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Bateleur
09-07-2011, 03:09 AM
I am doing a project where I photograph people in the subway. I love to record their expressions and faces. The camera is a Nikon F3 from which I remove the prism, so that it becomes a waist viewfinder camera. People often do not notice me, even though I sit right across the aisle.

Lately, though, I have found those photos more interesting where I am noticed and people accept that I photograph them.

Have a look at my results, if you like

http://erikpetersson.livejournal.com/

Yours is a fabulous project with some lovely results, the F3 is ideal as a waist level camera, do you leave the top open, or have some mask or shade around the focus screen?

Erik Petersson
09-07-2011, 03:15 AM
Thanks Bateleur,
I just remove the prism and hold it my right hand. I think it might look like I am fixing something. The wagons are usually dark enough to let me view the image without shade. I know the distance, so no need to focus.

Bateleur
09-07-2011, 08:52 AM
That's a great idea Erik, and your results show it's effectiveness

Jim Noel
09-07-2011, 10:56 AM
Get a twin lens reflex camera which most people today don't recognize. It can be used facing to the side.
Another choice is a Robot which is a 35 mm camera with a viewfinder built into one end so it can be aimed 90 deg. from where you are facing.

MattKing
09-07-2011, 12:19 PM
I liked all the shots.

They are one of the best examples I've seen in a while of what I have seen referred to as the "naval eye view of the world".

They bring home to me how important "viewpoint" can be to photography.

Erik Petersson
09-07-2011, 05:11 PM
Yes, many of the photos were made at navel level. I think i might upload these pictures to APUG.

I posted them because I wanted to show that you sometimes are not noticed although you sit only a couple of meters from the one you photograph. Strange, but true. Bruce Gilden says something similar in the video above.

Newt_on_Swings
09-07-2011, 06:44 PM
Nikon also makes a waist level viewfinder for the F3, as well as a 6x eyepiece which could be a help to you too. but they are always over priced online. Ive done train photography before as well, and the noise of it really helps with the shutter click for shots as close as these are.

swchris
09-07-2011, 06:50 PM
I just remove the prism and hold it my right hand.

So you play around with the camera with your left hand and "accidentally" hit the trigger?

What lens (focal length) are you using?

Nice pictures!

chris

Erik Petersson
09-08-2011, 12:12 AM
So you play around with the camera with your left hand and "accidentally" hit the trigger?

What lens (focal length) are you using?

Nice pictures!

chris

Yes, kind of, but more often with one of the fingers on my right hand. I use the 50mm series E, f1.8. It is the smallest lens I have, easy to carry around. Occasionally Nikkor 50mm f.1.4.

benjiboy
09-08-2011, 06:59 AM
I find with an eye level camera a useful technique to learn while shooting "street" is standing sideways to your subject so you are pointed in the opposite direction to them, and holding the camera to your ear,to fire the shutter not your eye, the failure rate at first is quite high, but they think you are listening to the shutter firing and never suspect they are being photographed. :whistling:

Erik Petersson
09-08-2011, 07:07 AM
I find with an eye level camera a useful technique to learn while shooting "street" is standing sideways to your subject so you are pointed in the opposite direction to them, and holding the camera to your ear,to fire the shutter not your eye, the failure rate at first is quite high, but they think you are listening to the shutter firing and never suspect they are being photographed. :whistling:

Can you see what you photograph?

benjiboy
09-08-2011, 09:58 AM
Can you see what you photograph?

At the actual time you take picture no, but but with practice the ratio of successful exposures improves .

Newt_on_Swings
09-08-2011, 05:22 PM
I find with an eye level camera a useful technique to learn while shooting "street" is standing sideways to your subject so you are pointed in the opposite direction to them, and holding the camera to your ear,to fire the shutter not your eye, the failure rate at first is quite high, but they think you are listening to the shutter firing and never suspect they are being photographed. :whistling:

I usually just zone focus distances, and shoot from where it hangs on my neck. after awhile you learn the approximate boundaries of your lens, and can level the camera. by tugging down on the neck strap for resistance, and holding it to chest, and holding breath, you can get very slow speed shots easily. very easy, very good results.

dfoo
09-16-2011, 05:46 AM
Yes, many of the photos were made at navel level. I think i might upload these pictures to APUG.

I posted them because I wanted to show that you sometimes are not noticed although you sit only a couple of meters from the one you photograph. Strange, but true. Bruce Gilden says something similar in the video above.

http://pics.livejournal.com/erikpetersson/pic/0006yc10/

That is a great image. Excellent results!

Erik Petersson
09-16-2011, 06:22 AM
Thanks a lot dfoo!
A opened a separate thread in which I ask for critique of my photos. I will be grateful for any suggestions and opinions. :)

http://www.apug.org/forums/forum288/96127-moscow-subway-portraits.html

Axle
09-22-2011, 03:14 PM
Whenever I go out and shoot on the street, I just go around, usually use a 50 or 105 lens, and yeah, sometimes people are open to it, and sometimes they aren't It doesn't bother me, I have yet to get hit or yelled at, just glares. Which often adds to the photo.

