“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.
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.
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.
The sun is missing in the Streets of Nuremberg. On days like this I’m in need of some color. So is my street photography. I’m not really looking for the classical high contrast black & white images, but shoot in color, looking for those scenes where color makes the photograph better.
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!
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.
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 😉
As I have written many times on this blog, capturing gesture is what makes a street photograph. Like the wave of this boy standing next to a Coke machine in a village in Jordan. I was photographing him out of a moving bus – hence the slightly degraded image quality, because of me shooting at an angle through the bus window.