Friday, July 19, 2013

Night Street Photography Session around Petaling Street

It's Saturday night, the adrenaline flows in my blood stream again to go out hunting with my camera. I was inspired by Kai from DigitalRev where by in almost all the review he made, he test it on the street, right onto people's face! It seems easy enough, but to do it is a totally different experience. While you are adjusting the focal length, focusing and composition, the subject that you are shooting might already been aware that you are actually photographing them. I just don't have the gut to do it.
ISO 800 | 17mm | f/2.8 | 1/125 sec
Initially I'm trying to do focus and recompose but with no success. They will either duck their head or move away from my frame as soon as I raise my camera. So my next approach is to try manual focus and shooting from waist level. I try to shoot at wide end (around 24mm on crop sensor) and pre-focus at around 1 meter. I shoot wide open, therefore the depth of field is quite limited. It's still a hit and miss. However, it is still better than my previous method.
ISO 800 | 19mm | f/2.8 | 1/60sec
As you can see from this trolley shot, I am shooting from waist level with pre-focus method. My goal is to focus at the trolley man, but it ends up on those bottles of drink. Another trick is have to keep your shutter at least 1/60 sec or faster in order to get rid of movement blur from your subject. However, this depends on what you want to archieve. If you would like to take long shutter with peoples movement around, that would be cool too.
ISO 800 | 22mm | f/2.8 | 1/30sec
The reason why I went to Petaling Street instead of fish market or even wondering around the shopping complex is because that is a tourist area. The peoples around there might have better chances to let you take their photo, maybe they are used to tourist around the world passing by and can't resist to snap their shutter on them. Once you have blend in, your subject might be glad that you took their picture, and of course in return, I will just smile back and say thank you.
ISO 200 | 17mm | f/11 | 5 sec
This long exposure I'm not using a tripod. Instead I'm resting it on the pedestrian bridge steel barricade. After passing through the Petaling Street, I'm deviate from my goal on street photography. Instead, I'm obsesses with traffic trails.
ISO 200 | 17mm | f/11 | 10 sec
Shooting traffic trails on night cityscapes makes the photo feel "alive". While I am waiting for the shutter to close, I'm constantly look around and watch out for traffic and suspicious person that might have bad intention on you.
ISO 200 | 17mm | f/16 | 20 sec
This light trail make my day. The building is so crisp and the street lights and car lights have make this photo alive. Although it get flare into the lens, it actually make the scene look more dramatic and realistic. The star burst from the street light is the effect from using small aperture such as f/16.
ISO 800 | 36mm | f/2.8 | 1/20 sec
I always shoot RAW. Therefore I will set my white balance to auto especially at night street where the mix lighting situation can be quite challenging. Low light environment makes you would want to shoot wide open and higher ISO. Depends on your camera ISO performance, I only can accept the files not higher than 1600. Beyond that the lost of details is quite significant. I shot mostly at f/2.8. If you have a nifty-fifty, that would be great as well.

I believe with more and more practise you can build up your confidence to be able to shoot spontaneously on the streets. Hopefully you enjoy my shots and forgive me for my poor writing. Happy outing!