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6077/6113133583_5282639e65_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/axle81401/6113133583/)

lensworker
10-02-2011, 10:27 PM
I don't know why, but I don't have any trouble to speak of when photographing people on the street. Maybe location has something to do with it (I'm located in the midwest - "flyover land").

Perhaps in a big city, people can be more confrontational or aggressive. But I do recall reading that some people say that in New York City, people will see a street photographer photographing them and just ignore him/her because they are busy and in a hurry.

I just go out and photograph people - I have had people ask why but they are okay with it when I explain what & why I'm photographing. It could be that if a photographer is at ease and not acting nervous or jumpy, their subjects are put at ease by their demeanor. I would say that 95% of the time if I ask to photograph someone, they say yes - although probably 90% or more of the time I don't ask and just shoot as I want to.

I always carry some of my B&W work prints of my street photography to show people if they ask questions, and some of my postcards with my contact information, an image and my website address. When I show the workprints and give the person a postcard, this seems to establish that I'm a "legitimate" photographer and not some weird person who is up to no good.

The main thing in my opinion is to establish the fact in your own mind that you are doing nothing wrong, unlawful or immoral in doing street photography. This conviction will put you at ease and allow you to project a demeanor of relaxed, quiet professionalism.

When I photograph on the streets, I use a 28mm lens on a 35mm camera and generally shoot in the arm's length to eight feet or so distance range from my subjects. Arm's length works well in a more crowded area such as a farmer's market, street fair, outdoor festival or county fair.

If you want to photograph at arm's length, ease up to your subject and look thru your viewfinder at something other than your subject. Look thru your viewfinder, moving the camera around slowly as if searching or a subject to shoot. Your intended subject will eventually come to accept your presence and ignore you.

This is when you can slowly move your camera to include them in the viewfinder and make a few photos of them. After you shoot a few photos, keep your camera to your eye and look away from your subject.

Return to them after a short time (perhaps 20-30 seconds) and make a few more images of them. This seems to work for me without alarming or offending the subject(s) of my photos.

Give this technique a try and let us know how it works for you.

cliveh
11-24-2011, 05:30 PM
Read and tried enough things here and there. Tell me how do you take photos of complete strangers on the street without pissing people off, or how to blend in a way that they don't even notice you. Especially using a wider angle lens. For me, 8 out of 10 times I'll get the cold stare, or, they have that look in the eye which I know if I take a photo of them they're gonna go crazy on you. So my question is, how do you stick a camera in someones face without them picking a fight with you?

I would suggest that by asking a question like this, you should re-think your approach to the subject. Perhaps it is not about sticking your camera in someone’s face, or having any angst or hyper attitude when taking the shot, but complete relaxation. When considering street photography, why not try and learn from the greatest master of all time, namely HCB. To illustrate this point, let’s look at his picture that appeared on the cover of Picture post, with the caption “Military appraisal at Moscow trolley stop” taken in 1954.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2011/apr/24/henri-cartier-bresson-moscow-1954?INTCMP=SRCH

What do people do at trolley stops? Just go down your local bus station to find out and get a sense of what is happening (no, I don’t mean think about it, but actually go there). What you will find is that it is full of people waiting. If you suddenly appear at a location and start taking pictures, you will attract attention. If you go to a location where people wait and wait with them, after an hour or two you will dissolve into the invisibility of just another person waiting.

Having said that the shot in illustration is quite amazing. If you read HCB quotes, one of them states – “The difference between a good picture and a mediocre picture is a question of millimetres – small, small difference. But it’s essential. I don’t think there’s so much difference between photographers, but it’s that little difference that counts, maybe. - Henri Cartier-Bresson - quoted in the interview by Sheila Turner Seed. [cited in: “Popular Photography, May 1974, p. 142 “Henri Cartier-Bresson”]

Now, you may say that quotes like this are bullshit, but just look at the profile of the woman on the right and the small dark line separating the woman behind, who incidently, if not standing is walking in a direction to cancel this out.

StillKicking
11-27-2011, 11:48 PM
A) small camera
B) don't think about what people think.

Funny you should say that.. I find that when I walk around with my battered old Rolleiflex (not a small camera) people don't seem to mind.. in fact they often stop me and ask if they can look at the camera and are more than happy for me to take their picture. I think the eye contact helps and its easy to discretely shoot a frame without even being noticed.

Otherwise I use a very battered Leica M3 and shoot quickly. I try to pre focus so the camera is at my eye for no more than a second or two. Again, I find eye contact helps.. and if the person looks like they really don't want to have their picture taken then I just smile and move on.

benjiboy
11-28-2011, 09:21 AM
P.S my street photography pisses off my wife who can't understand why I "waste film taking pictures of people I don't even know" :)