Izumi's Diary Page 31     Friday 12 August 2011  
A Year in Footsteps

Hello! Here is Izumi.

I have realised that it is now for a year that I have been walking the streets and other places seeking the (more than sometimes) elusive Decisive Moment.

How many footsteps in a year of looking for those Moments? I can tell you that the number of my happy photographs in these pages so far is 393. But I have no idea of the number of footsteps or miles or even chō. Only that there have been a lot but as you can see by reading these pages they have very mostly been interesting ones and have taken me to see many things that I have photographed for my interest and pleasure and for you to see here.

Now I have had an interesting thought. If there are 393 happy photographs on these pages how long is that in real life? I have worked it out that if the average shutter speed of them all has been 1/125 second, then there are just over three seconds of passing time that my PEN and I have captured. It does not seem like much, does it?

But what is the real time of a photograph? Is it the time it took the camera to capture the image? Is it the time it takes a viewer to look at and understand what the image is all about? Or is it the life of the photograph overall, in which case it may be years or even much longer in the case of masterpieces. And we must also consider the time before the actual opening of the shutter when the photographer first saw the possibilities of the image and then thought about the exposure and the best position to obtain the best composition to make the happiest photograph.

All these different times are a bit like the photograph itself - a little slice of the continuousness of time that is frozen and removed from the flow. It is a way of keeping for later looking and thinking about something that would normally fly past and be gone forever. Fixing the ephemeral, perhaps it could be called. (My uncle would like that.)

And now I am a little sad because such things I would enjoy discussing with Jeff Carter but of course he is no longer here to do so. If he reads this, Hello Jeff and I hope there are interesting people and places wherever you are. Wouldn't it be wonderful if on his travels Jeff met Hiroshige on his? Think of all the things they could talk about.

Are you going to ask me how many Decisive Moments I have captured? I am not sure again but without being a boastful girl I think that there are some in the collection of happy photographs to be found in these pages.

Alabaster Model I
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/320 sec, f/10, 400 ISO, 84mm (eqiv)
Alabaster Model II
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/500 sec, f/11, 200 ISO, 84mm (eqiv)
Alabaster Model III
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/500 sec, f/11, 200 ISO, 84mm (eqiv)

I did not set out to do anything special for our anniversary but like a true flâneuse I just let my footsteps carry me where they would.

There are actually several walks over several days depicted here and they turned out to yield quite different subjects so I am happy for that.

Sale I
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/200 sec, f/8, 100 ISO, 84mm (eqiv)
Sale II
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/250 sec, f/8, 100 ISO, 44mm (eqiv)
Sale III
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/200 sec, f/9, 100 ISO, 84mm (eqiv)
Sale V
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/200 sec, f/8, 100 ISO, 84mm (eqiv)
Sale IV
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/250 sec, f/8, 100 ISO, 52mm (eqiv)
Sale VI
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/125 sec, f/5, 100 ISO, 42mm (eqiv)

And as you have been reading my words about what I am thinking before and during and after capturing the photographs and then processing them you will know and I hope understand my early frustrations about the camera I started with, and how becoming an owner and then friend of my PEN has helped me more easily translate the image in my eye to the one on the screen in front of you and one day to the frame hanging on the gallery wall.

But even though I have many happy times with my PEN and the rather large family of lenses we have I must confess that he is not the perfect walking companion for me and my desirings of capturing Decisive Moments.

Miss Bollywood I
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/320 sec, f/10, 200 ISO, 68mm (eqiv)
Red Devil
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-42mm, 1/200 sec, f/8, 400 ISO, 72mm (eqiv)

Also for my street walks I set PEN to show me the images he was capturing in monochrome so I could have a more complete experience of black and white from looking through the viewfinder to contemplating and assessing the photograph on his little back screen.

Unfortunately I could be often surprised when I opened the images in Camera Raw to see them in all their colours again. That meant I had to do a black and white conversion in Photoshop and sometimes I wondered if it was as good doing it a second time as it had been in the camera originally. Or was it my excitement on the street seeing things that perhaps weren't there or not seeing things that were? And I must note that it can only be a small screen on the back of the camera so many details were escaping my eyes.

I did work out a method using the PEN to make a new image in black and white but he could only do this as a jpeg so I worried again if the image quality was less that if it had stayed a raw or even become a tiff.

There are people who say that it must have been hard for photographers in the days past to not have things like digital cameras and computers and Photoshops but as you can see if they put a roll of black and white film in their cameras it stayed black and white until the page in the magazine or book or the picture on the gallery wall.

So I am not really a complaining girl about that. It is more that I want to get the best photographs that I can so when you come to these pages and look at what I have here for you then you are pleased that you did.

Tai Chi I
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-150mm, 1/250 sec, f/6.3, 200 ISO, 300mm (eqiv)
Tai Chi II
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-150mm, 1/250 sec, f/6.3, 200 ISO, 300mm (eqiv)
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-150mm, 1/250 sec, f/7.1, 200 ISO, 270mm (eqiv)
Siesta I
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-150mm, 1/200 sec, f/9, 200 ISO, 72mm (eqiv)
Marrickville Pork Roll
Olympus E-PL1 w 14-150mm, 1/160 sec, f/8, 200 ISO, 62mm (eqiv)

When I am musing about different cameras from time to time I hear about a proper PEN with a built-in viewfinder that is soon to be born but so far all is disappointment for me.

I like my lenses and I like the difference of sometimes being a quick-shutter girl with automatic focussing and exposing on the streets awaiting the Decisive Moments and then othertimes being a contemplative girl and thinking about the photograph before me and handling the lens adjustments to achieve the look that is in my mind.

So you can understand that if another camera maker brought forth a model that was a bit like a Leica with a proper see-through viewfinder and a nice sensor but with a different mount for his lenses I would be in somewhat of an undecided state of decision.

But despite rumours of such a camera from other makers too like Fuji and Pentax and even Leica still no such a one appears.

So while I may still have my longings, as I have told you, perhaps as it is remains for the best for now.

So on those notes I shall say Goodbye to you for this time.

Your friend,


Izumi's Diary Page 31
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