The Chinatown Center in North Austin had their annual Chinese New Year celebration yesterday. I wanted to do something different from last year, photographically, not creating the same type of photojournalistic pictures. I took a different set of cameras and lenses and forced myself to see details instead. It’s easy to take snapshots of the event but I struggled to make more artistic images. There are so many distractions, people, poles, and fences what take away from the photograph. My tactic, get closer or zoom in to reduce clutter. I don’t think I was entirely successful but it forced me to see things differently.
I took 3 compact cameras with me, leaving at home the Canon 7D that I used last year. I brought my Olympus E-P3 with the 25mm f1.4, the Olympus XZ-1 point and shoot and the 40-150mm zoom on the Olympus E-PM2. I mentioned on a recent post that the Olympus 40-150mm lens was on sale for $100 but I didn’t use the lens very often. I decided to give it a try yesterday, taking advantage of the 80mm to 300mm equivalent zoom, to get close. The lens performed a lot better than expected. And since I’m not typically a telephoto guy, it taxed my brain to create different kind of compositions. I ended up using this lens the most.
The XZ-1 worked well enough but I used it the least. There are several reasons for this. Switching between two cameras isn’t too bad but things get rather confusing for me when I added a third. The XZ-1 focuses moderately fast but both Olympus Pen cameras are faster so I tended to use them for action. With up to 300mm of zoom, I got more range than the maximum 112mm on the XZ-1. Finally, I noticed that the XZ-1’s LCD was not quite as bright as the Pens so shooting in bright sunlight was less ideal. So while to the XZ-1 might make a handy all around, one camera solution, given the choice, I still rather use my Pens.
Of course the highlight of the celebration was the Lion Dance and the firecrackers. With all the smoke and commotion, I found capturing images were a bit hit or miss. The 40-150mm lens did allow me to step back just a little to get out-of-the-way of the exploding firecrackers. I’m not sure I totally succeeded in my photographic goals but the big surprise was the performance of my infrequently used long zoom. The image quality of course does not match my Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4, but it’s surprisingly good. The lens is not very big or heavy considering is long telephoto range. Perhaps I need to take it out some more and play with its capabilities.
Click on the photographs to see a larger image and hover over the photos to see the exposure detail.