One of the best things about street photography is that it is like going on an unknown voyage. You just never know what you are going to find, or what shots you are going to make. Maybe a real nightmare for the average coordinator but such a treat for those who dislike any form of planning. And mind you, most other forms of photography demand heaps of preparation in advance. So there! A life shot in black and white.
Many people believe it is necessary to study arts and design in order to come up with a satisfactorily constructed picture.
But since photography is a tool for both documenting and self expression, the design of a photograph is inferior in importance. The composition of a photograph should be spontaneous to the scene and employed by the photographer’s vision not by a set of rules for correct design.
Not that a basic understanding of composition and design could hurt anyone, but don’t let that bother you too much and definitely don’t let it be the main factor when making your choices.
Next I’d like to quote an article from a young photojournalist, Lizane Louw, where she described how her passion in photojournalism has affected her life very much. This is what she had to say,
“In my job I meet many influential people. Sometimes my road crosses with a person that inspires me on various different levels. I had the privilege to meet someone that changed the way I think, that changed my spiritual perceptions and that moved me and my thoughts very deeply.
Since meeting Hylton, I have been spending many days sitting and thinking about his story. In my heart and in my mind there are so many emotions that jump around if I think about our brief encounter. I struggle to find words to describe my gratitude and admiration. I thank the creator for choosing me to take these photographs and to let my path in life cross with his. It was a privilege to speak to him.” (Quote from Source: Lizane Louw)
However, one has to remember that in some unfriendly neighborhoods, shooting on the street can be extremely difficult and close to impossible. Any attempt to take pictures would inevitably lead to unwanted attention from the neighborhood drug dealers who populated the street corners and alleys. I personally do not believe in “assaulting” people with a camera. Don’t be surprised when most of the subjects that you approached may not be willing to be photographed. Should they be blamed?
There have been so many approaches to street photography, so far ranging in their unique style, that I believe the lack of exploitation and ability to contain meaning into the image which is technically competent are the big necessities in street photography or photo journalism.
I’ve been craving for a medium format system and had done quite some research over the web for the said objective. Thus, over the last year or so I’ve tried (i.e. tested and borrowed) a few medium format bodies, namely RB67, Hasselblad 500 C/M and a Seagull 4A (TLR).
One thing that marks the medium format experience is the feeling of expansiveness, closeness and detail that is visible through the finder and the elegance of the shape relative to the angular, distant and cramped (my view) 35mm view. I get these things with 6×6 and 67.
Personally I don’t get this feeling with a 645 system results that I see on the web which I guess is another way of saying that it all looks too similar to 35mm for me. I hope I could have my hands on a 645 system so that I can really get a proper feel for the system.
That said there is certainly enough film size to produce great large prints. At the moment I am more inclined towards getting a camera with the largest negative that I could afford (i.e. 6X6 or 6X7)… Maybe a system with reputable lenses like Mamiya or Hassleblad. They are quite easily acquired from some good stores like KEH, some camera strores in Singapore or Evil Bay if my budget gets too tight.
Quoting Mr. Philip Partridge, Jan 09, 2006; 02:15 a.m. (Photo.net Forum)
I sometimes ponder why some people cannot see the ‘sharp edge/ poor tonal separation’ syndrome one encounters all over the place with digicam images. Maybe there is a kind of visual literacy at play?
In a word, better images, so typical of larger pieces of film real estate, exude *authenticity*. It’s a combination of clarity, fine detail rendition, lack of obvious grain, and tonality (or tonal separation) and even the range of tonal values. It’s not apparent sharpness (MTF) as such – many top MF lenses rate with the finest from Canon/Nikon; check out photodo.com.
Notice that most of these qualities do not lend themselves to ready quantification or measurement. Which explains the plethora of ‘6mp vs (pick a film camera)’ comparos on the web, that narrow it all down to *resolution*, which is perhaps the least significant metric of photographic image merit. Witness the rich heritage of the accumulated photographic record from the olden times down to the present. Not too many ‘L’ lenses in that lot…
IMNSHO, the jump from small format to medium format is a good leap, whereas the step from there to 4×5 is well, a good step. It’s a threshold in image quality you cross when jumping to MF. LF cameras also suffer all manner of drawbacks technical and practical – you miss plenty of shots that are eminently takeable with MF, esp. the more auto ones. Most LF guys use dumbed-down flatbeds; no good desktop film scanners are available for them..
The tonality smoothness is the biggest benefit of MF over 35mm. If you look at the LPM figures for assorted lenses, there are actually 35mm lenses that can resolve detail nearly as well or better than some common MF and LF rigs, but film grain and the need for greater enlargement prevents that resolution from ever approaching the clarity of even a relatively low grade MF or LF lens.
LESSON LEARNED HERE: If you underexpose print films, you will not get the necessary shadow details. But given the wide latitude of print films, you can overexpose print films by 2 stops and yet get great results.
This ability for color neg films to be over-exposed and still reproduce decent images also accounts for the ability of print films to record much more brightness range than slides.
We often refer to this as “dynamic range”. In a slide, highlight information is stored as clear parts of the film that at a point contains nothing more than blank film base. Color negs continue to stack up increasing density (highlight) information until the film simply can’t record any more information.
