Jonathan Fleming's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘olympus

The DIY Spider Lightish Thingo

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Olympus OMD E-M5 +  Pana-Leica 25mm f1.4  | 320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200

I took the portrait above of a colleague of mine, who rolled into work today with a DIY lighting rig he threw together over the weekend. Made of six under-counter fluorescent lights rigged to a speedring, the light creates some pretty unique catchlights in your subject’s eyes, and the relatively low output means you can shoot comfortably at large apertures. Very cool:

Setting this contraption on top of a light stand drew a lot of attention, so there were plenty of subjects to test the rig on:

We’re trying to come up for a name for this thing, and are at totally at a loss. Hmmm….I guess Spider Lightish Thingo will have to do for now.

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All shots taken using the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with either the 25mm f/1.4 Pana-Leica or the M. Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 lens.

Written by Jonathan

July 2, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Analogue Adventures Part II

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Image: Fuji X100 | 1/55 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 

I’m pretty sure I’ve found a camera that will most certainly help me drain my bank account due to film and processing costs. I picked up this Olympus XA at a local used camera sidewalk sale the other week. A tiny, durable little film camera with a 35mm f/2.8 F-Zuiko lens, aperture priority auto-exposure and manual focus using a small RF patch in the viewfinder. It’s smaller and lighter than my Nikon V1 (my smallest digital camera), so there’s always space in the camera bag for the little guy.

The XA really came in handy one morning when the batteries ran out on the digital camera I was carrying. I loaded a roll of Velvia 50 and used it as my only camera for the entire day, and wouldn’t you know, it was the most fun I’ve had shooting in a long time.


Image: iPhone 4s 


Image: iPhone 4s

The last time I shot Velvia I had the film cross-processed, which produced some funky results. This time I went with standard E6, and when I placed the processed strips of film over the light table at the lab (above), my jaw dropped. Not only are the colors amazing, but the camera itself performed beyond my expectations. The following scans do no justice to what I actually saw on that light table, but here’s most of my first roll of RVP50 from my new favorite film camera. It should be obvious from these frames that Suki really tries hard to never look at the camera:

You all know I’m partial to Suki, but I must say, this image I took outside my favorite coffee shop is my favorite frame from the roll:

Hah! Makes me laugh every time I look at it =)

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All images: Olympus XA | Velvia 50 | E6 Processing (unless otherwise noted)

Written by Jonathan

April 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Life in Color, Life in Black and White

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Browsing through my image catalogs last night, I discovered lots of random frames I’ve taken lately that I never posted anywhere. Just for the fun of it, I slapped them all together and made a couple spreads. These are all taken with my Oly E-PL2, which I still feel great about even though an X100 found its way into my bag this week. I think the two can actually work well together, but I’ll save that concept for another post.

I tend to just let loose and have fun with the Olympus. You can get some pretty insane results with the built-in filters, like pop art and pinhole:

That larger image of Suki in the car above was actually taken by the wife.  I myself take the blame for the badly framed shot of Suki at the bottom left of the spread, taken from the hip. Gotta give credit where it’s due!

I love how black and whites look straight from the camera, using either the grainy film art filter or just standard monochrome. The E-PL2 definitely has better black and white output than the x100 in my opinion:

That’s it! An image-dominant post. It is a photo blog after all. Happy shooting this weekend!
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Olympus PEN  E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7

Written by Jonathan

June 10, 2011 at 7:35 am

A Day in Glen Park

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Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7

Seems like there are more and more farmers markets popping up around San Francisco lately. I found out a few days ago that for the first time this past Sunday, a market would be set up in the small neighborhood I grew up in, Glen Park. Such a big place in my heart for this little neighborhood.

To my fellow San Franciscans: weren’t the clouds crazy beautiful yesterday? My goodness. We never get clouds like this! While the wife perused the market, sampling the local produce, I snapped away:

The Glen Park market was relatively small, so it didn’t take long for us to be done checking it out. All that gazing at food made us pretty hungry….

More clicks on the way to La Corneta, the local neighborhood taqueria. Not the best in the city, but hey, they made a killer quesadilla for us today:

Stomachs full, a little more shooting. Even though I spent so many years of my life in Glen Park, I never get tired of just walking around town in this area. Come to think of it, I’ve never really done a photowalk here o_O

That ugly building on the left is the Glen Park Bart station…why is it so ugly??? Oh well.

Took a coffee break at Bello. This cafe is relatively new for the neighborhood, and I actually hadn’t tried it yet until today. Seems like they’ve jumped on the “individually-hand-brewed-drip” bandwagon that’s become very popular among the city’s elite coffee houses. It was a decent cup, but it still had nothing on a cup of Blue Bottle, Ritual, or Philz.

We left the area for a couple hours, and came back for dinner at Gialina, Glen Park’s gourmet pizzeria. As with many SF neighborhoods, Glen Park didn’t used to be this…hip. Before this place was Gialina, it was one of those greasy, ghetto pizzerias. Times have definitely changed for the better around here =)

Gialina is always packed during dinner rush. I’m surprised we got the best seats in the house, at one of two tables by the window. Yes!

Potato and Pancetta pizza. “Potato!?!?” Was my first thought when I ordered this pie for the first time a few years ago. Crispy carbs covered with thin slices of more carbs? Extremely…delicious…. We also ordered a roast pork chop, perfect with a glass of the house red:

Three scoops of Bi-Rite Creamery snickerdoodle ice cream for the lady, and an afogatto for me. Perfect finish. My Nikon FM came along for the day as well. Still trying to get through a roll of Ilford HP5 that I’ve had loaded in the camera for about a week. Strange that I can completely drain my digital camera’s battery in a single day, but it takes me forever to work through a roll of 36 exposure film.

