, I decided I needed a kit that I could use for work. After much thought, I realized the cameras I went to most often when I needed to do serious stuff were Olympus M4/3s cameras. When I was shooting only digital I’d often shoot a Fuji or Leica for personal stuff and an Olympus for stuff that “needed” doing. I guess I just felt like they were faster, more reliable, and generally more flexible.

After deciding to take on more photography work this year I picked up a couple Olympus bodies to do so with. The first, the Pen-F, happened kind of by accident. I had tried one before and liked it quite a lot. Using it with the Summilux at 100mm is great for portraits. I love it. The second is an OM-D EM-1 (original) with the 17mm f1.8 (thanks Pierre ;)).  Both great cameras. As I mentioned in the short post earlier today, I plan to have a full review on the Pen-F here sometime this week. In the photo you can also see the iPhone X which I also plan on reviewing in the next couple of weeks.

That about does it for the second post of the day (haven’t said that for a while). Among other things that are coming up: finally launching my Youtube channel properly. One video is done and just about ready to go. Also, my first solo zine titled “Neverland” is just ready to announce this week. Considering I am about to start properly renovating my house I think lots of exciting things are on the horizon!

If you have any questions about the stuff from my bag or anything at all feel free to ask in the questions or shoot me an email 🙂

Iksan, 2018.

PS, I’m not as depressed as I always seem to look in my photos. Thanks to some for the concern, haha. I’ll try and smile more often.

Scan-171028-0024-Edit
Iksan, 2017. Leica M3.

Winter is Here

IMG_0666-Edit
Winter. Iksan, South Korea. January 2018. iPhone X.

Winter is here. I know I’m behind on blog posts. Feels like I can never catch up. I am in the middle of renovating my house here in Iksan.

Last week, the snows came. Winter had been nothing more than a cold autumn until now. I like the snow.

2018-01-11-0012-Edit
Iksan, January 2018. Leica M3, 50mm Summilux. HP5.

Being a teacher, when the snow comes the first thing that happens is being forced to go play in the snow. While I said I like the snow I am not particularly fond of playing in it. Anything for the kids, I guess.

2018-01-11-0023-Edit
Iksan, January 2018. Leica M3, 50mm Summilux. HP5. 

I like the snow to look at. I don’t think I could even live in a place that never gets any. While some find it harsh, I find it tranquil.

Sometimes I just like to watch. The normal things look different. The walk to work becomes a little more interesting.

The snow is gone now again. It’s a little sad. I’d prefer it to stay around a little longer.

This weekend is another busy one. I feel like I never have time anymore.

2018-01-11-0016-Edit
Iksan, January 2018. Leica M3, 50mm Summilux. HP5. 

The next post is a review of the Olympus Pen-F for those interested. I’m going to be talking about how I’m using it for some work along with an old EM-1. Also working on an iPhone X review for photography. Hopefully all this will be out soon 😉 Lots of things coming!

Hopefully there is enough time to do them all 😉

Iksan, 2018.

A Camera and a Beer

Leica and a Beer. Iksan, 2017.

So it all started with a conversation. A simple conversation.

Myself and Nick were having a beer and talking about cameras. We did that a lot. He asked where my M3 was.

You see, I had sold it. I bought it because it was cheap and I was poor. I bought it because it was battered and that made it cheap. I bought it because I had met someone that inspired me to go back to my roots. I bought it to forget about gear for a while.

I bought it on a whim. It was one of those things I decided in five minutes after having seen it in a shop window. It was my friend’s shop. I fondled it for a while. It was both weirdly rough looking and brand new feeling at the same time. Strange.

I bought it and used it. The first roll I shot in a park near my house. I took photos as we walked. Had been a while since I’d shot film. Also been a while since I’d shot without a meter.

Was nice.

At the Park. Leica M3.

I went home and developed. Had been a long time since I’d done that as well.

Scan-170220-0004-Edit
At the Park. Iksan. Leica M3.

It felt great.

A month later I was in Busan. I was supposed to be taking photos for a magazine. Still life photographs of fish. I left the Ricoh I had brought in my bag and just shot a roll.

Scan-170226-0087-Edit
Busan. Leica M3.

Forgot about the project.

There is much to be said about a camera. About the life of a camera. Just “tools” technically but I do believe one can be more.

It is kind of like the way a car can feel like it has a soul. The longer you spend with a car, the more memories you make in it, the more it starts to feel like it is more than just an engine and seats.

This isn’t an argument for film. It has nothing to do with the medium. Film is just the fuel.

It won’t be long before our cars don’t need that either.

Flash forward back to Nick and I drinking and talking about cameras. He asked me why I’d sold the camera. I didn’t have a good reason. I bought another because I thought it would be newer and nicer since I could then afford it. Was weird though, I had always thought about that first one. The photos never were the same after that.

He saw the look on my face.

“Let’s go get it tomorrow.”

You see, I had told him that it was still at my friend’s shop. He bought it back from me but hadn’t been able to sell it. The camera looked like it had been dropped and then the previous owner had tried to sand down the dent. The camera was otherwise new. This wasn’t a sand job to show brass (equally horrible) but a butchering to get rid of a dent. Koreans don’t like this kind of thing very much.

Anyway, we went the next day and I got it back.

Four months ago now and not a day goes by I don’t fondle my M3 with a beer. It has since been painted, but I asked the damaged vulcanite be kept so I could still recognize it.

Scan-171028-0024-Edit
Iksan, 2017. Leica M3.

We have been busy making memories, so haven’t had too much time to blog. Ironically Nick’s 50mm Summilux now resides on the front. A more fitting combination I cannot imagine. All goes to the story.

The story of a camera.

And a beer.

Scan-171028-0010-Edit
Halloween, 2017. Leica M3.

Stay tuned for my next post about Halloween, 2017. Photos from – you guessed it – my M3 and Nick’s 50 ;).