Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/08/31

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Subject: Re: [Leica] oh, Canada! OR a real 'real world' lens test
From: "Steve LeHuray" <>
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 17:20:53 -0400

> Question: how on earth do you manage to grab candids as close as No. 19, for
> example, without the subject(s) looking at you?  Ten times out of ten, I try
> that shot--the subject looks at me before I can snap it.  Maybe I'm spending
> too much time focusing--but I'm fairly fast with that now.  I'd figure I
> could only get a shot like 19 by holding the camera up and snapping
> immediately before anyone knew what happened.
> I _can_ manage candids like nos. 2 & 7--where the subject's attention is
> distracted elsewhere.  But 19, or even 9--no way; I'm just not that quick.
> Dan


I am sure Johnny's techniques are not much different than mine. Here is how
I do it; first, fast fingers are essential but more important is to be able
to see the shot and make the DECISION very quickly to take the picture,
Don't futz around, don't worry about composing to the nth degree, focus,
shoot, move on. Most people are not going to be aware they had their picture
taken, especially in a crowd. Don't let yourself be distracted; that is why
I use a hand meter, for me those little red diodes really interfere with my
taking a picture. So, get a small hand meter and try taking the battery out
of your M6. I use a 50mm lens a lot in my SP, even in crowds, and that is
because as I meander I am constantly looking for a picture and those
pictures always seem to start to develop a distance away, so I will start to
move close to where I want to be and at the same time start to compose the
shot and thinking about what else will be in the picture. My pictures always
evolve, giving me a minute or two to set it up. The 50 seems to give me all
I want, the right distance to subject, DOF and composition. Also the 50 lets
you get 'in their face' without them knowing it. I always carry a second
body with a 28 or 35 for the times when there is no other choice. Sometimes,
when I am in a really maniacal mood, I have three M's with 28, 35, 50.

Something you can do to improve your speed and reaction time is 'dry
shooting'. You have, I am sure, seen those cop movies where the hero is at
the FBI academy and have to run a course where terrorist dummies pop up and
the hero has to gun them down with his machine gun. Try walking around your
house or neighborhood with no film in the camera pretending you are a FBI
agent and imagine scenes poping into view then, quick focus and shoot. I
have done this for many hours and still occasionally do it