Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The New "Leica"?

Olympus unveiled its latest Micro 4/3 camera, the Olympus Pen E-P1. They are calling it a Digital Pen, in reference to their half-frame 35mm cameras of the 60s and 70s, most famously the Olympus Pen-F and other models. Like the vintage camera line, the new E-P1 is small, sleek, and stylish. Decidedly old-fashioned looking, in fact, but filled with the latest digital camera technology, including HD video.

What strikes me about the E-P1 is how much it looks like what I thought Leica could come up with if they tried to make a digital camera from scratch. Taking the good ideas from their M-series cameras, like small bodies and lenses and economical design, but not being needlessly married to existing designs and guidelines that are now quite ancient, which is how I see their M8.2. I don't know how this camera will perform, though Photography Blog has several images from the camera online here and frankly the results seem mixed to me, but this design has a lot of potential for serious photographers. Especially, documentary photographers. The E-P1 could be the Leica M for the 21st Century. We've needed something like this, so let's hope that this it it.

Fave Pix from SoFoBoMo!

These are three of my favorite images from the Old Aurora Colony Museum shoot. The first one of the white pitcher was used as the cover image. Be sure to check out the finished book at SoFoBoMo.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Solo Photo Book Month Project Completed!

Last night I uploaded my finished e-book for the Solo Photo Book Month event. You can find it here. I ended up with 40 images all together and I have to say I'm pleased with the final result. It looks pretty good. It also feels good to be done with it.

This really is a good project to take on because it pushes you to new extremes in photographing. To end up with 35 or more images, most people would agree that you need to shoot roughly 10 times that amount depending on the person. Over the years, that's what I've noticed in working professionals. Of course, there are those who can produce good work at a much tighter ratio, but if you count on 1 photo out of 10 as a starting point, you won't be far off. So, for 35 images you need to to shoot about 350 images.

In my case, I shot 550 images, some of them duplicates or variations of the same scene, and ended up with about 40 finals. I could probably have included more images in the final book, but I decided what I had was enough. That puts my shooting ratio at 1 in 13. I've known some pros who shoot at 1 in 36. It should be acknowledged that shooting digital encourages overshooting. When I used to shoot with a 4x5 camera, my ratio was closer to 1 in 4 or 5. With 8x10, it was more like 1 in 2. The bigger the camera, the more work it is to make an image, the smaller the shooting ratio becomes.

When you shoot 350 or more images, it takes a lot of time to edit them all down to the final images and it takes a while to prep them, sequence them, and come up with a layout, not to mention choosing typefaces. And it all has to happen within the 31 days. A project of this sort is a lot of work, but it can also be highly rewarding. While it may be too late to try it this year, keep it in mind for next year. You'll be glad you did.

Later today or tomorrow, I'll post a few of my favorite images from the project. In the meantime, check out my book at the SoFoBoMo website and check out some of the other ones as well. There's a lot of good work out there.