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It’s time to maximize the potential of all your gadgets.

Tag: Panasonic Lumix LX10

How to Improve your Street Photography by Ignoring the Details

Usually there’s not enough time to focus on setup when capturing a photographic moment. So don’t. Here’s what to do instead.

When you walk about in the city, do you sometimes see moments that would make for a perfect photo, if only you had a camera in your hand? Yes, me too. In fact… all of the time.

Sure, my iPhone is always right there in my pocket as I move throughout New York City, and I often grab for it to capture a fleeting image right in front of me. It’s all about how fast you can get off a couple shots before the scene shifts and the opportunity evaporates. I can’t tell you how many photos I’ve missed over the years that were taken just a few seconds too late.

Use a Camera Strap to Speed Up your Response
Wearing your camera around your neck can trim away critical seconds, as you don’t have pull out your camera.

I recently bought a strap made by Peak Design (Slide Lite) for my Panasonic Lumix LX10. I got it for my family’s trip to Grand Canyon and the famous mule ride we took along the rim.

The strap was originally a one-use purchase. Why would I ever want to ruin the small form factor of my compact camera by attaching a bulky strap to it? But then I tried an experiment and wore the camera during one of my trips into New York City. And I quickly realized that strap was my ticket to better street photography.

Be Ready for the Photo
Discarding the concern that I would look like a tourist, I’ve now worn my camera several times walking uptown from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan to visit my father. And let me tell you, having my camera right there near my hand is a game changer.

If you wonder why you may see any number of people walking about the city with cameras in their hands or about their necks, I think they’re all waiting for the next photo to appear. And they intend to be ready!

Point and Press
In my ongoing exploration of street photography, I’ve also been trying out an alternate shooting strategy. It’s simply to proactively point my camera at a potential scene as I walk by. Before I actually see anything worth capturing, I press the shutter a few times, move on and hope for the best. It’s all about playing the odds that the camera captured an image I didn’t have time to spot and process.

It’s about meeting a moment and reviewing it later to see if there’s actually any visual interest in it.

Happily, this technique has yielded unexpected success.

Photo Finish at the Track
My father likes to tell a story from the 1970’s when he practiced his own amateur photography with his old SLR camera. He was at Yonkers Raceway and had a seat up close near the finish line. As the horses crossed by in a flash, he simply squeezed his shutter button to burst through his 36-photo film roll.

Later, when he picked up his developed pictures from the photo store, he quickly sifted through the group. He saw a bunch of useless mushy blurs… all except for the last photo. It was perfect. It was like a shot you’d see on the sports page of the New York Post.

My father met the moment, pointed in the right direction, and his camera did the rest.

Your Speed Factor
Whether you see a moment or anticipate one, snapping your photo as quickly as possible is the key factor to better street photography. Plus, it really doesn’t matter what you see. It’s what your camera captures.

So, you might want to ignore more of the details and focus most of your attention on getting your camera going and its general position. Keep it simple. There’s often not more time for much else. You probably won’t know if you got ‘the shot’ until you review it later.

I’m still very much a student of this art form. That said, here are a few examples from my recent walks in Manhattan.

I Snapped these Quiet Moments during the Bomb Cyclone

If you’re careful to protect your camera lens from pummeling snow, you can capture the soft look of early transformation during a storm.

When your weather channel warns that a bomb cyclone is coming your way, all you can do is hunker down and get ready for lots of snow shoveling.

And it’s also a great time to break out your camera and practice your winter photography! Granted, you probably don’t want to put your gear in harm’s way or subject it to frigid temperatures for an extended period, but if you’re careful, there is some great imagery to find.

I always enjoy spotting the smaller ways that snow can transform your immediate surroundings beyond blanketing everything with white.

During the last nor’easter, I bundled up and walked my Panasonic Lumix LX-10 around to look for where the snow and ice had gently morphed into the landscape.

The coming overnight deep freeze would soon ice up these seemingly organic connections, and their dainty edging would quickly be lost to a hard, frozen gloss.

So I grabbed the opportunity to capture a few quiet and fleeting images. Here are my photos…

Essential Tech I Use and Why

Here’s my list of ten technology purchases I’ve made that creates my foundation for living and working in today’s digital world.

I see myself as an everyman (person) who successfully uses his tech (usually) throughout most days in life. I’ve done my research and also have a decent track record on my specific gear choices. While I’m hardly an authority… I’d like to think I offer an informed point of view.

