Exploring the world of street photography in colour
1/50 sec at f/2, ISO setting of 400 captured at 50mm
Sigh... I'm trying to practice what I preach by taking a giant step, for me at least, and push myself to colour outside of my own boundaries; no pun intended. After many years of shooting in black and white, I finally reset my camera to shoot in colour...sigh again.
I am not a fan of colour photography at all. Not that I don't appreciate the works of others, I just feel much more connected to the aesthetics of monochrome. I always felt that since most of us see the world in colour, I don't have the need to duplicate those same bright hues with my photography. With black and white, I can recreate an alternative universe for myself. Exploring the world absent from colour leaves more to my imagination. I recently read a quote from Ted Grant that best reflects my approach to photography which states, "When you photograph people in colour, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!".
On the other hand, theories, rules, and ideas are made to be pushed to their boundaries and even broken. I try to keep an open mind and be willing to at least explore things beyond my comfort zone. This world is diverse so being confined to a box is a very limiting and depressing thought. I have not done any photography (with the exception of work for clients) in colour in many years. This experiment was actually liberating. Not that the results are breathe taking, I just enjoyed the process of expressing myself in a new way.
Observing design, architecture and light.
"disillusion..." 1/640 sec at f/1.8 with an ISO of 250
Over the last two months, I've been doing some freelance photography with the theme of reflections. I was inspired by my personal belief that art is NOT 'extracurricular'. Art is an essential component of what makes us human beings. It is the fruit of mathematics, science, and linguistics that form & shape our existence on this planet. Designs, textures, tones...they are everywhere yet we are conditions to take for granted the little things that make life beautiful. With the aid of photography, I try to take time to simply observe my environment, breathe and enjoy. These images are a small sample of a variety of city landscapes that I make a note not to ignore on a daily basis.
" (Art) is the fruit of mathematics, science and linguistics that form & shape our existence on this planet. "
Exposure: 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500 at a focal length of 50mm
The structural design of bicycles are fascinating to me. In my freelance photography, I am drawn to how light reflects off of the chrome, rain drops dangling below the tubes and how people chain them to bike racks. Composing bikes in unconventional ways create amazing street photographs and abstract work.
proof print of transportation in a non-motion mode
Weathering the Storm of a Creative Block
1/200 sec, f/5.6 , ISO 640
camera: Canon EOS 40D
lenses: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II and Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5
Its a Cruel, (Cruel)...Cruel Summer
A few months ago, I found myself in a creative rut. I wasn't motivated nor had the urge to photograph anything for the majority of the summer months. Experiencing a creative block can be a stressful period for obvious reasons. For me however, it was a game of patience. I decided to not force myself to find inspiration; it would find me eventually and it did. But during this period, I just didn't have the need to photograph. I tried sketching and creating music but my mood was off and I had nothing to say artistically. It happens...
The Rising Sun
Fast forward to this Fall; it is a rare occation when I don't have a camera in my hand. I now spend a lot of time reading and researching the art of photography. I am shooting almost everyday. I have about 25 rolls of undeveloped film (both 35mm and medium format) that are ready to be processed (one day, this is another time consuming project entirely). I also have been using Google +, Tumblr and other social media outlets as references for personal project ideas. Last week I planned to do some sub-framing and shadow chasing over the weekend but Mother Nature had other plans - several days of chilly, wet weather! So I adjusted to what the urban canvas provided and used the last couple of days to do street photography in the rain in Chicago and Detroit.
Creating a dramatic cinematic style
"point of view..." - 1/250 sec, f/1.8, iso of 400 captured with a 50mm lens
camera: Canon EOS 40D
lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
Inspiration: Film Noir
I love to watch black and white movies on TCM (Turner Classic Movies)! I appreciate how lighting played a key role in creating a sense of mystery and drama. I've worked in a photography studio quite a few times in the past and I must admit that it is not my strong point. I am not comfortable in a 'controlled setting'. My creative process is to freelance and to not have an actual plan. This is why I gravitate more towards street photography. I personally have more freedom to explore and color outside of the lines a bit.
I like to shoot with a low ISO setting (usually 200 or 250) for a dark tonality. I aim for bright whites and extreme blacks. I'm finding that my photographs seem to 'come to life' a bit more when I minimize my exposure levels in camera and give a slight punch to the contrast. Besides that, I simply freelance and allow interesting subjects to freely appear in the frame.
