Saturday, 28 March 2009

A collection of techniques

Wimpy Restaurant, Tanzania, January 2009
Shot from a moving vehicle at about 50mph; (as I recall) f/8, 1/500s

I seem to collect photographic techniques like Lego bricks. Having a wide range of interests, I'm developing a wide range of means to capture those things as pictures.

One of the recent methods that I am honing is what I call the "Drive-by technique". Nothing fancy, really, just shooting from a moving vehicle. It's a great way to capture street life, and is something I did quite a lot of in India last year and Tanzania recently. Equipment plays a part. The rangefinder, and probably also film, helps a lot. Zone focus, wide angle, smallish aperture, fast shutter. Look ahead, see something interesting coming, snap as it passes. Not a very high hit rate, but the good stuff is pretty good. And sometimes I react to one subject but something unexpected happens.

Heart balloons, London, March 2009
Originally it was the balloons that attracted me but that's not what the final shot is all about.

Working in this way is helping me out and about on the streets. I react more quickly to situations and take less time to get the shot. Wildlife photography, especially long lenses, helps with holding a camera steady, meaning I can shoot more successfully at lower shutter speeds. Watch wildlife helps me anticipate events. All these methods can help even when in slow mode in the landscape on a tripod - less faffing and an ability to react to changing conditions. The slower methods give me time to get more fully acquainted with camera operation, metering, composition methods etc.

It's why I use the Lego analogy. A series of techniques can then be plugged together in any given situation as suits the equipment in hand (and instinctively having the right one there) and environment. As time goes on it is more and more about the picture, I think a lot less about how to get it.

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