There is also an ever-increasing amount of choice out there, and figuring it all out can be a complete time suck. The ‘best choice’ is an elusive and always-changing equation. So, my strategy has always been to find what works (at a competitive price where possible) and stick to brands that hold up over time.

Most of all: Keep it simple…

If you think that reading about the essential tech I’ve chosen (or covet) for myself might be useful towards your own tech-selection process, then I’ve got a little list to share…

Ten Technology Choices to Help Get You through Your Day

1.  Smartphone

I upgraded from my old iPhone 6 Plus and finally convinced myself there was no need to supersize it to 512GB. So far so good…

2.  iPhone XS Max Case

It’s tough and looks like it comes from the alternate universe in the TV series, “Fringe.”

Plus, I like saying it’s made with Kevlar.
Holding My Pelican Shield Case for iPhone XS Max

Enough said.

$41.73 on Amazon Prime

3.  Watch

After three years of self-control, I couldn’t stand not trying one of these out. It was an instant success… Not only have I been loving my Apple Watch, it’s also focused me on ‘getting my steps in.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, I don’t have to think about what watch I’m going to wear tomorrow!

4.  Computer

I began using Macs fifteen years ago due to the advanced multimedia applications, and I never looked back.

Do I feel the need to upgrade to the 2019 model?
Nope. Not yet… I’m doing fine with what I have.

5.  Back-Up Drive for your Computer

I’m a big fan of G-Technology Drives (now owned by Western Digital).

The G-Technology 4TB G-Drive USB 3.0 goes for $129.95 on Amazon Prime.

It’s what I use for my iMac’s Time Machine backups…

6.  Portable Back-Up Drives

  • G-Drive Mobile USB-C

Yes, I’m sticking with G-Technology again…
My go-to choice is the G-Drive Mobile USB-C.

I always grin and shake my head at how digital-storage pricing continues to drop…

7.  Cloud Backup

You do have a cloud backup plan in addition to your local backups, right?

I’ve been using Backblaze after CrashPlan broke up with me.

Offsite backup should always be a part of your strategy…

8.  Premium Point-and-Shoot Camera

Compact cameras that use 1-inch-type sensors can capture better photos than your smartphone…especially in low light.

Being able to freeze that July 4th fireworks moment is priceless!

Yes, these premium compact cameras are expensive, but if you’re serious about capturing great photos without blur and don’t want to carry around a big DSLR, this is the camera category for you…

I use Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-LX10. It’s a couple of years old, but still on the market and now at a discount…
$497.99 on Amazon Prime

I enjoy using my LX10, but If you’d like to know the camera I really covet, and what I’d buy today…
It’s the Sony DSC-RX100 VA… $898 on Amazon Prime.
(No… not the newer VI model. That’s because even though the VA has a smaller zoom, it‘s got a faster lens that can better capture action in low light.)

This is my friend’s new Sony DSC-RX100 VA.

The RX100 series has always seemed to set the gold standard for this category. Yes, it’s expensive, but I think it’s worth it.

9.  Action Camera

I picked up a GoPro last year as a family vacation camera, and I found that it really can enhance your vacation’s fun. A GoPro is small, durable and waterproof… so you can take it to the beach without worrying about a grain of sand crippling a retractable zoom lens. Plus you can snap great underwater shots!

It’s also incredibly fun to use during pool time!

The GoPro HERO7 Black is $343.68 on Amazon Prime.

10.  Wireless Mesh Router

When I replaced my old Apple AirPort Extreme WiFi router, I went with the two-unit mesh WiFi system made by Netgear Orbi.

The Orbi RBK50 (next to my Sonos speaker) costs $279.79 on Amazon Prime.

Mesh WiFi is a game changer… bringing new meaning to the idea of whole-house WiFi.
(I highly recommend it.)

If It Fits Your Budget…
I imagine some of you might be questioning whether all of this gear appropriately belongs on an ‘essential’ list.

While it would certainly be difficult today to operate without a smartphone or computer… does anyone really need the always more-expensive devices made by Apple? Of course not.

But I would also add that there’s value in working within one digital ecosystem. And not that you couldn’t also do that with other brands… but, hey… Apple’s always been a good bet… Period.

And no, you don’t specifically need home WiFi or a GoPro to survive, but I think it’s fair to say they’ve contributed to maintaining a level of digital homeostasis in my life.

That’s a fragile equation and always worth acknowledging… and enjoying when you can.

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