Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stretching the frame (IV) – people

These photos were taken at night on a street fair (at f/1.7, by the way).

I find interesting how the 16:9 framing "forces" the viewer to read the images horizontally, analysing the characters sequentially. Attention is first drawn to the centre. In the photo above this is a deliberate trap. The woman in the centre is out of focus and there is nothing particularly interesting about her. But soon we discover the true interest point: the boy looking sadly at the camera.

On the photo below, the girl at the centre-right is indeed worthy of attention. But there’s more to discover as we look towards the left or right.

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 20/1.7

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stretching the frame (III) – urban

Again, 16:9 worked nicely for these images of Porto.

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 20/1.7

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stretching the frame (II) – close-ups

Nature close-ups would probably not be the type of photography one would first think of for trying a wide format like 16:9. The parts of the recorded image that were eliminated  were superfluous (because they were irrelevant, out of focus, intrusive, or for some other reason). The resulting image is a more balanced composition and the viewer’s attention is drawn to the relevant elements.

Olympus E-P2 + Zeiss Sonnar 135/2.8 + extension tube

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stretching the frame (I) - thoughts on 16:9 aspect ratio

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 20/1.7

After getting free from the tyranny of the camera’s native format (4:3), I felt curious about trying other aspect ratios besides 1:1. So I’ve been experimenting with 16:9, the widest format available in the E-P2's live-view mode. It is more horizontally biased than 3:2 – used for most DSLR sensors - but not quite as extreme as “true” panoramic formats like 3:1. It has however been neglected and even despised by many photographers, maybe because it is associated to wide-screen (and more recently high-definition) television/video, a less noble visual art form than photography…

But let me try to demonstrate, along a few posts, that 16:9 may be worthy of some attention. And I’m not just talking about landscape panoramas!

For all three photos shown here I found that 16:9 worked better than 4:3 or 1:1. Unnecessary information at the top and bottom is eliminated and the horizontal arrangement of the key elements in the image becomes the determinant factor for composition.

Stay with me, more examples will follow...

Olympus E-P2 + Zeiss Sonnar 135/2.8 + extension tube

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Southern beaches

When most people talk about Portuguese beaches they mention Algarve. That’s an overdeveloped area, with beautiful but crowded beaches and far too many hotels, restaurants and tourists.

Just North of Algarve is the Alentejo region. This one has been reasonably well preserved (so far) and the coast is as beautiful as Algarve’s, but much less populated.

This August I spent a few days with the family in Alentejo. After driving a few hundred meters on a dirt road and walking a short distance across sand dunes, we found the beach shown below.

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 20/1.7

I kid you not: this photo was taken in a hot Summer afternoon in mid August! There were maybe a dozen people along a few kilometres of golden sands.Two are visible in the photo.

It’s hard to be back at work...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

.. and butterflies

And I can do butterflies too, in case you're wondering.

Olympus E-P2 + Zeiss Sonnar 135/2.8 + extension tube

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Having shot a few sharp pictures of dragonflies is the basic condition for entering the club of serious nature photographers. Everybody knows that. Post the photos on the web and the whole world will immediately recognize the artistry of your work and admire the quality of your equipment.

So here are your stinkin' dragonflies. Happy now?
I can go back to shooting flowers now...

Olympus E-P2 + Zeiss Sonnar 135/2.8 + extension tube

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The last person on the beach

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 20/1.7