Archive for the ‘Candid photography techniques’ Category

Marijuana and Chess in Denver   Leave a comment

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It is easy to see how people of Denver enjoying marijuana legalization in Colorado.  Sometimes I feel getting high just by smell on streets.

The most interesting is popularity of playing chess on street. I had to notice it because chess was major part of my childhood and any former chessaholics would understand irresistible attraction of this game.

Are there relation between weed and chess?  It sounds interesting but somewhat crazy.  Cloudy good feeling on one side is against intense work of calculation and intuition on another. Is it even strange question to ask? I google  (“weed chess”) and was surprised to find very rich subject.

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Random Shot   1 comment

What is the chance that you like absolutely random shot? I would guess that chance is very low but it is not zero.

Before starting my walk with infrared camera I always make one random shot with the most contrast to check histogram.  I do it often with visible light as well.  When  I looked at this test exposure image I liked it.  I feel some jazzy composition in its chaos.  I would never take it on purpose.

Related topics

What is “the candid photography of strangers”?
Why is the candid photography unique?
Infrared candid street photography

Focus in candid street photography   4 comments

If you are interested in the street photography you already know basic techniques of focusing

  • Hyperfocal distance
  • Zone focusing
  • Autofocus

There is no reason for me to explain concepts of Depth of Field (DOF) and hyperfocal distance in this topic. Internet and many books have plenty of useful information in any level of details.

When I use my Point&Shoot camera (Canon S90) most of the time there is no need to be concerned about focusing.  This camera has such deep DOF that only very special circumstances make me think about changing my focus settings. Effectively, Point&Shoot always has hyperfocal distance or very close to it.

I don’t use hyperfocal distance with my DSLR camera unless my composition demands focus to infinity. Control of DOF with  selective focusing is the basic method in the photography to direct viewer attention. As another big bonus, large aperture allows using fast shutter.

I use combination of zone focusing and autofocus. Before I make the shot, camera is always prefocused for predicted distance.  If I decide to use viewfinder there is always option to use autofocus (with separate AF button). Modern lenses with quick shift make this mode of operation very convenient. My older favorites don’t have quick shift so I prefocus them pointing to some boring object. To use autofocus photographer has to understand its intricacies and limitations.  Don’t focus by pointing to the smooth wall and, probably, forget about autofocus when it is dark or other special conditions.  Many photographic sights are the great source of information about autofocus.

Don’t settle on one-fits-all rule. Find your own style to take your best pictures.

Related topics

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

Pentax 70 mm f/2.4 DA Limited for Candid Street Photography

Pentax 14mm f/2.8 for Candid Street Photography

Canon S90 for Candid Street Photography

Why is the candid photography unique?

Infrared candid street photography   1 comment

There is nothing different between infrared and visible light in terms of candid photography techniques or composition.

It is very popular to use infrared photography for landscape or cityscape. Infrared light dramatically changes tonality of grass, tree leaves and sky giving picture sometimes surreal quality.

In candid photography infrared was popularized by Weegee. He used infrared flash to take pictures in the total darkness. I don’t use a flash, even invisible one.

As a candid photographer I like infrared for unusual tonality of the skin and cloth. Infrared gives contrast to the image that is impossible to achieve using visible light.

When sun is in zenith of the clear sky, it is absolutely the worst time for taking visible light pictures and it is usually the best for infrared shooting.

All pictures are taken by converted to infrared Pentax *istDS with Pentax-DA 1:3.5-5.6 18-55mm AL

Street photography with Promaster 60-300 f/4~5.6   Leave a comment

This is the oldest and the cheapest lens that I have. My wife bought me this glass as a gift fifteen year ago for about $300. At that time it was very expensive for us.

I almost never used it. Oddly, I thought that having such expensive zoom I should stay with Pentax brand.  This is the classic example how wrong reasons lead to great decisions.

Now, when I do candid street photography, this lens has the second life. I even bought rubber hood for it.  It is fun to take quick snapshots using pull-push for zoom and manual focus. With some practice you can operate it pretty fast. Image quality is good enough.

Pentax’s in-body image stabilization technology works great with this stuff too. Usually, I configured it for 200mm. When I am in the mood for long range hunting I have fun with Promaster 60-300.

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Editor’s choice for Image of the Year

Rules and Myths of Candid Photography: Wide angle or telephoto lenses

Flash and low light candid photography   2 comments

Some street photographers use flash to capture a moment with the contrast of its penetrating light.

I don’t use a flash. This is my personal choice and the only restriction I impose for my work in candid street photography.

There are practical reasons for this restriction. A flash’s light distorts reality and directly impacts the person in the picture. If you worry about confrontation from taking pictures of people, then using flash greatly increases the chance your subject will be upset.

Night scenes require the highest ISO setting that can be used for reasonable image quality. When people are moving it’s impossible to use low shutter speed unless motion blur is your goal.

I try to create a composition that does not depend on details. The mood of the situation, the strong contrast of light emitted by lamps, cars, and advertisements are more important for the photograph.

Related topics

Why is the candid photography unique?

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