November 2010


Walk On

No trip to Beijing is complete without a visit to the Forbidden City, which truly deserves a day or two (more even) in your itinerary. Unfortunately we only had a couple of hours to walk through the site’s vast grounds. Better than nothing, of course, and I took the opportunity to practice street photography, which candidly frames human subjects within their environmental context.  It’s quite the challenge for me, a natural introvert, to take photos of strangers in public but I manned up and just did it.

The best advice from experienced street photographers I’ve put to practice is to smile while you’re taking photos. A natural smile, mind you, never creepy. Meter for ambient light and set your camera’s aperture and shutter speed well in advance, so you don’t waste time fiddling with your dials just when you see a shot coming together. When you find a backdrop you really like, compose the shot in advance, pre-focus on a sweet spot and just wait for a subject to walk into the frame. You can also keep your aperture as narrow as possible for maximum depth of field to keep things in sharp focus.

For these shots I used my vintage Olympus PEN S.  It’s small and discreet, and hardly makes a sound.  Its 30mm lens is wide enough to capture huge chunks of scenery and gives great depth of field. Perfect for street photography.

Fashion Rampage

(Okay, for this shot above I cheated: these aren’t strangers.)

Forbidden Walk

Open Window

Courtyard

I’ve yet to figure out if WordPress has a Readmore function, so I’ll cap this at five shots. If you want to see more from this set, feel free to view the collection at my Flickr account. Add me as a contact and I’ll add you back. Good night!

Among the cameras I brought to Beijing was a Nishika N9000, one of two 3D lenticular toy cameras I currently own. For the most part, the Nishika stayed in the hotel room as I opted to take only two cameras (out of five) at a time during our daily forays, and I had a hard time giving up my Oly rangefinder and PEN S. For our trip up the Great Wallof China, however, the Nishika was a definite must.

Like the Nishika N8000, the N9000 takes four half frame photographs simultaneously. You can take those frames and  process them in Photoshop and Stereophotomaker to produce 3D photos, either anaglyph or stereo pair. I managed to find time today in the middle of my workday to process a couple. It took me a while because I haven’t done this in so long, I kind of forgot my workflow. For shame.

Anyway, here’s a couple of shots in both anaglyph and stereo pair. I’ll add more as I process them.  Still have several rolls of film to go through, so expect a few more chapters from this Beijing trip.