Archive for octobre 10th, 2010

Instruction #2 : « Turn your attention to the four-legged population » by Ying Tang

dimanche, octobre 10th, 2010

It is already week 2 of the Street Photography Now Project, so if you haven’t register yet, there are still 50 weeks of instructions for you to participate in. Give it a try, submissions for this instructin end on Thursday night. Also, I will try to reflect on these assignments and give you some feedback of my shooting around the theme. Do not hesitate to do so too, it is always interesting to read about other’s experiences and this whole project is a learning experience.

Unless you are very lucky or go to the zoo, your chances to see an elephant in a corner of the street in Paris are pretty low. Therefore I decided to look out for dogs for the last couple of days and I did learn quite a few things :
– dogs are small in relationship to humans, so one needs to get close, actually very close in most cases. That is not easy as you can’t anticipate the animal’s reaction.
– you have to willing to go low, as low as the ground to get to the same level as your subject. Indeed, shots from above will result in pictures with no depth and therefore it will be very difficult to include the surroundings. Thus be ready to look silly as you crawl on the ground.
– talking about surroundings, this is a street photography excercise and there is often a very fine line between a portrait and a street shot. If the picture is only about the dog, lacking any interaction with its surroundings, then it most probably will fail as a street photography picture.
– I started with the 60mm focal, then went on with the 35mm, to finally use exclusively the 24mm today. I found long focal to result in many chopped head and little surroundings. I found the 24mm to be the most effective though it meant getting even closer to the dogs.
– full frame sensor is not an advantage here. Indeed when getting very close (less than 1 meter), I had troubles to get large depths of field, even with a 24mm lens. So many of my shots had the animal partly in focus while the surroundings were blurred. It is part of my style but it does mean that the surrounding will often have substantial blur.
– manual focus was a nightmare. Dogs are like kids, they change tempo, path and love to turn their head inexpectedly. I even had to whistle a few times to get their attention.

All in all it was fun, except for my encounter with that big fellow below . He attempted to jump on my face yet I am ot sure whether it was to bite or lick me. But well, no risk no picture I guess. I still haven’t decided which picture I will submit. And who knows, maybe I’ll cross path with an elephant tomorrow on my way to work…

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Leica M9 with 24mm Elmarit at F2.8, 1/250, ISO200

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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/500, ISO200

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Leica M9 with 24mm Elmarit at F4, 1/180, ISO200