street photography tips

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by rweakins, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. rweakins macrumors 6502

    rweakins

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    #1
    I am going to be in Johannesburg, South Africa for two weeks during the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup and wanted to get some tips on street photography. I'm going on a mission trip and will be in/near the slum areas of Soweto for much of the time I'm in South Africa. The rest of the time will be spent in the FIFA FanFest areas (much like an olympic village setting).

    I wanted to get some tips as far as general street photography goes ie- lenses to use and so on.

    I'm excited to go and know the picture possibilities will be endless. any poitners are much appreciated.
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    Insure your gear. Johannesburg, especially the slums, is not the greatest of places when it comes to safety.

    Not kidding.
     
  3. rweakins thread starter macrumors 6502

    rweakins

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    #3
    already done.

    my camera will not leave my sight, probably won't leave my hand, for those two weeks.
     
  4. optophobia macrumors 6502a

    optophobia

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    Location:
    Hudson MA
    #4
    OP, Let me translate your first post for you :

    I am going to see the World Cup !

    [/Gloat]
     
  5. rweakins thread starter macrumors 6502

    rweakins

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    #5
    haha something like that. may be getting tickets to north korea v brazil at ellis park!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! my head may explode from excitement.

    i'm estimating that i'll take over 5000 pictures while i'm in south africa.
     
  6. optophobia macrumors 6502a

    optophobia

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    Hudson MA
    #6
    HAve you got some good action zoom lenses for the games ?
     
  7. rweakins thread starter macrumors 6502

    rweakins

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    #7
    at the game i'll use a 70-200 f4L.... if they let me bring it in. i will be getting a 24-70 f2.8 soon and i think that will probably be my "walking around" lens while i'm in the streets.
     
  8. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #8
    As much as I like photography, taking a camera into Soweto is crazy. That is one of the most dangerous places in the world and you will be flaunting wealth. If you insist on carrying the camera, check out this link, you may come out without getting stabbed.

    http://boingboing.net/2009/05/16/uglified-theft-resis.html

    My uncle lives in Kenya and routinely visits SA, but he stays in either a building or vehicle while in SA, no walking and definitely no camera. You will probably be ok in the fanfest area as you will be one of many that look the same, but as soon as you get off the beaten path and start to stand out, things can get bad very quickly.

    Good luck.
     
  9. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #9
    not much to say, really, other than look at what others have done and just experiment. it's best done with with a wide angle or standard lens (28-50mm on 35mm). stop down to f/5.6 or f/8 so there is context for your subject - obliterating the background shouldn't be your default effect. get close. stopping down and using the focusing scale will help you shoot "off the hip" if needed.

    again, do your best to get close. small primes are a little less conspicuous, but you'll be conspicuous either way if you act like it.

    and if you don't know already, street photography isn't just about taking pictures of poor people...some people don't seem to get that.


    "If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough." -Robert Capa
     
  10. rweakins thread starter macrumors 6502

    rweakins

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    #10


    sounds like the 24-70 should be a good bet. and i definitely don't think street photography is all about pictures of poor people. I'm going to be in Johannesburg during the day and during games in an atmosphere where there are 32 different nationalities of people cheering and going crazy in the streets... should be amazing.


    forgot to quote the post with the link there above....i'll have to look at that later... url is blocked at work....

    I definitely understand the atmosphere and situation of Soweto as I have been on many trips to third world countries and stayed for a week or two in areas similar to those.
     
  11. iTiki macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    #11
    Others have warned you of the dangers. That said, I would take a long lens and running shoes. Maybe a pocket tazer that looks like a mini flashlight if you are not a fast runner. Best of luck to you.
     
  12. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #12
    Are you an experienced street photographer? If not, this may not be the best time and place to start.

    Being a true street photographer takes a good deal of experience.
     
  13. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #13
    If someone tries to steal your camera, just give it to them. Beats getting shot, then having your camera taken (of course, they could shoot first anyway).

    Take something that's inconspicuous, which you can stuff in a pocket or bag easily. An Olympus Pen with standard lens might be good.

    Go out and practice taking pictures of people in the street without drawing attention to yourself. Know your gear, shoot quickly, then look away from the person whose photo you've taken.
     
  14. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #14
    As for low-key gear: here's an interesting new camera that doesn't look digital (especially if you ink out the word "digital"):

    (click to enlarge)

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

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    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #15
    I agree with everyone else on the camera gear, and raise you a slash proof camera strap.
     
  16. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #16
    Just for fun:

    How bout renting a Leicaaaaaaaaaa. I heard that they say in China if there is a sign of no photography and you use a DSLR, the shop owner will chase you out but if you use a Leica they don't care cause it look like a real old worthless camera >.<

    Just for fun people :D

    However, the size of a Leica M and its lens size looks tempting especially for those travelers who are willing to pay the price to get the upmost image quality from their trip. And with the looks of a Leica M (old looking camera) helps in being discrete. Don't you guys think so?
     
  17. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #17
    Another vote for a more discrete camera. I would probably avoid a dslr. If you really want to use your dslr, use a prime instead of a pro zoom. But really, I'd try to get something like a Sigma DP1/DP2 or even a Leica. They're small, discrete and don't look like much.

    Or I'd get an old film slr (e. g. Olympus OM series) with a 35 mm lens. They look old coz they are old, but reliable.
     
  18. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #18
    And correct me if Im wrong but from what I've seen, people get scared easier when they see a pro grade lens pointing at them then a smaller diameter lens.

