Gaff Tape - A Street Photographer's Tool

One of the biggest things I get asked when shooting street photography is if people are ok with me shoving a camera in their face. Many people don't understand the concept of candid yet non creepy photography. Once I try to explain that I'm not always trying to get my subjects attention but am more interested in the activity of their lives, many people find it funny to paint a word picture making me look like a total creep in a trench coat taking photos of people looking some private eye or worse depending on how crude they decide to describe the act. Though I usually laugh it off, I most always have to explain that street photography (at least to me) is more about daily life and capturing life that has nothing to do with celebrities or a major current event. 

In fact many people don't even realize there are street photographers around when they are capturing images the way I do, I find it best to blend in and not disrupt the routines or activities that you are trying to tell a story of. That's why I usually dress very simple and camouflage my cameras in a specific way. 

Gaff tape is used in the photo, film and stage industries because it has the holding power of duct tape: but it provides very little to no adhesive residue when removed. Another added bonus is that gaff tape is known for its not reflective surface so it attracts very little attention. 

I use gaff tape to cover my cameras for a few reasons, here's why:

#1 It makes my camera less noticeable 

By covering up all the logos and shiny bits of the camera, it makes the camera stand out much less. Not saying that it becomes invisible but it does cut down on the high contrast Nikon, Canon, or whatever else logo right near your forehead. 


#2 It protects the camera body

When shooting street, I don't like to carry much equipment, many times I don't even carry a bag; that means that that if I decide to rest for a moment my camera is now exposed to the elements it was set down on. Many of my vintage cameras are brass or some other type of metal covered either in enamel or in anodized coating, that are likely to be scratched or damaged when placed on a rough surface such as brick concrete or even wood tables. Gaff tape allows me to maintain as little damage to the camera body as possible while also protecting it from other elements such as sand water or any number of other things. 


#3 The tape protects me

No I have never been a thief, but I know that being a thief really counts on finding valuable things that can then be sold especially when pickpocketing. If I was going to steal from someone it would be from the person that I perceived had more valuable goods for me to steal. Covering up an expensive camera with Kate really makes the value of the camera visibly go down. Can always be removed it's important to not look too flashy when photographing on the street because you don't want to be targeted as someone with an item of value that is begging to be taken. Because of the small size that comes with my Fujifilm mirrorless  camera, taping up all the important real estate that is visible from the outside world, makes it look like nothing more than a very inexpensive point and shoot or beat up film camera. I'm much more likely to walk freely then to get beat up for something hanging around my neck if it looks like junk. 


If you like this video please subscribe to my YouTube channel where I will be posting more and more content about the gear that I use in the work that I make with it. 

Charleston - Street Photography

Traveling is something that I feel I was made to do. I have had many opportunities to see different parts of the world, but still one of the easiest ways to feed my addiction is picking a place fairly close to me that allows me to get a couple hours away from home and immerse myself in a culture that is different than my own. Charleston is a beautiful old city and is very well known for it's historical significance here in the south.

Home to numerous colleges including the Citadel and the College of Charleston, a day in there is filled with just as many slouchy beanies and fixed gear bikes as there are seersucker suits and mint juleps. Make sure to watch the video and enjoy the photos!

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My New Project - Abandoned Myrtle Beach

The Grand Strand has been my home for 25 years. I grew up in Conway just 15 miles inland for the beach. After graduation I went to the beach for work and college. Since I was 17 years old I have had a job in Myrtle Beach and have made quite a life for myself here. I can remember as a kid going to The Pavilion and seeing the buzzing of the boulevard; seeing Peach's Corner and the rest of the downtown area lit up like a Christmas tree. There is no better childhood memory than laughing and playing with my family down at the beach. I am sure that my memory is not a very unique one. See, Myrtle Beach is place that many people call their home away from home. Every single year, Myrtle Beach says hello and goodbye to 14 million people and after labor day, we are left by ourselves to clean up the messes and hold things together until summer comes around again. With only 27,000 in our population, the city is very empty in the winter. After all the glitz and glamour is frozen over, we are left holding down the fort waiting for the loneliness of it all to fade away. Jobs are hard to hold on to and even harder to find when the tourists leave. The stores close. The water parks dry up and the roller coasters start to rust.

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Sneaky Candid Photos: Youth Night

Well, I am pretty active in my church and I teach a Sunday school class that ranges from 12 to 20 which I really enjoy and it's a blessing every week to get to talk about God with them. Once a month, the church lets the youth have a service of their own on Wednesday night, a time when we all get together, fellowship and have a good time. Well this particular youth night happened to be the day that I received my newest addition to the gear family, a Fuji X10. I am absolutely in love with this camera and decided to try to put it through it's paces. Considering the conditions of poor light, I think the camera held up pretty well in quality. Just goes to show you, that you can make stellar images with the compact cameras of yesterday. Short and sweet today, but I thought I would add in a quick candid photo I took of my sister during one of our board games. Thanks for stopping by! Jillian Candid Black and White

Candid Rose Portrait Candid Table Wide Angle Candid Surprise Portrait

5 Tips for better Landscape/Streetscape photos

Landscape and Streetscape Photography Tips I am not a certified teacher, nor do I have a case of awards and accolades at home for all my photographic adventures, but what I do have is experience and I hope you find this helpful in some way! If you are not a landscape photographer, you should still try using some of these ideas, because I have found it to be one of the most relaxing escapes to do these types of photos even though I am primarily a portrait and wedding photographer.

