Standstill

boy wearing a protective mask in downtown Nürnberg
1/350 sec | f/9.5 | ISO 1600 | 35mm

Public life has come to a total standstill on the Streets of Nuremberg. Bavarian state authorities have issued a 24/7 curfew for the next two weeks. We can leave our homes only to go to work (if we have a pass from our employer), to seek medical assistance or to buy groceries. Single persons (or people living in one household) can also go for a walk outside. Only grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and places selling take-out food are open. When things got bad in China and the government locked up 15 million people in Wuhan, we all said that would be impossible to do in our western democracies. Four weeks later we know better. Crazy world. Amazingly, the majority of the affected population is fully supportive of the measure. Including me.

Continue reading “Standstill”

The Rangefinder effect

What's up, shutterbug
1/350 sec | f/9.5 | ISO 1250 | 35mm

Shooting street photography with a Leica produces what I call “the rangefinder effect”. While people in the streets have a tendency to find it disturbing having a big ass DSLR pointed at their faces, their reaction is definitely quite different when they see the casually wandering photographer working the manual focus and the aperture ring of an almost anachronistic looking small black camera.

Obviously, shooting with other retro looking cameras like the Olympus PEN-F or the Fuji X100F is also much less intimidating than using a big DSLR with a huge lens attached. But those cams use autofocus and thus the process is often reduced to a simple point and shoot. The point and shoot approach would also work on a rangefinder using zone focusing (the systematic pre-focusing of a lens at specific distance and aperture to achieve a sharp image), but to get the hang of using a rangefinder I mostly take the time to set up the shots individually. Which, as totally unusual these days, draws curiosity and often a (probably pitiful) smile, the rangefinder effect. Especially when you are close to your subjects, what you have to be when you shoot street photography using a 35mm lens.

If you are looking for tips and inspirations around photography, be sure to check out my free Learning Center.

Wish you a great Monday!

Marcus

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Street Photography Quick Tip 3 – Practice shooting “blind”

Instant Inspiration (8) -Make a portrait of a stranger

Instant Inspiration (29) – Frame your subject

She didn’t look up

Girl reading a book in a coffee shop
Coffee Shop Reading | Portland | 2019

Street Photography is about capturing scenes of every day life as it happens. Like this girl reading a book while sitting in the window of a coffee shop in Portland. I liked her style and the just so slight smile on her lips. I was standing on the sidewalk directly in front of her, snapping a few initial photographs. I always want to make sure to capture at least one good shot before the scene changes. Continue reading “She didn’t look up”

Perfect Imperfection

Cuddly Protection
Cuddly Protection | 2017

This capture of an intimate moment between father and son is not a perfect photograph.

I took this photo late in the evening in a dimly lit street cafe. It was a difficult situation to focus in as there was just not enough light. Aiming and shooting quickly the auto focus did lock on the contrast rich edge of the toy tiger in front of the two main subjects of the photograph, resulting in their faces being thrown out of focus due to the long focal length and the wide open aperture of f/5.6 at the far end of my zoom range.

I took only this one shot, as a second later they changed their posture and that intimate  moment was lost.

Missing the focus makes this technically a failed image. Is it a failed image? I think it is not. A photograph needs to have heart and soul, needs to carry a story. It’s contents over form. A technically flawless photo isn’t any good if it’s missing heart and soul. If you study the work of the masters of Street Photography like Henri Cartier-Bresson or Elliot Erwitt, you find many of their great photography are technically imperfect images. But they carry a strong story.

So my advice is press the shutter when you see something that touches your heart and your emotions and worry about the settings later. Having perfect settings or a perfect focus doesn’t help you when the moment is lost.

The photo was taken with my OM-D E-M1 and the mZuiko 14-150mm F/4.0-5.6 travel zoom, image specs are 1/13 sec @ f/5,6 and ISO 1600, 120mm focal length.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

Have a great Wednesday!

Marcus

Related Posts:

Instant Inspiration (8) -Make a portrait of a stranger

Finding your photographic style

Stay Interested !

Have you checked out my learning center for all my photography related tips and inspirations?

Some thoughts on monochrome shooting

Peter Iredale
Peter Iredale | Oregon | 2017

During last weekend’s trip to the Oregon Coast I took some photographs that due to the high contrasts within the composition, I thought would look good converted to monochrome. When shooting with B&W already on my mind, I typically set my camera to a monochrome preset (most modern cameras have that feature). So when composing, I’m looking already at a monochrome image in my viewfinder or on my LCD screen. This helps me judging the impact of light and contrast before pressing the shutter. Maybe this is not the right approach for a purist, but I gladly take this as a great supportive feature of modern cameras and is as helped me discover the fun in B&W photography. For more monochrome coastal images and some more thoughts around it continue reading after the jump…. Continue reading “Some thoughts on monochrome shooting”

Spring Streets

Symmetry
Symmetry | Nuremberg | 2017

Spring has blessed the Streets of Nuremberg, people all are out and about, seeking those warming rays and a relaxed Saturday in Nuremberg’s pedestrian zone. Also for me an opportunity to look for some fresh street photos with my Olympus PEN-F. In this shot it was the striking symmetry of sun bathers on the bench, pedestrians moving into the scene from both sides in the background and the window dressing dummies right and left of the tree that caught my eye. Me and my significant other were sitting in a cafe enjoying a great double espresso and I was merely waiting for the elements to fall into place. Image specs are 1/320 sec @ f/5,6 and ISO 200. I shot in P-Mode. Fore some more photos and the stories to the images continue after the jump….

Continue reading “Spring Streets”

Stay Interested !

Pensive
Pensive | Marseille | 2016

We are all living a different life. Coming from different backgrounds, living in different social environments, having pursued different career paths. Sometimes we are happy and content, sometimes we are deeply enervated or bored by our surroundings and about what we do. Sometimes we even feel trapped in life and by the burdens of having to make a living, feed our families and make our partners happy. And we feel we have missed opportunities in certain stages of our lives. And at times this leads to loss of energy and motivation.

But regardless of the situation, should we always try to dig ourselves out of these emotional holes? Finding new motivation and interest in what we do?

To read my thoughts on how this transfers to our Street Photography continue after the jump…

Continue reading “Stay Interested !”

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