unsettled and indulgent

Some people are never happy.

Looking at me here.

I stopped the pro side of my photography, because I felt it was simply a waste of my creative energy, gear and time for little reward. I did not charge enough by choice, but it was more the lack of creative input that I found wasteful. I usually had to comply with fairly strict constraints, which is how the commercial world works, but not how I work best. The other frustration was not being able to share my images.

The best images (by far) that I do are the un staged ones, basically I am a found things/people photographer and always will be. The "umbrella" brief of end product needed, do it how it comes to you, not the stand here, we have a shape that needs recording style definitely suits as my stage and sport work proved. I think the school in particular will most likely find that anyone with a camera of above average specs will be able to supply the posed shots. It is in the difficult light, moving action area I excelled, which is why I was so effective on the junior campus, when left to watch and observe, capturing the "decisive moment".

I must confess, that without work coming in, however inconvenient it became balancing my permanent and very tolerant day job, my image making has hit an inactivity wall. It is winter here, which should be my happy hunting ground, but not so much.

Maybe, as my style has developed and my tastes changes, there is simply not as much that stimulates me to photograph? Maybe a major gear culling coming.

As part of a "Spark Joy" trend I have been on lately it has been tempting to sell everything that does not give my a feeling of satisfaction personally, but is only owned because I think I (may) need it. I remember thinking that a likely image I would be taking for the school was a wide shot from the balcony of their chapel, so I always kept a 12mm handy. That shot eventuated, I took it and it worked well. I also remember thinking I kept that lens for just that pre visualised image and that was one of the very few the focal length was used for.

The tele zoom creates a different problem. I have tended to not use my other prime telephoto lenses, even though I know they are superior in some ways (bokeh and DOF control). When ever I have used them I have been reminded how good they are and how each has a character that shows through, while the zoom just feels like a very competent tool. I can tell just by looking which of the primes was used. The combination of focal length, contrast and bokeh each (25/45/75) renders is apart of their utility. The zoom, as all zooms do, makes the choice less intuitive. It is harder to apply the character of a lens that has differing traits at the flick of a zoom ring.

 The quality of this image has both smoother bokeh (at f2.8) than the tele zoom and more bite than the standard zoom. A beautiful combination. The small size of the lens also helped with the "drop in", casual portrait situation.

The quality of this image has both smoother bokeh (at f2.8) than the tele zoom and more bite than the standard zoom. A beautiful combination. The small size of the lens also helped with the "drop in", casual portrait situation.

The ideal would be:

 Pen F  17mm* (best for up to the eye manual focus, something I have been working towards, the silent shutter is good for close quarters, has the best meter when given a wide area to calibrate and the higher pixel count allows for more cropping).                                                        OMD  25mm (set up for AF macro/portrait work).                                                                       OMD  45mm (set up for AF portrait work).                                                                                        OMD  75mm (set up for AF street candid portraits).                                                                                  This one would also be used with the 75-300 if needed.

* I have a second 45mm that would go with this if I only took the Pen and the Pen mini could take the 17mm also making up a two camera kit again and adding two batteries of endurance. Or maybe a 14 or 12mm for the little mini or just it's 14-42?

The idea is to have (while they last), matched lens and camera set ups. No lens changing*, no changing of camera set ups, just work a camera's settings as best suits the lens and intended application.

I would then sell my two pro zooms with matching filter sets, netting enough to take a trip and keep the 14-42 and 75-300 lenses just in case (my day trip and zoo lenses), or just keep them for landscapes.

One of my constant frustrations with (any) cameras is the multi mode nature of them that often has to change to suit a lens change. In a nut shell, I hate using zooms, but I hate even more changing lenses. It is a luxury, but not a ridiculous ask to have a camera/lens pairing and is surely one of the benefits of the small Olympus cameras. This was very common in the early days of documentary photography until bulky cameras and zooms became the norm, but even then the pro shooter often used a two camera rig.

On a personal note, I also find zooms distracting to use. Putting a camera to my eye with a fixed lens is a priceless working habit, even expectation, that choosing a "floating" focal length on a zoom steals away. You may think that you will never have the perfect framing tool with a prime lens, but actually, unless you have time to think, you will never have the perfect framing tool with a zoom. Putting the camera to the eye and adjusting framing with what (you eventually know) you are going to see is faster than making framing choices between the raising/zooming and shooting points. Some people say they can do it, but not I. Yes you can pre choose your focal length, but then you miss out on the smaller, faster, application specific option.

Would I miss the zooms? The bokeh on the tele I can occasionally find problematic, the smoothness and bokeh, but lower micro contrast of the 12-40 is pleasant, but lacks the bite I am used to from the primes and their weight and size is less than ideal (my biggest prime is smaller than the smaller of the two). Another thing to ponder is, the two budget zooms I have (14-42/75-300) are very nearly as good at middle, or landscape apertures, so why lug the monsters for the odd landscape that the primes can do as well or better with the cheap zooms as support as needed? Who could honestly tell which lens I used?  Ctein is on record as saying, that after some field testing, the standard kit lens is fine for his needs, that is to say he would not take it off the camera for another lens, so it would well do me also.

 OK quality from a "junk" lens.

OK quality from a "junk" lens.

What would I achieve in real terms?

The holy grail of a 1 bag kit.

Less maintenance from finger prints and dust.

Always ready and no dual role gear.

A commitment to style, ignoring extreme looks in my images.  

No waste. I hate having things I do not use.

* Almost all of my minor lens accidents have involved lens changes or lenses loose from cameras. From dropping a discarded lens into a bag onto another lens (ouch!), caps coming off, dropping bits, putting finger prints on rear surfaces while changing or having them end face up in a bag with keys etc somehow finding their way to them. These things happen, but with me tend to only happen to lenses not on cameras. I do not use lens caps etc, only back caps, but even then, I have lost some protective filters and things always slow down.