shooting the streets of Helsinki

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Practising street photography. According to my  teacher, this photo has a perfect golden cut! That was nice to hear, even if while shooting you don’t think about these things… at least I don’t.

So, I’m back & blogging. The last couple of weeks have been quite hectic. We spent the first days of May on a holiday in Berlin – a wonderful, lively city  of culture I want to visit soon again! Truly, this place has something, maybe because of its harsh history… don’t know.

Further, last weekend I participated a course on Street Photography. It was a great, eye-opening experience and at the same time very intensive, as we both studied theory and history of this interesting genre and got to explore the streets of Helsinki by ourselves by taking our own street photos.

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These two guys were on their way to a ice hockey match and looked just great. The theme for our photos was intimacy and we had to find repeated colors around, so here we go…

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One of the tricks of street photography is to use reflections: on showcases, windows, wherever you can find one.

On the second day of the course everyone “had to” choose 12 of their photos to be shown and commented by the others. I was a bit nervous, as I love photography but haven’t really studied it. Also, I feel that my knowledge of the technical stuff is very limited. So it was wonderful to receive some positive feedback, – like everyone did, of course. Our teacher was gentle with us, even if we all got homework to learn more about focusing and camera technology. Something you easily forget especially while taking photos on the street where situations normally are over in just a few seconds or minutes.

But in photography, if you don’t control your camera perfectly you might miss The Perfect Picture just because your camera’s settings are wrong. And that feels bad.

In street photography, another trick is “repetition”. Here’s an exercise about that – I found even 3 pairs at one shot!

I liked the ensemble of the soft colours: on the girl’s cuddly blouse, the tram and the showcase behind. But damn it, the photo is not sharp!

So, my goal for this spring and summer is to really learn how to use my camera – and this can only be done by practising: taking thousands of photos. Our teacher said that for every 1000 photos he takes there are 100 OK ones and 1-2 excellent ones. So even professionals have it tough.

My camera is nothing special, it’s a basic system camera by Sony with a lens of 18-200. For me it’s just fine. Some of the participants of the course were showing off with their big expensive cameras but in the end, looking at our photos, all of them seemed quite the same level when it comes to the common problems of focusing and limiting the image right.

One of the themes given for our photos was “intimacy”. For me, these girls offered a good example. And it was a chilly Saturday night.

Anyway, I felt happy when the teacher said that I really control the composition and color, as these are the two aspects I’m really interested in – not only in photography but in all arts, interior design etc.

All in all, street photography truly is a new discovery to me. When I travel, I love to take photos of people and the little incidents and situations happening spontaneously on the streets, but I’ve never analysed the concept further.

There is a long and vivid tradition of street photography with its conventions, rules and heroes. Now I just want to learn more. I guess this is what happens when a course has been successful – it makes you feel that you know so little but in a positive way – and it gives you the basic tools to go further and discover a new, interesting world.

Here’s a couple of links for street photography beginners like me…

  • Matt Stuart, who is one of the most appreciated and well-known street photographers of our days. He really has captured some legendary moments!
  • Hannes Heikura, a modest guy and a great Finnish photographer (not only “street” one) who mostly works for Helsingin Sanomat, the major Finnish newspaper.
  • Shoot the street, a webpage I came across, promoting street photography.
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2 thoughts on “shooting the streets of Helsinki

  1. Bill Chance says:

    Nice work – I like the slight blur in the one with the girl in white.

    thanks for sharing.

    • annsofia says:

      Thank you! Yes, in this case the blur is not that bad but sometimes it really appears when it shouldn’t. Well, I guess I just need some practise. 🙂

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