45mm

Metropolitan Correctional Center by Adrian Galli

MCC

MCC

It is a building that is oddly compelling given its function within Chicago. I have aspired to photograph the Metropolitan Correctional Center for some time and it hasn't been easy. What is in my mind for how to capture its design would require me to acquire permits and that, as it is a government building, sounds challenging.

Having gone out to photograph an entirely different subject, I decided to walk down to the MCC for a brief scout. I had no intentions of finding a shot I wanted but the light, like Shadow and Light (Art Deco Mountain) was just was what I needed to see.

It is funny how you go out, perhaps only partially successfully, to shoot one thing and end up finding something entirely different to photograph.

Shadow and Light by Adrian Galli

Art Deco Mountain

Art Deco Mountain

Certainly, one of the most important aspects in photography is learning how to control light and when to use shadow. These two elements can so dramatically change the mood and even the entire appearance of the subject to the extent that the subject may not be recognizable.

It is the photographing of ordinary things, in extraordinary light, which results in extaordinary photographs.
— David Young

Learning to Love the Olympus 45mm by Adrian Galli

Dark Bass

Dark Bass

I shoot with a lot of different equipment. As a cinematography, I say, "I'm just happy with a camera in my hands." I take it as a challenge to shoot with gear I don't know and have never used.

I picked up the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 for my Olympus E-M5. It is a tiny and wonderful lens. To give a comparison, it gives a similar field of view as a 90mm lens would on a 35mm camera. While I'm very comfortable filming with that field of view, I found it more challenging to shoot photography with it. When I bought my Panasonic 20mm (40mm equivalent), I spent 6 months shooting with it almost exclusively (for my personal photography). It is my tip for anyone with new gear. It has become my favorite method for learning gear. That sort of "gear discipline" makes you learn it. You will know every limitation, every quality, every situation for and against using it. 

I spent the evening walking around the Loop (Chicago's central downtown area) shooting architecture, people, and other curiosities. After months of using this lens, I'm infinitely more comfortable with it. While I'm still a fan of shooting with wide angle lenses, some of my favorite shots are now from this lens/focal length and could only have been created using it.

Take the time to work with your gear. Don't worry about what you have, specifications, size, megapixels and all that. Go out and shoot! Photos come from you, not your gear. You'll enjoy photography and cinematography so much more when you can appreciate your equipment for what it is, not for what it isn't.