Dienstag, 23. August 2016

Know your rights

Some days ago I had an unpleasant experience with a security guy. I was taking photos of a skyscraper in a public area in Hamburg. After I aimed my camera at the building I heard him shouting after me from three meters away. After I turned around he came closer telling me that I need a permission from the owner to take a photo of this building.


I asked him if he knows the German media laws and that there is no need for a permission for various reasons. He just repeated the same phrase over and over again. I had a bit of a short temper this day and told him that he behaving not in a polite way and that he is pestering me. I left the scene without listening to his angry voice anymore.

This incident showed me how important it is to know your rights as a private or commercial photographer. Maybe you get into a similar situation with someone more important than the security staff or the police. When you know your rights you can argue better and stay cool.

Cheers,

Nils

Freitag, 5. August 2016

Haters...

...gonna hate. The internet is a great place to hide and rant. After watching the latest videos from Eric Kim I browsed through the comments and was shocked by the amount of hate people put into some lines of text. They criticized the way he was taking photos in the video and some technical aspects. He must be doing it all wrong.

What is wrong with you guys? If you have something to mention then do it the right way:

"Don´t shove your camera into the subjects face and a wide angle lens will ruin the portrait."
(wrong)

"I saw in your video that you get real close to the subjects face. What are your experiences with wide angle lenses and how do the subjects react to this way of taken portraits?"
(right)

Be kind and ask question or make suggestions. What do you expect to happen when you post a hate comment on YouTube? Try to learn something from a living exchange not by offending other people.

It is a sad that such things are even going on in the street photography community.

Cheers,

Nils

Mittwoch, 27. Juli 2016

I need more time for photography

Really? When photography is very important for you but not your main source of income there are just small slices of time left for it.

Have you ever made a list how your day divided into certain actions:

  1. get up in the morning
  2. go to work
  3. work
  4. go back home
  5. grocery shopping
  6. cooking some food and eat it
  7. cleaning some things up, feeding the cats etc.
  8. watch television or play a game
  9. sleep
Maybe this is the typical daily routine for most people and there are some points that can have a tremendous impact on the amount of time that is left for your precious inspirational hobby. What can you do to get more time?

the daily grind...

You work too much

Sounds harsh, but sometimes we don't reflect on the things we do and forget that lifetime is limited until you die and that work is not the main thing you will remember on your deathbed. Maybe you can work a bit less and leave your workplace a bit earlier. Don't forget that you can't buy time back with all the money you made from your job. It is gone forever!

Integrate your hobby into your daily routine

When you have your camera always with you (like I do), you can take photos whenever you want. Think about all the photos that are possible in the daily grind. You also get a different viewing angle on things of your daily routine.

Stop watching television or playing computer games

Television and playing a computer game is not creative. It is nice to watch and play a bit but it can be a real waste of time if you do it too often. You are a consumer not a maker when you see things that are all made up for your entertainment. You get lazy and hypnotized and lose the sense of time and space. So many hours are running down the drain...



Try to make the daily grind feel like a little vacation

The best thing my wife and I did the last years was meeting up after work and explore our own hometown. It is a bit like being a tourist in your own city. And as a tourist you enjoy a good cup of hand brewed coffee and go for a walk to find new places and enjoy the place you already live. After a while you forget that work is just an hour away and time stretches and you feel like being on a great vacation. Pull your camera out of your bag and take some awesome photos to document this great time! ;-)

Reflect

The most important thing is that you take the time to think about your life and what are the things that make you happy. It is important to be honest and kind to yourself. Without a real evidence that there is a life after death we should try to get the most out of time that is left in a sand clock where the amount of sand is unknown. And read this manifesto, it contains all the important stuff to think about.

What are your thoughts about this topic? Leave me a comment!

Cheers,

Nils

Dienstag, 26. Juli 2016

Always be ready with zone focusing!

My camera is always set to a distance between 2,5 and 5 meters and an aperture of 8.0 (Auto ISO turned on). From time to time I turn the shutter dial to match the situation (between 125 and 1000). For most situations the camera is ready to take a photo instantly having everything in focus. There are so many things that are suddenly appear in front of your eyes and most of the times there is no time left to make various settings and get the focus right. The composition and the right moment are enough work to do in such a short time-frame.

Segways are nearly noiseless and the was a whole group of fancy dressed men passing by. This was the only usable photo I got in that split second.

With this setup you can react very fast and it is easy to set the camera back to auto focus or other settings. Remember how good it feels when you hang your camera around your neck ready for action. When you own a camera with simple dials like the Fuji X100s, you can set aperture and shutter-speed without turning the whole camera on and go into the menu. This is simple and great and you are in full control of what your are doing.

Every time I take my camera out of my messenger bag I check the settings. Do you work the same way? Just let me know in the comments.

Cheers,

Nils

PS: Also read my article about the OVF.

Freitag, 15. Juli 2016

Lines, holes and moving subjects

Composition and timing are good friends. When you find a good spot it is useful to camp there and wait for something to come into the frame. The following photo was made in a backyard of a group of small skyscrapers. Each building was painted in a different color and the backyard was mostly grey with some trees in the middle. I stopped by an interesting scene full of diagonals, shapes and an open frame that called for a moving subject walking into it.


The walking subject adds more life to the photo. The lines are leading the viewers eyes into the hole in the upper middle where the movement is taking place. The different shades of grey and the green and blue tones in the fore- and background creating an artificial and futuristic look. Perfect for an urban street photo.

I will print this one and hang it on a wall at home.

Cheers,

Nils

Donnerstag, 7. Juli 2016

Be a tourist

Do you need to travel far away to be a tourist? I don't think so. I live near Hamburg and I lived in the heart of this city more than ten years ago. I know many people who said that they haven't seen certain districts and places in their hometown. They just stick to their area and don't explore other places for whatever reason. Most of them are doing lots of stuff when they are on vacation. Why? What is the difference? It is so sad to miss a great park or a nice cafe because it is more than two miles away from the district you are living in.


 When I visit my beloved hometown I try to be a tourist and explore different places from north to south and east to west. And trust me, you will discover so many interesting places and it feels like being on vacation. Even the streets in front your flat look different if you switch into tourist mode. For street photography this mode is the best way to be a child again and capture great images.



Just start today and get yourself a tourist guide for your hometown and start to explore the place you life from a different perspective. Go to museums you never visited before (because you thought they were boring) or do a boat trip and try to be get lost between all the other tourists around you and enjoy the feeling of a short vacation. Document what you see and look at the many details and interesting situations that happen in tourist mode.

And don't take photography too serious and play around, otherwise you may miss a good shot over all the technical things.

Cheers,

Nils

Donnerstag, 16. Juni 2016

All you need is a camera and a smartphone

After a little defragmentation of my desk at work I found an old USB card reader in a drawer. I remembered that I also own an USB connector for my Samsung Note 3. Most of the time my X100s is always with me. But this camera has no wireless transfer. So I decided to use my time on public transport to edit photos on the fly.


And this was the first time I had this clicking noise in my head after I edited my first photo with snapseed on the fly sitting in the train on my way home from work. The results were awesome and it is so much fun to add some contrast and highlights to your photos instead of checking twitter and wasting time without creating something. And don't forget that your phone is also a quick and powerful camera in your pocket always ready to capture great photos.


I started to play around and create a visual diary that is more based on a quick and dirty workflow than sitting in front of an illuminated big screen at home trying to master lightroom. I experienced that DIY feeling again and enjoy it so much. It was just too simple and hidden away in front of my eyes ;-)


Sometimes we need to stop by and look at all the great possibilities we have with modern technology and use them to create things instead of consuming.

Cheers,
Nils