Street with a 70-200

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by Petach, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Petach

    Petach SC All-Pro

    Oct 22, 2011
    UK, Essex
    Peter Tachauer
    On way home from France, stopped off for lunch in Honfleur, Normandy. Only had my 5d packing a 70-200 f2.8 with me. (didn't wanna leave that combo in the car) Tried street with some interesting results from shooting f2.8 at the thick end of the lens. Very shallow dof which I thinks suits these subjects. Shan't be doing it again in a hurry, but interested in effect.

    7101326159_6423b3d993.
    street with a 70-200 by petach123 (Peter Tachauer), on Flickr

    6955254796_8a6d410d92.
    street with a 70-200 by petach123 (Peter Tachauer), on Flickr

    6955254154_1b0ce76a9b.
    street with a 70-200 by petach123 (Peter Tachauer), on Flickr
     
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  2. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    I like the shallow DOF. That first photo really works for me.
     
  3. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    It's funny that as soon as longer focal lengths and shallower depth-of-field is used, street photography takes on a completely different feel; more remote, less intimate. An interesting experiment, nonetheless.
     
  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I really like the first Pete, and like the third pretty well too. As Nic says it really changes the whole feel, sometimes in a way that works, sometimes not. I've gone out with long lenses to do street shooting a couple of times. In both cases I came back with some decent shots, even a couple of good ones, and both times I really felt weird about the whole thing and didn't really enjoy it. It holds no appeal for me as a shooting experience, but I can't deny that it can work well in the right hands. That first shot, of the crystal clear guy through the tunnel of shallow DOF, is really pretty brilliant.

    Well done sir, but don't let it happen again! :biggrin:

    -Ray
     
  5. Petach

    Petach SC All-Pro

    Oct 22, 2011
    UK, Essex
    Peter Tachauer
    cheers guys. I know what you mean re the long lens. It made me feel more voyeuristic than getting in close and sneaky beaky. In plain sight with a big black box and ivory tube I felt very exposed. I am pleased with no.1 though, the 2.8 and great IS allowed me to hold still long enough to bang a couple out.

    And I won't do it again..........................:blush:
     
  6. BillN

    BillN SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Bill
    long lens street - less intimate, more distant

    It has a lot of appeal and tells a different story

    really interesting images

    - more experimentation maybe

    Thanks for posting - food for thought
     
  7. HeatherTheVet

    HeatherTheVet SC All-Pro

    Apr 23, 2011
    Scotland
    Heather
    I think the first one is great, works really well.
     
  8. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Hmm ... More voyeuristic for sure. Less intimate, I disagree. By taking photos from a far, there's slim chance that the photographer is interfering with the natural course of whatever he or she is trying to capture, while sometimes being even "closer" to the subject. I suppose the experience itself for the photographer is less intimate. But the photos themselves can be more intimate. Just thinking out loud.
     
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  9. nikki

    nikki SC Top Veteran

    519
    Sep 12, 2011
    Dublin ,Ireland
    i think they are all really good- very sharp and the shallow depth of field works !
     
  10. blb

    blb Guest

    How is shooting with a long lens any more voyeuristic than "getting in close and sneaky beaky" shooting from the hip? It seems to me like it's merely the difference between one peeper using binoculars to look in on the neighbor while the other hides in the bushes and peers through the window. Now, going right up to folks and shooting without hiding is a different story - I get that that is much different - not only in feel but in interaction. Otherwise, catching a moment is catching a moment - just like catching a butterfly is catching a butterfly - whether you have a 2 foot or 10 foot long net.
     
