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Messages - distant.star

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Street & City / Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« on: January 25, 2012, 06:55:25 PM »

I agree.

While I accept that everyone has their own way of doing "street photography," for me a 400mm lens feels more like voyeurism than street photography. I couldn't do it.

Not my best - but taken with 1d4+400 f/2.8 just to show a Leica isn't needed

Love it! Three cheers for iconoclasm!!!

The real iconoclasm is actually using 400mm for street photography :P

Street & City / Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« on: January 25, 2012, 05:01:00 PM »
I think this is a good post about the sensitivity of the whole "street photography" issue.

One reason I've always been the one taking the pictures in my world is sort of self-defense. Like Orang, I don't like having my picture taken, never have. However, it's part of the world, so if it happens, so be it.

As for being offended, a big part of life is being offended. Most of what I see in this world offends me. The idea that people think they should live life without being offended deeply offends me. What offends us is a primary part of what we are. We either accept, reject or change. Since change is so difficult and challenging, most people never go there. Unless we're outraged, we generally tend to accept -- the meek will inherit the earth, I guess. Famous philosophers have depicted hell as a place of total boredom where offense does not take place.

The mention of people who are "shy" definitely touched a nerve with me. If you pay attention, you really can tell when someone doesn't want their picture taken. I tend to not take their picture. I once saw a man at a county fair who seemed deeply afraid I might take his picture. To reassure him, I told him I knew he didn't want his picture taken and I wouldn't. As I've said before, I'm not out there trying to make people feel uncomfortable.

Suggesting that street photography may be unethical is beyond the pale. And the comparison to audio recording is simply inaccurate. Here's why I believe this. What I believe is the best street photography/candid portraiture captures humans at what I call an "interior moment." They have briefly abandoned their public mask and have gone somewhere inside. You can see that in the eyes, the face, sometimes the body language. That's a rare event, and it's why I have so few pictures I really love. It's sort of the holy grail for me. In contrast to an audio recording, this portrayal of the person does not intrude on what he's thinking or where his mind might be -- only that his public self is temporarily suspended. An audio recording, on the other hand, is going right to the mind. That's the basis of why police can prohibit video recording (with sound) in the U.S. on the basis of wire-tapping laws. Recording someone's thoughts is a far sight from recording their vacant stare.

Orang asked what makes photography different -- that's what.

As for arrogance in assuming other people will tacitly be your model, I agree. That's why street photography is so hard for most of us. I am not arrogant, and I don't think most of us are. But you have to act aggressively sometimes if you think it will produce art of value. Art itself requires arrogance. I think it's arrogant to publicly display my pictures -- who am I to think anyone would want to see my work? Yet, we do it, and I'm sure there are a variety of reasons behind that. The OP talked about the adrenalin, heart-pounding rush of taking a street picture. That's the arrogance of it. But he believed the image would be worth it. He saw something in another human that he believed was worth sharing with other human beings.

Visual art can be a form of storytelling. Our human brains make sense of the world through story. And people are the heart of stories we value most.

Probably more than anyone wanted to read -- but I do have an abiding interest in this topic.

Thanks for the thoughtful post, Orang.

I'm one of those people who hate to be photographed, and I do take offense when someone takes my picture, ironically, even though I also love to *take* candid photos of people.   (which is one of the reasons I've enjoyed wedding photography)   As a result, I don't do much street photography.

It's hard.  When I do choose to engage in street photography, I make myself very visible; anyone who shows signs of shyness -- I avoid them.  Do I miss a lot of shots?  Yep, but then nobody owed me those shots to begin with.

True, it may be legal in the US, but legal does not imply ethical.  There is a certain arrogance in assuming that others are (tacitly) willing to be your models.  I'm sure I'll get some smites for that, but it's true.  Imagine if, instead of a camera, you had a parabolic microphone and liked to record conversations at a distance.  Even if you  deleted those that were "too private" many people would feel intruded-upon by such an act.  What makes photography different?

On the other hand, anyone who engages in willful attention-seeking behavior (street performers, skateboarders, etc) is fair game.  "Crowd shots," where individuals are not readily distinguishable, are also fair game.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Cancelled my 1D-X order
« on: January 23, 2012, 05:09:25 PM »
Wow -- buyer's remorse, but without all the hassle and investment. Great job.

Seriously, nice to see logical thinking can prevail. I wonder how many other potential buyers are having second thoughts since Canon is still in sleep mode.

United States / Re: Sh*t Filmmakers Say (Parody of Sh*t Girls Say)
« on: January 22, 2012, 10:30:11 PM »
This is a funny vid. I'm not in the filmmaking world, but I'm guessing if you are, it's even funnier.

Canon General / Re: Never delete images 'in camera'
« on: January 22, 2012, 08:27:59 PM »

My workflow moved to this "no deletes" approach  a few years ago when I did a couple of accidental deletes, regretted mistakes made while under pressure. Also, occasionally a blurry out-take may make the perfect background for one of your hero shots.

