Archive for Exercise 9

A comfortable situation

Posted in Project work with tags on March 31, 2010 by Judy Bach

Obviously I take my camera when I go on holiday or to a public event but am rather apprehensive about commencing the second part of the course Project 2:People unaware. I have never personally been challenged , maybe because I usually use a telephoto lens for street photography–I can’t be seen easily by my subject! Using a wider angle, or even a standard view in the later exercises will be a real challenge to me.I am going to Brighton this weekend, an ideal opportunity to people watch and hopefully manage to take some decent pictures for this and maybe some for the following exercises as well. I use manual settings but do wonder whether to perhaps use shutter priority this time , it will enable me to react quickly and not worry too much about getting the exposure spot on each time.

Will be taking 2 lenses with me:

28-75          Full frame 44—–120

70–200L       Full frame 112—320

Post Visit Review  Link to a few of the images below

Reviewing the 200 + images taken I then whittled these down to well under half that I felt were acceptable and usable for the exercise work. Most street photography is not posed or pre-conceptualised , is this why I did not like some of my images?. They were, I felt, untidy with unwanted details but this is part of everyday life and what life on the streets  resembles. “These moments are by nature banal, completely without the kind of content that a news photographer would recognise as significant” pg 52 Roswell Angier, “Train your gaze: A Practical and Theoretical Introduction To Portrait Photography” ,Ava publishing 2007.Perhaps I was too hasty deleting some of my shots, perhaps I should have left it for a couple more days and review them again with fresh eyes? Did I miss opportunities because I felt the scene was too mundane to be interesting?

However I took consolation that not even the best of photographers always get what they were aiming for “As I do not stage what I photograph……………………..only very few of the photo’s I shoot are actually good enough for what I want them to look like” Beat Streuli “Art Photography NowSusan Bright Thames & Hudson 2005 Ltd London I used manual exposure for all my shots, I decided against shutter priority, most were exposed as I wanted. I shoot in Raw and process using Lightroom hence I can always recover some details if needed but prefer to get my settings correct in camera—-it saves lots of post shutter editing!

I walked  along the lanes of Brighton towards the pier and seafront. I felt really uncomfortable at first , walking along the street looking for potential subjects. I initially used my 70—–200L lens as this puts quite a bit of distance between me and any potential victim, but it is a long heavy lens and can also attract attention–rather defeating the object of being unobtrusive! An advantage was the crowded sea front , most people were far too busy going about their own business to be too concerned about me and my camera. I found framing and creating an effective image difficult whilst on the move. If I found an interesting subject and was able to take more than one frame unobtrusively  from a comfortable distance this gave me the opportunity to try to get a better composition. The beach,  fairground rides and attractions  on the sea front were where I chose to take my initial images as I felt more comfortable using a longer focal length.

I did notice that there were far fewer photographers about than I expected there to be, this made me feel even more conspicuous. I was spotted on a couple of occasions but smiled sweetly at my subject and said thank you, this seemed to  work. Only one interesting looking man declined to have his picture taken when asked, I think he thought I wanted payment!

ISO 100 F7  Using 70-200L lens

The subjects below were blissfully unaware of my presence! A comfortable situation for me.

@ 98mm

@ 168mm

@ 75mm

@ 70mm

@ 168mm

I took 3 frames of this man as he sat looking at his mobile phone, judging by the smile on his face he received the call he was waiting for.



ISO 100 @ F7  28-75 mm  F2.8    lens    

Changing my lens meant physically getting closer to any potential subject if I wanted to capture their facial expression. On my cropped sensor this equals  a standard to  longer focal length and I actually found it a very versatile lens for capturing candid shots. The pier  was very busy, and I felt a bit less conspicuous , and after my initial discomfort I found I was able to start to take more time and look around me , taking just a bit longer to consider framing possibilities. On  a couple of occasions I took more than one shot of my chosen subject, changing the framing as they walked towards me, either by using the camera zoom, or physically moving myself.

I felt incredibly uncomfortable taking the 2 shots below, I was convinced they would object to me taking their photographs, but they seemed not to notice me too much.

@ 35mm

@ 35mm


Thie chap was quite happy for me take his picture, it helped me feel more comfortable and confident. I was able to take longer getting the composition I wanted.

Same subject @ different focal lengths.

@ 44mm The shorter focal length allows more of the location to be in the frame.This creates a sense of place.

@ 66mm At this longer focal length the facial expression rather than location becomes of more importance.

My personal favourites taken @ Brighton