I believe it is very important to experiment and explore different techniques and refresh our viewpoints on photography perspectives from time to time, to further spur the growth of the photography in us. It is unwise to stay stagnant and be complacent with one set of rules and stick to limited knowledge in defining what good photography is. The journey has no end, and there is so much more to explore if the photographer has the heart and passion to do so. Similarly this applies to street photography. There are so many ways to go about shooting on the street, and there really is no right and wrong. Everyone sees things differently, everyone has their own unique artistic vision. Developing the artistic sense comes hand in hand with using a varying set of tools and methods to translate the vision into photographs.
All images in this entry were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 lens
Breakfast of the Champions
Found this shirtless dude sitting at the Taxi Stand. Perhaps it was too hot, that he had to take his shirt off and cool down with a cold can of Tiger's. For some reasons it was overbearingly hot this morning.
What works for me in this photograph was the colourful and beautiful flowery pattern on the umbrella, against plain white dress on the lady. I attacked her at a vulnerable time, she was crossing the road, hence she was looking out for any approaching vehicles. Not the best approach for street, but I like the natural undisturbed feel to this image.
Harsh Malaysian Sun
The girl was wiping sweat off with the white towel, and I waited until she turned her head around to have the eye contact.
Chillax at the Balcony
This would probably not quality as street photography, because it was a residential zone, shooting in people's home. I was expecting the guy to have some rejection, but to my amazement, he smiled instead !! So I shot a few more frames. I think it is crucial to keep a positive outlook, and be optimistic.
Bite It Off
One of the few things I do very, very often: HEADSHOT !! I try not to overdo it these days.
I know many people have been complaining on my street photographs containing subject content which appear very depressing or miseable: such as homeless people, beggars, or people with broken legs. Ok, ok, here are some happier, and surely more pleasing looking subjects, which can be easily spotted at KL downtown area, such as the Pavilion.
Gotta love the tattoos on this dude's arms.
Apparently there was some event going on just outside Lot 10 shopping mall, to commemorate the International AIDS Memorial Day. Free condoms were given away. You can see the girl at the bottom left corner going that, the condoms come in purple packages.
There was some property event going on outside Pavilion, this lady was stationed outside to hand out brochures.
McDonald's workers taking a break, while the beggar was just a meter away.
For a long duration of time, my staple lenses I have been using when I am on the streets were the 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 and 50mm F2 macro. Those two lenses provided me with almost everything I needed: great wide angle coverage, fast aperture, capability to create good bokeh, sharp, and even medium tele-photo range. The lenses worked very well for my shooting style, which I am slowly, but surely shaping into something I adhere to on every street shooting session. Nonetheless, there are times I would do something unusual, such as today, when I went to the streets with a long lens instead: the 50-200mm F2.8-3.5. Traditionally it is not advisable (you can easily read up everywhere on street photography guides) to use long lens on the street. There are many good reasons supporting why wide angle and normal prime lenses are favorable and worked better for most street shooting, but hey, what is the fun of just following rules all the time? I do not deny the truth in the guidelines written by the experienced and seasoned photographers, and they are valid. On top of that, I also strongly believe that it is important on our own part to do our own experimentation, our own trial and error, and determine what works best for our own shooting preferences. We define our own photography, and our own identity as photographers.
I have shot with long lens before on the streets, but very rarely these days. I started off with long lens, mainly because I was too afraid to go near my subjects, and was not ready to face the possibility of rejection. As I advanced further I realized people on the streets are really approachable and friendly, hence I used wider lenses, to incorporate more surrounding subjects and backgrounds to support the main subject content in my street photographs. However, I cannot help but have a soft spot for long lenses. There is just something about using a long zoom that gives you that excitement, as if you were sneaking around, stealing some shots from far away. Perhaps, there are more advantages to just the excitement alone. Long lenses have many benefits to photography in general. 1) you get very good bokeh, the longer you zoom, the more bokeh you get 2) the compression effect on the background, meaning you see less background, easier to isolate the main subject and minimizing distractions 3) allowing hard to reach subjects, eg across the road 4) training the eyes to spot subjects from far away. I would not say that a tele-lens is highly recommended to be used on the streets, but if you have not used a tele lens, why not give it a try? At the end of the day, it all comes down to what kind of shots you are looking for, you have to acknowledge the fact that there are some shots that only a long lens can accomplish.
Top Right: Kelvin Ng (http://kbphotographyblo.com)
Bottom Right: Luke Ding (http://pointofluke.blogspot.com)
Some friends I was shooting with this morning. Do check out Scott's beautiful street series which he took in London streets during his work/travel there this year, as well as Luke's wonderful rainy day shots. Show some love for street photography guys !!
I do admit that the bulk and weight of the lele-lens were not something I looked forward to. Walking with something compact and light would have been much more comfortable.
This morning me and a bunch of crazy photo-buddies went along Bukit Bintang area and had our shutter therapy there. The sun was unusually harsher, and it was rather uncomfortable walking around, hence the session was cut short. Nevertheless, I did come home with some shots that I actually liked.