Exactly! I thought that was one of my secrets!!

Canon General / Re: Never delete images 'in camera'
« on: January 22, 2012, 06:32:36 PM »

That's funny. Only need one card each year. Easy to buy for at Christmas!

He could buy a 128Gb card and shoot in jpeg. When it fill he could just replace it with another 128gb card and keep the first as a backup copy

 ;) ;) ;)


Bay Photo does a ton for pro photographers, mostly weddings.

I can tell you they're professional and reliable, never had a problem.

Can't tell you anymore than that - you'll have to add them to list of providers to check.

Canon General / Re: Never delete images 'in camera'
« on: January 22, 2012, 04:45:33 PM »
Is this true?

I just hate when people give incomplete advice.  Your friend was completely correct, but he forgot to tell you that advice only applies on Tuesdays when there's a new moon and you're standing outside on your left foot, facing due northwest at exactly 1:03am.  Any other time, you'll be fine.

After consulting with my friends in the CHAP (Canon Heavenly Assurance Program) you'll have to update your conditions, Big Brain.

It seems that if those conditions DO exist, and the camera processor is at risk, everything is fine if Michael Culligan's "Due Northwest" is playing at the time (within earshot, of course). For those who want to be safe, here's a link to a performance:

Small | Large

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Why canon?
« on: January 21, 2012, 11:35:51 PM »

As an older guy the bottom line for me is Canon's Heaven Assurance Program (HAP). If you're a Canon user when you die, not only do you have an assured place in heaven -- but express check-in.

No such assurances with other brands.

Sure puts my mind at ease every time I pick up one of my cameras!

I think The Majors said it best back in 1962:

Last night I had
a wonderful dream about you
Last night I had a dream
hope that it will come true

We were all alone
you told me that you cared
And I never will forget
how happy I was that we were there

Last night I had a wonderful dream
And now that I'm alone with you
My wonderful dream will come true
(sho bop-be-wops a wonderful dream)
(sho bop-be-wops a wonderful dream)

I don't really care why they  made such an announcement; as I've said before I'm sure the marketing satans are behind it. When I see a real product I'll make a judgement about it.

Until then, it's a wonderful dream.....(sho bop-be-wops a wonderful dream)


Professional sports are all businesses -- and in it for the money. I had no trouble at a Phillies game last year with a white 70-200, but I know it's their game and their rules so my expectations are low. (I ended up having a lot more fun taking pictures of drenched people waiting out the rain delay!)

For me, it's easier and more rewarding to take pictures at high school games, even little league. I think such pictures are usually better.

Street & City / Re: Etiquette of Street Photography
« on: January 19, 2012, 12:07:11 PM »
Street photography is one of the areas I enjoy - in particular photos of people - however I must admit I always hold back from taking the pictures I truly want to take because I feel nervous about taking photographs of the public.

For example, the other day I saw someone asleep on the metro so out came the camera, but I was paranoid that the guy would wake up or the passers by saying something to me.  My heart was beating and the adrenaline pumping - I just took one picture and hoped for the best.

When I looked at the photo afterwards, there were so many ways I could have improved on it if I wasn't in such a hurry.

I guess I'm unsure if we're allowed to take pictures so brazenly of the public (admittedly in public places).

Has it ever happened to anyone where a member of the public has taken offence to having their picture taken?

This is a subject which has bothered me for years, and I'd love to hear peoples opinions: Is there an etiquette to street photography?

Your reaction is completely normal, Spaced. "Street photography" is an aggressive act; you impose an intimacy on people who may not want it. It's unnatural, but for some of us it's irresistible -- and the results are universally enjoyed. Here's a good primer you may want to look at:


My epiphany came after my first year or two of taking pictures. I wasn't satisfied so I took all the prints I'd made, laid them on a table and started looking. Painfully apparent was the absence of people. There were pictures of trees and buildings and sunsets and cars, etc. -- but no people. When I wondered why I realized I was scared to take pictures of people. So, I went on a tear sticking cameras into people's faces, and I learned a lot. (As a young guy I quickly learned when you take a picture of a young woman she is usually flattered, and you're already at first base!)

Since you asked, yes I get challenged all the time. I've had police throw me out of places. I've also been welcomed. So it goes both ways. My concern is to always make people feel comfortable and to make them a partner in this intimate act if I can.

I had an informational card printed; I call it my "Who the hell are you?" card since I'm not soliciting business. It has my photo URL, email address, phone number. It has a great image on it to establish credibility. It does not have my physical address.

Most people who challenge, and all the ones too timid to challenge, are thinking the same thing -- Who the hell are you and why are you taking MY picture? So, I make it a rule to always engage people after I take their picture. I rarely ask permission because that ruins the look I want. Someone else here talked about smiling -- great advice. I always smile and use open and non-threatening body language. I reassure people I have nothing to sell and that I'm just doing this for fun. I give them my photo URL and tell them the pictures will be there if they want to see them -- and they can have them if they like. I tell them they can't be copied by anyone I don't give them to and they can't be printed and I don't sell them or use them in any promotional way. This is almost always sufficient to seal the deal, so to speak. People want to believe they're special, and if you suggest you took their picture because they're special, they will buy into that naturally.

