Hunting the Hunter

Thats a better hold!
11000 • f2.8 • 50.0 mm • ISO 100

I really enjoy catching other photographers in the act. The moment the eye is at the view finder, nothing else matters. Hundred things rushing through the mind. Is it in focus? Is it at the right shutter speed, aperture? Then the gentle squeeze on the button, and that glorious clack as the mirror flips. The world could be ending around you, but it does not matter until that mirror slaps up. Looking through that view finder, you are no longer part of it, you are simply a viewer, an onlooker looking at the subject, distant. It’s a strange mindset.

I am very guilty of judging people with their cameras. I see another photographer and I instantly look over their gear. I just can’t help it.

All sorts of people are out there with their cameras. Some big DSLR users, photographing the Minster, with the DSLR, and the in built flash pops up, and they have the same kit lens and uncomfortable next strap on the camera as the day they bought it. I have a want to help these people, show them what they, and their camera is capable of, but that would be so wrong of me.

04082013-DSC_9460So hears to everyone with a camera. Go out, use your cameras however you see fit. Enjoy it, use it, love it. Live for that clack.

Dont worry about other people, just enjoy your photography. 🙂

More photographers in the act: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/mikethompson/album/486729

Street Shooting hints

I’ve written before about my love of street photography, and thought I’d just share some hints with you. There are many thoughts and schools on Street, from the incredibly intrusive and obnoxious Bruce Gilden, Right to the more social documentary type of John Free. But every one has their own style, that they feel comfortable with.

So here are my top hints.

  1. Travel light. You don’t need to take all your lenses and equipment. Carry a small choice of primes, or a single medium zoom lens. I prefer primes for street work as I find the zooming in and out with a zoom takes time. With experience, you will be able to “See” your frame without the camera, and have it framed in your mind before the camera is at your eye.
  2. Shoot in Aperture priority. Set a high aperture, so focus is less important. You might need to boost your ISO. That in it self is not a bad thing as the gritty look from ISO noise can help the image with the grain.
  3. Try to use shorter focal lengths. I rarely if ever go over 85mm. Long focal lengths have an effect on an image that just doesn’t work for street. It tends to distort the back ground. However, if you feel comfortable with longer lenses, by all means use them, remember, there are no hard and fast rules in photography. A contact of mine on ipernity, JayKay72 has outstanding shots with longer focal lengths.
  4. Dont worry about people. People, especially in city’s have one thing on their minds, and they will single mindedly go about it. They probably wont even notice you with you camera. They exist in their bubble, with as little interaction as possible. It can be hard to get over that fear of photographing people. Find a street performer, or someone who expects to be shot. Photograph members of the crowd. It will come with time.
  5. If someone starts asking what your doing, its normally out of curiosity. Be friendly, and honest. Dont aggravate a situation if one does develop. I’ve seen people steadfastly state it is their right, public street to take images, tough luck mate. I’d recommend if someone is grieving you, just delete the image if they want, and move on. There will be many more images and it just isn’t worth the grief. In all the time I have been shooting, I have however never had a problem. I’ve had some strange looks, but never a problem with anyone.
  6. Most street shots are Black and White. And there is a reason for this, colour can be distracting. However, experiment with your images, maybe it just works better in colour.
  7. Always look out for the “Decisive moment”
  8. Try shooting from the hip. This takes some serious practice. You have to know the framing of your camera, but it can and does give several unique angles and views. It’s a angle people are not used to seeing, and makes for unique shots.
  9. Dont be afraid to photograph the back of people’s heads.
  10. Get Out there and Enjoy it.

Hope this helps someone. 🙂

 

 

Snapping the snapper

I enjoy, for some unknown reason, when I see people taking images on the street, I have a urge to photograph them.

Its turned into somewhat of a mini project. Its quite surprising to see the amount of Canon DSLR‘s as opposed to Nikon. It does seem that Canon is the more popular brand. Alot of people are also using camera phones. I’m seeing less and less compact cameras.

