Izumi's Diary Page 11      Wednesday 24 November 2010  
A New Eye for My PEN
  Hello. Here is your friend Izumi with her PEN camera again and today I have another new eye for him which I shall share with you.

I read somewhere that some people think the camera body is the most important thing and other people think it is the lens. I am not sure but I think it is probably the lens as it is the thing that can put an image on paper or on a wall but then I think of a pinhole camera which can make photographs without a lens at all. So I stop thinking about it and am pleased with myself that I can have both a camera and a lens. Or lenses, as you know and will see more.

It is like a body and eyes perhaps. Does that make me the brain? If I say that to my friends I think that they may make many jokes about me. So I will only write it here for you. Please do not tell others that I said it.

Enmore Road Morning I
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/500 sec, f/1.7, 200 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)

And now I have a little confession. When I was looking on the internet for information on the best camera for my talents now and in the future (I am no flashgirl from Japan who will get bored easily, but one day will be an exhibition...) I came across many interesting places and objects and one was a lens from Hong Kong that fits on my PEN but is operated by handling all its aspects in person. Even on the website it says “it is a great lens for creative photographers who would like to take artistic photos… [I think perhaps they talk about me!] …this is a great lens to experience the effects of aperture size on the final photo through the tips of your fingers…”

Of course you know what happened next...

Here is my PEN wearing it happily:

                       And all photographs on this page are made with them.
The Boots of 105
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/100 sec, f/2, 400 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)

I think this will be very interesting for me because M Cartier-Bresson made a lot of his photographs this way with his Leica, so I must learn from him and the lens. I hope this does not make you think I am a flighty one who cannot decide what to use to capture photographs. It is like a craftsman, whom we have many of in Japan, especially in olden eras, who use different tools on the same piece of jewellery or screen or pottery or somesuch.

It would be very hard to make a carving if all choukokutou tools were the same size. What is important is the feeling that comes from the work when it is finished and people who are looking at it and enjoying the emotions that it invokes are not wondering if he used a different sized chisel or adze or awl to provide the finished result. Thus is Izumi!

Street People I
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/200 sec, f/2, 200 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)
Jay and Bea
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/250 sec, f/2, 200 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)

When I put this lens on my PEN I do not take any other lens with me so I must explore his abilities and uses as much as I can in any photographs that I can find. And I don't want it to be too easy to use the new camera as that will make me understand him more deeply and I think because of that we will capture better photographs together.

As you can see this lens has a sharp place in the centre of the photograph and goes soft around the edges where he sometimes vignettes in the corners. These things are depending on where the aperture is and how near or far I have the focus, so I am enjoying thinking about all such things as well as looking to see if there is a photograph in front of us or not.

And I do like very much the look and mood and feeling that he produces in the photographs that we do find to capture.

I must do some street walking at night with my fast friend and I shall also find more people then as well I think. Ah, I remember I have the 20mm fast lens also so he must be in our walking group as well. I await with a little impatience for when I can buy a wide angle fast lens as I think that will very much suit my style in these matters. I now have the hand-setting 35mm f/1.7 and the auto-setting 20mm f/1.7. Speedy night-time Izumi!

Street Setting III
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/640 sec, f/4, 200 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)
Street Setting II
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/100 sec, f/3.5, 200 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)
Street Setting I
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/100 sec, f/2, 250 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)

And I am much pleased with the delicate look in what we are capturing. Because the lens is really made for television cameras it has a slight softness and not much contrast, which I like for some images. And also with its wide opening of f/1.7 and focal length of 35mm (70mm eqiv) so much of what is behind it and sometimes in front is out of focus and I have to carefully turn the focus ring to get the viewer’s eye to look at what I want. The camera does help a bit as I set the aperture and the camera then sets the shutter speed to match me. So we work together for our art.

And I find that this lens has a pleasing what in Japan we call ’bokeh’, which is not the part of the photograph that is out of focus, as many people think, but the quality or pleasingness of those parts that are not sharp. It includes the amount and shape of the blurriness, and even you can say its feel or texture. It comes because of the lens design, the shape and number of the diaphragm blades and the way the light touches the film or sensor. Sometimes too it can be unpleasing and called bad or hard bokeh. You say it like the start of ‘bottle’ and ‘kettle’.

Window Models I
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/100 sec, f/4, 320 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)
Window Models IV
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/125 sec, f/2.8, 250 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)
Window Model III
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/125 sec, f/2.8, 320 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)
Window Model II
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/160 sec, f/2.8, 200 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)

Now please forgive, me but it is interesting and perhaps a bit funny, if you see me in the street stalking my photographs, and I am concentrating very hard, what the word bokeh really means. It comes from a Japanese word meaning to be senile or have dementia or be fuzzy or blurry. ‘Bokeru’ means to become senile or go a bit disajibbery, ‘bokasu’ means to hide the truth or make it unclear, like a foggy day or a politician, and ‘boketa’ means to be ditzy or scatterbrained. I think it is like your saying that there are not enough sheep in the meadow on the hill to be a sensible person.

But I quickly realised that one thing I have been thinking and saying is correct – the camera must have a proper viewfinder so my eye can concentrate on making the photograph out of the street scene in front of it.

I am really enjoying using such a camera in this way and I hope you like the photographs that we are capturing with this lens. It is not like waiting for the Decisive Moment, as with the other automatic lenses that think things for you very quickly, but is more considered, like a painter or sketcher setting up her easel for the image that is to come along.

So I am not like a lioness waiting for prey with this lens but more like a monkey selecting a fruit from a tree.

Window Models V
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/320 sec, f/5.6, 200 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)
Window Model VII
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/160 sec, f/5.6, 200 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)
Window Model VI
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/320 sec, f/5.6, 200 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)
Window Model VIII
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/250 sec, f/5.6, 200 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)

I hope you are liking the difference in these photographs as much as I am liking the difference in taking them.

But please remember that because all focus and aperture must be turned by hand there is no information in the camera to tell me later what distance or f stop I was using so the numbers I write here under the photographs are what I remember to be using. The PEN does tell me shutter speed and ISO though and that helps me to try to be accurate in my information.

And as well I realised that the big open aperture also means that we can go looking for photographs at night so when I went for dinner at Kings Cross later in the week to my Vietnamese friends' restaurant I took the camera with the 35mm lens and I found these photographs.

Night Street I
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/100 sec, f/1.7, 2000 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)
Night Street II
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/50 sec, f/1.7, 3200 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)
Night Walkies
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/100 sec, f/1.7, 2500 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)
Silhouette I
Olympus E-PL1 w 35mm, 1/100 sec, f/1.7, 2500 ISO, 70mm (eqiv)

I thought I would find more but maybe Decisive Moments have a sleep at night.

Because of using high ISO at night these photographs have more noise (although I like to call it grain as my uncle would) so I used Noise Ninja to help me keep it down and it works very well.

Now I must stop writing and have a sleep too.

Thank you and oyasuminasai,


To fully understand my footsteps, please read me from the start.
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