Cameras

Learning street photography with the Canon EOS RP

A picture is indeed worth a thousand words

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Street photography has been around for decades — way back in the early years of World War, famine, hunger, and financial crisis. It even sparked several debates whether it’s legal or ethical to do so. Although these questions remain unanswered, a lot of people have been more invested in street photography lately.

It may have started that way but it didn’t stay for long. Today, it’s not just limited to photojournalists, it even hits casual and creative photographers alike. But the real essence of this photography genre is still intact: it is thrilling, challenging, and takes a lot of patience because it should be candid and in perfect timing, not staged.

Canon Philippines gave us an opportunity to learn more about shooting in streets with the guide of popular photojournalist, Jilson Tiu. We roamed around the streets of Intramuros and got a glimpse of life inside the walls.

It hasn’t been long since Canon released the EOS RP in the Philippines. Just a refresher, it is the early successor of the EOS R, which is Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera. It is also their second mirrorless camera with a smaller body and introduced other cut-down features to make it (a little bit) cheaper.

Canon has come a long way in making and manufacturing cameras. My first camera is a 60D, which was a prosumer king during its time. My initial hands-on with their newest mirrorless camera felt familiar. They have managed to keep the design language in a smaller form factor.

Enough with the technicals. As someone who has been into photography since high school, I can tell that street photography is specifically not my forte. But this doesn’t mean I won’t challenge myself. I learned so many things during this photo walk — so I’m giving you eight tips when shooting around the streets, together with my EOS RP experience.

1. Learn the basics

They are called “basics” for a reason. You should not go to war without learning how to shoot a gun — the same principle applies in photography. Learning how shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, and aperture work before you shoot is essential because you will not (and should not) rely on Auto Mode, especially that you are going to use DSLR or mirrorless cameras when shooting, which is a lot more versatile than using point-and-shoot cameras.

Other photography jargons such as Depth of Field (DOF), focal lengthwhite balanceexposure bracketing, should follow along the way. Composing shots is also part of the basics, including placing subjects within the frame, exercising Rule of Thirds and/or Golden Ratio, and more. With the existence and vastness of the internet, searching for tutorials shouldn’t be a problem for most.

More over, technicals should come along the way. Even the lens you pick affects the quality of shots you take. Prime, kit, telephoto lenses, you name them. Photography isn’t as easy as it seems, but trust me, knowing the basics will be one of your biggest achievements and advances as an aspiring photographer (or photojournalist).

2. Look for human elements

Imagine walking around the streets without any human element, do you think street photography would still make sense? Human element creates several stories in the shots you capture. Street photography isn’t literally talking about capturing the streets, it’s more about capturing the culture between people and the streets you pass by.

One misconception about street photography is when photographers take their posing models as subjects, and street as a background element — put simply, that’s not street photography.

3. Know one’s story

To whoever is reading this, I would admit that I’m socially awkward. A big chunk of me being an introvert holds me back from talking to people. If you are really focused on doing street photography, this tip is very important in establishing connections and making relationships as you shoot more individuals in the long run.

Once you find at least one (or several) human element/s you want to capture, it shouldn’t stop there. Talk to them. Ask them about life, how is their day going, other questions to follow. These questions may sound simple but it helps in creating a sense of belongingness, even if you are both strangers to each other. It would also feel authentic when you talk to them more, even when you are both focused on the different things you’re doing.

Taking the shot above as an example. Although he is busy with his job as a barber, he still entertained our group because we took the initiative to speak with him. Talking to people contributes to the candidness of the photograph. It did not disrupt the things we all did — he even enjoyed the small talk with our group. Let your single photograph say a thousand words to those who will see it.

4. Respect all things around you

Part of having moral ascendancy is respecting each and everything around you — not limited to life forms such as people, animals, and plants, even non-living things alike.

In this particular shot, an old man got mad at our group for suddenly capturing this dog. After trying to ask for permission, he then decided to let us shoot. There are times when people are not amused seeing cameras pointed at them nor at the things they own. If it happens to you, respect their privacy and decision. You should not argue and you definitely need to walk away before you get yourself in trouble.

5. Stop making poverty an aesthetic

I have seen a lot of street photographers who are making poverty as an aesthetic. In connection to tips two and three, showing one’s respect is not imitating the way they live or how they interact with other people.

Exhibit A: You want to do a staged photoshoot with models pretending they are beggars.

Exhibit B: You were awed when you saw two siblings sleeping along the footbridge. You decided to take photos of them and shared it on Social Media without their consent.

