Looking At Images #2

  By George Barr

We were attending our daughter’s graduation and decided it might be fun to stay on Granville Island in the heart of Vancouver. Alison and I were just walking around, looking for images to make. There were stores and stalls, fruit stands and boats, ship’s propellors and lots of characters, as well as a scattering of rust and water.

This photo shows the value of automatic settings. There was literally a split second to compose and make the image, no time in which to adjust exposure or focus, or consider the best ISO. Modern cameras often have a very functional AUTO ISO to set the sensor sensitivity while maintaining an adequate shutter speed to prevent blur. For street photography like this it can be ideal, especially when combined with wide angle lenses that inherently have great depth of field.

There most certainly wasn’t time to position myself so all those diagonal lines would work – here it is a matter of recognition of rightness. Recognizing that from where I am the composition is interesting and, on top of that, the fellow walking across the road is in the perfect position to complete the photograph.

There’s not a lot of colour here, but it does seem to point out the pedestrian more effectively. In fact, I like that there isn’t an abundance of colour that could easily become distracting the the repetitive lines.

The camera I used was a Panasonic GH2, a micro four thirds camera that is near ideal for wandering around, especially when equipped with the 14-140 zoom lens. This lens is not known for its sharpness, nor the camera for its high ISO capabilities (shot at ISO 1000 in this photo) yet here we are, able to make a respectable 13×19 print (with 2 inch borders). There are plenty of cameras that could have made a much better technical image. For example, a full frame sensor and a fixed focal length 28mm lens, but that would have compromised other images in the walk about, or weighed more, or have been more bulky, or cost a lot more.

I’m working on a project at the moment to produce a book of my black and white images and will talk more of that in the future, but the point is that one of the images (of some 70) that made it into the book was made with this camera and this lens. Kinda makes one want to revisit the requirements of our photography, and what equipment we’ll actually use because it’s easy to work with and is flexible.

This image was shot at f4, 1/60 second, and ISO 1000 and any barrel distortion was corrected in Lightroom.