I love taking photos of people; I hear their stories and try to make myself blend in with them to where you can see the real them through their photos, but sometimes that can get very stressful. Zack Arias said in an interview once that his hobby is his passion and it also happens to be his career and that if he isn't spending time with his family, he is better honing his craft because it is what he loves. I firmly agree with that. I have been asked numerous times why I decided to start taking photos and my answer has always been "Because I can't afford hobbies that don't make money." Though of course this was said as a joke, it was true. I love photography, but I had to focus on it terribly hard because I wanted to become great at it.

Well after being well in to a year after my first paying gigs, I feel I have learned a lot and have definitely seen my stress level rise. One way I have found that I can continually sharpen my photographic skills, but relax is landscape photography. There is something relaxing about being by yourself in nature and not having to focus on what you see in someone but rather what is all around you.

Click "Continue Reading" to see my tips on better landscape photography!

#1 - Use a Tripod

Landscape and Streetscape Photography Tips

This of course is an obvious one. When anyone thinks about landscape photography, they see a camera on a tripod. Being a mostly handheld shooter myself, I had to really learn to work with the constriction caused by the handy device. I have used many types of tripods over the years and yes, having an extremely nice tripod is great but completely unnecessary unless you are doing some commissioned extra large prints for a client. For exposures under a minute, you can feel safe with a light tripod unless its an extremely windy. I do not have a very nice tripod. The legs are actually from a Targus tripod system I bought at Walmart and the head is a used Manfrotto head that I found on sale. Before that though, I was just using a bargain bin Kodak brand tripod that I picked up at a yard sale. (If you have a light or flimsy Tripod, make sure to weigh it down some how! I normally tie mine down with my camera bag. #2- Know When Not to Use a Tripod

Landscape and Streetscape Photography Tips

Tripods are not always a necessity. I personally have had five or six camera bags, some big and some small but the one thing they all have in common is that they make carrying a tripod cumbersome; even if there are straps on the side or bottom of the bag, it usually is more of a nuisance than anything else. There have been plenty of times where the light was just right and I pulled out my camera and got the shot I wanted. If there would have been the task of taking my tripod out and getting it set up, I could have missed the photo or lost the composition I had in my head because I had focused too hard on getting the tripod set up.

#3- You Don't Have to Use HDR

Landscape and Streetscape Photography Tips

Now I know that HDR is a beautiful thing at times, and when done right it can create some of the most astounding images. I have never been able to make an HDR that I was happy with and I choose not to. There are plenty of people out there with tutorials on how to make HDR images but I have found that shooting with RAW and exposing for the mid-tones, I can show the image a little love with the dodge and burn tools and be completely happy with detail in most all of the dynamic range.

#4- Stopping Down Isn't Always Needed

Landscape and Streetscape Photography Tips

When I first started doing long exposures and night photography, I was using really stopped down apertures such as f/16 or f/22. My thought was that the image would be sharper and more things would be in focus. But what I figured out, and you will too, is that smaller apertures focused at infinity will look the same but the larger aperture will take less time for the same exposure. For example: Having an exposure at f/16 ISO: 100 with a shutter speed of 30 seconds if the exact same exposure as F/4 ISO: 100 with a shutter speed of 2 seconds. How crazy is that!?!?

#5- Focal Length is Your Friend

Landscape and Streetscape Photography Tips

Now, I have seen some amazing landscapes taken with all types of focal lengths, but different focal lengths can create the exact look you are going for. When I go out shooting landscapes, I normally pack a standard length( 35mm or 50mm. Most likely the 35mm), an ultra wide (14mm) and a Fisheye. All of these lens types can be found for amazing deals. The Nikon 35mm 1.8 is sharp piece of glass for only $200 and Rokinon have manual lenses in all three of these types ranging from $200 - $500 each. With a longer focal length, such as a 50mm or and 85mm, it is very hard to hand hold without shake in lower light situation. I try to never shoot a focal length at a shutter speed slower than my focal length (Example: I wont shoot an 85mm at 1/60 of a second, but I will shoot a 50mm at 1/60th of a second.)

