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Mark Heathcote

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street photography - night vs day

Published March 5th, 2012

I started learing street techniques in the middle of a British winter, mostly when going to and from work. At this time of year in the UK, daylight is at its shortest, meaning it is quite dark both in the way in to work and on the way home; quite dificult conditions for learning street (though I didnt know that at the time as I was just learning).

To state the obvious for the more experienced street photographer, here are the difficulties, and how I overcame them in low light and rapid shooting from the hip:

Autofocus wont lock:

The shot is there in front of me, a quick press of the shutter half way, autofocus hunts and hunts, the moment passes. OK, in bad light, in rapidly moving scenes that are gone in moments, autofocus just does not work 90% of the time. Fact. To get around this I rapidly learnt to use zone focussing - this is where manual focus is used, and set at a fixed distance, for example 2 metres. I now know that if I am good at guessing a distance of 2 metres I should g ...

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street photography - manual vs auto focus

Published March 4th, 2012

For my third post I want to relay my experiences from experimentation with street photography, specifically around focusing. Ok, some background:

I shoot alternately with a Fuji X100 and a Canon 5D Mark II (full frame), the latter with either a 28mm or 50mm fixed lens (the subject of later different blog article). The Fuji of course has a fixed lens equivalent to about 35mm.

So, to focusing on events that may happen really quickly what are the options and what works? First to the lens length - 28mm and 35mm have a greater depth of field than a 50mm lens at the same aperture, and hence are more forgiving, meaning that even if the focus point is not spot on, you still have a good chance of catching the action. I will come back to this...

Firstly, auto focus: I am not the most patient person, so mostly I don’t stand in one spot but keep moving, looking for something to happen. Many street photographers will hang around in one place (their 'stage') waiting for the 'actors' to play into ...

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street photography - small camera vs big camera

Published February 4th, 2012

I have tried a mixture of a Canon 5d2 SLR (alebit with a small fixed lens) and a Fuji X100 for street photos while trying to teach myself street techniques - here is what I found...

I felt a bit more self conscious with the Canon, but in reality, with either round my kneck (or in hand), most people didnt take a great deal of notice anyway. There were two real differences though which would mean me choosing the 5d2 most of the time...

Camera in hand / hip shooting: The grip on the 5d2 makes it very comfortable to hang from the right hand as you walk around - even if you dont have a wrist strap (you can wrap the main strap round your wrist for security). The smaller X100 doesnt have such a grip (as per most non SLR cameras) and i found my hand cramping within minutes of trying to keep the camera at ready in my hand. It was also a lot harder keep my finger on the shutter in such a position.

Speed: The main problem i found with the x100 is the start up time. I missed a number of shots b ...

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learning street photography

Published February 4th, 2012

The last 3 weeks have been spent trying my hand at some street photography - trying to find the right techniques that work for me...

things I have tried:

big camera (canon 5d2)

small camera (fuji x100)

28mm vs 50mm

remote trigger with camera round kneck

shooting from the hip with wrist strap

autofocus vs pre set manual (zone focusing)

night and day

black and white vs colour (color for our american friends)

overcoming fear of being attacked

manual vs semi auto

learning to 'see'

I am going to blog about each of these experiences, and more as i continue to learn.

See my best shots so far are at: 500px.com/markheathcote - please give your feedback good and bad to help me on the journey.

Also to be found at:

markheathcote.500px.com

www.flickr.com/markheathcote

www.markheathcote.com

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