Archive for January 2011

Ruined image or Artistic expression   10 comments

In the previous post I described some technical challenges for candid photography in Morocco.
I had my own share of missed opportunities due to technical misjudgment or just sloppiness.
Sometimes, I found interesting artistic expression in obviously ruined shots.

When I was taking pictures of doors I used low shutter speed.  I forgot my camera was still on this setting.

Overexposed, blown-out highlights occurred from not adjusting exposure after walking in a deeply shaded narrow street.

I failed to change focus when this man moved towards me.

Related topics

Why is the candid photography unique?

Candid street photography in Morocco with Pentax K-5 and 21mm f/3.2

Candid street photography in Morocco with Pentax K-5 and 21mm f/3.2   8 comments

Candid street photography in Morocco is exciting and challenging. In preparation for this trip, I decided to take my new Pentax K-5 with my favorite street photography lens – Pentax 21 mm f/3.2. I picked up a Pentax 70mm f/2.4  in the unlikely case I needed extra reach along with a Pentax K20D for backup. In fact, for most of my pictures I used a K-5 with 21mm, except for the few shots in a Fez tannery with a 70mm.

Morocco is a wonderful country. Unfortunately for photographers, the general attitude towards being photographed is very negative.Street performers and water sellers (nobody buys anything from them any more) are very happy to pose…for a fee. Since I’m only interested in candid photography, I used extreme discretion.

On narrow streets you are almost always close to your subject. Wide angle lenses are probably the only right tools for this situation.  All pictures that involve people are taken without using the viewfinder by shooting from the hip.  I kept the camera in my hand with a wrist strap for assurance.

Portrait oriented pictures are taken with my hand straight down at my right side.

To make the landscape oriented shots I had to raise my hand just below my chest.

Framing is not the only challenge. Bright sun, narrow streets, and covered souks make very high contrast scenes.

In retrospect, I think that my choice of a 21mm lens was ideal for my shooting style, even though I regretted not having a 14mm lens with me. The relatively quiet operation of a Pentax K-5 definitely helps, at least psychologically, for taking candid pictures in close range.

I will be back in Morocco, “Insha’Allah” (God willing).

For more pictures go to Morocco 2010

Related topics

What is “the candid photography of strangers”?

Why is the candid photography unique?

Pentax 14mm f/2.8 for Candid Street Photography

Rules and myths of candid photography: To ask permission or to invade privacy

Peru with Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6   Leave a comment

Before my trip to Peru I read a lot about how dangerous it was. Many people had opted out of having DSLR and decided to only take a Point-and-Shoot.  Actually, we ended up having a wonderful trip and no problems with the camera, but back then I was genuinely concerned. I only took my Pentax D20K with my cheapest lens – 18-55mm zoom. Any other lens would’ve cost at least twice as much.

Zoom is all about compromise. Image quality is not great. Nor is it fast. Still, I was not going to walk a lot at night.

For candid photography a small sized lens is always important.

It is easy to appreciate its flexibility on top of a cliff.

For more pictures go to Peru 2010

Canon S90 for Candid Street Photography   5 comments

I have an advanced compact (aka Point-and-Shoot) camera for one specific reason – I can easily keep it in my pocket. These amazingly small devices produce good image quality, if you don’t have very high expectations. I only use the RAW file format for flexibility in post processing.

My settings are all manual. It is easy to set the exposure using a live histogram. Just remember to point at the potential scene with the largest contrast. The Depth of Field (DOF) is so large that changing distance (using manual focus) is required only in very special cases.

I use a ring around the lens for changing focal length. Focal length is almost always in its widest range (28-35mm). I don’t use LCD for framing. I hold it with the LCD faced to my palm and I use my thumb to trigger.

I can have it during my walk for a lunch.

There is no danger in forgetting your camera in the restaurant after a good bottle of wine.