Ever since I bought my Fuji X cameras, my street photos have been accumulating fast. So I have decided to select three shots from my "Street" file to post on a weekly basis.
Shooting "Street" has become an addiction... I mean, a daily hobby, that I've come to enjoy:) I did not shoot these photographs for any commercial purpose or reason, but just for the sheer enjoyment of capturing life as it unfolds around me. I am sharing this with you to spread the love!
(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"Enjoying the Spotlight"
"Paying with My Allowance"
All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia.
I am now one of those who can testify that the Fuji X cameras are indeed revolutionary. They are compact and small, yet boast of the best features most professionals require in a digital camera system.
The Fuji X series cameras, particularly the X-Pro1 and the X-E1 (X-E2), are amazing photographic tools. Both are equipped with the 16 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS that professional users swear equal the "top of the line full-frame DSLRS" in picture and color quality-- some even claim that it rivals Leica. The sensor's sensitivity is also highly praised for its extreme low-noise up to ISO 6400 (ISO can be extended up to 25600). Although the X-E1 has a built in flash, I never saw the need to use it even underneath the light of the moon. The X cameras are mirrorless, so are rock steady and quiet handheld even at 1/15th of a sec.; with the image stabilized zoom lenses I have been able to hand hold them without blur even at 1/4th of a sec. My two cameras are beautifully "retro-styled" like analog-era rangefinders, the X-Pro1 even has a state of the art optical viewfinder that shifts frame-lines automatically. Lighter and half the size of my professional DSLRs, with lenses equal in quality to Canon's L series, my Fuji X system is a dream come true.
I am not trading-in my Canon, Mamiya or Sinar systems just yet. In my line of photography, each system has its advantages. I still prefer my Canons for rapid action and motion/cinematic-imaging jobs (high fashion, sports, wildlife) and my Mamiya RZs & Sinar P for high-resolution commercial projects; but the Fuji X system has certainly added new dimensions to my work-- street and travel photography.
My XPro-1 with my old manual Canon FL lenses.
My Fuji cameras' compact, light, quiet and unimposing build; and its ability to tackle natural light in any condition makes them the perfect companion cameras to carry everyday wherever I go. The Fuji X system is also robust, currently supporting 7 high quality prime lenses and 5 zoom lenses with more in the pipeline. The system also has dedicated flash units (which I probably will never need) and attachments to tailor fit the cameras to the user. With the cameras' "shoot w/o lens" feature, I could also choose to mount 3rd party lenses using adapters. My old manual Canon FL prime lenses have a new life and are now back in service!
When I started my photography, I was essentially doing "street photography." But when I became a professional my subject matter became focused, I specialized and narrowed down my imaging to studio based techniques. It is so refreshing to be able to shoot anything, anywhere, in any light. This flexible camera system has given me back a fresh perspective on Photography that I have been missing for a long time.
Here is a sample of my work using the Fuji X cameras:
I have to apologize for my sporadic blogs these days, I have been uncharacteristically busy these last couple of months, that I actually had to work through the Holidays (during a family trip abroad). But we all have to make a living somehow, right? Anyway, I actually had a few hours of free time this Saturday morning, and I thought that it would be a great time to catch up on my Blogging.
What better subject to start 2014 than the Oscars right? I know more than a few people out there who hate this iconic Hollywood tradition with a passion. But even the Academy's most stauch critics cannot deny that it is a global phenomena and that it is still the most anticipated award event for Cinema in the whole world.
As a filmmaker, I still celebrate the Oscars and look forward to the ceremony as an annual global tradition to celebrate the filmmaking skills at the most biggest and most financially successful "dream factory" in the world (at least in this era)-- Hollywood. Like a forbbiden fruit, Hollywood still beckons to filmmakers from all over the world, as the ultimate arena where they can test their skills against the world's best. Hey, the Oscars is actually the oldest "Reality" program on TV.
British writer/director Sean Ellis at Sundance 2013
This film had won the Audience award for best World Dramatic Competition film at Sundance this year, and has been chosen as the British nominee for Best Foreign Language film at the 2014 Oscars. I find all this slightly ironic, since it is a British made movie that dramatizes a very authentic Filipino story (film) at its core. I guess, like most good dramas (and good art) that succesfully encapsulates a universal existential human dilema, it does not really matter who made it in the end.
The family's migration from idyllic countryside to the urban slums
British Writer/Director Sean Ellis' story was inspired by a scene he witnessed serveral years ago when he visited Philippines -- Two armoured truck personel wearing bullet-proof jackets and helmets carrying M-16s, arguing and screaming at each other on the street. He could not forget the scene, wondering what they were arguing about and how it might have eventually ended. It led him to develop a 20 page synopsis, which eventually became a full-length feature.
The story is simple, and quite typical for most Manila (and most Southeast Asia) slum dwellers. A farming family driven by the hardship of life in the province decides to seek their fortune in the big city. Jaded and naive, they soon fall prey to petty criminals who rob them of their meager savings and take advantage of their desperation. A number of them end up becoming criminals themselves or get caught up in the seedy sex trade.
Oscar and Mai soon get employment at a huge personal cost
Sean decided to use both criminality and the sex trade in his story to magnify the direness of the couple's plight. Despite their desperation, a lot of Manila's urban poor successfully navigate away from these illegal occupations. Inspite of being reputed to be one of the worst cities when it comes to crime, corruption and the sex trade in Asia, a lot of Filipinos do manage to find decent work within Metro-Manila in the midst of rampant economic hardship and poverty. So despite the characters' desperation in this movie, they do have choices beyond the ones they decided to take. Sean Ellis was able to tell his story well enough, that it seems as if Oscar and Mai were locked-in to their fate.