My favorite type of streetscapes are with my 14mm or 8mm fisheye where I steady myself up against a light pole or a wall and bring my shutter speed down to around 1/15 or 1/20 of a second (If I am really steady, I can do 1/2 second exposures this way. The image about is an example of this type) This allows me to catch the blur of cars going by and also expose for enough ambient light to capture the scene without causing too much if any camera shake. Are these pictures perfectly tack sharp? not in the slightest, but they are a ton of fun to take and extremely rewarding. All in all, a shorter focal length will produce better handheld shots than longer ones when using slower shutter speeds handheld.

These are just my opinions and take them as such. This is what I have found is very comfortable for the work I like to do and if you decide to start doing this as well, you will find what works best for you as well! I love learning and passing things along to others, so I hope you have enjoyed it!

Thank you very much for reading! Like and share with your friends to pass along the relaxing art of landscape and street scape photography!

Do you have any places you have been or would like to photograph? Let me know in the comments!

My First Baseball Game

So, there is nothing more American than baseball. It's out "Favorite Pastime!" but I can't believe that I have gone almost 24 years of my life without going to a professional baseball game. I didn't grow up very sports centered, but I played 5 years of varsity soccer in school and 2 years of golf. Baseball never really interested me. Everyone said that going to a baseball game isn't really about the game anyway but I never went because I figured I would be bored out of my mind. I didn't plan on taking my camera, but I am so glad that I did. I am not a sports photographer, nor am I a street style photographer but I do enjoy dabbling in both and that is what I was able to do here. The game was a ton of fun to watch, the entertainment all around the field was great and the crowd was super friendly and relaxed. I love watching football and pretty much any level (especially high school and college) but when I watch football, there is nothing else my attention has to juggle. I love football for that but it gets very intense. At a baseball game, I have come to learn that the experience is what you go for. I enjoyed being able to just sit there with my family and enjoy the crowd, and the entertainment and running in to friends. Oh and the game.

Pelicans Game-9

Pelicans Game-11

 

Pelicans Game-8

Pelicans Game-4

Pelicans Game-3

 

Pelicans Game-13

Well I did take my camera out a few times to capture some things and I even shot some with my iPhone. I love iPhone street photography and was pretty happy with the way these turned out. Enjoy!

Baseball on the iPhone (This was taken with my iPhone5 with KitCam and edited with Snapseed)

Thank you for reading,

-Jarrett

Pelicans Game-5

Street Photography: Barefoot on a Breezy Night

So the Barefoot Landing is in full swing this year with their 25th Anniversary celebration. Because I work in the resort industry, I have learned to stay out of the populated areas but last night I was drawn to go get some photos down there, I am very glad I did too. I love street performers but Myrtle Beach has very few of them because of the zoning laws and permits needed that are not easily accessible. But the loophole is the privately owned shopping and entertainment centers where the companies hire performers to come entertain the crowds. Well walking around I jacked up the ISO with my new Rokinon fisheye and gave it a whirl. Comment below with your favorite images!

Barefoot 7-3-2013-3
Barefoot 7-3-2013-2
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Barefoot 7-3-2013-14

This little guy was really digging the magician there. But he was pretty amazed by the crazy looking lens I had on the front of my camera too!

Thanks for looking!

-Jarrett

Photo of the Day: On the Road and Born Again

So, I meet new and interesting people every day. Working in the resort industry you meet millionaires, musicians, quirky vacationers, traveling salesman and everything in between; but sometimes you meet someone on a mission. For this fellow in particular, his mission is to share with people the Word of God. His name is Tony DeLLomo and through blessings from God he has been given a mission to travel around the country in his RV sharing God's Word. I like his approach opposed to other people on the street corner yelling in to a microphone telling everyone they are going to Hell. I am a Christian and I believe that people need to see the love of God through us and Tony found a unique way to use his freedom of speech by completely covering his RV in Scripture for everyone to see, then he waits for those to approach him before witnessing to them. He was a super nice guy and a really interesting conversationalist. He travels with his dog all year round doing the Lord's work.

Enjoy!

 

 

Traveling Evangelist-1

Traveling Evangelist-2

Traveling Evangelist-5

Traveling Evangelist-4

Photo(s) of The Day: My night in Black and White

So, for my sister's last Spring Break as a high school student, we decided to stay down at my family's beach house. It's a nice change of pace considering it's about the same distance to my office but a very different bit of scenery. Anyway, because our beach house is inside a gated community, they have a limit on how many cars can be at each house at a given time and that usually means I end parking in the overflow site and walking in. This gives me the opportunity to breath in the funny little streets while I walk in. These photos are walking around, meeting up with some friends and taking advantage of the eery light provided by laptops, in the wifi area. Enjoy!

Street Photos-1

 

Now keep in mind, these images are all shot hand held with a standard 50mm 1.8 lens with no flash. The ISO had to stay a little high but considering that I think the camera handled it very well! It was fun to be challenge by the available light and take photos unaware to some and quite obvious for others! Street photography is a very different style where you have to have a lot of nerve to not care what anyone thinks about you and your camera. Though I am no street photographer, these do have a little street flavor to them

Street Photos-4

Street Photos-3

Street Photos-2