I popped down to Cardiff this week (Early October 2019) to shoot some street images. Half of the fun of ‘Street’ is that you never know what you’ll find. The above image was taken in the first five minutes. Recently I’ve been using the Ricoh GR111 camera with its 18mm lens (28mm equivalent on 35mm cameras). It’s a fantastic camera and very small and discreet and once setup properly is easy to use. One of the things to remember when using it though is that because of the wide angle often you need to be very close to your subject. This can bring it’s own difficulties as well as rewards. I decided on this particular outing to go back to my trusty Fuji X100f. This camera has a 23mm fixed lens (equivalent to 35mm on a 35mm full frame camera). Many people say that this particular focal length is very similar to our natural eye. It yields a very natural look and allows the photographer to be a little more distant from the subject.
Having the correct settings can obviously have an effect regarding successful shots. Being near the correct exposure is important, setting the exposure triangle so you’re fairly near the correct values. I discovered that setting the shutter speed to a minimum of 250th second has resulted in less missed shots due to camera shake or subject movement. Fast autofocus is a must but the next time I’m out I’ll try going fully manual including focus. Below are a few more shots taken during my 2 hour session.
I lived here for a year during the mid 70’s. It’s a vibrant town that has been known as the Blackpool of the South. The Amusement arcades are still there with their promise of ‘get rich quick’. The cafe’s, pubs, fish and chip takeaways as well as a plethora of gift shops that sell anything and everything are still there too.
These images are some of many taken during an intensive day of ‘street’ shooting in Paignton during the summer of 2019. Paignton is one of the towns that the English tourist board describe as The English Riviera, the term basically includes the areas of Torbay (Torquay, Paignton and Brixham.)
The demographic includes seasonal workers, holiday makers, entertainers and of course the locals. The Main Street is always buzzing and full of fascinating characters. Even though it’s more than 40 years since I lived there, very little has changed. In fact it’s almost like going back in time.
This photo was taken fairly near to my home. I’d been out taking my little dog for a walk when I noticed a group of youths playing football at our community centre (The Beaufort Centre). There was something about the light, the fence and structures that to my eye simply looked good. I didn’t have my ‘trusty’ Fuji camera with me but did have my iPhone. I probably snapped about 5 or 6 shots but decided on this particular image based on the positions of the youths on the court.
On a completely different front its worth mentioning that these centres are fantastic for everyone in the community. Newport City Council don’t get many things right IMO but this was definitely one of their better decisions.
I like the simplicity of this image. I’d gone to Cardiff to take some street photographs. I visited the National Museum which is located fairly close to the city centre and is always worth a visit. There really wasn’t any planning involved, I was climbing the stairs to the upper gallery and happened to turn around to see this solitary figure going up the opposite stairway. The scene seemed to have a sense of balance which to my mind was helped by the bronze figure leaning on his staff.
I rendered the image in black and white as it gave the photo more of a graphic quality also colour added nothing to the photograph.
Street photography has to be one of most difficult genres in photography. Its also raises some ethical issues, the main one being consent or to be more accurate, lack of it. Many street photographers refer to previous experts such as the french photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. The phrase ‘the decisive moment’ is attributed to him. As a photographer he tried to be inconspicuous, to go unnoticed, to be ‘a fly on the wall’ and simply document/record a person or group of people in their particular environment.
Street Photography : without permission
…the decisive moment….
…neutrality can be much more difficult to achieve….
The object is to be neutral, i.e not to try and influence or orchestrate the scene but simply to let a scene develop and capture an image at the critical or decisive moment. This neutrality can be difficult to achieve. Simple unavoidable decisions such as choice of lens, camera position, proximity, angle of view, media type (monochrome versus colour), shutter speed and depth of field can obviously influence the viewer.
The successful image can say something about society, inter-personal relationships and a lot more. The photograph should be able to tell us something about the context, time and situation with minimal explanation from the photographer.
Street photography : There’s often more information in the shot than we first realise
There is another approach to street photography and that is to ask for permission. The results though can be quite different. If the subject(s) agrees to be photographed very often the result appears less natural and ‘staged. As soon as the camera is raised the subject can act unnaturally or in some cases even pose.
A tale of two approaches
The next two images here illustrate the difference. The subject in this case is a security guard in downtown San Francisco. The first image was taken without permission. I liked this mans stance. Silhouetted against the bright Californian sunlight with his black stetson on made him appear to be like the town sheriff in an old cowboy movie. Anyway, to me it looked good.
Perhaps not better or worse, just different.
As I left the car park I asked him if he’d mind having his photo taken (this can be the dodgy bit) but he was ok with this. As soon as the camera was raised though he adopted this cool ‘gangster’ like pose. I didn’t ask him to do that, he just did it. The results are quite different. Perhaps not better or worse just different.
To view more street images view the gallery by clicking this LINK
These photographs are the result of a recent impromptu five day trip to Normandy in northern France. We caught the boat from Dover and just over an hour later landed in Calais. We planned to stay for one night a few miles down the coast in Bolougne sur Mer and then to travel south west to the picturesque towns of Deauville and Trouville.
Time to relax
All we wanted to do was to relax, drink some nice french wine, eat some tasty french food and have a lot of fun.
“…things that were typically french…..”
Its easy to do all of that in France but for me I wanted something else as well, and that was to try and capture with my camera things that were typically french.
That was it! My theme for my pics was Frenchness!! In a global, multi-cultural, corporate world it can sometimes be difficult to find a specific quality such as this.
Often what I was looking for lay in landscape and buildings, sometimes in people, occasionally objects and other times in small details such as wall and building colours. I’m not sure how successful I’ve been but it was a lot fun trying.
To see more images visit the gallery or click this LINK