Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2008/03/11

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Subject: [Leica] Getting "Tourists" out of shots
From: tedgrant at (Ted Grant)
Date: Tue Mar 11 06:26:50 2008

Hi Duane,

Despite what I said in my earlier post and occasionally I've worked in that

Generally your method describes what I'm like 99.9% of the time. Obviously
we are time travelers of similar make when dealing with people in foreign



-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Duane
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2008 9:29 PM
Subject: [Leica] Getting "Tourists" out of shots


Actually what I was refering to was more of my experiences in Tina's
situation at the rat temple....  I mostly photograph people and normally I
am really trying to capture some sort of natural moment and expression.
Just about the time that everyone is where you want them in the composition
and everything is just about perfect... all you need is that magical moment
or spark in their expressions.... and then a couple of "tourists" (whether
they are actually tourists or not is irrelevantent) wander into the scene
and just destroy the image.


In Tina's case... the photo would be much stronger IMHO if the three people
in back weren't there.... they just distract the eye... Everyone else is
looking at the rats... While the background "tourists" are not engaged by
how they are dressed... look bored... checking their cellphones etc...


There is just no way that you can say anything to get them out the photo
without most likely chasing the people away or at least lose the natural
moment that you really wanted to photograph...  If I know the people because
I'm traveling with them... I'll either get their attention... at which case
they move out of the way without me having to say anything. If they are in
front of me, I'll put my hand on their shoulders and quietly whisper that I
want to move them a slightly out the way....    


Otherwise, I either try to change my position... or just wait until
everything clicks again....  It is really frustrating when you know you
almost had an exceptional image...  but you missed it because something
walked into the composition.. And then there is the ubiquetous
persistant-rabbit-finger-holding-up 10 year old boy who wants his fingers to
be in all of your photos...   In which case I stop and make him aware that I
am not going to take any photos until he stops doing that.  


For outdoor stuff... I usually just stand where I want to shoot from and
hold the camera up close to shooting position and wait till people realize
that I am waiting for them to move...  They usually apologize...  and I
smile and tell them it is quite alright... I ask them if they got their
photo and make some remark about how beautiful it all is...  You can't be in
a hurry though...  


I can only think of one time when I had someone hold up a group behind me
for about 30 seconds so that I could take a couple of photos at Machu Picchu
without all of the tourists on top of the temple of the sun. That photo ran
full-page in the Gilcrease Museum Magazine....   So it was worth it.


Duane ( screaming get out my photo in my mind, but smiling politely on the
outside) Birkey  












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In reply to: Message from dbirkey at (Duane Birkey) ([Leica] Getting "Tourists" out of shots)