Drink and Click: Impromptu portraits and neon landscapes

Beth Watches - Austin, Texas

Beth Watches – Austin, Texas

I went to Drink and Click again, last Thursday. I go to their events once in a while — its always a good time. For those of you who don’t remember, Drink and Click is a combination of a social get together, yes with some drinking, and photography. I’ve noticed that often the drinking and socializing tends to win out over the photography. And that’s okay with me. I shoot enough by myself, it’s always fun to get out with interesting photographers.

I had a good long talk with Kirsten, who is relatively new to photography but already has a good eye. We talked about cameras and techniques but discovered we both had an interest for design. I love talking about photography but appreciating the merits of Danish and mid-century modern furniture can be fun too.

Room Service Vintage - Austin, Texas
Forbidden Fruit - Austin, Texas

Do you think Valentine’s Day is big for these guys?

North Loop Food Store - Austin, Texas

I got here early with my Olympus E-PM2 with the 25mm f1.4 and the Nikon J1 with kit lens. It’s been years since I’ve been to this North Loop neighborhood with its cluster of modest stores except, like many parts of Austin, it’s transforming. Like often the case, new stores have opened with vibrant neon surrounded by trendy bars. I tested the J1 again. It’s not 6th street, but there’s always interesting compositions to be found at night, especially when there’s neon.

The back patio at the Workhorse Bar was really dark. It’s a modest place with not much visual interest, good thing. I couldn’t get anything with my cameras, not without flash anyway. Perhaps a f1.4 and ISO 12,800 on my Canon 6D would have worked but not with my Olympus and Nikon.

Beth Lit by Smartphone - Austin, Texas
Robin by Flashlight - Austin, Texas

Some models stopped by and the clicking started. I strategically stole some light from a smart phone screen and a flash light to snap these photos of Beth and Robin. ISO 3200 at f1.4 at 1/15 of a second and with luck and I got some shots.

A few of us and the models headed a couple of stores down and did an impromptu shoot at a video rental store — I was amazed that these places still exist. Shooting in an unlikely setting made it all the more compelling.

Beth Candid - Austin, Texas
Robin Candid - Austin, Texas
Caitlin Sinister - Austin, Texas

I mainly shot candids. I generally enjoy catching natural gestures. Also, I admit that I’m really not any good at directing models. But unlike a studio, this was pure fun. Just interesting women surrounded by stacks of DVDs in a really relaxed social setting.

Caitlin in the Stacks - Austin, Texas

Caitlin also stopped by, she’s been to these events before. She was flamboyant and didn’t mind posing with a “Sinister” movie.

Robin Leaning #1 - Austin, Texas
Robin Leaning #2 - Austin, Texas

Robin was leaning against the stacks and I like the effect of the leading lines. Even on a micro 4/3 camera, a 50mm f1.4 equivalent has decently shallow DOF. I certainly preferred it over the Nikon J1 for its superior image quality and the ability to defocus the background. I called her name, catching Robin with an unguarded expression.

Beth Portrait - Austin, Texas

Finally, I took a few posed portraits of Beth. I found out she wasn’t a model but just decided to stop by with Robin. Beth is a Civil Engineering Student at the University of Texas. Go figure.

Caitlin, Model Shoot - Austin, Texas

Juan, the head of Drink and Click was going strong at around 10:30pm. He was using is portable wireless soft box to do some portraits outside with Caitlin. I parted company about that time. Another fun night at Drink and Click.

By the way, Drink and Click Austin is going to have a special Olympus Night on February 20th. I helped coordinate the event and Charles from Olympus is bringing 10 OM-D E-M1s so that you can test them out. You’ll get to play with the latest and ultra popular E-M1 in a real environment, not some silly contrived setup. Come on down if you’re in the area. It should be a fun time. The venue hasn’t been finalized by it will most likely be on Rainy Street. Stop by my blog for updated details.

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12 thoughts on “Drink and Click: Impromptu portraits and neon landscapes

    1. I have nothing against drinking, but I prefer clicking when I have a chance.

      Once, a couple of years ago, I did some extensive drinking and found that image stabilization was no match for my drink inspired unsteadiness.

  1. Great shots of the models. I enjoy your posts, especially India, very jealous. A question or two; I own the Pany 14mm (and enjoy it), I see you use the wide angle adapter extensively. I’ve looked for distortion in your shots and see very little if any. Is it not there (the distortion). Or, are you post processing it out? Also, I know that using a tele-converter between the lens and body you lose f-stop(s). Are you losing light with the wide adapter? If so, how much? Sorry, the Panasonic site doesn’t address this, nor do they give it’s actual mm thread diameter. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Rick Y,

      I need to finish my posts on India. I keep on getting distracted with all the other stuff that is happening.

      I don’t do any special distortion correction in my post processing. I read that micro 4/3 automatically adds distortion correction information in the RAW files that some programs use. I think Aperture 3 does the auto correction.

      I do think the Panasonic adapter exaggerates any distortion that still may remain with the 14mm (after the auto adjustments) and since the camera doesn’t know if it’s attached, it can’t correct for it. But yes, overall it looks pretty good.

      When I used the 24-105 f4 on my Canon 6D, I was shocked by all the distortion I saw — no autocorrection with the Canon.

      The adapter does not change the aperture values, or it’s not supposed to so max aperture is still f2.5 I haven’t noticed any difference that requires me to dial in any exposure compensation. So I haven’t noticed a loss in light.

      I see some threads in front of the adapter but I don’t think I can put a filter on it. The convex front element would interfere with a filter, I think.

      1. Thanks for answering all my questions. I’ll make sure to use your links when I buy the adapter or my next lens. I’m not usually a wide angle shooter. I have the 10-22 for my Canon’s and rarely use it (my walk around lens is the 15-85). My hat’s off to you for hanging with the DSLR’s. I’ve decided that the 4/3 system is very close to APS-C with the EPL-5. I find myself more willing to carry it on a daily basis. It’s also changed the subject matter of my shooting, more intimate with a small camera and the 14mm lens. I’ve never really been a sports shooter, so speed isn’t an issue. I am hesitating on getting rid of my longer lenses (70-200, 100-400). I don’t do nature photography on a daily basis, but I do shoot wildlife on travels. I’ve got a trip to the Galapagos Islands next year and wonder if the 4/3 lenses will hold up for distance shots.

        I like to travel with two bodies, just in case, and for carrying a second body/lens combination. Like you, I considered the EPM-2 against the EPL-5. I just couldn’t get past the slow menu acquisition to get to bracketing on the 2. I’m able to set it up on the mode dial with the 5. I thought my second body might be one of the Panasonic GH cameras, but, being a stills shooter the Olympus systems always seem to come out on top for uncorrected quality.

        Lastly, another question: As a EPM-2 owner, would you consider the new OM-D EM10? (Maybe they should call it a D-Pen, it seems to have features of both camera lines)

        Thanks again for the great photos and information.

      2. Rick Y, I know what you mean about APS-C DSLRs. I got rid of the Canon 7D and went to the full frame 6D. But still my main camera right now is the Olympus E-PM2. It’s just more fun and portable. And yes, these smaller cameras do offer a chance for intimate shots.

        The E-M10 looks interesting. I maybe getting one soon for review purposes so I can better answer your question after testing it.

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