I use my camera to paint with light. Silhouettes, shade and shadows are most fascinating to me. The emphasis on darkness help create a classic film noir style. I love when I am able to create a photograph that is timeless. Street photography is (or should be) an artistic journey. Every time I go out and shoot is totally different from the last. Part of my photographic experience is to accept what comes naturally, then capture it. I will shoot in the cold, rain, snow and at night. Storytelling is honest so I embrace impactions and flaws; the 'happy accidents' are part of the narrative.
"ying and yang" - created with manual settings of 1/25 sec, f/6.3 with an ISO of 400
camera: Canon EOS 40D
lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
One of the many things that I enjoy about photography is the feeling of freedom. Life creates a pallet full of endless ideas and opportunities to explore. Regardless of the environment, social/political climate or personal hardships, I can find a level of comfort simply by having a creative outlet. Street photography specifically is my way of connecting with others. I like to observe and study human nature. Our body language, hand gestures and facial expressions are beautiful, yet often taken for granted. Capturing people's natural reaction to their own existence helps me appreciate and respect all life forms. We are all connect; I try not to overly complicate this simple fact.
#humanity #life #art #Zen #innerpeace
"Street photography is my way of connecting with others."
1/2000 sec, f/1.8 , ISO of 200 captured with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens
I love the aesthetics of monochrome photography. My thought is absence of color stimulates the imagination of the viewer. Since we (most humans, at least) see in color, capturing something in the same manor is boring to me, in most instances. Before I press the shutter button, the saturation in my eyes diminish. I envision the subject with a variety of black, grey and white tones.
The images posted here were all shot with an ISO of 200. I wanted to reduce image noise and create rich tones. I adjusted the contrast setting in the camera to about 80% with a slight bump on the sharpness. Shooting in manual mode and doing in-camera custom settings helps to decreases the amount of time I have to edit in Lightroom.
#silhouette #streetphotography #highcontrast #lowISO #niftyfifty #monochrome #subframing
“A photograph is the pause button on life.”
I admit it - I can be very fickle with my photography. Sometimes I am so excited for the next opportunity to shoot; while in a split second I loose the motivation . However, I am learning to accept all of those mixed emotions. One of the burdens of being an artist is never reaching a point of total contempt. There is always something more to reach for and achieve. My point is I am working on enjoying my own work more. I want to spend time reviewing my portfolio and rediscover myself. I am freezing time with my camera. I capture fractions of a second on film (or digitally) so I should take the time to appreciate my work. I don't want to take my photography or any other artist's work for granted. Otherwise, what is the point?
#streetphotography #graffiti #alleyway #highcontrast #monochrome #streethunters #streetportrait
One of the burdens of being an artist is never reaching a point of total contempt. There is always something more to reach for and achieve.
camera: Canon EOS 60D
lens: Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5
I was in search to sub-frame subjects on the first Saturday morning of the Fall of 2017. I feel that the contrast in black & white images help create a more surreal effect.
shutter speed: 1/250, f/6.3, ISO 250 with a focal length of 175mm
camera: Canon EOS 60D
lens: Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5
This photograph was created during a personal project capturing deep shade and shadows. I prefer doing street photography early in the morning or very late in the evening for a more dramatic aesthetics. Even though this particular image doesn't fit the requirements of my original idea, I love the sub-framing, reflections and slow shutter capturing a slight blur on the subject. I decided the create the title based on the break in text on the store window.
"a b k too... "
#subframing #streetphotography #monochrome
camera: Canon EOS 60D
lens: Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5
A scavenger hunt for deep shade & shadows on the first Saturday morning of Fall 2017.
"emergency brakes..." #cycling #streethunters #monochrome #bnw #streetphotography #bikes #cycle
shutter speed: 1/250, f/13, ISO 250 with a focal length of 35mm
Flipboard is an awesome app where I've been pretty consistent with keeping my online portfolio updated with new photographs. Please visit my magazine, "LIFE THROUGH MY RANGEFINDER" for my collection of analog and digital images, photojournalism and special projects.
The photograph was captured with a vintage Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 lens on a mirrorless FujiFilm X-T10.
