Archive for the ‘Pentax for candid street photography’ Category

Nashville – Robert’s Western World   Leave a comment

We decided to spend our weekend in Nashville. It  is my first time in home of country music.  I know nothing about country music but having enough whiskey how bad can it be?  After bar crawl we end up two evenings (going to the nights) in Robert’s Western World. They have really the best music and crowd for me. Had several photo and bourbon (Wild Turkey) shots. By some reason I’ve got some rather intense portraits.  This is kind of strange because we all had great fun.

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This guy is, probably, very famous.  Almost all knew him. We, obviously, had no idea. If you know him, please, reply in this blog. I am just very curious.

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This is part of Nashville bar strip. Robert’s is the middle.

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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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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

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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

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

After work one day, I had about 3 hours to myself.  I decided to kill the time shooting with a 70 mm f/2.4 using a wide open aperture.

Considering its reach, this is an amazingly small lens. With 70mm I can always use the viewfinder and there is no reason to think about shooting from the hip.

The depth of field (DOF) of f/2.4 is shallow and my only goal is to focus on the object. This is a liberating experience. The challenge is to focus on the moving target, so don’t think about what else you want to be sharp.

For more pictures go to Shooting with Pentax 70 mm 2.4 wide open only

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

Pentax 14mm f/2.8 for Candid Street Photography   Leave a comment

I bought this lens a couple of years ago to take pictures of architecture and landscape. In the last two weeks I’ve tried it for my candid street photography. This is the widest lens I have and it requires a very close range to the subject to take a picture. Don’t even think about using the viewfinder and autofocus. The mode of operation is “point and shoot”.

This is not a small glass, but when you are very close to the person it is hard to conceal your intentions anyway.

The lens is fast. I often use it wide open. I don’t think that a faster lens would be useful.  When you are in a range of six feet or less, it becomes a shallow depth of field.  This makes the misfocus problem more pronounced.

For more pictures go to Shooting with Pentax 14mm f/2.8

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