Composition Q & A
Can you talk a little bit about where you were focusing when using this mirror with the subject, with kind of the different types
This one's out of focus, so I wasn't focusing anywhere.
Like, starting at that beveled one.
Yeah so the beveled one. So, basically, when you're shooting in a mirror you're actually doubling your distance, if that makes sense. It can really trick your auto focus. This camera that I'm using right now, the Sony a7R III, has eye-AF, so if I hit eye-AF it locks onto the eye. That's really great for shooting in mirrors, cause we want if we focus on her beautiful eyes. But towards the end I was struggling to get the focus because, you know, the hands were up and it was messing with auto focus so I actually just flipped it to manual focus, and used the focus peaking to dial it in. That's how it's focusing. On the bevel... The bevel is the part of the mirror that kinda angles off. And what I'm doing is, I'm moving my lens back and forth along the edge of that f...
all off, and I'm literally looking at the view finder and just once I start to see that double image, I start shooting. And you saw me move it around a few times, shoot a few different angles. Can we pull up one of those again? Again, trial and error, just figuring out where where those images are falling. It's just like lenses, every mirror is gonna have a different look, a different signature. But it's kinda fun, it's like a self-balancing situation. Thank you so much for your help, I appreciate that. Does anyone have anymore questions? With grids like this it's really simple to make a balance.
So, a lot of your shots, especially in the fog were done in fairly low light, do you use tripods, or anything? Or monopods, when you're out there, do you use that stuff?
So I use Manfrotto tripods. For all that street stuff that I showed you, though, those are all handheld. Again, the Sony in low light, I can shoot up to, like, 6400 ISO and I don't even blink. So that's really helpful for me, in those kinds of situations I'm shooting at the edge of what's possible handheld for sure. But at one-sixtieth, ISO thirty-two hundred, two eight, But at one-sixtieth, ISO thirty-two hundred, two eight, in a lot of those shots. And I'm shooting very under-exposed a lot of the time, and then in post I can just slide that up, put a little noise reduction on it, and a little sharpening, and that's how I'm doing those. When I do longer exposers, like some of the long exposures like the one on the bridge, where I was talking about horizon lines- I'm on a tripod. You'd think that shot is so easy to get, cause it's one of those famous shots in New York, but the trains go by every five seconds, and it shakes, the whole bridge is actually moving. So even if you're on a tripod on the bridge, it's like... (crowd laughs) And then you get all these crazy blurry shots. I do use tripods, but only when I really need a stable base. For all those street shots, as long as I can shoot fast enough to not to have blurred motion, unless I want it, then I'm pretty comfortable with that, yeah.
You do a lot of shots in the rain, so what do you use to protect your equipment when you do that and is there anything you wear when you're laying down in puddles? (crowd laughs)
You should see me out there, it's gross. It's funny. That's a great question, and it's one of the ones where I say: don't take my advice. (crowd laughs) I wanted to come up with an invention, where it's like a hotshoe umbrella, where you just slide it on and it's like (crowd laughs) I feel like that's probably already out there somewhere. Copyright. I really don't like using rain sleeves. It gets in the way, like I think water ends up getting into my rain sleeve and then it's just smearing all over my camera. The a7R III, is actually good in the rain. I have broken cameras before, because I'm pretty unwilling to use an umbrella, 'cause I like to be manual focusing a lot. What I do sometimes is I'll wear a raincoat and I'll put an umbrella in the pocket and I'll kinda just be like... I'm really not good at protecting my gear in the rain. I would say that one thing I learned from my last, I took out the Sony lens that's about to be released, the twenty-four one-point-four. A lot of those rain shots were with that lens. I had this thing that I got at an Adobe event, and it was kinda like a little marker but at the end it was a sponge. And it's just this really simple tool and as rain was hitting the lens, cause it was raining really really hard, and I was just getting soaked. I kept taking out that little sponge and it would absorb all the water, just suck it right off the lens. And then I was like, "oh why don't I just go get a sponge?" So then the last time I went out in the rain I just had a kitchen sponge, and obviously not one of the scratchy ones, don't use that. (crowd laughs) But if you just go get a sponge or something, and have it in your pocket, if your camera gets wet just quickly sponge it off. That seems to be working really great for me. Also I would tuck my camera into my coat. And then just walk and click-click-click-click-click, put it back in my coat. When I shoot in the snow, I would take periodic breaks inside, and I'd go to Starbucks and get a bunch of napkins, and just wipe everything down. So, I don't know, I'm winging it. (crowd laughs) Again, I would not take my advice on this, I would talk to your professional, your local professional.
