Street snapshots

The title I chose for this blog post was “street snapshots”. The reason I don’t want to call these photos “street photography” is because I don’t consider myself to be a street photographer just yet… I suppose the term scares me a little, and I would feel a bit pretentious calling myself a street photographer. Oh well,, hoho, I guess I am a bit of a neurotic 😉

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I do try to develop an “eye” for shots, but as of now I am mostly just forcing myself out into the streets, trying to gather enough courage to press the shutter around-about situations that I think might look somewhat interesting, and every now and then I actually do.

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Back home I will assault the files in photoshop, add some grain, crop to oblivion and pretend “yeah, this is exactly how I imagined it when I pressed the shutter”. Sometimes they actually are; sometimes not. I am not really sure it matters, though. Am I enjoying myself while I am out shooting? Am I liking the end result? Why does there have to be a direct connection between intention and the actual result? These aren’t university exams I am taking, I am shooting some goddamn pictures!

…oh, and please do notice the reflection of the handsome fellow in shot below 😉

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Unlike with landscape photography, where you have much greater control over the situation, street photography is more about walking around, hoping to stumble upon something interesting and then quickly using your skills as a photographer to make something nice about it. Sometimes I see something I reckon might make a nice photograph and decide to stay there for a while to wait for that “something” to occur; that person to enter the frame to make the photo just right.

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So where do I see myself right now? Well, there was a time when I was starting to get more and more comfortable with this type of photography, but then I got lazy and simply quit doing it. Now I am all rusty again, and I try to get used to taking pictures of people without their approval, as well as not feeling like too much of a perv. I felt that I somewhat quickly got back into gear now that I have been out a few times this winter, so that’s a good sign.

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Especially during this last photo walk I felt like I got into a really nice groove, where I would slow down my pace and just take picture after picture of people walking by. When I reached the end of a busy street I found myself feeling sad, turned 180 degrees and did it all over again.

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I do all of my street… shootings… with my 50 1.8 G. I use it because it’s a very small lens that doesn’t attract much attention. I also don’t want to have the ability to zoom. Rather, I want to know just what the frame looks like without having to think about it and look through the viewfinder too much. Shooting repeatedly with the same focal length makes my eyes adjust to it and I know even before I lift the camera to my eyes (if I even decide to do so) roundabout what the frame will be like. I do think this focal length is often much too tight on a crop sensor body as my d90. Since I intend on soon (hopefully) upgrading to a d800 I look forward to shooting with an actual focal length of 50 mm instead of the effective 75 mm that I get with a crop sensor.

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As for settings on the camera I will be shooting in aperture mode and quite differently stopped down depending on the time of day and the weather. The more light, the more I will stop down. Street photography is about depth of field and having lots of things in focus most of the time, I think. I will use auto iso set to somewhere between 125th of a second up to maybe 250th to try to freeze the action as easy as possible. Since it is part of my shooting style when I am out on the street to not stand too still and too obviously put the camera to my head, I want to be able to take pictures somewhat “in flight”.

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Then comes the editing of the photos. This is really a major issue for me. I am having big problems deciding on how I want them done in the post processing. Sometimes I go black and white, sometimes colour; sometimes very grainy and with washed out colours; sometimes not. I am hoping I will slowly develop a style that I feel comfortable with.

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Oh, and for the love of good. These are colour shots; clearly, this reason alone would render them impossible to label “street photography”… 😉

/Martin

10 thoughts on “Street snapshots

  1. Ibland kan viss gatufoto vara så tröttsamt att titta på, man undrar varför just den bilden kommit till, men i dina bilder kan jag tydligt se och uppskatta det du sett! “Det avgörande ögonblicket”!! Du lyckas verkligen med det!!
    Sen håller jag fullständigt med dig om att ha en fast optik istället för en zoom. Jag missade ofta(st) ögonblicket när jag hade zoomobjektiv. Jag blev så inställd på att beskära perfekt redan i kameran, att ögonblicket hann runt kvarteret innan jag var klar… Sen tycker jag också att skärpan är bättre i en fast optik. Och den är oftast billigare än zoomen.
    Ha en härlig helg!

    • Tack! Jag hoppas att jag snart kan bli bekväm med att skjuta med lite mer vidvinkel då jag föredrar det perspektivet. Sitter lite och väntar på när jag äntligen uppgraderar till småbildsformat så att min 50 mm blir just 50 mm på riktigt. Sen finns det ju de som använder sig av 35 eller tom 28 mm också…

      • Vidvinkel är riktigt härligt! Jag hade svårt för det förut, svårt att hitta positionen eftersom man måste gå så nära, men nu är det nästan tvärtom, jag har inte använt telen på ett bra tag…
        Har du sett mina bilder som jag tagit med min Zero Image 4×5, med brännvidd på 25mm? Den är ungefär som 12-13 mm för mellanformat, och för småbild (fullformat i digitalt) vet jag inte vad det skulle bli, 6-7 mm kanske. Riktigt tokigt vidvinkligt, men rätt kul att prova, man tror inte att det är möjligt att hela objektet ska komma med i bilden, men det gör det… 😉

      • Det tror jag nog inte faktiskt. Du kan ju länka mig om du tänker på en specifik post.

        Mitt vidaste objektiv är motsvarande 16 mm i småbild och jag vet inte riktigt vad jag tycker om det. Det blir ett intressant perspektiv för landskapsbilder för förgrunden, men istället blir bakgrunden på tok för liten om den är en bit bort kan jag tycka. Jag har lite försökt hålla mig ifrån de vidaste och de längsta objektiven på sistone så att jag tvingas använda mer vanliga och “tråkiga” perspektiv och att tvingas till att lära mig göra så mycket som möjligt av dem. Nu är det dock möjligt att jag snart kommer börja spendera på diverse leksaker igen… 😉

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