Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stop! He's Got a Camera!!

Last week I was shooting pictures downtown during my lunch hour. Nothing special really. It seems lately I have been favouring bikes and buildings. Anyhow, what really amazed me on that particular day is the number of times my partner had to tell people, "that's OK, you can go ahead" because people were reluctant to step in front of my lens while I had the camera to my face.

I really find it quite humorous because without the camera to my eye people's behaviour is markedly different.

I am sure we have all had cars brush close past us while walking through crosswalks. Most of us have probably had to make room on the sidewalk so groups of two or three, walking side by side could pass by without a collision. I have even been rundown on the sidewalk by a bicycle courier! But oh man, when that camera comes up to my face, suddenly, the world waits for me. It really makes me laugh.

"Is he taking a picture of this?"


I really do not mind people stepping in front of my lens. On the streets I expect it to happen and I try to operate as discretely as possible with minimal interaction with the people around me. I just want to go about my business quietly and efficiently.

I have never taken the time to see if the same thing happens with a little compact camera as opposed to a DSLR but my suspicions are that it would.

I guess on the bright side it is nice that people are making the effort to be courteous. What would be really grand though is if that was the default behaviour for all of us, every day, without the camera.

Keep shooting.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Change of Perspective

Tonight's 365 pic was hard. See below.


It is not a complicated or technically difficult picture. The hardest part was finding a fresh, interesting composition. The end result is not where I began. I actually started standing on a chair shooting down and had one, gridded, Canon 580EX II flash aimed directly at the flowers from about two feet above. I played with that position for quite a while. I would climb up on the chair, take a few shots, climb down, load the shots on my computer, evaluate them and repeat. I did this several times but found the pictures less than inspiring.

Continuing on I added another light to try and get the vase in the game too. Up until that point, shooting from above the flowers, the vase was barely visible at all. With the second light in place I tried various gobos and reflectors to modify the look. After a few variations and a few up-and-downs from the chair nothing was grabbing me so I stayed on the floor and with one hand on the second strobe and one hand on the camera I began to fire off some shots while repositioning the second flash. I reviewed the pictures and voila! I think I was on to something.

I had my new perspective. We typically are always looking at flowers from above so even though I had thrown some unique lighting on my subjects, it was the same old ho-hum look. But just the slight change of altitude and the flowers instantly looked unique and interesting. I played with the lights a bit more until I got a result I was pleased with.

Although it was not where I started, where I ended was a much more interesting place. I remember a scene from the movie Dead Poets Society where the teacher, played by Robin Wiliams, had all the students climb on their chairs just to get a fresh perspective. Heck if it can work in the movies, it can work in real life too!

Try a new perspective and keep shooting pictures.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010



Just the other day I reached my 31st shot of my first "365" project, a small but significant milestone. I still have 334 shots lying ahead but getting the first month done felt like a bit of an accomplishment.

The first few days were a bit tough. I had not done a lot of shooting in the previous two months and it felt like a struggle not only to find the time to make a picture but to come up with a bit of creativity each and every day. But a few days on things started to flow again. I regained my excitement and creativity and was looking forward to each new opportunity. And best of all it was forcing me to keep the camera with me much more than usual. As Chase Jarvis says, "The best camera is the one that's with you". I only have one camera so packing it along more frequently meant more pictures. Win!

This link will take you to my 365 project set and below are my two favourite shots thus far.


Get out there and take some pictures!