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Friday, 16 March 2018


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This "use the right tool for the job" is a bit meaningless to me. How does it help me choose a camera to buy or use? I'm not sure it does. If it depends on so many factors, PLUS my personality, then how can I possibly narrow it down? Plus, what's wrong with letting the tool you have change your approach to the job? Given all this, I just buy a camera I like and work out how to use it for the best. Sometimes I buy the right camera, sometimes not. I don't fret too much about it.

Yep, we are all screwed together a little differently. I'm slightly shy about photographing people, but I also don't really care for the stealth approach (small camera at your side, move it up quick for a shot or perhaps take a hip shot). Seems too sneaky. So instead I wear my camera front and center like a tourist, and I get around some of my shyness either by photographing in crowds, or staying in one place longer, looking like I'm concentrating on something (which I am). Of course in Duluth, if someone sees me taking a picture of a building, they stop and wait until I'm done before walking in front of me, even though what I hope is they ignore me so I can get them in the shot.

The "thirty something female photographer" that you knew sounds just like the wonderful Jane Bown. She came over as unbelievably quiet and unassuming in interviews but always managed to get a wonderful shot of whichever celebrity she was photographing.

My very favorite camera is the one that runs, and is bought and paid for...

With best regards,


I love Wynton Marsalis' music, especially 'Black Codes' and 'Standard Time'. Don't suppose you have that 35mm shot to hand?

Busted! In my entire catalogue of personal work, I have exactly two images that have recognizably human figures in them... I just finished reading Jay Maisel's "It's not the f-stop". There's a guy who finds it difficult to make photos that don't have people in them. After finishing the book I looked at the photos I made after a week in the Netherlands. You'd think a neutron bomb had gone off in Utrecht and Amsterdam: there's not a soul to be seen. I can remember having to wait for those annoying people to get out of the frame!

Another example might be between people who like to photograph adventitiously, all the time and wherever they are, vs. those who like to photograph only when they're photographing, on planned trips or scheduled outings.

And then there are the borderline obsessives like me, who do both. Who have their 'good' kit for scheduled project outings but always carry a decent pocket camera to exploit opportunities that turn up unexpectedly.

Well, I say borderline... ;-)

There's a bit of chicken-and-egg in this Mike - the sort of camera you use can affect your style and the way you relate to people, and the resulting photographs. When I put down my 5D and large 24-105mm lens and picked up a Barnack and small prime for street shooting, I found it easier to be unobtrusive and for the most part my pictures were better.

But when I tried street shooting with a TLR it got very interesting. Suddenly people were not only noticing me, but approaching with a smile to ask about the camera and generally being delighted that I would take their picture with it. The TLR also meant most people didn't realise when I was taking a photograph (due to the viewing arrangement), so in some cases it was even more discreet than the Barnack!

". . . some photographers are outgoing, extroverted, and socially adept, and they have a much easier time photographing people, especially photographing strangers. Other people are quiet, introverted, or socially awkward, and is it any wonder they gravitate towards empty landscapes and unpeopled streets?"

I fascinates me how narrow people can be in their thinking. H C-B and his gazillion followers shoot people in the street close up, with short lenses, small, agile cameras, and so on.

We all know that H C-B had no choice, pioneering new use of new cameras. We don't have those limitations today. I am slightly introverted, but neither socially awkward nor congenitally quiet. Yet I prefer to shoot people in public places from a distance, with longer lenses and without their knowledge.

I was out shooting lst Fall with one of those outgoing types. He herded four kids together to sit on a stone wall. I took the same shot he set up from behind him. I much preferred my candid shots before and after.

I find that using long lenses allows me to capture natural poses and expressions that getting closer would inevitably change. For better or worse is, I suppose, a matter of taste.

These photos happen to be from Bhutan, 'cause that's where I most recently shot people pix, but I've done the same thing on the streets in other places, including Brooklyn.

These shots don't happen without a long lens.

Occasionally, I'll be noticed in the act, and get an interesting shot as a result.


Did she Just Wink at Me?

What Cell Phone?

Persuading strangers to be photographed, in the street or elsewhere, is a lot easier for me now that I can legitimately start with "Excuse me, I'm a student....". At 60-odd I must look a bit unlikely but the generally held belief that students do all manner of harmless arty tosh generally works in my favour!

Gearhead photographers tend to overthink things.

The right camera is different for every person and every situation. You may have to make compromises or use multiple cameras.

Part of my problem is that I just love cameras. I don't think the interaction with them makes better art, but the interaction with them makes it more or less fun to attain any particular artistic or technical objective. When I listen to world-class musicians perform on substandard equipment, the result is usually still world-class. But they may be fighting a giant battle with those instruments to get those outcomes. Some cameras make some things easier and other things more difficult. But we still have to make the photos.

Yes, what camera you use has a certain effect on the people you photograph.


Dressing the part can do a lot too. Pro tip: a nice seersucker suit has an amazing effect on people.

Isn't that a mirror image of you holding the Panasonic camera with the view finder at 45 degrees? If so, you are using your right eye, not your left eye. I can't find anything else in the picture, except the TP holder, to verify, but I suspect the holder is actually open on the right side, not the left side as it appears.

[How about the word "Lumix" to verify? It is indeed a mirror image, which means I'm shooting with my left eye. --Mike]

Her’s a somewhat unrelated question. Perhaps my all-time favourite camera was a Konica Hexar. And then one day it just went and died. No chance of a repare. So, my question is what would be the present day closest camera - I guess digital - to the Konica Hexar?

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