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04-13-2010, 08:23 AM   #1
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Run 'n gun, shooting blind WA

I'm hesitant to call it a "discovery," but I've really been enjoying wide-angle blind shooting lately. Obviously it's not suited for most situations, but I find it works really well with my kids. The first event where I basically didn't use the viewfinder at all was their Easter egg hunt last weekend, and I've done it a few times since at the park, etc.

I think part of my success is that I'm accustomed to the 17mm setting on my Sigma 17-70, so that takes some of the guesswork out of framing. Also, I'm sure to use the VF cover to avoid any gross underexposures.

So basically, when I'm out with the kids lately, I pop on the VF cover, spin it to Av, set the aperture to f/8 or f/11 and the AF to auto. Then I run around sticking a big lens in their faces all day. (They really love that. )

I've had this post in my head for over a week now, but I didn't want to say it without images to back it up. But no telling when I'll get around to doing those Easter egg hunt pics. But here are just a couple of my youngest from the park this past weekend.



04-13-2010, 08:41 AM   #2
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Whatever works for you..

Cute kid!!

04-16-2010, 03:57 AM   #3
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What sort of post processing (if any) did you do on those images? They look fantastic... might just be my monitor (I'm not on my calibrated display right now, since I'm sitting on the couch), but the colors look super vibrant, yet not unnatural...

I shoot from the hip all of the time too... habitual leftover from owning a coolpix990 with the twisty body for a few years; got used to shooting low angle, and that translated into me shooting blind from the hip at some point.
04-16-2010, 05:07 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Timichango Quote
I shoot from the hip all of the time too... habitual leftover from owning a coolpix990 with the twisty body for a few years; got used to shooting low angle, and that translated into me shooting blind from the hip at some point.
I've been shooting blind for years. (We won't go into shooting blanks...) I was inspired by early readings on Lomography and accidental photography, of just pointing the camera randomly and snapping the shutter, or dropping the cam and letting it click on its own. I never thought much of that dropping technique... although I have experimented with putting a sturdy cheap P&S on a short delay and slow shutter, then tossing it in the air and catching it after it's exposed while spinning. Tres groovy.

And random shooting quickly proved pointless. But then I thought, how about shooting casually, blindly? So I 'developed' a technique, used with several generations of Sony P&S's, of just holding the cam loosely at hip level, arms akimbo and swinging slightly, as I stroll nonchalantly down the street. If something or someone of interest appears, swivel my wrist and snap the shutter. All very low-key, stealthy (except with a silver camera), unpredictable.

I perfected the moves a bit, got a better P&S, my beloved 5mpx DSC-V1. (I'm currently on my third instance of that model.) The lens set wide is equivalent to 34/2.8 -- set shutter priority at 1/320 sec, multipoint AF -- and I'm hot to trot. I have many pictures shot in Mexican and Central American towns, face-level shots of children staring up with amazement at the big gringo who's passing them. Well, sometimes I sported a Santa Claus beard...

Such nonchalant blind shooting is a bit more difficult with the K20D. That cam is a bit bulky and heavy to just swing casually by my side with the kit lens or DA10-17 mounted. But I can still hang it on my right shoulder, held in portrait mode, and squeeze off surreptitious shots of the passing scene. I like to think that that's fairly inconspicuous.

Anyway, it's fun to blindly shoot wide and worry about composition later. My cameras just generate raw material to feed to the shooping machine.

04-16-2010, 06:14 AM   #5
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John, the friend/mentor that got me into photography, taught me a trick many moons ago - the whole idea of zone focusing and what the red markings on my M28/F3.5 lens meant. Wide angle lenses have greater depth of field than normal or telephoto lens. With the right aperture, you can set one up so that everything from a couple of feet away to infinity is in focus. So you don't even need autofocus.

Small sensor P&S cameras are especially good at this, due to their small sensors and correspondingly small apertures. Set and forget!
04-16-2010, 10:59 AM   #6
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"holding the cam loosely at hip level, arms akimbo and swinging slightly, as I stroll nonchalantly down the street. If something or someone of interest appears, swivel my wrist and snap the shutter..."

I shoot the same way with my Canon G7 on a custom wrist-harness that I rigged up.

Here's a sample:
04-17-2010, 09:01 AM   #7
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Very nice image. I imagine that both the 21mm and the 15mm limited would be very good for this type of image. Combined with the quiet shutter of the K7.
04-17-2010, 10:57 AM   #8
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I've been employing this technique as a lark for decades, beginning with my zone focusing folders (Voigtlander Vito IIa, Zeiss Ikonta 35). Here's a fairly recent shot taken with my Canon S70 using this blind "from-the-hip" method while strolling through Manhattan (PP film grain added).

