Photoessay: Borneo seascapes

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Following on from the previous post on my recent acquisition of a medium format digital system, I thought it’d be appropriate to share some of the results from the first serious shoot I used it for a little while back. I found that the system was much more sensitive to camera shake than expected; mirror lockup was an absolute necessity, though the Gitzo GT1542 carbon traveller and Arca-Swiss P0 head both performed very well and offered more than sufficient rigidity. (In hindsight, I should probably have bought the cup feet for the tripod to prevent it sinking into the mud though.) Though you can’t see it at this size, the frames with mirror lockup are distinctly crisper at the pixel level than those without.

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Photoessay: A study of wave action

Some experiments into how the same subject can be simultaneously not the same. A bit of contemplative photography while on vacation. Or perhaps I just like water and waves for the same reasons I like clouds. Sometimes, we don’t need to think too much about it – just shoot. I need to go on holiday more often; but then again, don’t we all? MT

This series shot with an Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini at Tanjung Jara, on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia.

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Photoessay: Seascapes

Inspired by Hiroshi Sugimoto. The South China Sea, off the east coast of Malaysia at Tanjung Jara.

This series shot with an Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini and the 14-42 kit lens.

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POTD: Hommage a Hiroshi Sugimoto

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Seascape. Part of a full set coming up later. Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini, 14-42 kit lens.

The sea is one of those odd subjects – like the sky – that’s seemingly full of infinite variation, but at the same time is instantly identifiable for what it is. I could take a thousand images of the sea, and none of them would be the same – but you’d know instantly that it was the sea. Even if the processing was the same, which I’d never do because it’d be boring.

What you don’t immediately notice here is that to achieve this perspective, the shot was taken at 14mm and just inches above the water, about 30m away from the beach and out to sea. (Interestingly, the EXIF data records the subject as being 4.3 billion meters away – I’d say that’s infinity, and in fact, further away than the moon.) Not exactly the least hazardous environment for photographic equipment! I suppose the only reason I even attempted this series was the relatively low cost of the equipment at risk; no way would I do it with an M9, for instance. I didn’t take anything heavier in the way of photographic equipment because it was meant to be a break. But at the same time, I don’t think I’d be able to truly relax unless I knew I had the ability to make the shot if the opportunity arose.

Sometimes we need time in a different physical location to reset our seeing process, if nothing else. MT

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