Saturday, May 5, 2012


Camerabag2 & OMD Sigma Combo

Sometimes when I come back from a trip I get really lethargic, I haven't even really tackled getting all of the Fujian shots into Lightroom yet :(

So, I decided to have a lazy Saturday but wanted to share a couple of things I have been messing around with. First up, I have been playing around with a new App I downloaded called camerabag2 , this is way cool and a load of fun. When I first saw it I thought 'so what' but then I watched the training videos and saw how powerful (and fun) it was. It is pretty cheap, fast and easy to get to grips with. Secondly, I have been working some more with the Sigma 30mm F2.8 that I bought and am beginning to see more benefits in it. Have a look at the opening shot, its very sharp and I like the fact that it doesn't seem to have any distortion. I also have some color shots from Fujian with it that look very nice and contrasty and they will be in the part 2 post coming shortly. I edited the shot in a minute or so in camerabag and used a preset called 'magazine' that I seem to be drawn to by the contrasty, sharp look. There is an infinite amount of variation in the app but its not at all confusing, all in all a very well thought out product for photographers who don't like the complexity of Photoshop.

Here is a product type shot of the Sigma given the same look. It wont win any beauty contests but personally I like the plain dark looks, it looks reasonably strong and discrete which I prefer to red or gold rings and loads of lettering. It balances well with the OMD and it is an interesting focal length that has some good advantages for landscape and street as we shall see in the upcoming Fujian post.

Working a Theme

Sometimes we miss things because they are common and around us all of the time so I like to challenge myself if I am at home and I looked for something that I could spend 15 mins working. I find this a great exercise on a couple of counts, it gets you more familiar with your camera and lens in a safe environment and it also challenges your creativity.

Here is the starting point of my effort at this today when I noticed my Ipad on the lounge chair by nice diffuse window light. This is the camerabag mono look with a tiny hint of color brought in and its clearly very contrasty.

Incidentally and critical to the shot, the Ipad article I was reading is from the fabulous british journal of photography Ipad app and is a stunning shot by Chris Capozziello. If you are at all interested in creative photography then this is a must for you. Unlike the mainstream photo mags it has real depth, substance and style. I don't know about you guys but I am really tired of the 'soundbite', instantly forgettable, repetitive and tiresome, ad filled mainstream camera mags. This is on the other hand what photography magazines should be about, quality insight and beautifully presented articles with real depth and substance, not just 2-3 page reviews that are usually inconclusive anyway because they don't want to piss off their advertisers. I had been looking at this wonderful image for ages and I noticed that it contrasted very nicely with the white chair. So set about a 15 minute challenge to explore it with the OMD and Sigma 30 and then quickly edit in camerabag.

Here's a closer, vertical take with my reading glasses in shot and I have to say that I liked the fact that even at a 60mm equivalent its possible to get pretty close with the Sigma and the DoF is about right at F3.2.

Finally, a different take with the emphasis moved to the glasses. If you like a contrasty look and are not snobbish about your editing then the pre-sets and infinite, simple but effective adjustments in camerabag will be right up your street.

I don't want to labour this because its more about the exercise and challenge and these are just shots that I liked personally, I know they will not be to everyones taste. Give it a go if you are bored or weather-bound at home, remember, 10 minutes to shoot and edit :) Stick to one camera lens combo and go for it.

I have to say the Sigma is winning me around the more I use it and get used to it, it is certainly capable of nice crisp results.

Just to wrap this up, here is a shot I took on the flight home from Fujian, I couldn't sleep and was still fired up with the shooting bug.....

Again its a camerabag magazine preset and it was shot on the amazing little Fuji F600.

I should have the Fujian Part 2 post up tomorrow night and it has some good Sigma 30 shots and more emphasis on people. In the meantime, fun shooting.



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