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Streets of London

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brian33 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote brian33 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Streets of London
    Posted: 18 January 2020 at 11:40
In my absence I've discovered a few NY street photographers and have been very interested in their style: they all generally shoot at 28mm, use color film on a Leica rangefinder and sometimes flash. Aaron Berger, Martin Cartegena, Daniel Arnold, Todd Gross, Andre Wagner (who shoots b&w unlike the others) are the ones that I know of best.

I have a hard time with color digital for street photography (most of the time) so I've converted these to what I hope is a good emulation of b&w film. I've really enjoyed the challenge of shooting at 28mm. The biggest difficulty is focus. I initially thought I could just go with f11 and the hyper focal but in order to imitate the above photographers' styles you often need to be up close to the subject, which means they'll be closer than the minimum focal distance on the hyper focal. I shot most of these using live view because I'm not so bold as those NY City photographers who don't hesitate to just go right up to people and shoot before they have time to react. I listened to an interview with Aaron Berger who was asked about being confronted and he said he would just smile and apologize if anyone was bothered. Andre Wagner is often doing street portraits which is yet another way of doing things and his work is amazing, he's probably my favorite in the lot (though Aaron Berger has some absolutely amazingly iconic images as well...).

On the A7 the “eyestart” feature is a bit sensitive and would constantly turn off live view on the rear screen if the camera were anywhere near my body. I eventually found a setting to keep the camera set permanently to back screen mode. That way eyestart doesn’t trigger the viewfinder and turn off the back screen. I shot in S-mode with auto-ISO and kept the shutter speed initially at 1/125 before settling on 1/160 because I was getting a lot of motion blur. I often didn’t stop walking when taking the shot so 1/160 offers better action freezing. Since it’s winter, ISO was all over the board, all the way up to 12800 which this camera holds its own on, especially I think for street photos where I really don’t want a “clean” image in the first place.


1. Directions



2. My antlers are distinguished don't let them tell you otherwise



3. Good times




4. Really good times




5. His selfie stick was only like this big so I mean really he just put it away and stopped using it




6. Ah Pshaw!




7. Ohh...




8. Top shop




9. Primark




10. B&W patterns




11. 79




12. Umbrella and Cane





13. Belgian Waffles




14. Look Right




15. Long Day




Bonus color shot, this one just didn't work in b&w I didn't think

16. You're nothing until you've taken a stick-your-tongue-out selfie
I detest bugs, especially spiders.
 



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pegelli View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 January 2020 at 12:48
Nice series Brian, they work very well in B&W for me which I find quite natural for these kind of street shots. 1 and 11 are my favourites, very "timeless' if you know what I mean. 11 could have easily been in any large city like Paris, Berlin.... but 1 is distinctly london.

And in 13 I thought that if you move the last S from the last word to the first word you're not far besides the truth either
You can see the April Foolishness 2021 exhibition here Another great show of the talent we have on Dyxum
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 January 2020 at 14:18
Originally posted by brian33 brian33 wrote:

On the A7 the “eyestart” feature is a bit sensitive and would constantly turn off live view on the rear screen if the camera were anywhere near my body. I eventually found a setting to keep the camera set permanently to back screen mode. That way eyestart doesn’t trigger the viewfinder and turn off the back screen.
TBH I do not understand why so many experienced photogs keep the camera set to automatic switching. It is so much more intuitive to have a dedicated button to switch between EVF and screen. Also, when set to EVF, the camera is more responsive when you bring it to your eye and it also saves battery power. I hated that I could not set a button to switch form EVF to screen on my A6000 - it was an important reason why I got the A6400!

The lens on my Canon G1x3 is broken. I'm thinking of getting a Ricoh GR3 or Fuji XF10, small fixed 28mm lens cameras. The GR3 is better, but the XF10 is much cheaper...

Anyway, let's talk pictures. With Pegelli I prefer #1 and #11. But all are classic street pictures. I am not that keen on the conversion though. It looks like you try to emulate Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP5 but I do not really like the look of those films. In your conversion you have a lot of blown high lights that I find problematic and they do to me diminish the quality of the pictures. I would have preferred the look of Fuji Acros, Kodak TMax or Ilford Delta for these pictures. But then, a lot of the classic street photography was shot on Tri-X and if you're after that look, you succeeded.

BTW, nice to see some classic street photography around here. TFS!
Why not follow me on Instagram? @Addy_101
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Fred_S View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 January 2020 at 16:42
BW works well, and for me #11 is the stand out. It's an area of photography I am not that comfortable in, but I like it. Thanks for sharing and the inspiration Brian
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svjetlana View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote svjetlana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 January 2020 at 19:50
One more vote for #11 and #1. B&W works fine for this kind of photography.
I noticed that these two images have straight lines(perspective) unlike some others. I don't know if this makes any difference or not but it is an observation. It looks like classic works the best.
Image in color for some reason doesn't belong here.
Good luck with street photography it is one of my favorite genre.
              
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waldo_posth View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 January 2020 at 23:46
That's a series of images that is perfect in terms of style and genre, I think! Well done, Brian!

