Tips & Techniques

10 Day Photography Challenge – Day 5

Buy books not gear!

We are on to Day 5 of Cassia Denner’s 10 Day Photography Challenge, with today’s theme being “Something I bought”. I have to admit I had no time to be overly creative today, with the job that pays the bills kept my away from my camera all day. But I decided to enter this quick iPhone shot of one of my photo book shelfs, together with a little message that is important to me.

No new camera will make you a better photographer. It might increase your motivation to go out shoot more for a little while, bring out a temporary boost in creativity, but eventually the thrill of the new gear will wear off. It always does.

Studying the work of the masters will make you a better photographer. Also studying the theoretical and technical aspects of photography.  There is so much to learn and understand about photography.  I’ve bought many pieces of gear that I rarely use, but I  have never regretted investing in photography books. It just is an enriching experience to sit with a photography book and a good cup of coffee, study and reflect on it.

Thinking about this Day 5 task also inspires me to compile a list of my photography books I own and treasure.  I just need a bit time to do it. So look for it on the Streets of Nuremberg and in my free Learning Center, where you find all my tips and inspirations around photography.

Have a great week!

Marcus

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Street Photography Quick Tip (14)

Like my hair

Like my hair | Berlin | 2017

Street Photography Quick Tip 14 – Shoot upwards and tilted for more dynamic street portraits

After a race across the nightsky (our flight arrived a whopping 70 minutes ahead of schedule) I’m back in Europe at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and waiting to board the plane for the last leg of this trip back to Nuremberg.

But as we came in early, this gives me time for episode 14 of my popular Street Photography Quick Tips, my short, easy to read and easy to use tips that I think could help you while shooting in the streets.

Most people shoot their portraits from eye-level. And if you get the eyes sharp, have the subjects turn their heads slightly upwards and to the side, you should get great results. But if you want to get your street portraits a more eye catching touch, shoot from a lower angle, and you can even tilt your camera a bit to give your image even more dynamic.

Talk to your subjects, ask them an open question, like what they wanted to become when they were a child, or what would be the destination of their dream, vacation. When the start talking, they relax, which can give you the opportunity to take great candid shots.

Obviously, this tip applies not only to street portraits.

For more Street Photography Quick Tips and inspirations around photography in general check out my free Learning Center.

I wish you all a great weekend!

Marcus

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Black Amaryllis

No, you don’t have to worry about my mental well being, with all the high contrast monochrome photographs I’m posting lately. I’m perfectly fine and there is plenty of sunshine in my heart. It’s just that I more drawn to black & white work these days.

So I’m using the first “Weekly Photo Challenge” of 2018 to add some more monochrome images to this blog. The title is “growth“. The only things that are growing these days in our house are the tulips I got from my wife as birthday flowers, and the Amaryllis she planted in December and that are growing splendidly.

As with my limited time I didn’t get into town for some street photography, I did a little setup on our living room table, using a black cardboard as background, positioning flowers in front of it and using a movable desk lamp to shed some direct lights on the flowers. Then I snapped away with my PEN-F and my 14-150 F/4-5.6 zoom, shooting at 1/100 sec, f/5.6 and ISO 200.  Easy setup, great results. Monochrome conversion done in Lightroom Classic CC. For the rest of the photos continue after the jump…. (more…)

Wait and shoot

Contraflow

Contraflow | Portland | 2017

As I wrote in a previous post, there are two ways to approach Street Photography. You can actively “hunt” for an interesting image to happen, for example following an appealing subject until it enters the right background scene. Or you come across a background that catches your eyes first. Then it is a matter of you waiting for the right subject to enter the scene to get the photo you are after. I call this the “gathering” approach.

This was the case when I saw this colorful mural in Portland. I loved its shape and dynamic, and its colors that really came to life during the blue hour of this late Saturday afternoon. I really wanted to capture it in a street photo, but taking a photo of a mural by itself is a bit lifeless without a foreground that adds interest.

I was with my PEN-F and the 12mm F/2 prime lens, which limited myself to this composition, as I had to stand between to parked cars half on the street to have mural and sidewalk filling my viewfinder. A frontal position would not have been possible as due to the lens being very wide angled, I couldn’t stand behind the car parked in front as the roof would have blocked the lower part of the mural.

Then it was a matter of waiting in the freezing cold wind for passing people, and there weren’t to many around. The first that passed came in groups, blocking the mural, then people passed on my side of the sidewalk, with only their top half visible in the frame, also blocking the mural. I needed someone to pass close to the wall, so I could capture the whole person in front of the big face behind him.

With this guy I finally got lucky (after about 15 minutes and a few unsuccessful shots), as he passed close to the wall, and I managed to capture him in full stride, always something I look for when pressing the shutter. Perseverance paid off once more.

Have a great Tuesday!

Marcus

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Instant Inspiration (21) – Shoot what attracts your eye

Hands

Hands | Portland | 2017

In time for the weekend here is episode 21 of my “Instant Inspirations”, my series for you  if you look for something to overcome “Photographer’s Block”  or simply want to shoot something that you have never tried, or at least not recently.

Not every photo you take needs to make perfect sense. That is, making perfect sense to the outside world. It only needs to please you, make you happy. If someone else likes it, that’s a bonus.

That said, you are not limited to taking “conventional” photos of people, landscape, architecture etc…shoot it all! Whatever visually stimulates you, take a photo of it. Don’t be shy, the limit is only defined by your own taste. Try things out! Let interesting colors, shapes, textures and juxtapositions that catch your eye get your creative juices flowing. Be a visual artist. Go out and experiment and have fun! You only need to please yourself!

