Instant Inspiration (33) – ICM in the woods

Fine Art Nature Photography

“Instant Inspirations” is my series for you if you feel you suffer from “Photographer’s Block”  or simply want to shoot something that you have never tried. Or at least not recently. Episode 33 is a Covid conform photographic activity and should inspire you to go out, properly socially distanced, and be creative. To find out what you can do with any camera that has manual controls, continue reading after the jump…

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Smartphone or entry level camera?

Portofino
Portofino

I get asked a lot for advice on a low-budget entry level camera. I usually respond by asking for what kind of photography it is intended to be used. Because, frankly speaking, if people want to spend 300€ on a simple entry level camera for just some basic snapping of the usual holiday / people / travel photos, they should stay away and just use their smart phone. Because smart phones these days are also really good cameras, and one that you always carry with you….so the question is: Smartphone or entry level camera?

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Positive side effects

Pretty Woman in a restaurant in Nuremberg Old Town

Who would have thought that Covid has some positive side effects. And I’m not talking global effects, like blue skies without contrails, clean city air and coast lines that see sea life returning. To compensate reduced occupancy due to distancing requirements, the City of Nuremberg allowed restaurants in the Old Town to put tables out on the streets combined with blocking traffic and turning streets into pop-up pedestrian zones.

On the weekend, The Significant Other and I made use of it, enjoying a dinner together with friends in an excellent French Restaurant in a beautiful alley in the Old Town below the magnificent towers of St. Sebald Church.

I took this photograph of my beautiful wife with the Leica M and the Elmarit-M F/2.8 28mm. Image specs are 1/25 sec @ f/3.4 and ISO 3200. The Leica handles the ISO quite well, the only challenge was to manually focus the rangefinder to make sure her profile is sharp. Who says a 28mm isn’t suitable for portraits? There is nothing like the smooth rendering of the Leica lenses shot wide open.

Do you have similar positive side effects from Corona? Let me know in the comments!

Have a great Tuesday and stay safe!

Marcus

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Street Photography Quick Tip (18)

Monochrome street photograph of two lady throwing a dirty look

Street Photography Quick Tip 18 – Layered Faces

In time for the weekend here is the eighteenth edition of my Street Photography Quick Tips. Some short, easy to read and easy to use tips that I think could help you while shooting in the streets. Today’s post is about adding interest to your street photography by shooting layered faces…

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Instant Inspiration (32) – Shoot an object you love

Graupner Glasgow 2126

“Instant Inspiration” is 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.

Covid-19 confines many of us to our homes. Travel is impossible, and in some places the lockdown rules even prohibit us to venture out with our cameras. But that is no reason to keep the camera locked away until the sanctions are lifted. With Episode 32 of my “Instant Inspirations” I want to motivate to use the camera at home, and to extensively shoot an object you love.

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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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Revisit your work

Up! | Nuremberg | 2019

Sometimes it is important to revisit your work. This image from The Significant Other climbing up the staircase of Nuremberg’s Schauspielhaus I posted already back in early 2019. While putting together our photographic yearbook of 2019, I was looking again at this photograph I took with my iPhone, and it still is one my fav images from last January.

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Make the portrait of a stranger

Portrait of a Stranger
1/80 sec | f/2 | ISO 200 | 25mm

The Oregonians call their rain “liquid sunshine”. And true Portlandians refuse to carry an umbrella. This is different on the Streets of Nuremberg, especially on a day like today, where it felt like breathing pure water when outside.

But the pouring rain is also an easy subject to get into small talk with a visiting tourist. Before asking if I could make their portrait. The request was of course approved with a smile. And gratefully acknowledged by the photographer with a smile. It’s easy – try it!

For tips and inspirations around street photography check out my free Learning Center. Then take your camera, go out in the streets and shoot! Make the portrait of a stranger!

Have a great Wednesday!

Marcus

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Back to work

After the two week Christmas break it was back to work today. It’s not that returning to the job that pays the bills made me cry today. But after a splendid sunny winter day yesterday, that is how the sky looked this morning. Kind of fitting, I guess. This image was the sole “visual push-up” I managed to get done today. Taken with my iPhone through the glass roof of my car. The shape and textures of the droplets just caught my eye. Every day with a photograph taken is a good day in the end.

Have a sunny Tuesday!

Marcus

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Shoot everywhere

1/80 sec | f/4 | ISO 320 | 18mm

You should shoot all the time. Use every opportunity to press the shutter. Shoot everywhere. Even in a changing room of a department store. Look for gesture, shapes, lines, layers. Just train your eye, and snap away.

Like I did here while being shopping with The Significant Other this past weekend, using my Ricoh GR II, shooting in P-Mode.

Oh, and The Significant Other didn‘t buy the shirt 😉

Wish you a great Monday!

Marcus

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