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04-17-2010, 02:32 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I've been shooting blind for years. (We won't go into shooting blanks...) I was inspired by early readings on Lomography and accidental photography, of just pointing the camera randomly and snapping the shutter, or dropping the cam and letting it click on its own. I never thought much of that dropping technique... although I have experimented with putting a sturdy cheap P&S on a short delay and slow shutter, then tossing it in the air and catching it after it's exposed while spinning. Tres groovy.

And random shooting quickly proved pointless. But then I thought, how about shooting casually, blindly? So I 'developed' a technique, used with several generations of Sony P&S's, of just holding the cam loosely at hip level, arms akimbo and swinging slightly, as I stroll nonchalantly down the street. If something or someone of interest appears, swivel my wrist and snap the shutter. All very low-key, stealthy (except with a silver camera), unpredictable.

I perfected the moves a bit, got a better P&S, my beloved 5mpx DSC-V1. (I'm currently on my third instance of that model.) The lens set wide is equivalent to 34/2.8 -- set shutter priority at 1/320 sec, multipoint AF -- and I'm hot to trot. I have many pictures shot in Mexican and Central American towns, face-level shots of children staring up with amazement at the big gringo who's passing them. Well, sometimes I sported a Santa Claus beard...

Such nonchalant blind shooting is a bit more difficult with the K20D. That cam is a bit bulky and heavy to just swing casually by my side with the kit lens or DA10-17 mounted. But I can still hang it on my right shoulder, held in portrait mode, and squeeze off surreptitious shots of the passing scene. I like to think that that's fairly inconspicuous.

Anyway, it's fun to blindly shoot wide and worry about composition later. My cameras just generate raw material to feed to the shooping machine.
I agree; a good deal of photos that I have seen are just accidental shots that turned out to be amazing photos. I too have used this concept for awhile and I have come away with some amazing looking photos that just blow me away.

I think photos like this work well because it gives the viewer a completely different view on the subject in the photograph. That is the challenge today with a lot of photographers because some areas have had so many photos taken of them that it is difficult to walk away with a photo that is really original. By holding the camera above your head or placing it on the ground you are giving the viewer a whole new prospective. This by nature will capture the interest of many and your photo will likely be liked by the people that view it.

However, this has become more of a challenge for me because now I really like to use manual focus lenses. This makes blind shots very difficult as you can clearly see that without looking through the viewfinder I cannot focus on the subject. This then ruins the blind shot because I will then probably shift something that I would consider to be better and the whole interesting shot is now gone. So that is the only downside I can see in using manual lenses, however, I do have one auto focus lens and I love what I can do with it when I decide to use it for blind photography.

This technique is very fun to use and experiment with and I would highly recommend giving it a shot to see what you guys can come up with. It takes your mind out of the equation and sometimes you will end up with some really amazing photographs.
04-17-2010, 02:49 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tuner571 Quote

However, this has become more of a challenge for me because now I really like to use manual focus lenses. This makes blind shots very difficult as you can clearly see that without looking through the viewfinder I cannot focus on the subject. This then ruins the blind shot because I will then probably shift something that I would consider to be better and the whole interesting shot is now gone. So that is the only downside I can see in using manual lenses
I, too, do a majority of my shooting with old manual focus Takumars. Use a wide angle lens (28mm, 24mm, or 20mm) stopped down to f:11 or f:16. Then set the hyperfocal distance using the scale beside the focusing ring (F:11 at infinity, if that's the f stop you've chosen). This should give you sufficient depth of field to give good results with most situations you're likely to encounter with this type of shooting. Pinpoint focus blind shooting is, of course, difficult to achieve without utilizing the viewfinder.

Last edited by raymeedc; 04-17-2010 at 06:36 PM.
04-17-2010, 06:24 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by raymeedc Quote
I, too, do a majority of my shooting with old manual focus Takumars. Use a wide angle lens (28mm, 24mm, or 20mm) stopped down to f:11 or f:16. Then set the hyperfocal distance using the scale beside on the focusing ring (F:11 at infinity, if that's the f stop you've chosen). This should give you sufficient depth of field to give good results with most situations you're likely to encounter with this type of shooting.
I was just going to suggest this too. My Super-Lentar (Tokina) 21/3.8 may sit on either the K20D or ZX-M, f/11, hyperfocused for a few feet to infinity. Or the Zenitar 16/2.8 at f/16, good from one foot onwards (if I don't care about the fishiness). Anything that's not in my face or on the horizon will generally be sharp enough for photojournalism. Or if I feel I need an auto assist (like in lower light), either 18-xxx zoomed wide and run Green on my K20D suffices. Or even the 10-17 zoomed long. The nice thing about blind-shooting wide on a 14.6mpx sensor is, there's plenty of room for cropping.
04-17-2010, 06:42 PM   #12
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RioRico..... I was somewhere quaint &/or pungent just last week...... I didn't notice you there. I'll keep an eye out for you on my next excursion to such surroundings.
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