Sunday, March 25, 2012

Talk is cheap.

     Well, that's what I often say.  There are times when I read photography forums and some people seem to show like they've done some things first-hand; only to discover that their statements mostly comprise of Google searches.  Probably something they've read and just assumed it is what it is, without really confirming it.  There's nothing wrong with reading and sharing it.  It's how it's being shared that bugs me sometimes.

     From my previous blogs where I talked about getting a new lens and learning how to work with it, I finally got the chance to go out and just use it.  It wasn't as intimidating as I initially thought.  As posted on my last blog, I got this comment about using an f/1.4 lens at f/8.  So as I stepped away from my bike, I thought to myself, "I'll set the lens at f/1.4 and stick with it no matter what."  This was new to me.  Being used to f/13 and smaller for landscapes, and only currently used f/8 at Gangwon-Do, such a wide aperture is just something I'd never imagine using.  But here I was with my new lens and about to get myself some experience.

     The first thing that came to my mind was DOF.  I found a spot of neatly arranged shopping carts outside a closed mart.  It's funny how my eyes went to photography mode as soon as I held my camera.  The problem is, I thought f/1.4 would give me enough light to see a lot at night, so I was stupid enough not to bring my tripod.  Boy, did I regret that.

The problem with looking through the viewfinder with this lens, I just can't see how DOF affects the image.  At this point, I was just hoping for some effect and wait until I see the results on my computer.
I have been told I'll be getting myself into trouble shooting at night without a tripod.  I never really realized this until now.  This, I think was my 6th take on this specific image.

So to further educate myself, I took the challenge of hitting the right focus in such a situation.  Hand-held, night time, no flash, f/1.4, manual focus, and demands 1/5 of a second with 200 ISO.  At this time, I still didn't trust my camera's ISO capability.  Boy, was I in big trouble.  Furthermore, having just the default focusing-screen didn't help me much.  Looking through my viewfinder, the chain was as sharp as I could ever get.  Blowing it up on my monitor... well... you can see how disappointed I am.

     Talk about building confidence, I really want to get into Street Photography or even Journalism.  But like most beginners out there, I don't have enough confidence to just take a picture of people in-their-faces.  So I thought of starting small.  Just a little interaction with the people on the street.  I happen to pass by the market and found some things I think are worth while.  They may not be people, but I had to interact with some people before taking a picture.

I can immediately tell how disappointed the lady was when I told her I just want to take pictures instead of buying at least one.  At this point, I already told myself to suck it up and brave the consequences, and pretend to be a jolly-friendly-smiley person.  I had to take a 2nd shot with this as I find a better focus point.  When I showed the seller the image on my screen, I'm relieved that she was satisfied.

I've seen this dog stay at this stall even when it's closed.  I don't know whether he's a stray or not but there's a story behind this picture.  Despite people looking at me, wondering why I'm taking pictures of this ordinary scene (I overheard them talk), I concentrated on what I feel for this dog.  He seemed alone, detached, and just feel fortunate to have a space for himself.

Almost all stalls are closed now and I found this dead bulb from an empty stall in the side-walk.  Behind it is a street light, and I thought of capturing the image of the street lamp inside this bulb.  Unfortunately, sticking to such a wide aperture (I think) it came out different.  Fortunately, I think I like it this way; a bokeh acting as a halo on the bulb.

     As I put my camera down, I realized that I was 2 meters away from a motorcycle accident.  When I saw what's happening, I'm battling 2 thoughts inside of me.  Whether I take pictures regardless of how people might react, or call the police.  As I hear the only injured woman (that people are just staring at), I just don't have the heart to exploit her condition... then again, I was also scolding myself (in my thoughts) for not being a true journalistic photographer.  What I did, though, was aim my camera at a student trying to take pictures of the victim, with her phone.  I spotted her while lifting her camera and reacted that way with a cold stare.  She got the message and hid her phone.  It makes me angry how phones are now used to exploit people instead of calling for help.

     Looking at this session's result, I found a deep appreciation with wide aperture settings.  It's fun to go manual (as I expected) and the challenge is healthy.  It's not easy, but I'm enjoying having to learn more about it.  I'm also proud of myself for being a bit more brave.  Small step.  But it was an effort to me.

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