Tang Yuan

Tang Yuan is a very popular Chinese snack since the Song Dynasty (960-1126 AD). Tang Yuan is glutinous rice balls usually cooked in sweet broth. Tangyuan resembles the shape of a white marble ball which is made from glutinous rice flour. Some Tang yuan are plain and some have fillings inside. The fillings are usually made from sweet paste of red beans, peanuts, sesame seeds or other sweet candies.

Glutinous rice balls - Tang Yuan
A close up photo of glutinous rice balls or TangYuan. The actual size of this Tang Yuan is about 25mm in diameter. -- Camera: Olympus Pen E-P1. Lens:Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Tele-macro lens photo taken at 1/20s F2.5 ISO 200

Tang Yuan is also eaten during many Chinese Festivals. Dong Jie or Chinese Winter Festival is one festival that Tangyuan  is a must-have for the day. Dongjie Tangyuan is made from combination of red and white glutinous rice flour. The two colored red and white Dongjie Tang Yuan symbolize Yin Yang harmony and family reunion.

This year Dongjie or Chinese Winter Festival was on December 22. As usual my wife prepared some Tang Yuan for the day. The round Tang Yuan balls look cute and I took some photographs of the Tang Yuan before they were cooked and some finished products as well.

Newly prepared Tang Yuan or Glutinous rice balls
Newly prepared ready to cook Tang Yuan or Glutinous rice balls for DongJie or Winter Festival -- Camera: Olympus Pen E-P1 Lens: Tamron SP Adaptall-2 90mm F/2.5 tele-macro. Photo taken at 1/40s F/4 ISO 200.

All the photographs on this blog were taken with Olympus Pen E-P1 camera with manual focus legacy lenses. The lenses used are Tamron  SP 90mm F/2.5 tele-Macro Super Portrait lens and the OM F-Zuiko 50mm F/1.8 standard prime lens.

Three bows of TangYuan
Three bows of TangYuan in sweet broth. -- Camera: Olympus Pen EP-1, Lens: Olympus Zuiko 50mm F/1.8. Photo taken at 1/50s F2.8 ISO400

The Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 tele-Macro Super Portrait lens is one of my favorite lens when used on 35mm Olympus OM film camera. Now on the Olympus digital Pen E-P1 it is still a very much loved manual focus lens. However with the Pen camera's 2X crop factor the 90mm focal length makes it more difficult to hand-hold steadily and manual focusing at the same time. This lens is quite heavy as well;  fortunately the E-P1 Image stabilization works quite well when set correctly.

The depth of view of the Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 is very shallow with its equivalent 180mm focal length when used on the Olympus Pen camera. With some practices and taking pictures of still subject,  manual focusing with this lens on the Pen E-P1 is manageable. Using it on a tripod is a good idea but it limits your mobility.

The Tamron  SP 90mm F/2.5 tele-Macro Super Portrait lens with the Tamron Adaptall-2 OM adapter is heavier than the Olympus pen E-P1 camera body.

Tang Yuan and other DongJie offering.
Tang Yuan and other DongJie offering. Tang Yuan is a must for DongJie or Winter Festival. - Camera: Olympus Pen E-P1. Lens:Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 OM. Photo taken at 1/50s f2.8 ISO400

The OM F-Zuiko 50MM F/1.8 lens together with the OM S-Zuiko 35-70mm F/3.5-4.5 are two OM lenses least used during my 35mm film days. These standard prime lens and standard zoom lens are too "perfect" for my taste. Though they take very pleasing photographs with its perspective view that is close to our human vision but I find their field of view or angle of view neither wide nor narrow enough for my taste. I also dislike the too perfect perspective view and find it restrictive in composition and difficult to portray my point of view.

Now I found myself using the OM F-Zuiko 50mm F/1.8 lens more when using the Olympus Pen E-P1 camera. This is due to the doubling of its equivalent focal length on the Four Thirds sensor. The 50mm lens now has an equivalent focal length of 100mm which is not too bad. Compared with the Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 the OM F-Zuiko 50mm F/1.8 lens is very light and much easier to focus and hand hold on the Olympus Pen E-P1. This lens is quite small as well as it is almost like a 35mm film camera pancake lens.

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