    I dont mind if it's an event cause these people knew that I'm a photographer so likely the photos will be used related to the event but when it is the street, I do think that the size of the lens will make a huge difference (which is another reason why rangefinders are so popular for street photographers [though I'm not saying that there are many DSLR street photographers out there too])

    Also, since the Leica M will likely be out of most people budget (although I wont lie of dreaming about owning it sometime in the future), the recently release Leica X1 is appealing, although the fixed focal length will affect some people buying decision but in my opinion, if someone really loves street photography and dont have enough money to own a rangefinder yet, a 35mm will be enough (Leica X1 lens is approx 35mm FoV).
     
  19. rweakins thread starter macrumors 6502

    rweakins

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    #19
    i'm not as worried about getting mugged or robbed as i'm traveling with a group but i'm also not naive about the danger that will be there. I've done some street photography (not a ton) but enough to be able to shoot quickly and go unnoticed for the most part. Also in the FanFest areas I don't think being inconspicuous will be absolutely necessary as the majority of wild fans love being photographed and showing their team spirit.
     
  20. Dman77 macrumors member

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    May 23, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #20
    You're a braver man than me, even in a group I wouldn't go anywhere near that place without a camera, let alone with one.
     
  21. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    #21
    Congratulations, you are now a Darwin Award contestant! Let's be blunt.

    What on earth do you think you are doing? Do you have any realistic vision here at all, or are you somehow caught up in some last-century notion of helping society by shooting the 212,943th documentary about poor people who live in bad places?

    You think they will somehow catch your "I'm cool and want to help" vibe and pose for you in their rags in front of their unspeakable hovels?

    Or will they see someone they can kill and make a hundred bucks? Hmmmm, what do you think? Oh, sorry, you are so caught up in the romance of this that you consider yourself sort of, uh, heroic! Ooh, ooh, I will change the political system when people see the plight of incredibly unprepared people! No, you won't. This hasn't been done in our lifetime.

    No poor people like to be photographed, none anywhere in the world anymore. "Colorful" poor people haven't willingly let themselves be photographed for the last 50 years.

    Many of those "candid" shots of poor people are done by well-guarded photographers who also hand out the cash. You do this anywhere in the world where you are the rich one and they are the poor ones, or if they simply don't like you even one bit (and they don't).

    Oh, and make sure you wear colorful soccer clothing and a nice new pair of athletic shoes.

    And, you intend to take photos of people running around on a field far away from the cheap seats? In the US, at least, I'm sure everywhere in the world, field sports, football, baseball, etc. are shot with fast, huge rented lenses mounted on the top FX Nikons and Canons. And they are on the field level!

    Your cameral and lens choices are far below what would actually work at the game and will for sure get you beaten and killed later anyway.

    Oh, I forgot, you are going in a group! Yup, you can bet they will protect you when a band of murderous thugs comes your way! Think you can take them in a fight? I say no. And when guns and knives come into play? I see running, screaming and begging for mercy.

    Good grief, sometimes it is good to realize that you are not as smart as you sometimes think you are. If a little voice says "this is stupid" it is. True every time. If you have to rationalize your stupid idea on a world-wide forum with total strangers, you know down deep that your idea was stupid.

    Also, remember that your dumb idea is also selfish. Many others will suffer, you are tempting people to commit a crime, who knows hundreds of thousands of dollars might be spent medically and legally. Reminds me of people who climb mountains in the winter and all sorts of people have to try to rescue them, spend huge sums of money on this and often lose their own lives. Lots of people, loved ones, friends and relatives, suffer through all this and often their own lives are torn apart.

    The climbers think nothing of this because they are thinking only of themselves, their quest, their heroic endeavor. Pretty self-centered I would say, and actually stupid and inconsiderate as well, and narcissistic. Sort of like your stupid photo safari.
     
  22. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #22
    Harsh but fair.

    I'm sure there will be mad security in SA for the World Cup, but Jo-burg is a properly dangerous city. If you've never left the West, you have no idea how the price of life differs in other countries. In parts of SA, it is very cheap indeed.
     
  23. rweakins thread starter macrumors 6502

    rweakins

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    #23
    you're ridiculous. i'm in no way going to photograph poor people or going to change the political system of the country. I'm going to teach soccer camps at a soccer complex in joburg and going to FanFest to watch the games and mingle with people from all over the world. while doing this i plan on taking pictures....not of poor shanty town natives but of fans and people who come to the camps. i'm not stupid i know what type of lenses the pros use and that they are on the field ( i shoot sports for my university's paper...from the field ). Nonetheless we all know the longer lens just gets you closer i.e 70-200.

    i've been in parts of the world just as dangerous as joburg.. kabul, rio de janiero, caracas. i've been around the crime and violence so i do know what i'm getting into.

    i'm just glad you know so much about all of this
     
  24. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #24
    This kind of drivel is completely hyperbolic and unfair. It's spoken like a person who has never been outside his own comfort zone and views people in the rest of the world as savages.

    There is danger all over the world, and even the United States has more than its share of it. Street smarts are necessary in any urban locale; nonetheless, even in the darkest of them, there are people who genuinely want to share something of themselves with individuals who exhibit a level of respect. If you go into any place thinking of the residents as "The Other," then you're likely to appear hostile, and hostility may be directed back at you. However, if you try to make friends with people, walls tend to come down, and doors tend to open. Common sense and caution in combination with courtesy and respect can go a long way. It really helps to see other people as fellow human beings, no matter where they live.

    carlgo's virulent and paranoid attitude is the stuff of hate mongering. I detest it.
     
  25. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Folding space
    #25
    I agree. Your quoted post from carlgo is the kind of meandering self-centered waste of space by a better than thou with too much time on it's hands that caused me to stop posting in, or even reading the Design and Graphics forum.

    Dale
     

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