Overexposing color negative film also makes it easier for most labs to get decent prints or scans, because more info is recorded. How much exposure compensation is needed? This probably varies with film but start with +.3 to+.5. Some film, maybe even one full stop.
This latitude doesn’t mean you’ll get an optimal result. It just means that within these ranges you can get a useable (depending on your purpose) result. Over- and under- exposure are mistakes. Film latitude should not be relied upon to cover mistakes in exposure.
Many people will intentionally reduce exposure of slide film by between a 1/2 stop and a full stop to increase colour saturation, retain detail in highlight areas and reduce grain. Some will also intentionally increase exposure on negative film by 1 to 1 1/2 stops to increase colour saturation and preserve details in shadow areas as well as reduce grain (grain can become very noticeable in underexposed areas of print film).
The swampy lagoon in Kuala Marang is probably at it’s most beautiful in the late evening just as the sun is setting and the creatures of the night begin to stir their shift.
In this post I’ll tell you how I discovered a beautiful swamp in Kuala Marang, about the crystal clear water that was full of real beauty, but the kind of beauty that you look at but don’t see unless you open your eyes and your heart.
Much of the area is a mosaic of wetlands and mesic flatlands subject to seasonal flooding. Flood and small bushfires largely govern the composition and distribution of vegetation, creating a distinctive mosaic of natural communities. Flooding also limits intensive agriculture and large-scale development, resulting in one of Terengganu’s most significant natural areas.
This is what the camera sees, so it has to be there, and it is! But often we don’t see the beauty because we are “beauty blind”. People are always in a rush, always rushing about, I guess that comes naturally when you live in big cities. I am just as guilty sometimes but not very often now my eyes are open.
Do you remember when they say, “see it through the eyes of a child”. Full of excitement and desire to explore. I truly feel that is how we should view the world around us.
Unfortunately often the case is the greed for land and money from the people of the past has endangered beautiful places like this. I often say “beauty is everywhere”, so try to see it and it will enhance your life like you would not believe. Just try it right now, look at something and try to see the details, the colors, the textures, the shapes see it differently than you did before.
The fools spent millions of dollars trying to built what they call progress and the damage they did may even now be irreversible. Thus beautiful swamps like this one we have here in Kuala Marang may be dying a slow death many and many species of plants, animals and birds are are on the endangered list they are disappearing at an alarming rate.
Interestingly, of course there are alligators in these swamps. I did not see any in the water but I was told by the old folks in Marang about the legend of the massive alligators. The alligators would certainly camouflaged very well and its hard to be see. The natural beauty of the area is beyond words.
If you get a chance to pass through Marang while you’re on your way to Kota Bharu to the North or going south to Kuala Lumpur, please take your time! Please go slow, please stop at overlooks, please take the time to hit a trail or two, it would be a real shame to drive by everything this awesome roadway has to offer.
Do you ever think what orientation suits best for the subject you are trying to capture or do you just press the shutter release button and try your luck?
Orientation can greatly affect how and what image is presenting.
Most novices shoot everything horizontally – well it is much easier to hold and shoot in horizontal mode – especially the compact cameras, no?
Gears: Leica R6 and Leica Summicron 35mm F/2.0, on Kodak Colorplus 200 Negative
Location: Tok Jembal Beach, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Gears: Nikon D50 and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO
Location: Oyster breeding spot, Marang Fishing Village, Terengganu, Malaysia
Processing: White Balance, Contrast
The shopping cart or trolley, a very useful item in its place but otherwise a pretty uninteresting harmless wire basket on wheels, right? Right, but how come they seem to be taking over the world? No matter where I go I seem to come across one lurking in some darken corner of the street or poking out from an unexpected place.
The human fascination with dumping trolleys goes on and has made the innocuous shopping cart a common sight and an integral part of urban life.
So it’s not surprising that they have crept into our photography in one way or another and I am always continually amazed at the ingenuity of the photographers ability to use them so creatively in their work.
On Flickr a group also gives an ode to shopping trolleys and the endless torment they endure…being left by the side of the road, on freeways, in parks, in fact in all manner of weird and wonderful situations – usually far from their rightful home.
There at The Original Abandoned Shopping Trolley Project they pay homage to the trolleys and their tireless servitude..
Though not much of a shed if you consider the scale of the monsoons we get annually, however it serves more as a half-done-garage for fishermen to hang their fish nets. Despite the humbleness of things that you can find by the beach, let us not forget that it is the sea which gives the fishermen life. Likewise, the sea gives new life to some of our depressed spirits.
Yeah it’s that De Niro’s tone of voice again. Who wouldn’t be amazed by such a character. Well such characters are quite a common scene when you’re at the fishing dock. It was a very fine morning by the jetty and these men has just finished uploading their catch for the week.
Gears: Leica R6 with Summicron-R 35mm F/2.0 on Fuji Superia 100
Location: Chendering Fisheries Complex, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
After the heavy monsoon season settled down these 6 to 7 feet tall grass just grow like wild fire in my backyard. As much as I like them for photography subjects they are also the breeding ground for some ferocious cobras.
Nikon D50 | Leica Elmarit-R 90/2.8