Remember almost two years ago I quoted this;
‘Free warns that as few as 1 picture out of a hundred turns out well.
Do the math: if we add his 99% failure rate to Cartier-Bresson's “your first 10,000 pictures are your worst,” and Ansel Adams's “12 significant pictures a year is good,” we could expect to make photos for eight years and more just to achieve competence! Perhaps that is why, after 47 years, John Free still practices.’
…and two weeks ago I announced that I was ‘Getting Closer’ . Man, it’s a roller coaster of a ride this Street Photography! Anyone who practises ‘Street’ will know the feeling all too well. Up one minute, down the next. There are times when no thing or no one seems to align how you want them and when you see a shot it’s so often scuppered as to be unbelievable. We soldier on, because it isn’t life changing, no one died and mainly because we love it. I thought I’d quickly show some shots from last weeks expedition to Bath.
Some of that day’s photos are okay, but not hitting the mark. I know what I want to create, it’s difficult to put into words, when and if I ever do I’ll let you know. In the meantime;
In my blogpost ‘Getting Closer’ I mentioned that I would try switching from ‘Hyperfocal’ and to get in a little closer using Zone Focussing. Setting the focus ring to the minimum distance, which is about an arms length, would allow me to be very near. My only concern was that I’d essentially be using selective focus, so although I’d be at f/11 not all would be in focus and that was proved correct. I want everything in focus, my belief is that all Street Photography should be this way. Here’s an experimental shot to demonstrate why it doesn’t work, even at f/11 it looks as though it’s shot at f/4. I understand how I could be Zone Focussing at say six feet or whatever and it would be fine, but the point was to be really close, be able to quickly click and have the foreground in focus. Hyperfocal does that almost perfectly. As seen below (and I only place it here as an example) zone focussing at close range just doesn’t cut it…
Of course I’ve probably got this all wrong and talking out of my….! Either way, I’m reverting back to my usual method and if I want that kind of effect I can always open the lens up a bit and simply manually focus…
I see little point in bokeh or out of focus areas with Street though. We want to see everything that’s going on in the scene.
Let’s have a show of hands on that…all those in favour raise your arm and say ‘Aye’! You see, these lot all agree ;-)
As always my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read this blog.
All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with Summicron 35mm Lens fitted.
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