Well, yes it was me. Strange I know as it’s a rare occasion! I have never been big on photographing people and avoid wedding(photographing them) like the plague. I have done maybe a dozen weddings and will likely never attempt one again, but recently have been intrigued to make some informal portraits using available light only. I decided to purchase a new camera, the Panasonic GF2 recently as well. I then attached the new Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens which is a superb lens designed for just this kind of work. Yesterday being Christmas Day, I had some time and with my brother and his family over, we decided to take the kids to Gaetz Lakes for a walk. I made the most of the opportunity to try out the new combination of camera and lens to see how I might manage. The camera is tiny, sporting a 12 megapixel sensor, and the lens is likewise tiny, but the whole outfit feels very solid and can focus quite quickly and lends itself well to this sort of photography.
I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and the company and on top of all that found the little GF2 to be a joy to use. So much smaller than my full size DSLR the Canon 5DmkII, it is a lot of fun to carry the GF2 around with a lens in each jacket pocket with virtually no sense of having been carrying around a camera for a couple of hours!! I found the bokeh to be very pleasing and the sharpness of this to be outstanding. Amazing combination to say the least. i’m sure other cameras may even be easier to use then the mainly menu driven, and touch screen of the Panasonic, and I will likely purchase a different version of this model at some point, but for now I am quite satisfied with this combination.
[Panasonic GF2, Olympus 45mm f/1.8]
The luxuriant greens of ferns and the huge leaves of Devil’s Club drip with rainwater under a canopy of huge cedars and hemlocks in the interior rainforests of Mount Revelstoke National Park of B.C. Cloudy days make for long exposures with my Zero Image pinhole camera. But dive into a rainforest while it’s drizzling and you have the recipe for practicing your patience. I was making 240 second long exposures on ISO 400 film, much to the complete delight of my family! :)) In actual fact it is much quicker to shoot my pinhole than say my 4×5 or even the 8×10 behemoth I’ve been known to drag along on holidays. I don’t bring those along on family vacations any longer as I always feel like I need to rush things and my family is just a little bit annoyed with how long it takes to traverse even short trails while shooting an image every now and again. The pinhole is simple to set up, small, light and I feel totally confident leaving it do it’s thing for a few minutes as we go exploring the trail together. I do love the fact that just standing(sitting) while waiting for a long exposure really helps me tune in to the place I am visiting as now I can observe not just the beauty in front of me, but I can become more aware of the way breezes are moving through the scene and the smells that are present, giving a complete story to my senses. I wonder why we so often can’t resist our destination over and above enjoying what is right alongside us as we travel towards the goal. Maybe sometimes we shouldn’t even have a destination in mind and instead just head out and completely relax knowing that even if we only get 100m along a trail over an hour that it has been enough for our senses. Not to say goals aren’t good and fun to achieve, just that sometimes they are not the whole reason we head out into nature. I can recall as a kid under 10 years old (I know this as I was t10 when we moved from this place) I would simply dress for rain and head out into our yard to just sit and listen, smell, and take in an hour or two of what rain is about. I would think 46 year olds could do the same today with the similar end result of becoming very relaxed and free from the day to day things happening around us. You will know when it’s time to go back inside, just don’t have a goal of staying out for one hour or two, or fifteen minutes, just go and do it without that goal or destination. Doesn’t have to be raining either. Maybe listening and feeling the wind would work.
[Zero Image 6×9, Fujicolor 400H]
This is quite exciting for me as it is my first post from a film that’s been run through my Zero Image pinhole camera. A camera without a lens, and in it’s place the tiniest little hole which forms the image. The camera is a teak masterpiece made by Zernike Au from Hong Kong. These cameras aren’t inexpensive, but they’re like a piece of fine furniture! Of course there is also no viewfinder or lightmeter either. What’s really fun is it allows me to see in a new and freeing way without having to worry so much about the technicalities of photography and to be able to concentrate on what I see in front of me. Because the “lens” is just a tiny hole (0.18mm in diameter – f/235) this makes for some fairly long exposures. This particular image required 30 seconds if I recall correctly. The beauty thing is that I use colour negative film which allows me to overexpose almost as much as I want without the worry of ruining my image, so I always give at least twice as much time for my exposures as what my meter indicates. So with these long exposures I can now interpret movement in my images and in this image it allowed all the small waves to blend together and lets us see quite clearly what is under the water in a way our eyes cannot. This adds an element of mystery to many images and a bit of fun too. Another unique feature of this camera which translates into a “different feeling” image is the fact that this tiny pinhole creates diffraction of the image forming light rays to such an extent that the whole image has a very ethereal look to it almost like what a soft-focus lens or diffusion filter might create on most other cameras. This pinhole, due to it’s size also creates virtually infinite depth of field (what is in focus) from very close in front of the lens right off to infinity. Remember that most modern lenses max out somewhere around f32 or so while this “lens” is an f/235 aperture. Another fun fact about this image is that it was created on a film I have had in my freezer since it expired back in 1989!! That is a very well ripened film which doesn’t seem much worse for wear considering it’s age.
You certainly can’t tell from this photograph that I was standing amongst roughly a hundred tourists who flock to this gorgeous viewpoint to have a photograph of themselves standing in front of it for a souvenir ( I took maybe three for people who handed me their cameras). Stepping off the boardwalk I carefully balanced on a few large rocks to get this shot setting my tripod up in the water. Of the hundreds, or even thousands of images made that day of this scene, I would venture to guess that I made the only one with this kind of camera!
[Zero Image 6×9, Fujicolor 100]