Seasons Greetings

Ken Cramer died 7/12/2016

The accidental death in Phnom Penh, Cambodia of the well known and respected publisher Ken Cramer, shocked the Expat Community.

He was an educated man with forthright opinions and was always willing to speak up and discuss situations. He will be sadly missed. Gone but not forgotten.

 

On Assignment : Village 17/22 Toul Kork, Phnom Penh

Taking images to tell a story (photojournalism), takes time and effort. Deciding why and how to tell the story takes planning and an understanding of the subject matter.

I was recently asked by a friend who runs a small FREE school for underprivilaged kids in Toul Kork a part of Phnom Penh, Cambodia to produce some images that tell the story of the life of these people and accordingly tell the story of why he found it so important to open this school.

IKM_0004The people of this area make a living on the edges of society, collecting recyclables, cans, bottles and plastics, making very little, some as little as $1US per day.

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His school (Aogaah Foundation) gives the children of this area probably the only access they may ever have to education of any sort as public education in Cambodia is expensive and these families could never afford it.

 

Street Photography

The street photographer has to have quick eyes that constantly search the scene before them, be ready to capture the image they see. Knowing your equipment is essential as messing around getting things set looses pictures.

The choice of camera and lens system is less important than knowing how to use what you have. Good street pictures can be had with almost any type of digital camera, point and shoot or DSLR and can still be done very well with film cameras in fact BW film is a great choice if you are still shooting film.

For my street work I admit that I use a DSLR either Canon or Nikon with the best glass I can afford but this is not totally necessary if the images are just for your own pleasure and as a record of your trip.

  • Less is More – don’t take too much equipment and travel light. It’ll make you less obtrusive and you will be able to move around for the best shot quickly.
  • Off the Beaten Track – don’t just go to all the touristy shots – try to get ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘real life’ scenes.
  • Stolen Moments – anticipate moments between people before they happen.
  • True Colours – black and white is often where it’s at with street photography but at times colourful situations arise and can really make a shot – be on the look out for these.
  • In the Background – what’s goign on behind your subject can actually ‘make’ the shot. Billboards, signs, graffiti and other visual elements can really make a statement in a shot.
  • Dare to Go Diagonal – don’t just hold your camera horizontally – experiment with angles. Street photography is a less formal medium – make the most of it.
  • Opposites Attract – shots which challenge the ‘norm’ in terms of composition and story/subject matter can be powerful. Look out for ’surprising’ subject matter and composition.
  • What a Performance – street performers, parades and other street entertainment can be great subject matter on the street.
  • Off the Streets – other places where people gather in number can lead to great shots in this genre – zoos, fairs, shows, parks, sporting events etc all can be worth trying.
  • New Angle – find ways to get up high or down low – these new perspectives on subjects that are familiar can lead to eye catching shots.
  • Practice makes Perfect – over time and with practice your photography will improve. You’ll not only get better at technique but also spotting the things to focus upon on the street.
  • Fortune Favors the Brave – sometimes the best thing you can do is to get close to your subject – this can be a little confronting but will produce powerful images
  • Fun in the Sun – often we try to avoid shooting into the sun and the shadows that direct sunlight can produce – in street photography breaking these ‘rules’ can lead to great shots.
  • Ready to Pounce – have your camera out and ready to shoot at all times. Things can move quickly on the street so if you’re not ready you’ll miss lots of opportunities.
  • Revise the Revisit – street photography is not all about spontaneity – if you see a scene with potential don’t be afraid to keep coming back to it until you get the shot.
  • Frozen Motion – the street is a place of movement – to capture it and still get sharp shots make sure your shutter speed is fast enough. 1/125 or more with an ISO of 400 is what this article recommended as a base. I also think it can be fun to experiment with slower shutter speeds on the street – capture the movement as blur.
  • Street Wallpaper – blend in with the scene – shoot unobtrusively and unnoticed.
  • Life Through a Lens – ‘exaggerating perspective will help set your subject in context and provide a more forgiving depth of field’ – use a wide angle lens (or even a fisheye).
  • Expect the Expected – people can be suspicious of street photographers so shoot in places where people expect to see people doing photography. Smile, be polite and be willing to delete images if people protest.
  • Location, Location, Location – really this is what it is all about. Choose places where people interact with one another and times when they are present.
  • Digital School of Photography a great source of information..

