Taking Pictures on the Move
There’s a new trend in photography, and that’s a growing trend for candid, unsolicited and perfectly random shots. This is embodied by the popularity of cell phone cameras. It’s also the main concept of lomography. Lomography as a brand uses cameras from Russia which are configured not to shoot what you see. The simplest explanation is that these are still cameras which have visual effects included in the camera.
And since the cameras are designed to create posterized shots, these are not good for realistic renditions. Lomography is more surreal and based on the feeling of the moment rather than the technical aspect of standard photography.
I may be biased, but I have not gone into lomography yet. My current direction is in digital still photography. However, I do understand the spontaneity being spoused by both cell phone cameras and lomography. I do have the tendency to shoot candid or stolen shots of people and of landscapes as well.
The candid shots do need a lot to setup. The first thing I do is to hide the fact that I am going to take a picture, all the while keeping the camera in the open where everyone can see. I try to get as many shots in the open, and with permission. This allows the people around to see that I’m taking pictures and they can relax and pose as they like. It breaks the ice, somewhat, and would expect to have their picture taken as well. If they don’t want to be included in any of the pictures, I would know immediately.
It would help a lot if there was no need for flash. But that’s an option which I don’t have much choice. And I would rather go with manual focus. Though auto-focus with a timer has work fine for me, assuming I know what would happen in 10 seconds. The reason I would rather go manual or aperture-priority automatic is for me to set the focusing distance, and shoot without any other preparation. Look through the viewfinder in that direction, set all parameters, and then turn and shoot the subject. It’s a nice exercise.
The spontaneous landscape shots don’t take much preparation. I usually do it while I’m on a moving vehicle and shooting out the window. The subject could be anything, sunset or sunrise, billboards, some hills or mountains in the horizon, or a river. To begin with, there’s not enough time to prepare, as the vehicle would be running with no regard for any picture I take. I usually focus on a distant object, with no auto-focus, and a fast shutter, with as wide an aperture as possible. And the lens should be a wide-angle, thoug a prime of 50mm works fine as well. Long lenses don’t usually work well; zooming in on a subject while on a moving vehicle does not make a good picture. You’d get more blurs.
I usually don’t have time for a light meter reading. The shutter speed may or may not be automatic. So far, I have had shoddy success, but the pictures are an aid to memory of my trips.