Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/12/02

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Subject: [Leica] Stealing pictures.......
From: "BIRKEY, DUANE" <>
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 9:06:41 -0500

I'm not a big fan of shooting from the hip either......... or "stealing" 

But I did do that last week...

I was walking through a park when I saw some guys with a number of boas 
and skins they were selling and displaying out of relatively small wooden 
boxes....   As soon as they saw me lift the camera to my eye........ they 
shouted no pictures... no pictures......   Apparently they didn't care 
much for my presence there as he almost always maintained eye-contact 
with me.......  

Well..... I figured there was two ways to skin a cat......  I had been 
practicing guessing focus distance and angle of view for a couple of 
weeks and have gotten pretty good at it.   This was mainly to help speed 
up the process so I can lift the M camera quickly to the eye and shoot.   
So I put the 35mm on the M-6, set everything and snapped shots from the 
waist in the gap between two students.    

One of the shots turned out great, and you can see that he was looking at 
my eyes when I took the shots.  I would not have been able to get 
anything at all if I had not used that technique.

I don't recommend trying to grab shots out of thin air...... but quite 
frankly....... You can learn to see through the camera  even if you 
aren't looking through it. and you can get shots in that manner that you 
won't be able to get any other way.   You still have to anticipate 
actions and expressions and subject placement and overall composition.    
The pitfall of course is the fact the everyone is looking several feet 
above the camera position so that is less than perfect.      

Anyhow...... the point should be the resulting images..... If everything 
you shoot from the waist goes in the circular file..... I'd suggest you 
drop the technique.... on the other hand if you get a few keepers.....  
well then........ it's another technique that may serve you well again in 
the future.....

Duane Birkey

HCJB World Radio
Quito Ecuador