Another great photo workshop with Elliot Stern of Blue Ridge Photography Workshops in historic Annapolis Maryland. I have been wanting to go back to Annapolis for some time and the weather, although a bit cold, was great.
The day started as the sun was coming up, 6:35am to be exact. As soon as I spotted all the folks with camera goods at the Starbucks I knew I was in the right place. It always good seeing some familiar faces as well as the opportunity to meet with new folks.
This workshop was all about using a single focal length and working a scene to try and get the best composition. The group of folks had a decent mixture of lens sizes and folks with zooms were required to utilize tape to keep them set to a particular length.
I am still always surprised to see most folks utilizing full fledge DSLRs versus the newer mirror less cameras. Being mostly a prime shooter I feel right at home working at a fixed focal length. I had a bunch of choices to work with and it was hard to just choose one so I ended up bringing multiple cameras.
My selection consisted of my current workhorse the Olympus OM-D, and for lens selection I decided to bring the Voigtlander 35mm Nokton f/1.4 manual focus Leica M-mount lens. I have used this lens a lot on a Sony NEX-5n, but never on the OM-D so I was eager to try it out. My second setup consisted of a rented Panasonic GH3 that I was using for some commercial work the prior week and decided to extend the rental to use it during the workshop. Image quality wise there isn't much, if any, different between the Panasonic and the Olympus but I needed two cameras for the commercial job so I figured it was a great opportunity to try the camera out. The lens I selected for this camera was the Panasonic/Leica Summilux 25mm f/1.4, which in my opinion is another great lens and although bigger then most is a great micro 4/3rds piece of glass. The last camera I brought was the new Fuji X100s and even though I didn't use it all that much during the workshop I should of just brought this camera. Single focal length is what this camera is all about with its fixed 23mm (35mm full frame equivalent) lens. It is such a great camera and for street shooting is pretty much perfect.
The goal for the early morning was to work the light as it created long shadows on the nearby objects and to try and use the light to our advantage during composition. Since the Olympus doesn't provide any focus peaking or other manual focus support other then a digital zoom I struggled a bit seeing accurate focus due to glare of the sun in the viewfinder and ended up with many photos I wasn't particularly proud of. However when you do achieve good focus the Voigtlander is a great little lens that is sufficiently sharp edge-to-edge. At an equivalent focal length of 70mm on full frame cameras, it functions similar to a small telephoto or good portrait lens.
Since I am still having so much fun with VSCO's film presets for lightroom I couldn't resist using some of the old film style filters on a bunch of the images. I do find it somewhat ironic how we get to the point of having these amazing digital cameras but we still want ways to make them feel more analog. If you haven't tried any of VSCO's film presets you really owe to yourself to give them a shot. They offer tons of options and can really expand your creative potential.