Archive for the ‘Wide-angle lens’ Tag

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

Rules and myths of candid photography   Leave a comment

Let me know if you would like to discuss other rules and myths of candid street photography.

Use your own judgment and be creative.

Related topics

What is “the candid photography of strangers”?

Why is the candid photography unique?

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

Related topics

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

Rules and Myths of Candid Photography: Wide angle or telephoto lenses   4 comments

Many bloggers and experts like to say that you should use wide angle lenses because they require being close to the subject. This makes street shooting a “fair” game. It seems dishonest to use a telephoto by hiding from a distance.

Hunters have the same debate when choosing a weapon.  They will argue that it is valiant to select a tool that will give their victim a chance to escape.

However, we are photographers and our goal is to make great images. We are not in a contest with people on the street or with each other. The choice of lenses is governed by artistic considerations, feasibility, or convenience, not by some superficial notion of machismo.

Often I use lenses from wide to short telephoto, including small zoom. On occasion I have fun with my old long telephoto 60-300.

I don’t toggle lenses during shooting. My choice is based mostly on my current mood and situation. If I am in doubt I use a “normal” 31 mm (with 1.5x crop factor).

I don’t use a long telephoto because being far from the object (using small view angle) makes the depth of perspective compressed. But sometimes this compression is an important part of the composition.

Wide angle lenses allow the photographer to be very close to the person. Photographers can invade the personal space of the subject before getting a chance to use the camera’s viewfinder. This may require shooting from the hip or belly.  Do not frame tightly in order to have latitude for rotation and cropping.

Use any lenses that you think are most appropriate for your situation.  Don’t concern yourself with artificial rules that many candid street photography experts try to push.

Related topics

Pentax 14mm f/2.8 for Candid Street Photography

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

Rules and myths of candid photography: An Introduction   Leave a comment

Through reading street photography forums and blogs, you can find several discussions about how street photography should be done. I will list some of them:

  • Black & White or Color
  • Wide angle or telephoto lenses
  • Ask permission or invade privacy
  • Use post processing or in camera only imaging

Let me say this now before we will delve into further details:

Photography is art. You have to make candid images that are the best for you, and, hopefully, somebody will express interest in them. Everything else is irrelevant.

Before you read an expert’s advice on how candid photography should be done, first look at his pictures. If you like them, read more and practice, otherwise continue looking for your own way.

I will address each aspect of candid photography in my next posts. Stay tuned.

Now it is my time to preach.