Pink

When walking through Toronto recently, I noticed this picture you saw a few days ago:

Pink bike in Toronto (Photo: Michael Willems)

Tip One of the day: when you see an interesting colour, take a shot (which is why you always have a camera handy – right?).

Tip Two: And as said in a post a few days ago, please do not automatically shoot it from 5 feet above the ground. See if tilting, or getting down on the ground (as here), or standing on a chair gives you a more interesting picture.

Tip Three. Use a little fill flash (as I mentioned the past few days).  The Fuji X100 and its tiny fill flash did all this.

Let me share how boring this shot is when shot from higher up and without fill flash:

Point proven.

 

Light

I like the light in modern downtown areas of some cities – like Toronto.

Why? Because you get light like this, in a hot I took the other day during a Microsoft even shoot:

Toronto Downtown Light, John Street, photo by Michael Willems

Toronto Downtown Light, John Street, Aug 2010

Look at the light illuminating the woman and the bike. Crazy. Unnatural – in a good way. Hyper-realistic light.

The light in the very foreground, the first two metres of sidewalk, was due to my flash (the Speedlighter never travels without his speedlight!), but how about that side light? The picture looks like an HDR shot!

Exactly like the runner in Mono I showed you not long ago. Light from two directions, a spotlight with shadows: spotlight, or a huge softbox, on the left while the sun is on the right. Impossible light, and that is why it appeals.

No, very possible, and here’s why:

Toronto Downtown Light, John Street, photo by Michael Willems

Toronto Downtown Light: mirror action

See that big mirror?

Wonderful. Saved me the effort of using a huge softbox.

Here’s another example:

Toronto Downtown Light, John Street, photo by Michael Willems

Toronto Downtown Light, John Street, August 2010

The moral of this post: always look for light – train your eye to look for unusual light, and use it in your pictures.  I thought to get these shots it was worth foregoing my Starbucks visit (that’s what I was actually doing, during a break in the event shoot).

Street stories

I have said before that pictures are more interesting when they keep you guessing.

Today I had five minutes to do a few street shots, before an appointment with a friend and client on  Toronto’s Victoria Street. So I used those five minutes to take a few snaps at Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto:

Yonge-Dundas Square, 27 July 2010, photo by Michael Willems

Yonge-Dundas Square, 27 July 2010

Yonge-Dundas Square, 27 July 2010, photo by Michael Willems

Yonge-Dundas Square, 27 July 2010

Yonge-Dundas Square, 27 July 2010, photo by Michael Willems

Yonge-Dundas Square, 27 July 2010

Yonge-Dundas Square, 27 July 2010, photo by Michael Willems

Yonge-Dundas Square, 27 July 2010

Yonge-Dundas Square, 27 July 2010, photo by Michael Willems

"Separate Lives" - Yonge-Dundas Square, 27 July 2010

Oh, I do love street photography, and I do love the new GF-1 that allows me to snap away unobtrusively.

Fire

Do not forget to use motion in your pictures. Like this:

So I took that today with one hand – the other was holding a McDonald’s coffee, outside Henry’s School of Imaging in Toronto. I was about to go back in to do course two of the day.

Now, normally I would have gone to “Tv” mode (“S” on Nikon: shutter-speed priority). But with one hand and no time to lose that was impossible. So I rapidly did the following:

  1. Pop up the pop-up Flash.
  2. Zoom out to 16mm.
  3. I looked through the viewfinder at the street as the truck was approaching.
  4. I was in Av (Aperture priority) mode. So without the option of changing that while holding the camera with just one hand, I simply turned the Aperture setting up to to f/22, which I saw was what I needed to get to a shutter speed near 1/15th of a second. (I got to 1/20th: at that time time ran out and I left it there).
  5. Press the shutter!

All took about, oh, two seconds. And I hope you agree that is not a bad fire truck photo.