The Art Of Observation

Coal Chute
Coal Chute

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” Elliott Erwitt

18 thoughts on “The Art Of Observation

    1. Thanks Rob, but to be honest I spent most of the day shooting other things. I parked aside a covered bridge and tried to catch the Amish buggies going in and out. Sunday is a big day for them to visit and one after another passed. I felt they were kind of boring though.

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  1. Erwitt’s words certainly ring true for me.
    …..any subject is interesting to me, but maybe that’s because my art/design training at College reinforced my observation of texture, colour. light and line (as much as subject) 🙂

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    1. Not only that Vicki but there are enough images out there, many over sharpened and over saturated and some National Geographic quality. I like to do something different. I want to photograph people on the street more but its definitely out of my comfort zone (which is where my therapist repeatedly tells me to go!).

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      1. Street photography is not easy, Mike. I can happily take photos of a busker or street musician, but all my other street photos on my B & W Blog are made with a telephoto lens. Australians do not like to be photographed by strangers and the irony is that when Aussies go overseas on holiday they take photos left, right & centre without asking locals for permission. It’s almost as those we Aussies (not me 🙂 ), think it’s a right to shove a camera in the face of an Asian in the street in Fiji or Bali …..or India or wherever.

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        1. Yes well I’ve done it before, its getting out there that’s challenging. Then there’s the question of asking people to pose or not. I considered buying a 50mm instead of my 35 but I felt it would be limited for other things. I think I could tell who would be OK with it and who would freak out. Nothing worthwhile is easy… 😉

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          1. I think your 35mm would do just fine. If you lived close by and owned a Canon DSLR, I’d lend you my (now) unused 50mm f1.4 to try it out.

            This lens (the well known ‘nifty fifty’) has been superseded by my Sigma 17-50mm f2.8. Just that little bit of zoom when I want it, but the 17mm allowing me to get closer to flowers. Ironically, since I bought it, my back, hip and knee pain has got so much worse that I hardly ever go for a walk now. Still, when I do photograph flowers on my apartment balcony, the f2.8 gives me some nice background blur.

            Both these lenses are very sharp and well worth the money. Still I’m glad I bought both when I still had some money in the Photography budget.

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            1. The prime 35 1.8 is considered by many to be the ideal lens for that type of photography and say that a zoom is distracting and in a way cheating. I can only get about a foot away with the 35 so for flowers I usually use my RX-100 which can almost touch the leaves and focus. It has a 1.8 lens and a focal length of 28-70. I also have the kit lens which is 16-50mm but its 3.5 to 5.6. I had to shoot at least f/8 to be anywhere near sharp. Thank you though, I think I’m good for now. 😉

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  2. To paraphrase Sheldon Cooper from ‘The Big Bang Theory’ – Leave my comfort zone? Why would I want to do that? it’s called a comfort zone for a reason!
    Maybe you respect the privacy of potential victims in the street? Nothing wrong with that.

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      1. I agree (with that not being true street photography), Mike and Lisa. Asking people to pose, to me, is not the true spontaneity of a random street photo.

        I was only looking at the book Humans of New York in the city bookstore on Monday.

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        1. The first time I went to the bookstore to look at the HONY book it was wrapped in cellophane so no one could browse without buying it. As for real street photography, Brandon’s photos are all sharp and in good light while the “true” street photographer’s are often out of focus or noisy. I think the interaction with people is the key. Thanks for your feedback I do appreciate it.

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          1. I do hate it when the larger, thicker books are wrapped in cellophane. Usually, they’re the expensive books and there’s no way I’m spending ‘big’ money without sampling what I’m paying for 🙂 if it’s wrapped in cellophane, I usually move on and don’t give that book another thought (which surely must decrease sales for the author).

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