I thought I’d share some photos from Friday’s trip to Los Angeles. I planned on taking the Metrolink train from Irvine to Union Station, but found myself on the wrong freeway, so I went to the Santa Ana station, instead.
I realize that not all visitors, to my blog, care about the technical aspects of the photos, but I do get many questions about it, so at the risk of boring too many of you, I share a few details. 🙂
All the images in this post were captured with an Olympus OMD-EM5, with a Zuiko 17mm, f2.8 lens. Certainly, many will suggest that the f1.8 version is a superior lens, but I would simply suggest that you factor in the price/quality ratio. 🙂
Some viewers will be concerned that I left too much space at the bottom of this photo. In fact, I do have several with the train both farther away, and closer. My choice was to use the one that gave the train a place to move into. Hence, the composition that you see.
I know that it is a bit of a passing fad, but I like a slightly extended dynamic range in my images, so you can assume, for this series, that some amount of HDR was applied in post-production. In this case, I used Lightroom and Perfect Photo Suite 8, to some degree.
Coming down from the train platform, there is a long tunnel that leads to Union Station. Some may wonder about the interesting aspect of a group of people walking away from the camera, but for me, the main element was the lone girl walking counter to the crowd. Because of the low light, I set the ISO to 1600. I don’t mind the digital noise, but would have probably found it less pleasing had I gone higher. I used an aperture of f8 to give me enough depth of field. The resulting shutter speed was 1/40. That is a little lower than I like to use, but the EM5’s excellent 5-axis image stabilization handles lower shutter speeds very well.
I have explained my vision regarding the images in this post. Different opinions are certainly welcome, in the comments at the bottom of the post. In the station, I met with Rick Smith and we roamed the streets of downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) for the next several hours.
Admittedly, I have a couple of regrets about this next image. First, just as I took her picture, she smiled and said, “Good Morning!”, but I was already lowering the camera, so I only have her smile in my memory – but not on a memory card. I can live with that. 🙂 Secondly, her dress was so colorful that I second guess myself about desaturating it. I love street photos in B&W, but that should not be an inflexible rule. Oh and the grain (yes, I know it is digital noise)??? Maybe others would prefer less of it.
People often debate the ethics of taking photos of strangers, in public, without their knowledge, or permission. To me, the law is very clear, in the US. In public, no one has any expectation of privacy, regarding their photo. Try to walk down the street, in any medium size city with being captured on a number of security or traffic cams! Not going to happen. Now, I do have a personal set of guidelines, admittedly very fluid, depending on the situation. Generally, I avoid accident victims, those in very embarrassing situations, and those in situations in which I would not want to be photographed. Still, in many street situations, I do like to make eye contact, sometimes before, and sometimes after I’ve taken the photo. I like to talk to my subjects, when possible, and I often give them a business card, and offer to send them the file, at no charge.
One discussion that I never see regards the subject pretending not to see the photographer. In the following photo, I was standing in the middle of the street, impossible not to see. Of the four subjects, the guy on the left never took his eyes off me, the girl, eventually, smiled, the guy on the right looked at me, and the one with his finger to his ear had to walk around me, but never looked at me.
This gentleman (not really a cowboy) had been photographed, previously, by Rick, and he was happy to know that he was now in an online gallery.
This guy is a pizza maker. I walked past his window, back up, went in, and asked if I could photograph his beard. If I’d have thought about it, I probably would have been too shy to do that — but when the purpose is to find interesting people and things (interesting to me, at least) to photograph, then shyness is not an advantage.
This post covers a lot of my day, shooting with Rick. Maybe, later in the week, I post a part 2.