Category Archives: Street

iPhone Street Photography

One of the most remarkable things I noticed since I started taking pictures with my iPhone is that hardly anybody is paying attention to you while you snap away. You are not considered a serious photographer, and people move on. No big deal.

Red door with shadow of person. Taken with iPhone

I love the colour red in photographs. I go by this door very often, but hardly ever do I have a proper camera with me. So when I started taking pictures with my phones, I knew I wanted to photograph this door.

Try pulling a big DSLR and lens from your bag and people take notice. It is clear your purpose is to take photographs, and people tend to be on their guard. It is more difficult to remain discreet. There are ways to do so, but I found taking candid photos with a DSLR more challenging.

In my experience, the key to interesting street photographs is patience. Namely, find a spot and let the action come to you. It eventually will. For example, in the above photo of the red door, I found the scene without any people in it to be a bit bland. I gathered I could improve the photograph by including someone in the photo. When I noticed the long shadows produced on the day by the setting sun, I knew I had my shot. It was just a matter of time before people started to walk by. I took a number of snaps, but this one is my clear favourite.

Cartoon tiger on a wall with two people shadows. Fountain Park, Edinburgh. Taken with iPhone.

Another image playing with shadows. Taken at Fountain Park, Edinburgh.

The above picture was taken at Fountain Park, Edinburgh. I was early for a business networking event, so I looked for photo opportunities. I noticed the colourful cartoon tiger character. And once again, the sun was low on the horizon and I decided to take advantage of the long shadows cast by passers-by. It took a number of tries to get the composition I wanted and hone in on my timing. The above photograph is my favourite of a few good pictures  I managed to get.

Man taking break from work. Street art on the wall,. Taken in Edinburgh with an iPhone.

Man taking a break from work in the late afternoon light.

Sometimes you have to get lucky, as in the above picture of the man taking a break from work. I couldn’t have anticipated the photo opportunity as the door was closed, since I had no indication it could open any time soon. I was initially drawn by the street art on the wall. Fortunately, I was ready when the photo opportunity presented itself. He must have known I was taking pictures, but didn’t seem to care.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Portraits

Most of the characters promoting shows on the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe festival are quite colourful. Literally and figuratively. For example, how often have you come across a smiling zombie?

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 zombie

I can’t remember which show this young lady was promoting, but she was very cooperating and gave me a nice portrait.

But not everyone liked to pose in a friendly manner. I got a number of rather scary looks.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival scary bald orange and white character

While sitting on a kerb, this gentleman gave me some of his best scary impressions, You got to love the makeup.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015  Feline Tiger makeup

He was part of a group of theatre students from London if I remember correctly. Very friendly bunch, even though you couldn’t tell from this photograph!

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 man in top hat with blood on his face

I guess I’d be grumpy too if I had blood all over my face.

While the scary/zombie theme is quite popular, at the Fringe Festival, you are just as likely to meet some real gentlemen.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 Distinguished Gentlemen by Out Cast Theatre

The show “Distinguished Gentlemen” was described as an outrageous tale of lust and lunacy.

Well, may be not! In any event, the sight of a man in a wedding dress promoting the show “This Much (or an act of violence against marriage)” from the Moving Dust Company definitely cheered me up. Only at the Fringe!

Man in wedding dress promoting the show "This Much" by the Moving Dust company

I was not going to pass on this wonderful photo opportunity. The real challenge was getting a nice expression from the subject with no people n the background.

Statues are also an integral part of the Fringe Festival, and they come from all over the UK.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 Lutrek Statues and Clowns

Lutrek Statues and Clowns are based in Bristol and London. They travel all over the UK and the World, according to their website.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 statue

Patience really paid off. I had seen this statue a couple of times as he was leaving the scene, and couldn’t manage to get a good pic. But the third time proved to be a charm.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 statue

The colour match between the statue and the background is what caught my attention here.

And no festival would really be complete without some clowns. I was really drawn to the colourful outfit.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 clown

I really like his outfit. Especially the hat. Don’t you?

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Portraits – Black & White

Every August in Edinburgh, Scotland is festival time. And the Fringe Festival gets bigger every year it seems. According to the official stats, this year’s festival consisted of 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows in 313 venues. An estimated 2,298,090 tickets were issued. Not too bad for a city of about 500,000 inhabitants.

During the day, artists promote their shows on the Royal Mile, wearing their stage attire. There are also countless busking musicians and statues. It is quite a sight and replete with photographic opportunities. Most of the characters are quite colourful, but that will be the topic of the next blog posts. For a few of the pictures, it was clear to me that they would look better in (toned) black & white.

Seymour Stiffs the Undertaker posing for the camera during the Edinburgh Fringe festival

Seymour Stiffs, the gregarious undertaker, was more than willing to pose for the camera

Seymour Stiffs the Undertaker photographed on the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe festival

I hung around for a while after taking the previous photograph, and I was able to take a candid portrait of Seymour, in a more reflective pose.

During the Fringe festival, you’ll see some most unusual things. Like the gentleman below in a wedding dress dancing and handing out leaflets. He belongs to the “Moving Dust” company, based in London.  This “emerging company is set up to create ground-breaking  performance projects”, according to their website. I have no problem believing that!

Actor from company Moving Dust promoting their show This Much on the Royal Mile during the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh

Gentleman from “Moving Dust” promoting the show “This Much (or an act of violence towards the institution of marriage)

Not everyone in a strange attire on the Royal Mile is promoting a show. Many just pose with tourists in exchange for money, like the Alien Monster below and Darth Vader.

Alien Monster on the Royal Mile during the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh

Not sure if this character is from a movie or not, but I found him on the Royal Mile on a few occasions.

Darth Vader on the Royal Mile during the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh

I guess no self-respecting summer festival would be complete without an apparition of Lord Vader.


Street Photography – Lines, Lines, Lines

Lines are a very important element of design. Without them, there would be no shapes and contours. When I’m out and about with a camera, lines are one of the things I look for.

During the month of August, the city Edinburgh is absolutely replete with photo opportunities (even more than usual), thanks to the Festival.

Girl on swing in attraction on Princes Street Edinburgh during the festival

Attraction for kids on Princes Street during the August 2015 Edinburgh Festival

Walking about on Princes Street, I could not fail to notice the line festival (pun intended) that you see in the above picture. And there were some kids jumping up and down to give a sense of scale to the photograph. I was very lucky that one of the children was wearing a pink top, as it offered some good colour contrast with the blue background. The key was to frame the girl with a maximum amount of negative space around her to clearly separate her from the background. It took a lot of tries, but I’m quite happy with this photograph.

Street Photography – