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
I was browsing around Photocamel earlier and came across a thread (http://photocamel.com/forum/landscape-travel/145384-small-fall.html).
The poster placed an image that he had used a diorama style shot. Which, to be honest really does not work overly well with the subject. Some people critiqued this, and gave their thoughts on the image. In post 6, he rather sternly rebukes the comments made in earlier posts
Having been a photographer for 30+ years, I would like to think that I am fairly well versed in the do’s and don’ts with regards to f-stop, aperture and composition.
FWIW, it’s bad form to critique a photograph without asking first,. This is especially true in a public forum and where there are certain artistic liberties at play that one may, or may not understand.
Now I take an interest in the thread. All postings to Social sites, be they forums, flickr, private websites etc are open to public critique. You have to expect that when posting in full public view. What would art be if people did not discuss it? It would be dull and boring.
I pointed this out in my post (Post 11)
I disagree. People are free to express an opinion, critique it if they wish. You consent to that by making it public display.
You dont have to ask. people will always critique. How boring would the art world be, if no one critiqued? Art Should, and always will promote discussion. Whether the artist wants it or not.
To which he posts rather a childish reply. He offers to go to the website I’ve linked in my signature and critique some of the photos on my website.
Truth be told, I’d love him to. To learn what others think, what the images say to them is what I crave. It makes me think, gives me ideas to improve on photography. And I fully accept that others will view my photography, discuss it, think about it. Is that not the purpose of all art? To promote discussion, thought and critique?
Would Monet’s work be what it is today without people discussing it? I think not.
I’ll repeat one last time:
Art Should, and always will promote discussion. Whether the artist wants it or not.
- How Critiquing Other People’s Photographs Can Improve Your Own (photofocus.com)
- Giving a good photo critique How to help your friends become a better photographer (oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com)
Well that’s a question.
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
As I’ve gotten a couple of emails asking what settings I use when out on the street, I thought it may be a good idea to make a post.
I use a D7000, so some of these settings may be different for your camera.
- Focus / AF
- 9 Point Dynamic
- Continuous Focus (AF-C)
- Camera in A
- Matrix Metering
- Playback Menu:
- Image review: Off
- Shooting Menu:
- Image Quality: RAW
- Colour space: Adobe RGB
- Active D-Lighting: Off (Auto)
- Log exp. NR: On
- High ISO NR: Norm (Off)
- ISO: ISO 100
- Custom Settings Menu:
- a5 Focus point wrap around: On
- a7 Built-in AF-assist illumination: Off
- c1 Shutter Release Exposure Locking: Off (default)
- c2 Meter Off Delay: 8s
- d3 ISO Display: ISO
- f9 Reverse indicators: -0+ (Becaue +0- Just makes no sense.)
- 9 Point Dynamic
- Matrix Metering
- Image review: Off
- ISO: ISO 100
- a5 Focus point wrap around: On
- a7 Built-in AF-assist illumination: Off
- f9 Reverse indicators: -0+ (Becaue +0- Just makes no sense.)
So I headed off to York, with one thought on my mind. To fully use my D7000 in full manual mode.
So, my standard street setup was put in the camera, and the dial put on M. Dont get me wrong, I’ve used M many times before, but nearly always found a excuse to revert back to more familiar ground in A mode.
What surprised me the most, was how much more I was thinking of the overall image. Not just raise the camera to the eye and press the shutter, but actually look at the image. Where normally I’d come away with maybe 100 shots, I came home with under 50 as I was just so much more aware of the image.
I did however find that some of my subjects had finished what they were doing, and moved before I had set the camera up. No doubt it will become quicker the more I do it, but I did get rather annoyed that, in y mind at least, I was missing shots.
I’ll post some more shots from my recent York wander as soon as I get round to processing them.
As ever, please feel free to take a wander through my York Gallery.
I was slightly bored today. so took my self off to York. That is, when the train actually ran. I was in town for 9.30, and the first train was at 11:20. I mean seriously the rail companys need to drag themselves into this century. People still work, and play on a Sunday. This lazy assed Sunday attitude caused me to miss the York 10k run. Oh well.
In contrast to Leeds, York is a much more tourist town, no odd ball characters here (Apart from Street Artists).
You have to give the guy credit for that.
One thing I have noticed doing Street Photography, is that you have to be quick, to avoid the “Evil Question Stare”, this guy on his bike is a prime example.
I got the stare, and it can, and does ruin a shot. Sometimes it makes it, but generally I dont want to be noticed, not because I’m shy or anything, but I want the
photo to be a slice in time, a moment in someones life. I want to observe, not be observed.I’d set myself a little challenge today, to use one and only one lense. I chose my 50mm 1.8 and stuck with it. No zoom, I had to go to the subject, think about the composition. I did take some other lenses, but avoided the temptation to swap. And truth be told, I loved it.
One of my first shots was a Busker, just outside the Minster. He was really good. His voice had a silky smoothness and just sounded good. If I’d been thinking, I’d of got a video. But alas, I did’nt think.
My favourite shot of the day came at the Minster. A young couple, she was photographing the top of the minster.
A lazy dog, hitching a ride
As normal, more shot can be found on my photosite here
So Sunday, I picked up two willing subjects for me to practice Portraits. We trundled down to the local park, and did a few shots. We all had fun and I learnt a lot from playing around with my Nikon D7000.
First off, I broke out the 85mm Nikon 1.8 and tried a few headshots, the sun was high, maybe on reflection I should have waited until later in the day.
Just look at those shadows. Looks like panda eyes. I really should have had the reflector out and bounced some light into there, or at the very least of got some fill flash going.
We did a few shots like these, and I think the ones of Lauren came out somewhat better.
The lighting was a bit better here.
Still a bit of shadow in the face area, and a little too bright on the right hand side of the image.
But these are all things I now know to look out for, and slowly climbing the learning curve. One of my issues is that I’m always in a rush to get the image, I always forget to check for something.
We next did some dual shots of both Holly and Lauren together, and I experimented with a bit of DoF.
I particularly like this image, the distant look on Laurens face, the rather straight look on Holly’s face, with just the hint of a smile is just making the image. Neither of them where expecting the shot, and I prefer this to the “Concrete” poseing.
So we continued, and the girls getting into it now, Hollys nerves where starting to calm down, and getting used to the people who took an interest in what we were doing. I actually think they both enjoyed the attention
But this, I think has to one of my favourites from the day, a moment, just stolen where she had no idea I was photographing her, just got her whole personality, Bright, bubbly and absolute gem after getting over her nerves, the moment of a laugh as Lauren stuttered on the curb.
The smooth bokeh of the background, the way she’s positioned in the frame, and the way she is looking all work well for me. I thought the processing works especially well for the image.
A few fun shots later, where the pair where just themselves, worked well and captured some good moments.
I had fun, and learnt a lot, and the girls had fun, which was the important thing
More images available here
So I decided to have a little street photo session and headed off to Leeds. It was busy, but there was’nt a lot going on. So I just plodded along looking for people that I found interesting. I was shooting with my D7000, and a Nikon 85mm 1.8 I’d just picked p from the Girls at Jacobs. I’d gone into Jessops and asked if they had it in stock, and they asked if that was a filter or camera! Luckily the staff at Jacobs know their stuff and no stupid question…
This Guy was watching a live music performance near albion street. I found his face interesting.
So On I wandered. Missing a few shots here and there, and then this young woman crossed my view finder, and there was no way I could have not pressed the shutter. She was so unique, with her purple hair, big hat and rather unique dress sense.
Some stupid errors with camera settings saw me drop a few images and kick myself, but I came away with some, what I consider good, images.
I walked round for hours, yet people where just not interesting, I could not find anyone displaying any emotion, or anything else. So it turned to just who I found interesting. My street photography still requires some practice…
See the rest of my images over at my photosite..
After what was possibly the worst day I’ve ever had at work, I was really looking forward to this weekend.
Then in the evening, I went to the Fireworks display on the stray, which to be perfectly honest, was a disappointing affair. But my god there was alot of people there. And as normal, people where dumping their cars wherever they could spreading chaos in their wake.
Leaving the stray area was a nightmare. The largest roundabout in Harrogate, the empress just turned into a random free for all, as people jostled to get on and off it. It was just a complete nightmare. I decided I wanted no part of that and went left back toward the fireworks and down North Park Road. Getting home I loaded the fireworks shots into lightroom, and was a little disapointed. I chose to ue my Sigma 10-20mm, and that was a error, I was a little to far away from the fireworks, and most of the frames where overly blah. I loaded several of the shots into Phostshop, and arranged them into a single layerd document. and fidlled with them until I had something I liked. So all was’nt lost.
I dont know what I’m doing on Sunday, but I’ll sure as hell not waste the day. Might actually go to Leeds or maybe York and do some people type shots. I enjoy street photography, but my old bug bear of nerves always gets me when I see a good shot.
And, I’ll watch out for Police speed traps
Lightroom, is by far, the most powerful photo management application there is. I use it alot for the cataloging of my images. However, I only ever really do light editing of images in lightroom.
I’ve never really heavily edited images, most of the time I just fix basic exposure issues, and colour. Maybe I should spend more time editing images and leveraging the incredible power lightroom offers in its develop module.
Take this image of York Minster for instance.
It exhibits the classic lean backwards most tall buildings show in photographs. This is easy to remedy in Lightroom, with its lens correction options. Scott Kelby shows how to improve a image similar to this on his recent entry on his blog. It really shows the power that Lightroom offers.
But couple Lightroom with Photoshop, and you have the most powerful image editing couples possible. Basic editing in Lightroom, advanced editing in Photoshop. Time for another image example.
This image taken on Yeadon resivour, next to Leeds Bradford Airport was of a recent sailing competition. I like the image, but that thin wire running from top of the frame to the side of the boat is distracting.
It would be a easy task to send the image seamlessly from Lightroom to Photoshop, and use the Spot-Healing brush with content aware filter to remove the wire. For areas to close to contrast zones, drop back to the clone stamp tool to clean up. easy job, and when done, lightroom updates automaticly with the Photoshop edits.
You cant beat the two for the most powerful software suites for image editing. But another question arises. Is image editing cheating? Well, in my opinion it is’nt. You can make a good photo great, but you can also turn a image into a great steaming pile of utter shite. Its a fine line to tread and a few steps over can ruin a shot.
Photographers have always edited images, even back in film days. Its nothing new and not unique to digital photography.
By all means I strive to take good images from the camera, but like the shots above, sometimes the image requires help.
Remember this: don’t take pictures, the camera does that. It’s up to you to create the picture the camera sees.
I really must start using the full potential of LightRoom.
So I am slowly improving my confidence photographing people on the street.
I’m finding that most people are either looking at their feet, especially the younger people, other people are just to busy wrapped up in their own little world. People will look at you with a strange quizzical look at times, but I’ve not had anyone say anything to me yet.
My next task is to ask someone directly if I can take their picture. For some reason when I think of this, I get an image of a group of OAP’s sat on a bench enjoying the fresh air. Young in the mind. Think this comes from an image I saw years ago.
That however is a matter for another weekend.
I find I really enjoy capturing people, the moment, stolen in time. Be that eating a takeaway, a couple looking at jewelry in a shop window, or other fleeting moments of people’s lives. I find my self thinking a lot more of what is happening around me. I was one of those people who wander in their own little world, now however, from behind the viewfinder I can snatch moments. More interest in people around me.
And That can only be a good thing. But the but the new rule I have, is minimal post processing, unless the image screams for a treatment, they will be posted as is. Raw, unedited. Just like I took it out of camera, Just as seen with the eye.
I love old photos. A snapshot into the past.
This is my grandmother on my fathers side, taken before her marriage to my grandfather.
Old photos always tell their own unique story. Photography has become so common place now, that the sheer amount of photos drowns out any meaning. Old photos where taken, to mark a event, something special. Old photos always have a purpose. Having a photo done was a important and rare event something to remember and treasure.
You can just imagine the photographer turning up with a huge wooden box of magic, hiding himself away under a black cloth before finally taking the image after everyone is ready and then waiting 5 minuites for the exposure to finish.
But by far the most prolific snapper was my grand father on my mothers side. He has a wide collection of brownings, kodaks and others. And many many photos.
See my collection of old Family images over on my Zenfolio gallery
As I’m sure you noticed by some of my recent posts, both here and on my Photosite, Autumn is my favourite time of year. The crispness in the morning air, the beautiful colours in the leaves, and the low sun giving rise to crisp long shadows all add up to wonderful conditions for photography.
Lets Hope Sunday is a nice day, as I have the Bradford Half Marathon to attend.
|Equipment||Nikon D90 Sigma 30mm 1.4|
So recently I have been looking at moving my images away from SmugMug, and I was looking primarily at ZenFolio as my new host.
The reason I’m looking at moving is that SmugMug is a targetted audiance of the US, and all its printing fulfillment centers are in the US, as well as the only currency they accept is US dollars. I’ve sold a lot of images to this audience, but cant help but feel I am missing a key audience, as people obviously don’t want to pay a lot of money to have photos shipped from the US. This was suggested over a year ago to smugmug, who simply state, “Its in the pipeline”.
Zenfolio on the other hand, has fulfillment centers in the UK, and offers prices in Sterling. This is a huge bonus.
However, there are drawbacks to Zenfolio. And they are:
- No smart galleries based on keywords
- No GPS GeoTagging
- Not nearly as customisable as SmugMug
The first point is not really critical, but I do like to have my Portfolio shots in the Gallery pulled from other gallerys, it just keeps things neater without having to have duplicates all over.
The second, GPS tagging is important. People like to see where images where taken, so they can place them, and search for locations. Why Zenfolio have not put something together is beyond me. All other photo sites have this, and the Zenfolio user forums have been shouting for it since 2008. Thats 2 years they have had a chance to do it, and yet it still has not been implemented.
That third point of Customisable interfaces. Well SmugMug clearly is the winner. It cant be denied. With extensive CSS, there is nothing you cant change in Smugmug. Zenfolio on the other had has a handful of themes, and you cant even move items around on a page.
But the crux of the matter is the UK pricing and availability. Thats what I need, so even with the shortcomings Zenfolio has, I proboly will be changing from Smug.
I sent a email to smugmug customer service. Heres what they said:
Tyree Phillips [SmugMug Hero], Sep 26 05:00 pm (MDT):Hello Michael,
Thanks for contacting Smugmug.
This feature has been discussed and it is at the top of the list in our feedback forum.
We don’t have any specifics as to whether or not we will add this feature to the site or when. Sorry I can’t provide you with more information, but this is all we have at the moment.
Let us know if you have any additional questions and have a great day!
SmugMug Support Hero
Maverickapollo, Sep 26 02:16 pm (MDT):Hey Support Heroes,
I’m Michael, my site is http://mthompson.smugmug.com, and I’m using Firefox on Linux.
The question is:
Sorry to bother you again, but recently been looking at Zenfolio for my hosting, due to UK printing and currency.
I cant help but feel SmugMug is missing out on not offering EU partner labs and pricing.
I love smugmug, and want to stay, however with more sales on my UK based site it is hard to justify.
Do you have any plans at all to offer UK labs and currency?
And my respose to this
I’m aware it’s at the top of your requests list. And it has been requested for a long time, yet you dont know if or when it will be available.Your presence in the EU and other areas is seriously bad. You have one of the best, if not the best serious photo sites available today, yet you drive this considerable Market direct to your competitors.
It is only letdown smugmug has. And unfortunatly one I cannot ignore. So I will not be renewing my account on the next renewal period.
So it looks like they have no immediate plans to even start to think about this. So that has more or less sealed the fate of my SmugMug account.
I might of got this just a little wrong. The D3100 is’nt a D90 replacement, the “D95″ is’nt expected to be released for a little while yet.
Will I upgrade? No way. for several reasons.
- No drive motor. Which means less lenses can be used.
- No top mounted LCD Screen
Point 1 is critical. That would kill off a good few lenses, including the Nifty Fifty, 105mm Sigma macro in my case, and a huge number of other exceptional lenses.
Point 2, I’ve come to love the top mounted LCD, its so handy to glance at without having to press buttons to get into the menu, find which item you want. Its just a quick glance at the top LCD to get the information you need.
Those two points alone helped me decide the upgrade from the D80 to the D90.
It has a larger sensor, but only by a couple of MegaPixels, nothing to really worry about, a improved Expeed processor, and most of the other improvements are for Movie mode, which has absolutely no use to me. As I pointed out in a earlier rant.
To me, it feels like a sideways step, with a loss of balance backwards. Its really not worth the upgrade. My D90 has many many more shutter releases to come, and I’m sure I’ll be using it for years yet.
- Nikon D3100 DSLR goes official (slashgear.com)
- Nikon D3100 camera – hands-on preview (telegraph.co.uk)
- Nikon D3100 DSLR hands-on (engadget.com)
So I spent the afternoon wandering around York city centre,avoiding the canon wielding Japanese and the scores of Germans being toured round , taking up huge amounts of real estate and barging people out of the way. I was determined to only using my camera on manual mode (mostly).
Some times I’d forget to set the exposure and lose the shot, but this is becoming a rarity now. I look at a scene, and dial in what I think is the best settings, then see the camera telling me that I’m a idiot and those just will not work.
So I change in accordance with the camera, with a little difference to compensate for the over exposure that the Nikons have sometimes. Checking the LCD is another area that I need to remember, some people call it Chimping, but it’s a needed check to ensure the exposures right, I even made sure to put the histograms on, but still occasionally failed to check.
So much to remember when shooting in manual mode, and so much to balance. But experience and practice is the key. Anyway, my first stop was of course the Minster.
The Minster is hard to photograph as there is not enough space without using a extreme wideangle lense at the East end. And the West End is currently coverd with scaffolding.
From the Minster I walked toward the Market area, where there is Often Street entertainment, on this occasion, it was a juggler. I took some photos, but he threw me right off my thought process by noticing me, announcing me over his PA system and striking poses. As such, I failed to notice my ISO was set to low, for the shade he was working in, and most of the images were badly under exposed, and grainy.
Walking around, I noticed a asian couple, and for some reason they caught my eye, no idea why, but by the time I worked out the exposure, their backs where toward me. I did however get a rather evil look on a guys face directed to them. I dont know what his problem was, but he did’nt look best pleased.
So all in all, I’m quite pleased with my efforts this afternoon, but annoyed I still fail at doing street photography. A few images of people that I found interesting, but not the close up personal photography I wanted to do. It’s a question of actually having the nerve to point a camera in peoples direction and take the shot.
I know most people would simply ignore it, or in the very least give some disparaging glance over toward me. But actually having the nerve to do it is where I fail. I even fitted my nifty fifty in the hope that it would make it easier for me to approach people, as you feel completely separated when looking through the view finder, almost lime watching television. But it didn’t help, I still failed to get any shots.
Still there’s always next time, and I enjoyed the day so that’s the main thing.
The rest of the photos can be found on my Zenfolio pages, here, I’ve only uploaded a small set at the moment, need to go through them all and decide which I like, and which need some work.