If ever there was a convincing argument for Micro Four Thirds, this camera and the Olympus E-M1 would form the vanguard. One lets you shoot under incredibly demanding conditions and extends the shooting envelope significantly over the competition; the other is so darn small that it puts most compact cameras to shame. In fact, the body is no larger than it needs to be to accommodate a 3″ touch-sensitive LCD, and a tiny bit of real estate to accommodate a few buttons and a vestigial thumb grip. To put things into perspective: the body is the same size as the ultra-compact Canon Ixus I used to have; the one so compact that it doesn’t even have a d-pad. Size does of course carry some compromises. But I admit that I was curious to find out just what they were; there are times when I need a bit more flexibility than the fixed 28mm of the excellent Ricoh GR, and this seemed like just the ticket…
The final article in this series on printing leaves behind the technique and even the images to consider a far deeper philosophical consideration: art vs. the process vs. the result. To make a successful image, there are three primary considerations: the idea, the execution, and the display medium. Most photographers struggle to manage more than one of these – there are a lot of people who are very good at shooting brick walls and test charts and can remember ever single custom function of their cameras, but cannot compose at all. Similarly, there are a lot of people who point and shoot with their phones but are quite gifted compositionally; yet they are frustrated by their inability to capture what they imagine. And both groups almost never think about how the finished work is to be presented and viewed.
After the last few articles on pushing print limits, it’s about time you had the chance to experience them in person. I’m pleased to announce the inaugural Ultraprint sale – once again, these images will be extremely limited, and again will not be printed again in this size/ format once the sale closes on 31 March 2014. Read on for details.
Today’s photoessay is a very special one for me: firstly because I’ve always wanted to photograph in Japan in the Autumn because of the extremely vivid colours and semi-perfected nature*; secondly, because photographing them was a very meditative and pleasant experience for me. I’ve actually never had the chance to shoot unhindered, unhurried, and unencumbered in this way before; I had the luxury of sitting, looking and just feeling the scene and the light before photographing; sometimes for hours. As a result, I was in a very different – not to be cliched, but ‘zen’ is a pretty apt description here – state of mind when creating these; as a result, they’re quite different to my usual work. In addition, the first six images in this set will go into the first ever ultra print run – to be announced in the next day or so. You’ll be able to experience these images in a way that puts you in the scene, with detail that’s immersive and colour that’s both transparent and saturated. All of these images were shot under ideal conditions, too – medium format digital back, great lenses at optimum apertures, base ISO on a tripod – which means image quality is really about as good as it gets. In all honesty, an 800-pixel jpeg doesn’t even come close – but such are the limits of the internet. I really don’t have anything else to add other than please enjoy! MT
*All of these images were shot in gardens and parks around Tokyo – the Rikyugien Garden, the Nezu Museum Garden, and the Edo Open-Air Architectural Museum. You may recognise some of them from the How To See Ep.2: Tokyo video – I discuss their creation and composition in significantly more detail there.
Mingthein.com celebrates its second birthday today. There’s not a lot to say other than a huge thank you; without the support of my readers, students, clients and customers, I’d probably have packed it in way back when. In the last two years, we’ve had:
- 780 articles
- 1.9 million words of content
- 36,000 comments
- 3,800 published images
- 9.5 million visitors to the main site, and 17.5 million to my flickr page
- 13,700+ accepted images in the reader pool, filtered down from >100,000 with >1,400 active members
- Somewhere around 6,500 Facebook followers
- 165 email school students
- 21 workshops, with another 3 planned (one space each for Melbourne and Havana)
- I’ve lost count of the number of emails; my guess would be somewhere around 120,000?
- Two dead keyboards
Suffice to say it’s a much, much larger community than I ever expected; sometimes I’m overwhelmed by it all. I’ve come to realise that my opinion is taken very seriously by a lot of people; perhaps too seriously by some. That’s a good thing and a bad thing, and I never take that responsibility lightly – especially if any of the findings are thoughts run contrary to expectation or common sense. I have always been and will always continue to be independent; even in the highly unlikely event that some camera company throws large sums of money my way. There’s no point doing otherwise: I, and this site, have always been about the images first and foremost, with everything else taking a secondary – but still important – back set. In any case, there’s plenty more to come as long as I can keep up with feeding the bear. Cheers to you all! MT
Places left for 2014 Making Outstanding Images Workshops: Havana and London – click here for more information and to book!
Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop and Photoshop Workflow videos and the customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!
Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved
What you are seeing is not a capture or printing error. The irregular inner concave surface of the moon is due to variations in depth from craters; the moon itself is in the very extremes of Zone X in the actual image, yet there is still tonal separation present in the print.
Following on from my earlier article on pushing print limits, I’d like to show you the fruits our labour: the Ultraprint. I think the above image pretty much says it all: that is a photograph of the actual print, with a ruler for comparison. Scale markings are in millimetres, as shown.
Today’s post is a little different: following on from the excellent reception given to my interview with Nick Brandt, and my current focus on pushing print limits, it is high time we heard from the print master himself – Wesley Wong. I can say plenty about the process, but there are a lot of areas in which is expertise greatly outstrips my own. I also strongly believe that he is an integral part of the artistic process of bringing an image to its final form, and that my print buyers – thank you – would also enjoy meeting the man, albeit virtually. It’s a lengthy discourse as there’s a lot of ground to cover, so the interview will be split into two parts. Read on…
Let’s again start with the simple question of ‘how many of you print’? For those that do, inevitably, your development is going to look something like this:
- Make your first print – marvel at how different it looks to the screen version
- Make larger prints, start to note that the detail still holds and in fact you’ve got much more resolution than you actually need even for the largest prints you’re willing to pay for/ have space to hang
- Pause for a moment and then decide to try making your own prints because it’s cheaper and more convenient
- Buy a home photo inkjet, find that it takes half a dozen tries to get one good print, add up the costs and find that ink and paper will bankrupt you in short order; worse still, lab results are still better
- Stop printing for a while
- Go back to using the lab because your print heads have clogged and the ink has dried up, and it would be cheaper to buy a new printer than replace the cartridges and heads and you really don’t want to go down that route again…
- Find a better lab – assuming you’re not happy with what you’re getting
- Start to wonder what you’re going to do with all of these 24×36” prints; you have rolled up tubes and prints all over your house
- Abandon printing or start selling your prints so you can make more prints
- Start wondering what’s next?
It’s been a little while since I posted any images from Kuala Lumpur; the truth is that I don’t actually shoot that much in my home city these days. Partially it’s because I feel I’ve really plumbed the depths of most parts of the city; partially it’s because I try to keep some potential in reserve for when I have to go out and review a camera – finding new material in a city in which you’ve shot close to 200,000 frames is actually quite tough.