I am not good at taking photos of strangers. I find it incredibly difficult to approach people to ask for permission to photograph them, and in any case I would prefer to shoot first and ask later in order to get properly candid shots. When people know they are being photographed the spontaneity is lost, they tend to pose, turn their “good side” to the camera and generally act stiff and unnatural, when they aren’t goofing off for the camera. I am, however, quite good at putting people I know at their ease and getting candid-like shots of them. For example, I am just about the only person who can get my mother to overcome her camera freeze.
This shyness/fear has lost me some pretty good photo opportunities and is the reason why most of the photos of people I have posted here have been candids.
As part of the Laugavegur project I plan to try to overcome this shyness and start taking more photos of strangers. I have worked out that a good place to start is to make them think I am photographing something else, or to simply hide the camera. Unfortunately, my little Sony pocket camera is not good at focusing while moving, so most of my first attempts came out blurred. I also have to work on my camera angles. Still, there were a few shots among the bunch that I like (see below). I think maybe a fixed-focus camera is the way to go for this kind of photography, but of course that will lose me the ability to zoom in.
This older gentleman had the most incredibly photogenic face, and I was able to capture it in part, by holding the camera in my hand as I passed him and pointing it upwards:
Even though this image is full of motion blur, there is still something about the dynamics in it that I like:
This boy and another were, for some reason, taking a dip in the pond. Judging from what their companions were saying, it was some kind of challenge. He looked up and spotted me just in time to give me a smile, but didn’t stiffen up. My only regret is not getting more context into the photo, i.e. to show that he was splashing around in the filthy, cold pond, surrounded by ducks. As it is, this could have been taken at some outdoor swimming spot.
I just got back from the Reykjavík Pride celebration, and it was as colourful and happy as ever, despite the rain. This is only the first instalment of photos. I’m posting a few that only needed minor cropping and adjustment in the first batch. There will be more tomorrow, and possibly the day after, depending on how many publishable photos there are.
A solar eclipse on the spring equinox is not something to be missed. And I didn’t.
I didn’t take my DSLR or even my pocket camera to photograph the March 20 solar eclipse, because I didn’t want to fry them (and besides, I didn’t have a solar filter), but I did bring my cell phone. I was using it to take photos of the crowd (here are some of them) when I spotted an opportunity and took it:
This is taken about 11 minutes before the peak of the eclipse.
The large solar filter was being held in front of a pro camera that was being used to record the eclipse, and it was big enough that by sneaking up behind the photographer, I was able to take advantage of it. In some ways, I think I prefer this to a photo of just the sun, because it shows what was happening down on the ground as well as the eclipse. The atmosphere was amazing, with people discussing the phenomenon with strangers and lending each other filters and solar glasses to look at the sun. The big filter in the photo also got passed around.
There will be a total eclipse over Iceland in 2026 – I plan to have a suitable camera, lens and solar filter at the ready when the time comes, and hopefully the weather will cooperate.