Social Media exposure would raise awareness about their situation, but do you think it would make them happy if they knew they were photographed without consent? If no talk or story-telling happened in between, it is not street photography anymore. The essence of knowing their life nor story never even happened. It is unethical to make one’s living condition a part of your Instagram or Bēhance portfolio — so is exaggerating one’s situation as a staged shoot.

6. Post-processing is normal, #NoFilter shots are not bragging rights

Cameras and lenses are not created equally. Although my experience with the Canon EOS RP is outstanding and its RF 28-70mm f/2L USM lens does the job well, there were times that the shot I took was not aligned to what I wanted the outcome to be.

Post-processing isn’t cheating. There’s nothing wrong with fixing your photography mistake (or worse, a hardware mistake). In fact, it already takes place the moment you press the shutter button on your camera — that is why people should not make #NoFilter shots a big deal. If you are one among the clumsiest users who forgot to set RAW shooting, you have no choice but to stick with your .jpg files.

Let’s say you forgot to adjust the Custom WB (White Balance) while shooting, post-processing apps can help you fix it. You can even do other processing techniques if you want to convey more feelings in your shots. It is a part of experimentation, and the values in each photo you edit are not something that’s always definite.

In this particular photo, I adjusted the curves that helped it achieve a faded look instead of deep shadows, making it feel softer with minimized shadows and contrast. I minimized the highlights because of the harsh sunlight hitting the tile bricks. I also moved the slider to the warmer side for it to look lively. Color science says that photos on the cool side feels melancholic and lifeless.

I suppose not everyone is computer-literate. There are mobile apps you can try when it comes to post-processing your shots — such as VSCO, Snapseed, and Lightroom Mobile, a toned-down version of the PC-based Adobe Lightroom. Take note that mobile apps may have limited functions, especially because they are free.

Reminder: Before all of you use (and abuse) the power of post-processing, you should have already understood the first tip. Not to sound like a broken record but it is about understanding the basics. Nowadays, a lot of people rely on post-processing without knowing the essentials — maybe it’s time to learn them properly.

7. Capture the scenery, too

Imagine you are trying to shoot on top of a building. You peeked at your camera’s viewfinder, adjusted the focal length, and tried fitting human elements within the camera’s frame. Suddenly, you realized that the scenery makes them stand out more — that’s what this tip is for.

Street photography should not be limited to street per se. As long as the background element does not overpower the human element or subject, you are good to go. The lush greenery along this golf course make the golfers stand out more. The differences in their movement make it feel dynamic, candid, and emphasizes their actions of playing golf.

8. Explore unusual elements to shoot

Last but definitely not the least is all about looking for odd elements that will make you and your composition different from others. Staged photographs can be imitated, but not the candid ones. That’s why learning the basics matter, so you can compose shots in a split second — every shot you take makes a lot of difference.

Use juxtaposition when possible in order to convey two contrasting elements in one frame. In the shot above, I was aiming to describe the situation of the Philippines (or other similar nations) today — the biker represents that Filipino citizens are freely moving around, while the window grilles represent that we are restricted to freely express ourselves due to government policies and sanctions (Threat to Press Freedom, anyone?).

I captured more than ten photographs in the same location just to get my desired composition. If you think this goes against the essence of shooting candid photos, it’s not. I do not personally know him nor directed him to pass by. Misconceptions like this can cause trouble among the photography community, and you should avoid that.

Another candid shot I took talks a lot about growing up and getting old. Having the same walking direction between the old man and the children tells us that time is constant. There is nothing that can stop us from accepting more responsibilities and having different kinds of interest as we grow up.

Photography throughout my years

I was born knowing what traditional film cameras look like and how they function. I was even there when VGA, 3-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras in phones made headlines. Photography has come a long way, and they still keep improving. It’s not even limited to professional cameras anymore that newer smartphones with excellent mobile photography prowess can now be considered as contenders.

As I was saying, street photography is not my forte. But from my experience using the Canon EOS RP coupled with a new RF lens system (vs the old EF lens mount), capturing photos still felt like I was using my old 60D because of the familiar feel and function. After using different cameras throughout my creative journey, Canon still lives up to their name for creating a big name in the camera industry.

 

Cameras

Fujifilm launches the X-T200 as a companion for creative pursuits

Definitely an investment

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Fujifilm’s newest camera is here! A step up from X-T100, the X-T200 is shaping up to be a reliable companion for aspiring creators.

The X-T200 aims to help you hone your skills in photography and videography. It’s a lightweight mirrorless camera, ensuring you don’t strain your hands as you practice. It also features an improved face and eye-detection AF, and the ability to capture stills at 8 FPS. Additionally, it’s capable of recording a stabilized Full-HD 120p video and a 4K UHD video, thanks to its “electronic stabilization.”