#streetphotography #streethunters #bnw #barbershop #shaving #vintage #composition
Shutter speed at 1/60, f/8 at a focal length of 50mm with an ISO of 1250
I'm not looking for perfection. I prefer a more timeless look to my photographs
camera: Canon F1
lens: Canon FD 50mm f/1.8
film type: An expired roll of Fuji Superia 200 ASA
I visited one of my local camera shops a few weeks ago and noticed a roll of expired film being sold for $2. I previously read a few blogs on shooting with old film but I hadn't had any personal experience. So I decided to not overthink the decision and made the purchase. After I left the store, I stored the expired roll in the same camera bag with several fresh rolls of undeveloped film. When it was time to reload my camera, I put in the expired film by mistake. I spent two weeks shooting 24 exposures on old film thinking I was using a regular roll. So when the developments came, it took me while to figure out how and why the images were so grainy and dark. Yet for me, there is beauty in the flaws. Yes, there are quite a few scratches, dust spots and such on the negatives. But that gives the photographs its character. I could easily clean them off in Lightroom; but these were not shot with a digital camera. So I'm not looking for perfection; I prefer a more timeless look to my photographs. I am looking forward to doing enlargements on at least three frames on this roll. I am also going to do a serious search online for more expired film for sale!
"The dust and the grainy look on film developments are like the crackling sound of vinyl records. The mood is warm and soothing to the soul. I embrace imperfections!" - #filmisnotdead
The Zen of Analog Photography
Art provides a path for me to be free, create and to find internal peace. Art is therapeutic. I believe anything worth having usually does not come easy. A process is necessary. For instance, becoming a musician takes time. Learning to play an instrument is a creative process. I want those same experiences with my photography. I don't want 'instant satisfaction'. With photography, I am capturing a moment in time. Time needs time, so I feel what I record visually shouldn't have immediate results from a digital camera. I personally prefer to approach the art of photography with a more traditional method with analog equipment. I feel a strong sentimental connection to my film developments. Therefore, I am now seriously considering shooting film photography 100% simply because I am dedicated to the process of manually creating visual art.
"I feel a strong sentimental connection to my film developments" - #ishootfilm
With a limited amount of frames on a roll of film, I've adjusted to the idea that every shot must count. This idea is also true in life. Film photography is about investing in the moment. I am learning to spend less time worrying about things I can't control. I replace negative thoughts with enjoying simple things that I used to take for granted. However, the results aren't always free from flaws. The lesson is each attempt is better then the last. I am finding comfort in being in the moment; to stop, observe, think and create.
"Film photography is about investing in the moment."
Throughout all of the digital cameras I've purchased, sold, traded and bid for over the years, none of them have any sentimental value to me. Even my most favorite of them all, a FujiFilm X Pro 1...I loved using that camera. Yet when I sold it, I felt nothing. I knew the day that I brought it that I wasn't going to keep it forever, not even more than 2 or 3 years.
On the other hand, my old film cameras have stood the test of time. My Canon F1 and Yashica D are both older than me! These vintage cameras are well crafted, beautiful works of art. Despite their age they are extremely reliable. I don't hesitate to travel with them nor worry about a malfunction or dead batteries.
Film cameras are my cure for GAS! I am less burdened with having an over abundance of tech features on a digital camera that I rarely or never use. I want to control my environment with simple manual settings. I don't want a computer chip to determine my personal vision. My analog cameras help me to be in the moment and enjoy shooting again. I no longer need to shop for any unnecessary digital accessories anymore; just more film for me to shoot. The only non-essential photography-related thing that I now lust for is to add a Leica M2 to my vintage camera collection!
"I am not putting digital photography down or trying to disrespect those who thoroughly enjoy it...its just that the computerized process doesn't give me a sense of artistic pleasure. I personally prefer the simplicity of analog cameras. I want to control my creative vision and not depend on a computer chip to do the work for me."
During this past spring, I anticipated spending the summer months enjoying the sunshine, sporadic motorcycle rides and weekend getaways. I was especially looking forward to shooting more film photography, specifically with my medium format camera. However, the realities of life had other plans. Unexpected roadblocks and obstacles not only rerouted my summer excursions but totally derailed my level of creativity. Now that August is upon us, I missed out on some prime opportunities to expand my portfolio. Yet, I don't feel particular bad about it simply because I really had nothing to say artistically. The few times I did photography over the summer, I wasn't fully engaged in the process. I was shooting with film cameras 100% of the time yet I am not overly anxious to see the results right now either (I don't plan to do any film developing until the fall).
