Friday, February 15, 2013

Street Photography in 2013

Happy Lunar New Year to all my Chinese friends and readers. Here's one of the first few digital street photos in 2013 - a cyan white car parked outside Lasalle new campus. Taken with my Samsung S3 LTE phone camera. Cropped and post-processed in Snapseed app. I do not know much about cars so I do appreciate if any kind soul would be helpful to share some info. More after the jump.

Well as a matter of fact, I've started doing street photography on film with my Seagull 205 rangefinder camera since January. I'll be preparing for the film development and scanning soon and will post some of the street photos here and upload the rest on my website. Will keep you guys posted.

As for today I took a little break from film and went back for digital, but not with my DSLR camera. Instead I done it with my mobile phone camera. Let me share with you some of my shooting experience.

In the past I have used my old mobile phone camera to do some simple casual daily life photography and not so much on street photography. Today's experience proved to me that it's fun and challenging at the same time. The pro  side of using mobile phone camera is that it's more stealth than using a rangefinder, not to mention using a bulky DSLR. As mobile smart phones are so common these days, any one can just pull it out and shoot whatever is interesting. It's so common that bystanders and strangers on the street don't really bother or even care what you are shooting. Suffice to say, I can shoot people on the streets without their notice (depends). in the end I'm able to get some natural candid shots.

The cons of using these gadgets are of their image quality and focussing speed. Battery life is another great concern. Battery power consumption is so high, one fully charged battery won't last more than 2 hours, when shooting continuously. As you all know, if you set the LCD screen brightness level to the max and with many other phone functions and apps on, your phone battery life is going to drain out faster.

Image quality can be improved by setting the image resolution at the highest, say 8 mega-pixels (3264x2448) which is good enough to send for printing at a photo lab, but however the phone camera softwares requires power to process and save the images when snapped. Focussing requires some shooting techniques to achieve sharp images. Need a lot of practice in regards to anticipation and composition.

Overall I find it's fun and exciting to use phone camera but best to bring along my real camera to shoot so that I'm still able to receive and make phone calls, and SMS or Whatsapp or whatever. I wouldn't want to spend money on extra phone batteries. Personally I believe in using the proper right tool for the right job. Well don't let these limitations stop your creativity. Learn when to use a phone camera at the right time and I'm sure you'd still have lots of fun.

Before I end this blog, here's another street photo in black and white. More street photos will be posted here in the future. One or two at a time. So do stay tuned.

Shadow Mapping