Anyway, here is a selection of my favourite Photog on the street images. Maybe out there somewhere, is a image of me, taking a image 🙂

Untitled by Michael Thompson (mikethompson) on 500px.com

shh, canon user by Michael Thompson (mikethompson) on 500px.com
shh, canon user by Michael Thompson

Smile Please! by Michael Thompson (mikethompson) on 500px.com
Smile Please! by Michael Thompson

Another Canon User by Michael Thompson (mikethompson) on 500px.com
Another Canon User by Michael Thompson

Your In My Shot! by Michael Thompson (mikethompson) on 500px.com
Your In My Shot! by Michael Thompson

Always one that always looks. by Michael Thompson (mikethompson) on 500px.com
Always one that always looks. by Michael Thompson

York

I went to York for a wander, and met a few friends.

Strech! by Michael Thompson (mikethompson) on 500px.com

As normal, York was filled with Tourists, and for some reason, loads of loud Spanish teenagers.
After the rather epic rainfall we have had over the past few days, I expected the River to be in flood. It did not disappoint. The water was lapping well up against the walls of the gardens.

Over the course of the morning, I wandered the streets, looking for something to happen. Nothing did, at all. York, while busy with people was boring, and I could not find the motivation to actively photograph. It was really hot as well, which did not help.

The river however was a sight to behold, it was wider than I have ever seen, and the rate it was flowing was intense. Even the Geese where on the bank and going nowhere near.

Streets

Its been awhile since I wrote about street shooting, but I was out with a friend over the weekend doing some street. She had a huge backpack with every lens she owned.

Generally, for street work I carry three lenses maximum. They are

Sigma 30mm 1.4
Nikon 50mm 1.8
Nikon 85mm 1.8

Those three lenses are all I need. The 85 is rarely on the camera unless I need that extra reach. I much prefer the 50 for street.  These are all kept in my Billingham Hadley, a bag I love for street work. I’d love to do this with a leica, but I don’t have one. 😦 so I use either a D90 or D7000. There is nothing wrong with a D90, and I love mine, and still use it despite having the D7000. My settings are normally

Aperture or P mode
Center focus point only (or others if more cross types)
Spot metering.
Auto focus single.

Don’t listen to those who sing that a DSLR should always be in manual mode, photographing on the street can be over in seconds, and you may not have the time to fart around. Better getting the shot than missing it. By all means, if your used to manual, and your quick, use it. Otherwise stick with aperture.

The other tip I give people is to learn the frame. See the frame before the camera is at your eye. Wait until your frame is there, camera up and expose, camera down. It takes some getting used to, but it is the best way.

We walked around the streets for a good few hours while she worked up the confidence. That’s something I struggled with, and still do in a way. But it comes with experience. When you realise everyone is wandering around in their own world paying no attention it gets easier.

One question that did come up, is what to photograph. That’s not a question anyone but the photographer can answer. I did however tell her next time to bring a smaller bag, and think what she really needs 🙂

DNG or NEF?

Well that’s a question.

Just had a conversation on google+ about the RAW vs DNG file formats. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, DNG is Adobes effort to standardise the RAW file format.

Camera makers at the moment have their own file formats, which can change between camera models. As you can imagine, supporting all these formats is nothing short of a nightmare, enter DNG to sort this out. I shall not dwell on this, but for further information check out Adobes DNG page.

Anyway, my buddy is a staunch supporter of keeping all his RAW data as it came out of the camera. I exclusively use DNG files. Converting all the camera output on import to light room. Why do I use DNG files? Well

  1. Smaller file size
  2. Better future guarantees
  3. No sidecar files
  4. DNG is an open file format.
The smaller file size has led many people to believe it is going compression on the data. Well it is, but is non-lossy. And that small saving in file size, maybe 2-3mb soon adds up to a considerable space-saving when your dealing with 30-40Gb of image data.
The second point is future proofing your images. I doubt Canon or Nikon is going anywhere anytime soon, however when a camera drops out of production, whose to say they are going to keep supporting that cameras output? With DNG, it will be there, always available and ready. And as Adobe has released the DNG file format to the world as an open format, where they will never claim copy right, or intellectual rights (unlike MP3, JPEG etc) Any one can develop programs to read and deal with DNG files. One of the main reasons why the US government and loads of other large organisations has chosen DNG as an archival medium.
No sidecar files, DNG is encased. Ie, all meta data is written direct to the file, no annoying XMP files littering up the drive.
Thats some of the reasons I use DNG files, and will continue to do so. Its very well summed up over on this blog here.