Shooting Ciqikou with the F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8

I’ll always say the F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8 is a great vintage lens for your street photography.

It’s small, which keeps it discreet. It’s inexpensive, which means you can pick one up without feeling guilty. And the image quality is really good, which is really the most important thing.

I shot with mine in Ciqikou, in Chongqing, China. Come see how it went here.

Behind Bars in Shanghai [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

Another article with photographs shot around a single theme. Despite the title, none are taken in prison. Although wiseacre metaphors with modern life can be drawn if you wish.

Walk around any city with a photographic theme in mind and you’ll always find things to shoot. This is what I came up with after walking around Shanghai with the idea of Behind Bars in my head.

Come take a look. Digest it. And get inspired for your next photography set centred around a single theme.

Visiting Chongqing’s Luohan Temple [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

Chongqing’s Luohan Temple is probably best known for the 500 clay arhat figurines from which the complex takes its name. It’s also a calm oasis in the middle of one of China’s most populous cities.

While not the most photogenic temple I’ve ever been to, it’s certainly worth a visit, should you ever find yourself in the neighbourhood. Which I would recommend you try to make happen, as Chongqing was a pretty cool place to visit in its own right.

Buying a Train Ticket in Bangkok [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

monochrome bangkok train station

Public transport links to Khao San Road in Bangkok aren’t the best. Although the city has both its Skytrain and underground connecting the new airport and train station with the city centre, it doesn’t quite extend to the infamous backpacker area.

This means if you’re at Khao San Road and you want to buy train tickets, you have maybe three options; go to a travel agent and pay their commission, pay for a taxi or tuk-tuk to the station and back, or take the hour long walk in the Bangkok sun.

Me? I slung my camera over my shoulder and chose the third option. These are the pictures I came back with, along with an important piece of advice for buying your own train tickets in Bangkok.

The Train from Suzhou to Shanghai [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

bullet train at suzhou station

As the name suggests, this post tracks a short trip from Suzhou to Shanghai on an evening train. Although I hadn’t been planning on documenting the journey, I decided to shoot a few photographs and see how it turned out after not shooting anything over the couple of days I spent in Suzhou.

Starting in a Suzhou metro station, I shot until the train pulled into Shanghai later in the evening. I think the six shots that make up The Train from Suzhou to Shanghai describe the journey better than I can here. So please, come take a look.

Shanghai Old and New [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

high rise apartments and old houses shanghai china

The photographs here in Shanghai Old and New were, unsurprisingly, all shot in Shanghai, although not all at the same time. Not even all in the same year, in fact. The theme though *is* Old and New, so I think I can get away with using pictures that fit that description too.

It’s really a quick snapshot of a tiny part of Shanghai life, starting with a familiar urban view and exploring things perhaps only known by those who have been to China, with a couple of visual examples of the country and its biggest city’s march into a new age of financial muscle, as evidenced by demolition, construction, and shiny new buildings.

Shanghai Street Scenes [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

While most of my posts on here are about trips I take or days spent in places taking photographs, I thought posts that concentrate on the images themselves would make an interesting distraction.

Shanghai Street Scenes features five shots I took during one day in Shanghai. Being a December morning, the winter sun provided a very nice light for the shots, and the people who were keen to place themselves in it for the warmth made worthy subjects.

If you want to hear a little photo critique instead of the usual travel-type posts, come see the images I got from that Shanghai morning and get the story of why I shot them.

Circles in Chiang Mai [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

bicycle at chiang mai sunday walking street

It’s sometimes easy to lose motivation or simply not find any inspiration for your photography, especially when living or staying in the same place for a long time.

If this does happen, choosing a theme before going out shooting is a great way to give a reason to shoot things you maybe normally wouldn’t, to give meaning to a set of photographs, and to help train your eye to see the smaller details wherever you may be.

The theme for these pictures in this set, taken in Chiang Mai, is Circles.

Yi Peng Lantern Festival, Chiang Mai [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

man lighting lantern at yi peng festival

Yi Peng, the Chiang Mai lantern festival, is one of Thailand’s most spectacular and most photographed events. I tried to capture the event and its atmosphere as much as I did the thousands of lanterns.

Attending Yi Peng also meant something to me personally, having wanted to attend ever since being shown a video of the lanterns rising into the air a few years previous by a traveller I met who had recently gone.

Finally achieving something that had been on my list for a while was a great feeling, and I was happy to be able to bring back a set of pictures that hopefully demonstrate what it’s like to be at Yi Peng.

Memories of Laos [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

Pha That Luang golden stupa vientiane laos

Vientiane and Laos hold special memories for me, due to the country being one of my very favourite places from the first big trip I ever took. Years later, on an extended stay in Chiang Mai, I had to return to Vientiane for a new visa.

Many people who take this trip get in and out as quickly as possible, complaining of there being ‘nothing to do’ in Laos’ capital city, but I wanted to stay a few days and see how it compared to the last time I was there.

They say never go back. I went back. What I found, both in the city and in myself, is documented here.

A Spot of Bangkok Street Photography [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

street sepak takraw game bangkok thailand

I have a confession: when I go to Bangkok, I’m not a very good traveller. I usually only really see Khao San Road and the surrounding area. Probably because it’s so comfortable and easy there. And fun, of course.

