Before taking a trip on the motorbike yesterday (please scroll down if you're not interested in photography!) I replied to an email from my friend Mike Scruton, a Canadian and excellent photographer known for his "Metro Stalker" series. We have discussed over the past year or so Zone and Hyperfocal focussing. This is basically what I've been saying to him -
1) Zone Focus - Set the lens to a small aperture, f/8 or f/11 for example and move focus ring to line up to to say, 6 feet. Everything 6 feet away and over will be more or less in focus.
2) Hyperfocal Focus - Set to something like f/11. Move focus ring so the f/11 mark lines up to infinity marker. Looking to the left you’ll see the other f/11 marker will also line up to something like 6 feet. Now everything you shoot will be in focus from 6 feet to infinity!
This only works on wider lenses, 35mm, 24mm for example and small apertures (f/11, f/8). Once set though it’s quicker than autofocus because you just lift to your eye and click, no focussing at all. Obviously you need to ensure that you’ve set a fast enough shutter speed. Now Mike, here's a couple of photos taken using my iPhone of a Hyperfocal set up -
Someone will probably tell me I've got that entirely wrong which wouldn't be any surprise at all, but it works for me even so. With that out of the way, I decided to travel to Cheltenham for some Street Photography. Now the only reason for travelling is so I get to ride on my BMW1200 GSA, other than that there is no need. What I'm trying to express here is that I'm not hoping for something different, easier or better. I could go to my nearest town or city and get the same results. Yes, you have to put yourself out there, but anywhere will do. Cheltenham is famous for a few reasons, namely horse racing (The Cheltenham Gold Cup), the birthplace of Gustav Holst (Composer of The Planets) and more importantly I lived there for a brief period when I was six years old, to my dismay Cheltenham Town Council had decided not to put up a the place of interest Blue Plaque where I once I lived despite my numerous written requests (I'm joking of course!)!
Initially I had my 50mm Noctilux attached to the camera and really it's not ideal for Street Photography. It's great for this kind of thing though -
A quick stop for an overpriced coffee and I changed to my preferred lens, the brilliant Summicron 35mm. I'm not going to post lots of photos from the streets of Cheltenham, just two of my favourites. Firstly this guy walking past the Babour Advert, I saw the Ad and wondered if someone interesting will come past, literally 20 seconds later he appeared and even glanced down at the dog -
Secondly, and here's where the set up described above comes into it's own, was this guy jumping over a puddle. Not quite Henri Cartier-Bresson, but this one wasn't staged and I wasn't expecting it. Suddenly I saw him out of the corner of my eye running across the road, lift to eye, click -
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and my apologies to any non-photographers who will have found it mind numbingly dull for sure. If you wish to leave a comment please do, I'm always delighted to hear from you.
All photos were taken using Leica M, Summicron 35mm, Noctilux 50mm and even an iPhone!