The “Hands” shot above I took last night with my iPhone while at dinner with two of my awesome colleagues here in Portland. We were enjoying a fab dinner in a Peruvian restaurant (Andina) in the Pearl District. We were sitting at a copper plated table, and while enjoying wine and great talks I observed my friend Anton lay out the shape of his hand with the chips of the cork from our wine bottle. The mixture of colors, shapes and textures really triggered the desire to take out my iPhone and capture that for my eyes visually appealing scene. Just for myself. And this is what I did. It was my creative moment on an otherwise quite unnerving day of project work, and it made me happy. And this is exactly what photography does for me.

For some more examples of random creativity and links to previous episodes of “Instant Inspirations” continue after the jump….. (more…)

A Street Photographer’s Dialogue

Lunchbreak

Lunchbreak

For all my free tips and inspirations around Street Photography visit my Learning Center


A street photographer’s dialogue:

Street Photographer: “Excuse me, can I make a portrait of you?”

Subject: “Ahm…yes…yes, generally yes….but why?”

Street Photographer: “I’m a street photographer from Nuremberg, I like to document everyday life in the streets and meet interesting people, like you!”

Subject: “Ok, that’s interesting, but why did you pick me?”

Street Photographer: “Oh, I like your style. And you radiate a kindness that I like to capture. Great smile!”

Subject: “But I’m eating….it will look stupid, what shall I do with my box?”

Street Photographer (already snapping away): “Don’t worry, you look great, I’ll show you in a second!”

Subject (quite relaxed): “Ok, can’t really imagine that.”

Street Photographer, showing the back LCD of the camera: “Check it out, I really like this photo. Great street portrait of you!”

Subject (smiling): “Yes, it really is a nice picture. What are you gonna do with it?”

Street Photographer: “I have a street photography blog, where I post some of my photos. Would you mind if I post yours?”

Subject: “No, that’s ok!”

Street Photographer (smiling): “Here is my card with my website, check it out if you like. Thanks for letting me make your portrait, was great talking to you! Have a great day!

Subject (smiling): “Well, you too”

Street Photographer and subject continue their ways…..

Have a great weekend!

Marcus

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Experimental

Underground Ascent

Underground Ascent | Berlin | 2017

For all my free tips and inspiration around photography visit my Learning Center

Experimental” is the theme of the Weekly Photo Challenge from Word Press’ The Daily Post for this week. When I experiment with my Street Photography, I often use slow shutter speeds of 1/8 sec or less for creative motion blur effects. There is a lot of hit and miss with this technique. Crucial for an image that works is an interesting background in which to place the blurred objects, like this entry to a Berlin subway station.

This shot I took with my Olympus PEN-F and the mZuiko 12mm F/2 prime lens with a shutter speed of 1/3 second for intensive blur, an aperture of f/9 to have ample depth of field and ISO 1000. I took the shot handheld, another example how effective the image stabilization system of the PEN-F is.

Experimenting with slow shutter speeds is fun, it can be applied to moving persons, moving traffic or a combination of both. For some more of my experimental street photos continue after the jump… (more…)

Street Photography Quick Tip (13)

Studies 1/60 f/1.8 ISO 640 PEN-F 25mm

Studies | Berlin | 2017

Street Photography Quick Tip 13 – Shoot in a Coffee Shop

My Street Photography Quick Tips are short, easy to read and easy to use tips that I think could help you while shooting in the streets. Today’s post is for those of you who dread hitting the streets in this awful wet and dull November weather. Take your camera into a coffee shop near your, sit down, enjoy a strong Espresso, observe the other guests and take some candid portraits of scenes that will catch your eye. People in coffee shops tend to be really relaxed, engaged in talks with others, reading papers or books, staring obsessed into their mobile devices or simply use the free wi-fi to blog or do their studies. And believe me, they will not notice you.

The photography above I took last weekend (during my Street Photography workshop with Eric Kim) at the Bonanza Café (Oderberger Str 35) in Berlin with my Olympus PEN-F and the mZuiko 25mm F/1.8 prime lens, image specs are 1/60 sec @ f/1.8 and ISO 640. Raw processing and monochrome conversion in Lightroom Classic CC.

For a few more coffee shop shots continue after the jump… (more…)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Peek

Audience

Audience | Nuremberg | 2016

This is my Street Photography entry for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge “Peek” . Sometimes a change of perspective can add interest to an image.

I took the photo with my Olympus PEN-F with the mZuiko 25mm/F1.8 prime lens, image specs 1/400 @ f/4.5 and ISO 200.

If you look for more inspirations and tips around photography, I invite you to visit my free Learning Center.

Have a great weekend!

Marcus

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Why you should never be without your camera

Allerheiligen Schenna 03

Remembrance | Schenna | 2017

What is the cardinal sin of a photographer? Not having his camera on him/her at all times.

Using the double public holiday week for a short getaway my significant other and me took to the roads and headed down south to the Italian Alps to spend a few days in Schenna near Meran, in Alto Adige province.

Dinner at our hotel was as excellent, the 5 course menu taking us to the limits. This obviously caused the inevitable, with the significant other asking for an after dinner walk. So we headed down into the historic village below the magnificent castle, to the impressive church sitting on top of a small hill surrounded by a grave yard.

Today, November 1st, is All Saints Day, a religious fest where the faithful remember their death (see yesterdays Halloween post). Custom is to light candles on the graves. So when we entered the grave yard, we were greeted by a sea of mostly red candles, casting a magnificent atmosphere across the deserted cemetery.

And what did I not bring along? You guessed it right. Consoling myself that I could return tomorrow and hoping the big candles would still be alight tomorrow, I pulled out my iPhone 6 and did the best I could to capture the magic of the moment.  For a couple more photos from that beautiful scenery, continue after the jump… (more…)