Thursday, April 24

Melbourne Evening Photowalk - Fine Art Street Photo Experiments

Melbourne is a street photographer's paradise, period. No matter how much I love the street scene in Sydney (my current city of residence), its not comparable to the arty lanes and alleys of Melbourne.
Every time I come back to Melbourne, it presents me with something new, visually. The trams, the horse carriages, the Victorian era buildings, the graffiti, the modern architecture and the tasteful fashionistas make it such a unique juxtaposition, that I always end up with a plan to come back again.

This Easter was a good excuse for me to take a break from work and come down to Melbourne to explore the street scene here. The weather wasn't too friendly for the camera, from grey skies to drizzles, it was relentless in its attempt to make a shutterbug unhappy. However, I wanted to see how Melburnians tackle the rains and whether it deters their partying spirit or not. I walked out with my Nikon D90 and the 35 mm f2.8 lens only, just to try some compositions with a free mind.

The theme that I had in my mind was "Walking"...

Few important photographic points about this walk and shoot:

1. All the shots were hand-held, without the use of any pods(read mono, tri).

2. All the shots were taken with a fixed focal length (35 mm) lens on a cropped sensor body (Nikon D90), so the only zoom I did was with my legs.

3. Grains in some of the shots are intentional to provide a retro look (what does that mean?)
Actually, I shot most of these at ISO 800, which introduces a bit of noise if the shots are underexposed. I did not want to correct the noise using a noise correction software. Why? Well, that's a different discussion I can take up some other day.

4. Shooting handheld at night can be a real challenge. Exposing the scene properly will bring down the shutter speed and introduce camera shake while pressing the button. The only way to tackle this is by using a tripod. Well, not really. Any solid surface can act as a support to reduce shake, like a wall or a bench.

5. Another technique is to Shoot in Burst Mode. It will ensure that you capture at least 4-5 frames per second depending on your camera. On my Nikon D90, the H Mode in the Release options shoots about 4.5 frames per second. But this depends on the shutter speed as well. Too slow might not provide the expected fps.Almost all the shots here were taken using this mode.

6. Memory Cards might not be a matter of concern for most of us, but they can potentially make or break a picture. If your card is slow (10-20 MB/s, rating 2 to 6), it might impact your capability to shoot in burst mode. In burst mode, the camera stores the first few frames in its internal memory, but then tries to transfer it to the card. If the card doesn't have a fast writing speed, the camera's ability to capture more frames per seconds can get severely restricted.

The Walkers

Melbourne is a great place to walk, but how about walking patterns? Looking down I could spot a few different ones, some elegant, some bumpy and others, less a walk more a hop.
Monochrome processing in SilverEfex Pro.

Worth the Wait?
 This lady was waiting for someone at Fed Square, I liked the reflection of the Flinder's Street Station's lights on the surface and also the impatient movements of the lady. She wasn't walking but gyrating around that corner, pretending to start a walk.
Kept the station in focus and wanted to capture the oscillations of the lady.

Crossing Speed
Signals are interesting places to capture how different people interpret them in their minds. Some take the time-limit for crossing the road too seriously and try to cross it as fast as possible. Others would maintain their saunters in a relaxed way without bothering too much about the cars waiting for them to give way.
 This had an interesting technique, I intentionally wanted to capture the motion blur caused by the people crossing the road. Cranked down the ISO, went low on shutter speed, took the support of a light post on my right and click, click, burst mode.

Walking in Inclines

These are shot at one of my favourite places in Melbourne for street photography, Hosier Lane. The lane is famous for its street-art work on the adjacent walls. Another interesting thing about this lane is its slope. I knew I would get some interesting walks here too..
Grains and the look created in Lightroom 5.

 Monochrome processing in Silver Efex Pro.

 Walking through the alleys
 Some people love browsing their phones while walking, lost in their worlds, indifferent to the surroundings.

This guy was taking orders at one of the lane restuarants and everytime he would walk up to a table, he would stand with this unique pose creating a triangle between his legs!

 Leisurely Walk
An old couple walk in leisurely fashion scouring for a good eatery around Chinatown.

Let me know your views about this experiment. I would love to hear from all of you...

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