One more question in the front, do you wanna pass down the mic, please?
So I've been looking for a mirrorless system, so if you couldn't use a Sony camera, what other camera would you recommend?
Honestly, I haven't used any of the others, so I can't, in good faith, make a recommendation. I haven't even used the new Nikon or Canon mirrorlesses yet. It's kinda funny, I bought a Sony before I ever worked with Sony, and I just fell in love with it. When I had the opportunity to partner with Sony I was like "Yes!" I'm not just saying Sony because I have a relationship with them. In full disclosure, yes I have a professional relationship with Sony, Yeah, I think I'd rather say that even if I wasn't working with Sony I would be easily for Sony, because I just think it's powerful, it changed the way I shoot, especially with vintage lenses. If I had used any other mirrorless, I'd have more information, but I don't even know. I have some friends who shoot Fuji, I know some people are... I don't know.... Are the new mirrorless stuff, is that out yet? Or are they just, like, prototypes? I don't know. Anyway, yeah sorry, I don't have much experience 'cause I came from DSLR. I was shooting on Nikon D800. It's such a different experience shooting on DSLR versus mirrorless. I'm never going back to DSLR. It's just so much easier. One of the things I love about mirrorless cameras is the electronic viewfinder. Cause it's like augmented reality. It overlays all this information about the world, like, right up to your eye, in a way that, you know, if you're just looking through a mirror viewfinder like you just- it's just, reflecting light. Even when I'm pointing at the sun for those shots of the girl holding the sun, if I pointed a DSLR at that I'd burn my eye, But if I point the electronic viewfinder at it, it's just a representation of the sun so I can look right at it. It's kind of interesting. When I shot the eclipse too. I'm looking at a screen, I'm not looking at the sun so it's a cool, like, layer of separation, for better or worse- often for better.
One final question for you, and that is: advice for photographing strangers in your shots as they are passing by, and final words of wisdom for being out there in composition with people and street photography?
That's a very common question I get too. "Are you careful with people? Do people get mad?" In a city like New York, everyone just thinks I'm a tourist. (crowd laughs) they're just ignoring me. There's cameras on every street corner in New York, people are very used to cameras everywhere, so I never really run into any problems. I try to, kind of, get a sense of people. If someone's obviously having a bad day, or like really stressed out, or doesn't look friendly, I'm not gonna put my camera in their face. I generally try to be the silent observer. I think one way to really get successful candid pictures is when you photograph somebody don't photograph them then look with the expectation that they're going to be angry with you. Right? So you're setting your own expectation. So when I photograph somebody I just keep moving. If they have a problem enough to break the barrier of silence between us, and have to like: "Hey don't take my picture!" I'll be like, "Oh, I'll delete it, sorry." But I really don't get into confrontations like that. I think if you're doing street photography and you're shoving a flash in someone's face, then you're going to get yourself in a lot more troublesome situations. But I like working with natural light anyway. Street photography is your best playground. It's your best school, It's your best school, just throw yourself into the flow of things, and try to find moments that really stand out to you. Everything that you learn from that can be translated into commercial work can be translated into portraiture work. If I didn't have a practice history of photography I don't think I'd be doing professional photography, even though I'm not making my money off of street photography. It's a great bootcamp for learning everything about light, and variables, and circumstance, and stuff like that. Thank you guys for your continued patience with me, and it was really fun, thank you.