  11. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    LOL! I suppose the voyeuristic component comes much more from the point of view of the voyeur than the subject. Not that I would ever know anything about the voyeurism! :rolleyes:
     
  12. elsie350

    elsie350 SC Regular

    121
    Apr 7, 2012
    Great set of pictures, love the natural effect you've captured when people aren't aware of the camera
     
  13. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    That's right in theory, but in practice I just don't find it usually works that way. Pete has shown its possible to get some nice moments with a long lens, but MOST long lens street photography to me FEELS more voyeuristic when looking at it than something taken from closer in. Not all, but most. And I think that ultimately has something to do with the mentality of the shooter. I think if you're willing to get within a couple or few feet of the subjects, something about that proximity comes through in the shot. Like you're in the scene, rather than observing it from afar. I know I feel like I've "earned" it more if I'm right there, shooting from a distance somehow feels like street shooting by remote control. I know that shows up in my shooting (on the couple of occasions I've done it from a distance) and I believe I see it in a lot of long lens street photography.

    Once close, whether one raises the camera to the eye and is obvious about the shot or shoots from the hip and tries not to show his or her hand has more to do with whether the photographer wants to be part of the scene and involve him or herself in the shot or wants to be a mere observer and wants the shot to be as fully about the subjects' moment as possible and as little about the subjects' invovlement WITH the photographer. Its ALL voyeuristic in a sense but there are different types and degrees of voyeurism. To me, those distinctions matter. They may not matter to you or anyone else, but whether they matter to the shooter who's involved in the act is really the key question that usually affects the finished product.

    Catching a butterfly with a 100 foot net is also a lot more difficult than a 2-foot net and you probably have a whole lot less idea about whether the butterfly is really worth catching from that distance. To stretch your analogy.

    -Ray
     
  14. blb

    blb Guest

    Ray - I noticed that "hole" in my net analogy as well. Certainly, the photographer gets the feel of the scene more when shooting up close and personal and, at least in theory, I can imagine that this can be communicated to the observer, but assume that is sometimes more important to the photographer than the viewer.

    Maybe it's simply that there is a different sense I get from some long-lens street shots that I like. In, for instance, the image that others responded to so strongly in which the one guy is sharp against a blurred fore and background - part of the "creepiness" or uniqueness of the photo is that I have the feeling that, as if I am looking through the wrong end of the binoculars, though he appears far away, he is actually seeing me quite clearly. It is this sense that makes it an emotional shot - like I didn't know I was being watched until I enlarged a crowd shot. It feels as if voyeur and subject have been switched. Or, I've spent too much time looking at screens today.
     
  15. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Pete,

    I like it!

    I've seen some documentaries of folks shooting street with wide angle lenses, and it seems to me that they have to get so close to their subjects that instead of getting pictures of people being themselves (which I sorta thought was the point of street), they are actually getting pictures of people reacting to having a camera shoved in their faces . . . which is my long and windy way of saying I think your 70-200 experiment has merit.

    Cheers, Jock
     
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  16. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I'm not at all saying it can't be done - in fact I agreed that Pete DID IT in that shot. Just that its less likely, happens less often, etc, with long lens shooting than with closer, wider shooting. But, there are no rules, and a good photograph is a good photograph and that's a good photograph! But its worth thinking about general trends in what works and what doesn't, if for no other reason than to get the aspiring street shooters like some of us around here thinking about what we're doing in different ways.

    And Jock, there are different philosophies to street shooting but mine is to NOT stick the camera in anyone's face, to get close enough to get a shot with some emotional impact without becoming the focus of the shot myself because the subject is reacting to me. Whether that requires "sneaky-ness" or "stealth" or "subtlety" I guess is in the eye of the beholder. If the subject is reacting to me, then I generally consider that I've failed (although those shots sometimes work despite that failure, so nothing is hard and fast). And some shooters TRY to interact with the subject and make themselves part of the shot and some of those folks make it work really well and others don't. Lots of ways to skin the proverbial cat, but its very possible to get very close without sticking the camera in anyone's face or generally having them be aware of being photographed at all, or at least not until after exposure has been made.

    -Ray
     
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  17. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Ray,

    Thanks for the reply. In my mind, getting the photograph without having them be aware of being photographed is the goal. That, it seems to me, is what Cartier-Bresson achieved so well.

    Cheers, Jock