Izumi's Diary Page 7      Tuesday 19 October 2010  
It's Not Just Tools, But They Help

Today Izumi is a very happy girl. I will tell you why later but it is to do with a new friend that I have. That is a clue. 

When recently reading a book about M Cartier-Bresson and his Decisive Moment photographs, I had an understanding which explains why there is unrest inside me with getting the right photograph with a camera that has a little television on its back and not a proper viewfinder to look through and thus find the happy photograph.

I think that the more close together become the eye of the photographer and the eye of the camera then the better the photograph can be.

How many eyes in picture?
  Here is a picture of M Cartier-Bresson and his faithful Leica companion in art. Look how both photographer and camera are waiting for a Decisive Moment. It reminds me of African wildlife documentaries of lions or cheetahs or leopards who work together for getting food or otherwise go without dinner. So M Cartier-Bresson almost waits in ambush for his photo prey and then his finger is so fast on the shutter that the image is captured before it has time to escape. And so he has his dinner of creativity and art. And is happy.  
I wonder if M Cartier-Bresson ever took a photograph while carrying home the shopping?
Picture by Fo~Do

And here above is an early picture of Izumi with her camera. I think being in the street is the only resemblance to M Cartier-Bresson. But I was younger then and still had much to learn.

Now I can tell you about how I met my new friend. Izumi has diligence, you may know, and I was reading all the information I could from Photokina and other sites on the internet for finding out if a camera that suits me will soon be born by a camera company. Several times one almost seemed suitable but I would find out it does not have a viewfinder or shoot RAW or have changing lenses. These are things that it must have if you are on the streets looking for Decisive Moments like me.

The best one I read about is the new Fuji X100 as it has an interesting optical and electronic viewfinder all in one but it will not be ready before some time next year and only has one fixed 35mm lens. So it is not quite right enough for testing the talents of Izumi.

So I talked to my good friend David about all the choices and what I decided is that the best is the Olympus PEN with an electronic viewfinder that you can add to it and it has a bigger sensor (Four Thirds format) and many interesting lenses. When I looked at the photographs I have captured with the other camera I saw that almost all of them are at full wide of 28mm or full zoom of 140mm (eqivs). And the PEN E-PL1 version comes with a 14mm to 42mm lens (28mm to 84mm eqivs) which is not very fast (f/3.5) or as reachingful (3x rather than 5x) but will make for much happier daytime street photographs. Or 'candids' if you are Mr Jeff Carter.

And I found out that Panasonic has a very small 20mm lens and soon a 14mm one also which can make this camera look and feel very much like M Cartier-Bresson’s Leica. I like that. And the 20mm is f/1.7 so it can be interesting for night time photographing with 1600 or 3200 ASA. 

When I am decided on something I do not like to wait, so we went to a camera shop that David knows and we bought one. My birthday hints must have fallen on rich ground, as the saying is said.

I also like the name PEN as it is like writing with a camera (I know - 'photo' and 'graphy') and a photograph is on paper the same as writing in a book - and I hope lasts as long!

Here is PEN next to my old camera
Here he is from the front
Here is my favourite view of him
I wonder how other street photographers would see it if they used it for their photographs?
The camera of Mr Arthur Steiglitz
The camera of M Cartier-Bresson…
The camera of Mr Jeff Carter…

But it is actually now the camera of Izumi so I will show you some of the first photographs we took when we were out together on the streets.

All Dressed Up… I
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/160 sec, f/4, 200 ISO, 28mm (eqiv)
All Dressed Up… II
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/60 sec, f/3.5, 1250 ISO, 28mm (eqiv)
Bottle Shop I
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/80 sec, f/3.5, 200 ISO, 28mm (eqiv)
Bottle Shop II
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/100 sec, f/3.5, 200 ISO, 44mm (eqiv)

And this day I had another chance to see if there were happy photographs in the park. I am thinking there sort of were, but because of not many people being in the park such Moments were sparse for me there this time.