Oscar caught in the web of (his mentor) Ong's machinations
But despite that sleek 'slight of hand' from a very capable director, I think the movie successfully delivers a gripping tale of human desperation pushed to the extreme. The casting was perfect. Jake Macapagal's portrayal of "Oscar's" innocence and decency was realistic; John Arcilla's "Ong" was on the money; and Althea Vega's "Mai" looks convincing. The supporting cast also looked authentic in their parts, most of whom were not professional actors.
It's September 20 and the new iPhones are finally available today worldwide. The two newest incarnations of Steve Job's mobile tech legacy were announced two weeks ago, to mixed reactions. I am a fan who is less than enthusiastic about the current line-up.
An avid loyalist from the first iphone, I stopped upgrading after the 5th version-- the iPhone 4s. Aside from the obvious cellphone function, I use my iPhones mainly as a camera backup for shooting candid photographs, and it frustrates me that Apple has not really upgraded its mobile camera technology for the last two generations. Stuck at 8 megapixels for the last 2 years, despite slight improvements in low-light capabilities, I have had no real reason to upgrade my phone. If I needed to shoot in extreme low-light, I have a Leica, several Canons and Mamiyas, and even a Go Pro 3 to choose from; so an increase in resolution would have been a great selling-point to me and other iPhone photographers. Besides, the iPhone is now seriously lagging behind its competitors, who have been offering better cameras in their cellphones for years.
I have used the iPhone as a serious photographic tool for years, to the extent of having an exhibit of limited edition prints from my iPhone generated images. It continues to be a great tool for visual artists like me, mainly because of its versatility and wonderful Apps. But the resolution of its camera limits my print sizes to 8 x 10 inches. Apple, please take note of this plea or I might be forced to switch to another brand, just to satisfy my technical needs. I am already using a Samsung as a second phone to my now outdated 4s, trying to see if its technology is actually better.
Iphone fans line up from New York to Tokyo to get their fix.
This year, Apple released two versions of the iPhone to address a segmented market: The iPhone 5s-- the logical descendant of the previous models; and the iPhone 5c-- to cater to a more budget conscious consumer. The company made sure that there are slight differences between the two models to justify the 5s' steeper price.
Like the older models, the 5s is armored in an aluminum/plastic shell, while the 5c is encased in an obviously cheaper all-plastic body. You can finally get the iPhone in a variety of colors: the 5s in Silver, Gold and Gray trim; the 5c in pastel pink, green, blue, yellow and white. The 5s has a 64-bit A7 chip and an extra M7 motion coprocessor; the 5c retains the iPhone 5 A6 chip. The camera specs. of the 5s is essentially the same from the iPhone 5, with a larger sensor (8 megapixels with 1.5µ pixels); while the 5c retains the iPhone 4s camera specs. The premium 5s model also has a 'True Tone flash', auto-image stabilization, burst mode and slow-motion video capabilities. Both models feature a 4-inch Retina display. But the 5s also has Apple's newly developed Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor installed on the main button for added security.
A lot of photographers have been inquiring about the equipment I use... here is a short list for the curious:
Cameras for Commercial work: Fuji XPro-1 and Fuji XE-1 (with Fuji XF zooms and primes), Canon 7D, 2 Canon 1Ds MarkIIs (w/ EF L Series zooms and primes), Canon 1n RS, Mamiya RZ67 ProII (lenses & system), Mamiya RZ67 Pro IID & Sinar P2 (used with rented digital backs).
Studio Equipment: I use several Alien Bees Monolights (3 640watts & 4 320watts), an Alien Bees Ringflash with accessories, Alien Bees Rectangular and Octagonal Soft Boxes in different sizes, umbrellas and parabolic umbrellas up to 86", an assortment of grids, barndoors and snoots. 4 150watts monolights with softboxes and accessories and an assortment of 25 -60watts clip on slaves with customized softboxes and accessories. 2 vagabond II portable power packs. 4 pocket wizard II transmitters and a pocket wizard multimax. An assortment of lightstands and booms. Several Manfrotto tripods, a Manfrotto Monopod and a Manfrotto light table. Lowel Tota/Omni kits for video lighting.
Equipment for Fine Art work: Fuji X Pro-1 and Fuji XE-1 (with Fuji XF and Canon FL lenses), Go Pro Hero 3 Black, Leica D-Lux 3, Apple IPhone 4s (with assorted photo apps.), Mamiya Universal and Super 23 Press systems, Polaroid 600SE system, Mamiya C system, 2 Canon F-1n (FD Lenses & system), Canon FT (FL Lenses), 5 x 7 Graphic View II with antique lenses, Bell & Howell Dial 35 (Canon 35mm half-frame), Argus C3 and C44 system, Graflex 22 model 400, Mamiya six, Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta 531/2, plus assorted antique, toy and pinhole cameras from my collection. Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II and Hahnemuhle Fine Art Papers.
Video/Movie Cameras: Canon 7D (Canon EF L Series lenses), Go Pro Hero 3 Black, Canon XL1S mini-DV system, Apple IPhone 4s with Owle Bobo (with assorted video Apps.), Bolex H8, Canon Super 8 1014XL-S, Bolex EBM 16mm, Bolex H16 Reflex.