Another set of images from the Olympus EM-5+Olympus PenF 150. Acid Queen.

 l love the energy this actor puts into her role. Amazing. 

Guilty admission: I posted the bottom image even though I know I missed focus by just a bit. If you look at the mesh near her ear you'll see that the lens is "satisfyingly" sharp but I missed the eyes by an inch or so. Goes along with the long lens-low accutance viewfinder-manual focus-f4 aperture and moving actors on stage....   Why would I post a shot that just missed being perfect? Because I think the energy and the overall emotional power of the shot trumps the technical miss. 

I know how to make the sharpest photos in the world. Given time, a medium format camera, some really fast duration Broncolor or Profoto studio electronic flash, a model in a fixed position, a $10,000 lens stopped down to f11, etc. etc. etc. But if you aren't going to do that (and who's going to wait for you to get it all assembled and ready?) and you are shooting on the fly shouldn't the "look" trump having all the boxes checked?

Techno stuff: Olympus EM-5, Olympus PenF 150mm f4, stage lighting. Wide open, ISO 1600. From a raw file.

Need some action and adventure in your Summer? Try the photo novel of the Summer: 

We'll both be happy you did!


  1. If you look closely at Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother, you'll see that she also missed focus by a few inches. (The zone of focus is just in front of the ear, not on the eyes.) That didn't keep it from becoming a classic, though.

  2. OK, I will play devils advocate and see if you bite..

    I am not sure that shooting with an old lens is more about the photographer indulging his sense of uncertainty, his ennui perhaps, rather than 'getting the job done".

    Perhaps you though that using a little old pen lens may have somehow made you more creative.. but given the subject, the light and the viewpoint, what else could have been different?

    Had you used different gear, the image would have been sharper. Period. And probably better for it, too.

  3. Agreed that the actor's vitality trumps trumps the focus issue. It looks to me, at least in the bottom photo, as if the AF sensor picked up her tubular hairdo, rather than her eyes. As a full-frame shooter, that's a narrower depth of field than I might have expected from MFT.

  4. I wish there had been an "AF sensor" involved. This was 100% manually focused on at the fly with a long, slow lens. I'm lucky I got anything in focus. :-)

  5. I saw Richard Avedon's four portraits of the Beatles - 8x10 view camera shots in his classic style. He missed focus on three of the four. Paul especially, is badly out of focus.

    But the only ones who care are quibbling, maybe jealous?, photographers who put their noses 2 inches from the print.

    Tom V.


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