One particular time I found myself in Thailand’s capital though, I thought I’d go and shoot some Bangkok street photography in different areas of the city. Takraw, graffiti, Wat Arun, a tuk tuk, people on the street, and a monk browsing a market. It’s only a tiny tiny snapshot of this sprawling metropolis, but it’s one worth sharing.

Life’s a Pitch @ Chiang Mai FC [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

player and fan pose for photo

Attending a football match in Chiang Mai gave me the chance to practice a little alternative sports photography. Instead of shots of the game from high in the stand with my F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8, I concentrated on the night and occasion as a whole.

Starting with the pre-game scenes outside the stadium, continuing with shots of the fans and their reactions to events during the game, and ending with the aftermath down on the pitch, it’s an account of the event from start to finish.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to see a football game in Thailand, this is the post for you.

Chiang Mai to Pai on a Scooter Called The Wasp [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

yellow and black scooter

One of the great backpacker road trips, doing Chiang Mai to Pai and back on a scooter is something I will never forget. Especially because it was done on a mighty yellow and black machine known affectionately as the Wasp.

Thinking of doing the trip yourself? I’d recommend you do.

I’d also recommend checking out this post to get inspiration and information on where to get your own version of the Wasp – whatever that might be.

Free Rides in Green Town @ Hangzhou, China [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

couple at west lake hangzhou

Hangzhou, China. One of the country’s greenest and most visited tourist cities, which in China is saying a lot. West Lake is where most people know and head for first, and with good reason. It’s a beautiful spot for walking, relaxing, and cycling. And photography, of course.

During my weekend in Hangzhou, I spent half my time shooting around West Lake and the other half around the tourist spots in the urban centre around the walking street, with a temple thrown in for good measure.

Bicycles are available for the public to rent too, and can be gotten for free if you know how to play the game. In this account of a weekend in Hangzhou, I’ll tell you how.

Chiang Mai Temple Photography w/ F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8

buddhist statues in flower garden

The temples of Chiang Mai are wonderful spots for your regular scenic tourist shots, but what else can they offer in terms of photography?

Wat Pha Khao, a lesser known temple in Chiang Mai, offers an interesting playground for the photographer with its collection of small Buddhist statues in the yard, while another temple yard I entered housed an impressive collection of broken Buddha figurines beneath a bodhi tree.

Come see what else you can expect from a day shooting some Chiang Mai temple photography with a vintage F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8 lens.

Presenting Pai Through the F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8

pai 38m f.zuiko f1.8

A small tourist town in northern Thailand, Pai is somewhere no visiting backpacker or hippy should ever forget (drink and drugs depending).

The surrounding countryside is as nice to photograph as it is to travel through, with the canyon and big Buddha providing great locations for shooting your vintage lenses.

I spent some time capturing all I could with the F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8, and the results are in this blog post here. Come see, come see!

Riding a Scooter up Doi Suthep [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

Although Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s must-visit places, many of Chiang Mai’s must-see places are outside of the city.

The temple known as Wat Phra Doi Suthep is one such place. Around 15km out to the west of Chiang Mai, this temple sits near the top of a hill (Doi Suthep) and overlooks the city. As a destination for an easy yet immensely enjoyable scooter ride out of the city, with great views and a lovely temple to look around, it’s one of my personal must-dos when in Chiang Mai.

Rent a scooter and hit the road. Come and see how.

Bangkok Protests [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

The 2014 Bangkok protests were just the latest in a long line of similar events in Thailand’s capital. This wasn’t the first time I’d been in the city when there had been protests, but it was the first time I’d been to see them and shoot some pictures.

I had no idea how things would go. Whether I’d be welcomed or not, whether I’d feel vulnerable, or even if I’d make it out unhurt if something developed. In truth, the whole atmosphere was pretty carnival-like, and anyone I asked for a picture was happy to let me take one.

It’s a different kind of set to most of my others which tend to show a more relaxed side of travel. I’m glad I was able to go in and take these pictures, but I hope for Thailand’s sake they can move on in a manner that means no more protests of this type will be necessary.

Phuket Through a Vintage Lens [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

drinks coolers on phuket beach thailand

On a trip to Phuket, Thailand, I never once set foot on a deserted beach. That’s not to say that photography from the beaches I did go to has to be unappealing.

Quite the contrary, in my opinion. Purely landscape photographs of holiday brochure beaches don’t really do it for me anymore, and trying to make a crowded beach look that way for the benefit of anyone viewing my images is not something I will ever do. It’s the same with any tourist destination. Shoot what’s there, not what people expect wasn’t.

My short time on Phuket took in a few different beaches and the inland Phuket Town. These pictures are from that trip, and there isn’t a deserted beach in sight.

F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8 Lens Review

z.fuiko 38mm f1.8 lens

The F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8 was the first manual focus lens I ever bought, and it is something of a classic. Versatile, not too expensive and with good image quality, it’s an investment I’m glad I made.

This review talks about the history of the lens and its native camera, the Olympus Pen F; it describes how it is to use in the real world, and features a gallery of example shots.

I love using mine, and thought it was a very good lens to start shooting manual focus with due to it being wider than the common 50mm lenses. If you’ve been wondering whether to take the step into manual focus lens shooting or have had your eye on an F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8 yourself, come and see why I think so highly of mine.