This is hard for me to get my head round; it’s actually hard for me to admit! The m4/3’s system has shook my professional world enough, it took me a little bit of testing and camera time before the penny dropped, the benefits of the form factor, the massive advantages inherent with a quality EVF, the advantage in the DOF shift compared to a full frame sensor, the flip out touch sensitive screen etc, etc.
In a way, I suppose I was late to the party when it came to looking at all of the features fairly. I had to give myself time to research, test, evaluate and eventually enjoy the advantages, but after all I had twenty five plus years of professional prejudice to conquer and over come.
I’d been brought up photographically on “bigger is better”, you know, plate beats roll film, roll film beats 35mm. Making the transition from film to digital was a big thing for me – yet alone the transition from DSLR to Micro Four Thirds. I was a very early adopter because I could see the potential, but it was a very nervy time. was I right? could we learn and implement the new technology??? All big concerns, and all of the associated ingrained beliefs to combat and all of the “doom and gloom” merchants to ignore.
Just as the aforementioned had given me concerns, even when I was delighted with my choices and the direction I found myself heading in creatively, there were still “no go” areas for me initially… The inbuilt Olympus Art filters being one of them. Initially, my ingrained old pro beliefs had me thinking that they were just a bit bellow me as a working professional – never mind as Olympus’ Principal Photographer!
Then the colour creator on the Olympus OM-D EM-1 started to seduce me, the ease in biasing hue, or being able to increase or decrease the vibrance of colour… magic!
I had another penny drop moment when I heard myself saying to one of my students something I must have said a million times… “capture as much as you can in the camera” – then the post is image enhancement not image rescue!
This got me thinking… What if I used the “art filters” for effect and to get me part way to the finished image? What if I used them in a positive way as part of a very clear design brief to myself? What if, I considered, it made my work load that little lighter?
So as I do, I’ve been experimenting and I’m disappointed… Disappointed that my stupid blinkered attitude has kept me away from such a cool, compelling and creative tool for far to long.
The real magic that the Olympus m4/3’s system has given me, is the desire to want to shoot more, much more. My cameras are hardly away from my side were previously I’d got into the wrong habit of them only coming out for a job… I’d almost, dare I say it, lost my passion and virtually forgotten why I’d got into the profession. The fab, quality, great ergonomics and the fact its all wrapped up in a light weight package has relit my creative fire, and of course the “art filters” have become an extension of that.
Now don’t read me wrong I’m not saying that the built in Art Filters are a replacement for good post production – every image need some form of post, be it nothing more complex than simple output sharpening. But this should be a creative pursuit right? And is there anything work with reducing the amount of time you have to spend post processing and improving your workflow?
If thats the case isn’t it our duty to look with the eyes of children, with the eyes of wonderment and use whatever we can, however we can, to realise our own creative vision. As always the underlying maxim is this is not a “get out of jail card” that allows us to produce any old unconsidered tat, but a gentle reminder to take the blinkers off and realise that the evolution and revolution inherent in our industry. At the moment, this may not sit well with the purists, but do we all really want to tread a very well warn path??? Me I’d rather be a little maverick, I’d rather travel a little off piste – I’d rather lead so others may follow!
So when used in a considered way, with lighting and styling that compliments and enhances the effect of the “art filter”, my personal belief is that it works, and works well. Lets be sensible, why wouldn’t it, it’s just another item in our creative tool kits… there must be some people left in the game, that like me remember Jean Coquin! and just like his filters it’s what you do with them and how you use them that counts… considered creativity eh ;0)
here are a few sample images…
till next time
“pale and light”
Photoshop in the camera? I’ll let you decide ;0)