To photograph crowds was the clear choice for me for two reasons:
- I work in the centre of London and encounter daily crowds
- I am not very comfortable in photographing people (and crowds) and took it up as a challenge.
I decided to use the Soho area in London as the venue for my photos.
The inner Soho area is filled with office workers at lunch time looking for food, drink and some sunshine. Oxford Street is close by and buzzing with tourist and shoppers. The southern area borders at China Town and Trafalgar Square.
The idea I wanted to pursue was the combination of a long focal length and a large aperture. In the resulting very narrow depth of field I would place an interesting face while the rest of the crowd would be blurred out. I chose the wide pedestrian pavements on Oxford Street and Regent Street. Both images show a pedestrian that stands out from the crowd and draws the attention of the viewer. One person is in thoughts and the other one smiling at something. The surrounding crowd is blurred.
Another approach was to use a wide angle focal length and again a large aperture. I used the sculptures in the Golden Square in Soho. Focusing on the sculpture as close as possible and blurring out the crowd. Again the emphasis is the statue and the crowd disappears in the background.
The reverse order was taken in this image. This time the focal point is the group of people in the background. The flowers in front are leading the viewer towards them and are out of focus.
In this image I wanted everything to be in focus. For this reason I took the photo with a small aperture resulting in a large depth of field so the statue of Charles II and the crowds are in focus.
I took a similar approach in this photo. Both, the female tourist group as well as the Carnaby street sign has to be in focus. I used wide angle with a small aperture.
This photo was taken with a long focal length and the focusing had to be done manually. My autofocus focused on the bus and not on the crowd. The idea to take an image of the reflection of the crowd rather than the crowd itself was to put a barrier (or distance) between the photographer and the object. It can be viewed as a type of obfuscation of the target.
The station forecourt in the early morning sun was photographed with a wide angle focal length. I must admit it was only a ‘small’ crowd.
When I took this photo of the meshed door and the crowd in the background I struggled with the DOF. The idea was to have both in focus and hence I chose a small aperture. But it was quite difficult to assess the focus through the metal mesh.
All in all I am happy with the selection of images. I must admit that I changed my mind quite often and revised my choice several times. What worked a well are the long focal shots of people in the busy streets. It was hard work as most of the time I just saw the back of their heads. Also focusing wasn’t quite as simple. But the result was quite rewarding. The reflection images also worked out quite well. Again it took a while to get the perfect shot.
I had some nice photos which looked technically perfect and appealing. The only problem was that they were boring and didn’t inspire. The only photo still looks a little bit like that is EyVassign2179. I think it might be the case that one tries to copy images that we see every day in glossy magazines or on the internet. Especially when the objects are well known tourist attractions one selects the holiday-maker approach.
I was struggling to get the large DOF with the handheld camera which was required at times. A tripod would have been a better idea but wasn’t really practical. Perhaps in future I might consider that.