I feel that my creative drought is temporary and will eventually pass. I much prefer to be patient and allow inspiration to find me rather than force myself to shoot just to be shooting. I want my photography to have depth, purpose and meaning. Film photography has taught me to make every frame count. Capturing a micro-second of time should not be taken for granted. This is a simple belief in quality to quantity.
With that, I like to think that my creative process is in the brewing stages. Bold, flavorful coffee is a craft. It takes time, patience and passion. I can surely wait...
One of the many things that fascinates me about the art of photography is its connection to the past. Not just how we can freeze time; but more so the style and feel of using film cameras. I appreciate the craftsmanship and the noises... the quick snap of the shutter, the clink of the timer; I love it all! Film cameras are time machines.
Think about this fact; there are film photographs that are older than every human being alive on earth today. Most, we can assume, haven't even been preserved with the most precious care either. As for the equipment, analog cameras don't die. They may break, but they can be repaired. Film cameras don't depend on batteries (well, older manual cameras don't) or need to be upgraded for enormously, unnecessarily high megapixels and ISO. Film cameras don't even have to be expensive to produce superb images. As long as the lenses are clean and sharp, that is more than enough.
As for what I love most, its the ascetics of film developments…wow! They are beautiful. Even the flaws in film photographs have character and creates a mood that I don’t find in my digital images. I love the cracks, dust, odd colors and soft focus. I embrace what is on the negative. Even when I scan to digital, I find myself not editing out dust spots and such. Film photography for me is about honesty.
Here are a few 35mm photographs I recently rediscovered in my archives:
shooting manual digital photographs without post edits...
PROGRESS IN MY CREATIVE APPROACH
One of the greatest lessons I am learning from film photography is embracing simplicity. Keeping things simple makes photography alot less stressful. Using analog, fixed lens cameras prevents me from being overly burdened with trying to decide which lens to bring with me. Not to mention film cameras do not have digital menus with an over abundance of options that can be more distracting than helpful at times. Over time I've become much more comfortable with film photography. I don't have anxiety anymore about the possibility of ruining a roll of film or taking a bad shot. I truly love using vintage cameras...they make me think and take more chances. However, my progress in film created an unforeseen struggle with digital photography.
THE SETBACK (temporarily, I hope)
Yesterday I did some street photography in my most favorite places in the state of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I had a great time shooting and bonding with two film cameras, a compact Konica C-35 and a Yashica D for 120 film. People in the streets where most fascinated with my classic twin lens reflex medium format which in turn presented plenty of opportunities for taking street portraits (I can't wait to go to the darkroom!). After a couple of hours I decided to put away my analog gear and bring out my digital FujiFilm X-E1. Sigh... the frustration!
To clarify, I love FujiFilm X series cameras; I've owned several. However I find myself loosing interest in the digital photography process (or lack there of) over the past couple of months now. When I began shooting with the X-E1 that day, I quickly resulted back to bad old habits of 'chimping' and looking for instant satisfaction. I was focusing on all of the tech options on the digital camera rather than observing and capturing my environment. The convenience of a digital camera took the fun out of the thought process of street photography.
ADDRESSING THE ISSUE
This morning I needed to reevaluated my approach. I decided to treat my digital camera as a fixed lens 35mm. I will dedicated myself to shoot with only one prime lens, a manual Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 with CPL filter. For at least the remainder of this month, I will shoot with the lens open with a f-stop setting at 2.8. The built-in monochrome filters FujiFilm provides are superb so I keep my camera's film simulation on the 'black and white with a red filter' mode. The FujiFilm X-E1 will have the shutter speed and ISO set manually - - no automatic whatsoever!
My first test was to capture my environment immediately, so while I sipped on a cup of coffee I did some random natural light shots in the house. The rays of the rising sun beaming through my blinds gave me an idea to shoot as-is; no post editing! The results were great but more than that, I was relaxed and I made every shot count. Instead of having a hundred bad images to edit, I only had about a dozen unedited quality photographs to simply upload to my laptop, tag and enjoy.
THE RESULTS - Quality over Quantity
my romanticism with film photography
My passion for film photography is getting more intense. I feel that my overall skill level has drastically improved over the last couple of years by shooting film. Analog cameras prevent me from having to dig through menus and being unnecessarily anxious to post digital images online. Film photography requires patience. I now appreciate being in suspense. With analog photography, you don't know what you are going get. I love that!
