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

Sony’s new ZV-1 camera is built for vlogging

Shipping in June

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How much personalization do you want your cameras to have? Some purists prefer completely manual cameras, allowing for absolute control over every aspect of their photos. Other professionals prefer a more consumer-friendly approach to photography, balancing easy-to-use functions with stellar photo quality.

Combining both aspects, the recently launched Sony ZV-1 is an all-in-one compact camera built specifically for casual video shooters. A boon to the vlogging community, the ZV-1 maintains both uncompromising video quality with ease of use.

Featuring a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor and the latest BIONZ X image processor, the camera shoots at 4K resolution with in-body image stabilization. Inside, a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 large-aperture lens allows for dynamic bokeh control. Named the Bokeh Switch feature, the camera can increase and decrease background blur according to preference without losing its main focus.

In the same vein, the new Product Showcase feature allows for an easy transition between different focal points, such as switching between a subject’s face and a focused object. As the name suggests, the feature helps vloggers easily unbox and review products.

A Face Priority autoexposure feature automatically adjusts the device’s exposure settings depending on the brightness of the background. It will prioritize the subject’s face, ensuring correct exposure settings regardless of background. With the feature, it’s easier to shoot in bright sunlight, low-light conditions, and transitioning quickly between the two.

Besides what’s inside, the camera is also built ergonomically for a casual shooter’s hands. Instead of the traditional vertically flipping screen, it carries a horizontally flipping LCD screen, allowing users to easily see what’s being caught on camera. It comes with a 3.5mm microphone jack and a wind screen accessory to reduce wind interference.

Sony will start selling the ZV-1 at authorized Sony stores and through Lazada starting June 2020. It will retail for US$ 799.99.

SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia 1 II camera phone now available for pre-order

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Apps

Use your Canon camera as a laptop webcam

Up the quality on your video call meetings

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Video conferencing is the new normal as most of us continue to work from home. Canon hopes to make the experience better with the EOS Webcam Utility Beta.

You may have noticed though that the video quality from your laptop’s webcam is not up to par with your smartphone’s front camera. Most manufacturers tend to put sub-par cameras on laptops. The reason: your laptop’s webcams were not that highly used before the whole COVID-19 situation.

To address this, Canon recently released a tool that will level up your video quality over online conferencing apps. The idea is to transform your Canon camera into a portable webcam. Simply plug-in an EOS or a PowerShot camera to your laptop, configure the software, and you now have a powerful webcam at your disposal.

The utility is called “EOS Webcam Utility Beta”. It’s a software that automatically configures your Canon camera into a portable web camera over a USB connection.

The caveat though is that only select EOS DSLR, EOS Mirrorless, and PowerShot cameras are compatible. The software is still in beta, but if you’re really determined to level up your video calling game, you can view the full list of compatible cameras here.

Grainy and lifeless videos will be a thing of the past for Canon users with this new tool. If you own a Canon EOS or DSLR camera, make sure to give this utility a try to improve your video chats with friends, family, or your fellow co-workers.

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Cameras

These refurbished vintage Polaroid 600 cameras bring back our childhood!

Ah, take me back~

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My latest obsession with Polaroid’s latest release — Polaroid NOW — has led me to discover refurbished vintage Polaroid 600 cameras. For 90’s kids, these instant cameras relive our colorful, childhood memories dabbling in popping colors celebrated throughout the 80s until the early 2000s.

Look at this refurbished Barbie Throwback, based on the original Barbie Polaroid released in 1999.

How about this bold and loud Neon Yellow & Pink Cool Cam…

… Or this Pink Cool Cam that screams black and pink (like a revolution).

Remember this Blue ’96 Edition perfectly complementing your windbreaker and fanny packs?

Back then, we have Japanese brand Tomy collaborating with Polaroid as a merch for popular manga and anime Kodomo no Omocha, also known as Kodocha.

Remember when we’re all obsessed with MTV?

Oh, look at this fabulous, super rare, Pink Checkers Polaroid 600!

Hello Kitty fans, can you hear me??????

Ah, this Spice Cam makes us remember the times we dance and sing to Spice Girls — like it’s our anthem before Britney Spears finally took over.

In true Maroon 5 fashion, memories really do bring back you. Seeing these instant cameras made me remember who I was before the world told me who I should be. It felt like an ode to my inner child, calling for retrospection. Remember how fun and young we used to be?

Professionally refurbished by Retrospekt

These vintage Polaroid 600 cameras are refurbished by Retrospekt, a company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Founded by Adam and KoriFuerst in 2008, Retrospekt started as a project to recreate their beloved instant film products.

Retrospekt uses Polaroid’s original components, and properly clean, test, rebuild and test the products again before sending out. Just like any refurbished vintage product, these instant cameras may show some light wear. Still, Retrospekt guarantees functionality.

And when it arrives at your doorsteps, all you need is just a pack of Polaroid 600 film, and you’ll be back to shooting instant films again.

SEE ALSO: Polaroid OneStep+ reviewPolaroid OneStep 2 review: The ultimate throwback cameraPolaroid Snap Touch Review: Print photos with a digital camera

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