Street Photography and Real Edinburgh

I’ve stared doing this little street photography thing lately. You might even like to check it out at Real Edinburgh. I figured it was diverse enough to what I usually do to warrant doing it totally separately on a new blog.

When I started this a few weeks ago, my intention had been to document life in Edinburgh, from the city centre to the rough council estates. What I didn’t expect though, was the see photography in a whole different light. I have to admit, I was getting a little jaded with my usual styles as I always seemed to be at the same places photographing the same things and I was, dare I say it, getting a little bored. When I find I have to motivate myself to get out with the camera it’s time to try something new.

This street stuff though was a totally different discipline, a bit scary to start with and also quite liberating photographically. I used to carry around at least 1 DSLR body, 5-6 lenses, filters, remotes and a myriad of little bits and bobs, not to mention a tripod to indulge in photography. For the street though, all I take is the D7000, 18-200mm VRII lens and that’s it. Now, I know this isn’t probably your usual “street” kit, but since I can’t afford a Lecia M9 I’ll have to make do and the 18-200mm VRII provides flexibility with the added bonus of the VR.

I also decided to forego colour and shoot mainly in monochrome. Camera settings are easy, lens wide open, preview set to mono, ISO 800 or above, aperture priority and off I go. Rather than worrying about the technicalities of the shot, now I concentrate solely on the composition and light and what an eye opener it’s been. Try doing this stuff handheld in the streets after dark and you’ll really come to appreciate the importance of seeking out light.

Getting used to photographing people too was a challenge. What I want to avoid at all costs is any interaction with subjects. I don’t want posed shots, I want them doing what they are doing without concentrating on me. At first, I was overly wary of photographing people but as time goes on you start to relax and find more inventive ways of getting the shot largely undiscovered. Of course, there’s a large element of hit and miss but the hits make the misses worthwhile.

I’ve also noticed a new edge to my more usual landscape photography, since I’m not concentrating on that 100% of the time it’s interesting me more again. It’s actually nice occasionally to get out and about with a ton of equipment and indulge in the technicalities of the deeper camera settings. It’s nice to take some of the principals of the street stuff and transpose these over to other styles.

I couldn’t recommend this as a style enough to anyone looking for a new photographic challenge. Of course, I’ve got a lot to learn but for the time being at least, its fun and breathing new life into the hobby for me. Please check out the other blog at Real Edinburgh, all feedback is very much appreciated.

A few of my favourite shots from the project so far…

3 responses

  1. ah now i can get into this kind of imagery! but the poor soldier makes me sad ;(
    still, nicely done!

    November 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm

  2. “Of course, there’s a large element of hit and miss but the hits make the misses worthwhile.”

    Oho! I can absolutely agree!

    Parishioners have told me often enough, “You take a lot of photos.”

    I chuckle.

    Uh, yeah, I respond. I take a lot of bad photos; so the more I take, the greater my chances of getting a few good ones.

    To quote Tweety Bird, “It’s twue. It’s twue.”

    On a different note, your writing is pretty good, too, by the way.

    November 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    • Thanks very much, I’m not at all confident of my writing abilities so that comment means a lot.

      November 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm

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