I was fortunate to find a mint conditioned 1963 Yashica D camera a few months ago. This is probably my 5th film camera (I lost track), but my first medium format and twin lens reflex (TLR)! I shot a test roll and took it to a photography shop for processing. The normal return time is usually one week. However, I didn't receive my negatives for three weeks; the lab tech unexpectedly went out of town and he is the only person in the shop that develops 120 film. Was I disappointed after learning I had to wait longer to get my film back, yes of course I was. Yet the extended wait time was used wisely by me learning more about TLR cameras and my specific Yashica model. Once I was able to see the negative of my first roll of medium format film, it was well worth the wait.
My photographs weren't ground breaking and very far from my best...but that wasn't my goal. I wanted to make sure that the camera worked first and foremost. With that I was still happy with the results. I so enjoy shooting with the Yashica D. I often imagine where the camera might have traveled, who owned it, did it captured a significant event in history? I simply can't compare it to any digital camera I have ever owned, used or tested. Owning the Yashica is having a piece of history
Naturally painting shade & shadows...
cameras: FujiFilm X-E1, X-Pro 1 and X-T10
lenses: Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 and Fujinon 18mm f/2/0
As the saying goes, 'the early bird catches the worm'. I believe this is especially true when it comes to street photography. Over the years I've become accustomed to not sleeping in (even on weekends) and to venture out to photograph at sunrise. The smells of fresh coffee from corner bakeries combined with the sight of smoke spewing from manhole covers stimulates my creativity. The city if full of excitement and I aim to capture as much as possible. I have a sense of accomplishment when I am one of the first street photographers out hunting for deep shadows.
The natural light before noon makes architecture and urban landscapes just that much more dramatic. I've tested a variety of camera settings; I found that my personal sweet spot fall between 200-400 ISO, a f/8 or smaller aperture and shutter speeds between 1/60 to 1/80. I've used a Fujinon 18mm f/1.8 lens on a number of occasions. However the Fujinon 18mm continued to suffer from soft focusing. This seems to be a common flaw mentioned by other owners of these lens. This has pushed me in the direction of using old prime lenses from the film photography era. The FujiFilm X series cameras work like a gem when paired with vintage lenses! I like them so much I now prefer analog lenses over digital any day of the week. I don't mind working a bit harder with manual lenses to get the results I want. Photography excursions during the early morning hours is an excellent opportunity to test the limits of lenses and to sharpen photography techniques.
Using an analog wide angle lens at a Japanese market.
camera: FujiFilm X-E1
lenses: Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8
One of the many reasons why I love using the FujiFilm X line of cameras are how well they pair with analog lenses. To clarify, I have nothing against digital Fujinon glass. They are high quality lenses and I so appreciate the manual aperture ring! However I just find old lenses from yesteryear a bit more appealing. Vintage lenses are bullet proof; they last forever and aren't as fragile as most modern glasses. Not to mention that having an assortment of analog prime lenses are much more economical then spending hundreds of dollars more for a single lens that requires firmware updates and such.
After a recent purchase (on eBay) of a Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8 vintage lens, I decided to give it a test run at a Japanese market. I experimented with shooting primarily from a low angle perspective when capturing people. I am very pleased with the results. The focus ring is very responsive and the aperture blades open/close with precision. I especially like that these old lenses aren't that heavy either. Vintage lenses, even some primes, can be bulky with a lot of weight but the Minolta 28mms are quite compact. Most of the people in the market didn't even notice that I had a camera at all. I love being the invisible man!
not happy hour...
whats on sale...
Framing for the Human Eye
The bus stop was generous enough to provide a framing guideline for me; thanks CTA !
camera: FujiFilm X-T10
lenses: Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 and Fujinon 18mm f/2/0
During my first couple of years of studying the art of photography, I came across an old photography book that had a chapter on composition. This was my introduction to the rule of thirds. For me, it was like a musician who played by ear learning note value for the first time. I realized that (at least some of the time) I was off-centering my subject automatically. Yet I continued to read and research this topic a bit more. Since, I've tried to consciously practice the rule of thirds while sometimes creating extreme negative space. For me, it makes the image a bit more interesting. Does it work all of the time...absolutely not! There is no one way to do everything. Rules are made to be broken. Yet I enjoy the challenge of going beyond my boundaries and taking chances. Isn't that the whole point of self expression?
Captured with an analog Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 lens.
Please...don't ask her to say 'cheese'...sigh...
Afraid of the light...
I am a street photographer using film and digital formats. I enjoy listening to good music, traveling, quiet time & peace.