Sunday, April 22, 2012

On the street with the students

Friday morning I accompanied my students on a walk through downtown Stuttgart. The purpose of the exercise was to make them aware of all the motifs one can see and capture in town. In preparation for the walk, we had discussed both the theoretical and practical aspects of photographing urban landscapes and of doing street photography. We agreed that the pictures would probably end up saying more to the viewer if there were people in them, first of all so that there was someone to identify with and, secondly, so that one could quickly see the scale of the buildings in the landscape.

Using a super wide angle lens in town results in a rewarding experience for the photographer. You capture so much in one frame that you usually end up cropping something out in order to not make the picture too busy. Early Friday morning there wasn't too much going on near the station.

First we went through the train station and found this old ticket hall empty except for the lovely streams of light coming through the large windows.

We were concentrating on taking pictures from unusual perspectives, so putting the camera down behind the wheel of a bike was part of the game. I just waited for the right moment to press the shutter release.

While I was trying to take advantage of the converging lines in this building's structure, a man asked if I had permission to photograph it. Although I was standing on the sidewalk (public property), he felt he had to make me aware that there might be rules against it.

By the time it began raining, most of us had already reached the modern art museum at the Schloßplatz. Before going inside, we observed the goings-on from just outside the building. This man was enjoying the sun's last rays with his hazelnut ice cream. Obviously, by then I had changed over to my 70-300mm lens.

"Find a good background and watch the drama unfold in front of it." I love these steps.

During the brief rain shower, we went inside the museum to continue making pictures. Is this still "street photography"? I like the way it looks as if Jannis were wearing a suit made of dark green leaves.

After it rained, the pavement was slick and just perfect for pictures when the sun came out from behind the clouds!


  1. So, I know I'm late and I have no idea why I can't post this comment below the earlier (and right blogpost), so I'm just gonna do it here.
    While I really enjoy taking (or as you would like to hear us say "making") pictures, I really had trouble coming up with a question that I should have answered in a forum. I tried to find out how to use my external flash without having to install it on the camera but on a tripod or something and I came across this:

    But while doing so I noticed that I have a very different approach to do such things. I usually just learn by doing and getting stuck. Then I ask other people or google it and skip quickly to the point that I need answered. No more than that. I usually never even look beyond the point where I got stuck.
    For example, I wanted to know how to use the flash in slave mode. So I googled it and found a helpful tutorial
    But I actually never read past point 2 when slave mode is enabled.
    I never read manuals before trying new phones or other gadgets. I'm just not that patient.
    But don't think that I'm just lazy and didn't want to do anything for your class. I downloaded a trial version of Lightroom and tried out some things in there, post-processed a very pretty portrait of Rocchina and a few other photos. I took a lot of pictures with my new flash, trying out different things and trying to come up with an idea for the final project. I took a few pictures of the rats for tests and they came out pretty good with the flash (it makes it much easier to capture them on a picture, they can be very fast). And today I photoshopped all the bars of the cage out of one photo. So it wasn't really laziness that I didn't do proper research, it's just not my way of working. I'm sorry.


  2. Deine Streetphotography aus Stuttgart sieht gar nicht aus als ob sie in Stuttgart entstanden sei, man hat fast den Eindruck man müsse in ein anderes Land fliegen um solche Bilder zu machen. Die Mischung aus Brennweite, Bearbeitung und Licht, machen diese Serie besonders!

    1. Danke, Torsten, für dein Kommentar. Die verschiedenen Brennweiten sorgen schon für andere Ansichten einer Stadt. Das Licht war auch (schön) wechselhaft! Perfekt!

  3. @Jim: These photos are incredible... love the use of framing and lines throughout the images. Very creative perspectives and interesting captures!!!

    @Sarah: For off camera flash, you need some remote triggering system (either wireless (IR/preflash/radio) or wired (pc-sync wire/hotshoe adapters) from camera to the remote flashes and definitely want to look at - in particular the "Lighting 101" drop down of articles on the right side of the page. For getting good with flash on/off camera with people as your subject, look no further than Neil's Tangents blog of techniques -

    1. Thanks very much for the encouraging remarks, Brian.
      Strobist is indeed a good place to learn about artificial lighting for photography!