I am amazed to find myself in the chorus of those favoring #1, #11 and #13. But I would rank #1 at the top of that list. It creates a very fine rapport between the main protagonists (a male person and a hand) and the wider environment - London: the sign on the lamppost (City of London?), underground sign, London cab. And the gesture of the hand catches that rare moment in time that makes this image unforgetable.

I think the motives fit the style (and vice versa). Just imagine a photorealistic painting - say, by Richard Estes or Chuck Close - as an example of what cameras might ultimately be able to do (hey, they paint in HDR!): I think it would be impossible to "apply" any photorealistic paiting technique to your photos. They show a style that is unique in itself, photographically - well, of course, others have pioneered that style (and you could add the older generation of street photography as well - like Winogrand); and it's always a rewarding challenge to follow such pioneers.

So I think blown highlights are good, even necessary. The real perfection is to avoid it.



"Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." (Walker Evans)   http://www.flickr.com/photos/waldo_posth/
 



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Jozioau View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jozioau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 January 2020 at 00:39
A very fine set inspired by your 'mentors' in the NY street photography genré.
#1 is excellent, and #11 close behind, but the whole set captures the streets and passers-by of London very naturally and effectively.
TFS.
"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst" - Henri Cartier-Bresson
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angora View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote angora Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 January 2020 at 13:44
great set, Brian! pleasure to watch!
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brian33 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote brian33 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 January 2020 at 17:49
Thanks so much for the comments, everyone!

Pieter, I'm not sure I get the Belgians Waffle joke but that's OK!

I find it very interesting that so many like 11, and it just goes to show that it's all about the person looking at the photo, not the person who took it. My favorites are 1, 6 and 13.

Addy, we'll just have to agree to disagree - but speaking of Delta that's actually a bit of a Delta 400 look I'm going for which I really feel is quite similar to Tri-X (which is what Andre Wagner uses). And for me blown highlights like Harald says to me anyway are kind of part of the style. But, like I say, agree to disagree.

Svjetlana, I agree the color is sort of out of place but I did like it as a "bonus" shot, or maybe it's just me trying to see something that's not there. I was quite annoyed with myself I hadn't focused that one better but figured it was OK because there was movement and such, I guess I'm trying to "save" a shot that doesn't quite work... As for the question of straight horizon vs. not, that's a good point as well. As I mention below most of these are uncropped nor do I straighten them, because I pretty much want everything to be in the frame that's in there. That's one reason I like using 28mm, you get a lot in the frame (but without the irksome distortion of, say 24mm or even wider.)

Harald, I often find we are on the same wavelength; when I look at the photos you share I feel like I see immediately what your intentions are, and when you write things like the above, it makes me think - he's seeing exactly what I'm trying to do! The whole idea of the "rough edges" to these photos as far as blown highlights and the like, are indeed what I'm trying to make a part of the image each time. And yet, I feel like I've taken the time to frame them properly (and indeed I think all of these are uncropped, or 95% uncropped anyway).

Anyway, this experience in London and especially at 28mm has really motivated me to go back out and do some more street photography, but also it has made me realize that I think I'm uncomfortable shooting in my own city, and that it's easier for me to shoot in foreign locations. But, that'll be a discussion for another day!
I detest bugs, especially spiders.
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Mark Twain View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mark Twain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 February 2020 at 07:10
Many thanks for sharing this exceptional set of images. Street photography is something I hardly observe here on Dyxum.

For me #1 and #11 clearly stand out and I do not have a problem with the blown-out highlights (maybe a bit in #12).

I also feel uncomfortable taking picture of other people. Strangely I observed that the way you hold the camera makes a huge difference. When shooting from the hip most probably nobody notices you took a picture, but composition is very hard.

When shooting by using the back-screen like an unexperienced photographer you look like a snapper and people tend to tolerate that.

When using the viewfinder you look like a photographer and people are suddenly more sensitive.

Interestingly, I've once read about a street photographer who shoots film only and always shoots from the hip. As he always uses the same lens he perfectly knows how far to rotate the focussing ring to achieve his desired object in focus (assuming he can estimate the object's distance properly). Furthermore he uses the same type of film and ISO setting all the time so he can set exposure and f-stop by experience.

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brian33 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote brian33 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 February 2020 at 13:31
Thanks so much for your thoughts on the matter. One thing I noticed was as time went on I got better at using the focus distance indications on the lens to help since I was, as I mentioned above, often wanting to focus closer than the hyper focal, even at f11. I've put up a final set in the dedicated street thread here. You can see that in a shot like In All Seriousness, I more or less got it, as that shot would have been out of focus at the hyper-focal and f11. There's a touch of motion blur, but that doesn't bother me.

I think that no matter what though, many of these shots could have been taken with my camera up to my eye insofar as I would have gotten the shot before they noticed me no matter what. For photo number 1 for instance I shot that with my camera up to my eye, and there's even a second photo, taken a few feet closer, where the guy was still listening to the cab driver and he still didn't notice me. I preferred this composition though.

Generally speaking though I often like the lower position of the camera than when the shot is at eye level, I feel it gives a "Rolleiflex feel" since those cameras you hold at approximately gut level to look through the viewfinder. Perhaps maybe purist 28mm street photographers can look at these and tell many are taken from hip level not eye level and pooh-pooh them for that reason, I don't know, but that definitely influences the look.
I detest bugs, especially spiders.
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