I've had people tell me they don't want me to have their pictures. I took a picture one time of a lovely red 1966 Mustang parked on the street -- entirely within my legal rights. The woman who owned it ran out of a beauty shop, hair in curlers saying she did not want pictures taken of her car. Nothing I said would assure her so I told her I'd delete the pictures. I can still hear her saying, "I don't know who you are." I don't think a picture is worth upsetting people in most cases. I did subsequently delete them, and I would have done it in the camera if she had been astute enough to ask. Most people have enough stress and trouble in their lives -- they don't need me adding more.

For me, street photography is sort of like an intimate relationship. It has its ups and downs, there are good times and bad, there will be arguments, but the end result is usually worth it. If you don't like people (individually) and you simply aren't comfortable interacting with people you don't know, street photography is a lot more difficult. It can still be done, but you're going to have to be a lot more surreptitious and you'll deal with people a lot less.

One of the joys of street photography for me is the interaction with people after I've taken their picture. I took some pictures of a young couple on a waterfront a few weeks ago. I ended up talking with them for a long time about photography, work, school, etc., and they asked me to take a few more pictures of them -- so we had the luxury of setting up the right light and background, etc. They got some nice pictures out of it.

I'm glad to hear you like this kind of photography, and I was pleased that you critiqued your effort. That's where you begin and how you learn. There are a thousand ways to do street photography, and you will have to learn what works for you.

One thing you should know is the basics of legal rights. Look at the ACLU guide on this:


If I have any specific advice... You will never get over the anxiety about taking pictures of strangers. And if you do, beware you've probably entered a dangerous place. You'll almost always find the results are worth the emotional stress. And most important, have fun, and enjoy the images you make.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Why canon?
« on: January 19, 2012, 10:55:29 AM »
happenstance in my original purchase and now locked in because of lenses...  don't matter though which brand as i've said before it ain't the camera that takes the image...

Yep, pretty much the same.

When I rather arrogantly decided I could take great pictures I decided to get an SLR, a "real" camera. One of the best around at the time was the Minolta SRT-102 -- with the new TTL metering. Wow.

At work in the eighties, we used Nikon. In the early nineties when I had to buy my own stuff I went into a camera shop that sold Canon -- so that got me committed with body and glass.

But, as Costello says, whatever gives me a good image. Canon is as good as the next, better than most in my opinion.

EOS Bodies / Re: Still waiting for 5d mkiii but should I be?
« on: January 17, 2012, 11:33:40 AM »

Similar situation (in NJ, using a T2i and waiting for a 5D3) and I have an answer. I think it comes down to what you do with the camera. I was paralyzed wondering what to do until Canon offered a refurb around $1600 and B & H gave away the 5D2 last month (for $1999). I had my finger on the "buy now" button when the answer came for me.

My first love is candid portraiture. I want the best image quality I can get, but what I have now is at least adequate most of the time; the 5D2 is more desirable. There are times when I miss a picture because of AF deficiencies in the T2i. The expression on a human face and a look in the eyes can change faster than any AF can manage, but the faster the better. The 5D2 will give better IQ, but I still have the AF issue to live with. Short of robbing a bank for a Canon flagship camera, what I want is a combination of the 5D2 and the 7D.

I could buy a 7D today and solve the AF issue, but I haven't improved the overall IQ since it uses the same sensor essentially as the T2i. And since the 7D will probably be soon upgraded....well.

So, I have three options:

1. Buy a 5D2 and get IQ improvement that is often described as "dramatic" while not improving my AF issues.

2. Buy a 7D and get better AF performance for the same IQ.

3. Wait to see if Canon offers a better option for me in some near future. I don't necessarily buy into the idea that Canon will issue a 5D3, but I think they will offer something that will work better for me.

I chose option three and closed the B & H window without clicking the "buy now."

Since I'm not in the photography business in any way anymore, I don't have client demands for anything -- I'm mine own customer. I believe 2012 will provide an option for improvement, and I'm willing to wait for the "total solution," so to speak.

So, in your case, I'd suggest you really explore what you do with the camera -- what kind of images do you take and what kind do you want -- and what are your real equipment needs for getting there. After that, you can decide if you need to or want to wait for any other options.

Contests / Re: Contest Winners Announcement
« on: January 17, 2012, 10:38:37 AM »
Good pictures are wherever you are. This good contest reaffirms my belief in that dictum -- and it hasn't hurt my love of B & W either.

Congratulations to all who shared their images and hope; inspiration all around.

Thanks to CR for facilitating a very good thing overall.

My hope for a next contest is for an easier viewing experience of the entries. I'd also ask the winners for more detail about their winning images -- maybe a brief blurb about circumstances surrounding the image, tech specs, equipment of course, etc.

Thanks again to all!

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