Good night, Glen Park!

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All Images: Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 (all JPEGs)

Written by Jonathan

May 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm

The Saturday Morning “Ritual”

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Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7  1/4000sec  ISO200

Before I get started with today’s entry, I just want to say thank you to everyone that took the time to read my previous blog post and leave a comment. My post entitled Revisiting Film Photography was featured on Freshly Pressed, the front page of WordPress.com. I was so excited to see all the comments start pouring in, not simply because I relished the extra attention to my site, but because of the content of the comments themselves. You shared your personal experiences with me, and it’s been fascinating to see the discussion that I started continue to grow through your stories.

Some of you reminisced about the shooting film back in the day, expressing a newfound interest in that dusty old SLR in your basements that you haven’t used in years. Others of you haven’t given film a try yet and expressed curiosity about using the medium. Some of you admitted to knowing little of photography and yet expressed interest and appreciation through your comments, while others you are active film shooters who shared your own great experiences with the format. Thank you all! It has truly been a pleasure reading your personal experiences!

So, Film vs Digital, what’s my final word on the subject? If you look at all my recent work, it’s pretty obvious that I do a lot of work with digital cameras. Is my recent experience with film going to change all that? Probably not. But the truth is, I just love photography. I’ll take pictures with anything that, well, takes pictures. I see the Film and Digital formats simply as two different ways of making art. So, film or digital? Answer: Yes.

Ok, back to this post:


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7  1/1000sec  ISO200

As much of a Philz and Blue Bottle addict that I am, I’ve been trying to visit some different cafes here in San Francisco to see where else I can get a stellar cup of coffee. We started the weekend this morning at Ritual Coffee Roasters on Valencia street.

With large, east-facing windows gracing the storefront, tons of beautiful light flooded the cafe. How could I possibly resist taking my camera out?


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7  1/250sec  ISO200

Here’s where Ritual’s drip coffee is individually brewed to order. Wait a minute now…maybe I should head to the hardware store, pick up some copper pipe and just make my own filter-holding contraption!


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2  1/800sec  ISO200


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2  1/500sec  ISO200

If I’m visiting a coffee-house for the very first time, I always try their drip first. If you can make me a killer drip, I’ll keep coming back for sure. The roast I chose was La Esperanza, described as “sweet and creamy, with flavors of butterscotch, Danish pastry, dried stonefruits and a lavender finish.” A one pound bag of whole bean Esperanza will set you back a whopping $22.50.


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2  1/4000sec  ISO200

My friends had lattes, complete with the obligatory frothing art on top =)


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2  1/4000sec  ISO200


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2  1/2500sec  ISO200

Verdict? The drip was awesome, among the best I’ve had in fact. But I paid handsomely for it, so regular visits here will not be a wise “Ritual” for my bank account.


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2  1/60sec  ISO200

We didn’t stay long at Ritual, because we needed to get breakfast elsewhere. The coffee perfectly complimented the famous morning buns at Tartine Bakery. Sorry Tartine, but your drip coffee leaves a lot to be desired. Every time we go, we see a bunch of other people in there, standing in line with their cups of coffee from other cafes. Hilarious =)

Written by Jonathan

April 30, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Blue Bottle Mint Plaza

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Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7

Early one morning, I  hit up the Mint street Blue Bottle cafe with some friends.  Just outside we were greeted by some empty tables and these high school chemistry lab chairs, which cracked me up. They did seem to fit the cafe’s styling though.

The cafe is small, but surrounded by huge windows that reach all the the way up to the super-high ceiling. The early morning sun was pouring through the windows from the east, while at the same time bouncing off the exterior of the building, hitting the grey building across the street, and radiating back through the windows again. This created lighting that any photographer would drool over.

We arrived just as they opened, so the place was pretty empty. This one man got comfortable right away, putting his hat up, placing his book on a stand, and enjoying a hand-made brew. Wish I had more time to just chill at cafes…we were getting our coffees to go!

Good friends, good coffee, beautiful lighting. What a perfect morning.

Photos courtesy of my Olympus PEN E-PL2 with a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens, a combo that just keeps growing on me. It’s just so easy to take this camera everywhere. I can pull it out in public places without even being noticed as I snap away.

These are all out-of-camera JPEGs. I recently installed an update to Adobe Camera Raw that’ll allow me to start playing with the camera’s RAW data. We’ll see what becomes of it =)

Written by Jonathan

April 8, 2011 at 8:39 am

More Dog Park Antics

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Packing up and getting ready to head out alone on a photo walk, I turn around as I open the front door to see Suki giving me the “I’m going too, right?” look. Agh, she gets me every time! Ok Suki, let’s go… People often ask me how I get Suki to cooperate when I take pictures of her, or to cooperate with anything for that matter. Here’s the simple answer: get her tired first! There’s no better place for her to run some energy down than at the dog park:

If I need Suki to chillax while I take pictures out on the street, the day has to start here, where she engages other dogs in GLORIOUS BATTLE!

Ok. Not really =)

We’ve never met a Corgi that Suki didn’t absolutely love. Maybe she finds it endearing that they look like stubby, disproportionate Shibas.

Besides the sparring, the dog park is a great place to play fetch. Fetch on Suki’s terms, that is. I love how she starts playing “soccer” with some random lady at around 00:35 in the video clip above. Towards the end, she’s like “eh, I’m done.”

I actually did do a photo walk with Suki after this visit to the park, but I’ll make that a separate post. =)

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Images: Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 24mm f/1.4G
Video: Olympus PEN EPL-2 + M. Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 MSC

Written by Jonathan

March 31, 2011 at 9:08 am