It prides itself with professional-level features, a high-speed APS-C 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, a new processor, and a large widescreen LCD vari-angle touchscreen. It also has Fujifilm’s signature creative filters, Film Simulations.

Fujifilm’s new camera is promising for people pursuing creative professions and hobbies. If you’re looking for a camera to jumpstart your creative pursuits, the X-T200 might be the one you’re looking for.

The X-T200 will be available in three colors: Silver, Dark Silver, and Champagne Gold. It will be paired with the XC15-45mm F3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens and sold as a kit, which will retail for PhP 45,990 (US$ 902) starting February 2020.

SEE MORE: Fujifilm X-T30 is a lightweight 4K mirrorless camera

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Apps

Zhiyun partners with Huawei for better vlogging

More advanced features for Zhiyun owners

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Zhiyun — maker of gimbals for action cameras, DSLRs, and smartphone cameras — has announced a partnership with Huawei to bring better vlogging experiences on all Huawei smartphones.

By leveraging Huawei’s CameraKit API, Zhiyun will be able to directly control the cameras in any Huawei smartphones. In addition, Zhiyun’s ZY Play app will deliver more powerful and smoother zooming on Huawei smartphones thanks to the API.

Huawei’s CameraKit will also bring additional capabilities to all of Zhiyun’s gimbal products. Added functionality also includes photo-taking, video recording, camera switching and zooming directly from the gimbals.

Huawei’s advanced camera capabilities such as AI photography, wide aperture, and super night mode will also work with the gimbals. This will open up new and better shooting capabilities in the future.

This partnership benefits all Zhiyun gimbal products. The company has been producing reliable gimbals at an affordable cost. Their products range from the Crane series to the Smooth series featuring Smooth 3, Smooth-Q, Smooth 4 and the new compact Smooth-Q2.

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Accessories

6 gift ideas for the traveler on your list

For people who have caught the travel bug

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Know someone who’s caught the travel bug? It can be hard to pick out a gift for the person on your list who’s got a serious case of wanderlust. Will you go for something that’s practical or something that will help them make more memories during their adventures? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here are six gift ideas for the traveler on your list.

Casetify x Pangram Pangram iPhone case

Let the traveler in your life flex his or her love for far-off places with these new phone cases. Casetify’s collab with type foundry Pangram Pangram features names of various, visit-worthy cities in a look that’s reminiscent of luggage scan tags issued by airlines.

You can shop the collection over at their website.

Noerden Mate2+

A watch that can match almost anything and take you from a nature walk to partying in the city is something most travellers should have. After all, you can’t bring your whole closet and sometimes, you’ll never know whether you need to suit up at one point of the trip.

Noerden’s new release, the Mate2+, is a gorgeous timepiece that ticks all those boxes and more. It’s also a smartwatch that tracks your steps, heart rate, and your sleeping pattern. Yes, it sports a classic face and there’s no touchscreen but you can view all your stats on the app. Another useful thing for travellers especially those who love to go solo. You can use the watch as a remote for your phone camera. Snap photos of yourself or your group just by shaking your wrist!

Get the new Mate2+ here.

GoSun Flatware

As the world continues to move towards eliminating single-use plastic, there are more efforts to make eco-friendly choices more convenient. One of these is the GoSun Flatware which is currently on Kickstarter.

A spoon and fork set the fits conveniently in your wallet and is the size of a credit card. You won’t have an excuse to go for plastic cutlery ever again.

You can sign up for a set via their page.

VAGO Travel Vacuum Compressor

Is the traveler on your list not a light packer? Well we have a nifty gadget here that they will love. The Vago Travel Vacuum Compressor can reduce the space occupied by clothes in half. This makes sure there’s always room for more stuff in their suitcase.

Get this vacuum via their website.

Instax Mini 9 Bundle

For those who are on the creative side and who appreciate a retro take on their travel memories, why not an instant camera? Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 9 currently has a promo that gets you a craft kit along with your purchase.

Aside from having print outs of their travel memories, they can also create customized scrapbooks with the materials in the kit. Get the bundle at any of the authorised Fujifilm dealers in the Philippines.

Steamery Cirrus No. 2

It’s always a hassle when you suddenly need to look sharp for a fancy dinner and your clothes are all wrinkly from travelling. Swedish company Steamery produces travel-friendly steamers that ensure your OOTDs will always look pristine.

Steamers also extend the freshness of your clothes as well as their lifespan. We’re practically in love with the Cirrus No. 2 model which comes in a variety of colors — a pretty pastel pink included.

SEE ALSO: 7 ways to practice sustainable fashion

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