f/8 and Be There

“f/8 and Be There” – a famous quote attributed to Arthur “Weegee” Fellig, world famous New York photojournalist and street photographer most known for his works in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Allegedly, this was his response to an inquiry into his photographic techniques.

I took a different tack on this one line guide to photojournalism when I decided to purchase a smaller, quieter, altogether more discrete camera that I would be more likely to have with me at the “f/8 and be there” moment. Perhaps it was three different stories about people who got in trouble with the NDS when photographing at the wrong place in Kabul. Perhaps it was frequently passing signs at Kandahar Airfield that mentioned “no photography” and threatened “lethal force.” Maybe just the size and weight of the Olympus E-P1 with a fixed focal length lens and optical viewfinder will make it more likely to be with me when the E-500 would have been sitting in its case on a shelf.

The extra megapixels should mean that I can do some cropping after the fact and still have a high resolution image. Just like the old days with the Rollei when you were not necessarily composing things to create a square image. (I apologize to Fritz Henle, may he rest in peace.) I have developed faith in the Olympus automatic focusing when the right mode is selected. The image in an optical viewfinder is easier to work with than the viewfinder of any DSLR. If I work with a tripod I can turn on the LCD and pretend it’s a ground glass. Maybe I am just a retro kind of person. We’ll see in a few months whether the shift to an earlier era (think Leica M3) will have a positive effect on my photos.



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