 

Lowepro Street and Field

Lowepro’s street and field system is intended for use by photographers that need to carry a fair amount of gear, on the move and have it accessable.

41LXpuawPeLIt can be based around the vest and belt shown above or on the belt alone, depending on the weight being carried. I use both combinations depending on the job and gear I need to carry and both give a comfortable way to do this.

technical_vest2The vest and belt combination is almost infinitely customisable using the loop and hanging positions provided with the sliplock cases made specifically to fit the system. It takes a little while I have found to get it the way you want but once done it is quick and comfortable to use.

LoweproVest2xThe rig as with all Lowepro stuff is well made and durable, excellent materials are used and the stitching and zip is super high quality and will last for years. The ziplock bags (of all sizes) fit well and again are well made, just pick the ones you need and attach it to the rig.

41U8rDnk-cL417ck-3Iy6LSF_LensXchg_LtUBelt-montagePersonally I use a couple of Toploaders, the 75 and the 70 which enable me to carry two pro Canon 1D’s with a 70-210 f2.8L and a wide angle zoom 24-105 attached and ready for use, if I need to carry extra lenses this is done by attaching the appropriate sliplock bag.

Both these toploaders can be used with or without the vest but the weight is better dispersed if the vest is used.

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images13Some may say that it all looks a little ”geeky” but in my opinion I would rather go home at the end of a hard working day without a stiff neck and aching back, even if the aforementioned geekiness is true, who cares.

Is it WRONG ??

My favorite type of photography involves taking images of people going about their daily lives in situations not normally photographed. Sometimes they are aware of me taking images sometimes not, using a telephoto zoom they are less than aware than when I use a wide angle zoom and have to get close in.

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I often wonder if I am intruding into their lives by using a telephoto lens, they are not aware of being photographed and do not react to the camera. Am I taking advantage.

Taken with a 28 – 85 WA zoom

Does my enjoyment of taking pictures of children make me strange or deviant, I certainly hope not. I always, within all my pictures of people, attempt to show them in a positive way or in a way that tells a story. I do not try to take advantage of peoples plight in life other than to bring their story to a greater audience. To take pictures that ridicule/exploit or give a false impression of what is going on is for me unethical and to be avoided.

Should I ask permission of the people I photograph before taking the picture or would that ruin whatever moment there was. Is it unethical to take pictures of strangers, without their knowledge or agreement. Do we have a right to privacy in a public place. These questions you must answer for yourself

“There is a fine ethical line between invading a person’s privacy and capturing their true image”Read the whole thing on Contrastly: Is Street Photography Ethical? http://contrastly.com/is-street-photography-ethical/

There is a fine ethical line between invading a persons privacy and showing them in a  true light. Most people confuse ethics with behaving in accordance with social conventions, religious beliefs and the law, and don’t treat ethics as a stand-alone concept. Ethics are set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms sentient creatures a being that is able to perceive or feel things.

It is not against the law to take pictures of a person in a public place but it may well raise ethical issues. Do we take pictures of the dead and dying in a war zone or during a disaster or do we lay down the camera and help the injured. Many would say that it is not the photojournalist job to help but to document and in that way he or she helps, their photographs stimulating outrage or concern, and by so doing provoke change or action in others. In some ways I agree with this but there are times when the pictures should play second fiddle and we lay down the camera and help, I know I have done it.

Walkabout in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, Water Festival 2016

The festival seems to be off to a slow start, the boats are here and ready to race be not many visitors as yet, you could not move on the riverside in 2010 and 2014 was slow but maybe tomorrow, when the races actually begin, the crowds will come.

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Thanksgiving with CAMBO CRUISE

Attended the Thanksgiving cruise laid on by Cambo Cruise here in Phnom Penh and got just what I expected, great food, good service on a safe boat.

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The standard of service and safety on this boat are second to none. The food, which is excellent, in prepared in the boats own kitchen, unlike most of the other trip boats that ship it in from outside and reheat. I have been on this boat several times and have never, never had a bad trip.

Phnom Penh, Water Festival 2014

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The water festival was last held in 2014.

 

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