I think we all need a change of scenery now and then to keep things fresh. I recently took a trip to visit a couple friends in New York. In preparing for the trip, I debated on which camera system to bring.
Over the past year, I’ve been using a micro 4/3 set up for my pictures almost exclusively. My DSLR, a Canon 5D, often sits at home since I find it too bulky and large to bring it around with me as a daily camera. However, the DSLR does offer a “deep” look that Micro 4/3′s cameras can never dream of achieving.
In discussing this issue with my friends, most actually told me to take the DSLR. But one of my friends, who shoots for my campus’ newspaper, made the strong argument of, “In New York everyone will have DSLR’s, you’ll look like a f***ing tourist if you bring that.” I agreed, and then I packed up my micro 4/3 set up.
It consists of a 14mm f/2.5, 20mm f/1.7, and 50mm f/2. Keep in mind that there’s a 2x crop, so I effectively have a 28/40/100 set up.
The thing is though, in my opinion you have to be very precise with micro 4/3 cameras. Right off the bat they offer less in terms of dynamic range, so you have to make your exposures very exact. The meter on the Olympus EPL2 is very good though, I often trust it to make readings for me.
A micro 4/3′s sensor is smaller than your average DSLR’s. This means that micro 4/3 cameras cannot achieve shallow depth of field very easily. Many photographers(me especially) when they start learning to take pictures, will always try to blast everything with a very wide aperture, which will create a very dreamy shallow depth of field shot which is centered around 1 subject. This is a lot harder to do with a mirrorless camera. So many of my shots now days focus on more than just 1 thing, perhaps an intertwining of several different elements. I mainly look out for shadows and reflections.
I arrived late Friday night, we decided to hit up Kenka in St. Mark’s place. Kenka is an izikaya, basically a Japanese restaurant that serves beer to larger parties, and has a selection of tapas like small plates to accompany all the alcohol. General staples here are grilled fish, yakitori, and anything fried. Oh, meet my friends Laurence and June. I’ve known Laurence since 3rd grade, and June from my photography class at UT.
We then set off to Socarrat Paella bar where June set up a reseravtion. Besides Paella, they offer a variety of seafood and vegetable tapas dishes. We ordered the seafood special for our paella. It was comprised of snapper, clams, shrimp, and had nori and bonito flakes on top. We didn’t really know it would be so influenced by asian flavors, but we still really enjoyed it. All of the seafood was cooked beautifully.
Ippudo, one of New York’s more popular ramen joints, has very good broth and add in’s such as grilled pork and soft boiled eggs, but I find their noodles lacking in texture.
However shallow depth of field is still very possible with the wider lenses, you just have to really push it. We stopped by Momofuku milk bar, a small dessert kiosk owned by David Chang, a chef who I really admire.
Someone left a pair of Tom’s neatly on the sidewalk. I found it sort of impressive that I could get some bokeh with the 14mm f/2.5. It’s very hard to get shallow depth of field with a wide angle lens.
I became sick for the next 2 days due to some sort of food poisoning(most likely from undercooked eggs at brunch from the place above)… heh, but I still continued on. We went to places such as Chelsea for art exhibits, Flushing for Chinese food, and Central Park for naps. The above shot was again taken with the 14mm.
Chelsea has a bunch of contemporary art exhibits. I didn’t really find most of them interesting, perhaps I need to take an art class or something.
New York really has an amazing selection of Japanese places. We really do not have anything that compares here in Texas. This is a robataya, which is another form of izikaya but you get to sit around a table to point and chose which dishes you want. We didn’t get to sit at this table since we arrived without a reservation, but we still had a very enjoyable meal.
Our group then met up with more of Laurence’s roomates and friends. The Olympus Pen’s built in image stabilization is really handy sometimes.
A night of heavy drinking ensued. I don’t think the pictures are very tasteful so I’ll just post those on facebook.
A lot of dogs like to hang out next to my friend’s apartment.
Central Park for a nap.
Muji is sort of like a Japanese Ikea. Their merchandise is all very minimalistic and functional.
We went to Ramen Totto, a place that supposedly had better ramen than Ippudo. The wait was about 1 1/2 hours… but we walked around and made it back just in time for our names to be called.
In comparison to Ippudo, I think totto’s grilled pork and noodles a lot better, but their broth isn’t as good. Also their egg is hard boiled… which kind of upset me since I really really enjoy soft boiled eggs in my ramen.
Another night of drinking ensued, again that’s for facebook.
As you can see the EPL2 faired very well in New York. I still have a bunch of pictures to go through, perhaps I’ll be able to post the full album soon.