Enmore Park I
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-54mm, 1/320 sec, f/6.3, 200 ISO, 108mm (eqiv) crop
Enmore Park II
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-54mm, 1/160 sec, f/8, 200 ISO, 70mm (eqiv) crop

And in the streets too, many people were not there. There must have always been numerous people in France at all hours of the days and nights for M Cartier-Bresson to find his Moments, I am thinking.

King Street Morning I
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/200 sec, f/6.3, 200 ISO, 28mm (eqiv)
King Street Morning II
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm 1/125 sec, f/6.3, 200 ISO, 84mm (eqiv)
Shadow Café I
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-54mm, 1/250 sec, f/5, 200 ISO, 28mm (eqiv)
Shadow Café II
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-54mm, 1/250 sec, f/5, 200 ISO, 100mm (eqiv)
Shadow Café III
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-54mm, 1/160 sec, f/4.5, 200 ISO, 66mm (eqiv)

You can see in these happy photographs the strong early lighting that I like when it comes at a low angle into the shops and windows and along the streets. Having a proper viewfinder on my PEN makes me very happy to be framing these photographs exactly as I like them.

To be confessing, I do sometimes crop them into other formats but that is because they are telling me that is the best way for them to be happy photographs that we both like. And my PEN likes it too. I can feel it when I hold him to my eye and we both know that we are looking at the same photograph and we must not become too excited together over this but remain calm like the stalking lioness in case we frighten the photograph away.

Sometimes I know the format I want when I take the photograph and other times I find a different format when I am processing the photographs on the computer because I am now watchful for such things to sometimes be, as I explained in a previous Diary.

I am also finding that because my PEN has a much bigger light-sensor than the little Pentax I was using, I can sometimes make a happy photograph just from a part of the image that is still good quality to look at. I think the proving will come when I make big A3 or A2 prints for the exhibition (no, I do not forget). So that is something to look forward to seeing.

Shadow Street III
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-54, 1/100 sec, f/3.5, 200 ISO, 108mm (eqiv)
Shadow Street IV
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-54mm, 1/800 sec, f/9, 200 ISO, 28mm (eqiv)
Street People II
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-54mm, 1/160 sec, f/4.5, 200 ISO, 50mm (eqiv)
Street Art I
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/250 sec, f/7,1, 200 ISO, 28mm (eqiv)
The Blue Fig
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/80 sec, f/5.6, 1000 ISO, 84mm (eqiv)

I must also tell you that some of the photographs on this page have been adjusted in Photoshop to give them a different look which I think more suits their emotional feeling. With The Blue Fig, above, I took out some of the colours so it was not as realistic as when I captured it, because I thought that both in full colour and in black and white it was not as I saw it in my head when I was there.

And the photographs of the people in Enmore Park I and II I made into contrastier black and white because I think they are happier photographs when I make them like that. And I think M Cartier-Bresson would approve of such doings. I must learn more about how to make the colours muted in Photoshop as there are many ways to do such a thing. I think it is all right to do this as it is using the tools that come to my hands, and I am not pretending to you that it is something that is not really on the street in front of me.

Mr Jeff Carter joked to me that it is easy with Photoshop to put a camel in his photographs and viewers would not realise the untruth of it. But I think that if I put a camel in front of the Blue Fig Café or wandering down King Street then you would think Izumi was a very strange girl. Or walking in the footsteps of Salvador Dali these mornings rather than M Cartier-Bresson. But then in my other hand if you know Newtown then you probably would not think it strange at all.

I hope you like these photographs that my PEN and I captured. I shall have to ask other people if they can see differences between the photographs I made with the other camera and my PEN. But I can tell you that I am a happy girl with this camera and we are going to go exploring many streets together.

When I show the photographs here it is like you were there with us but you did not have to get up early to catch the light that I like. You are lucky for that but I am happy to do it for you.

Now I must stop here.

Thank you,


To fully understand my footsteps, please read me from the start.
Izumi's Diary Page 7
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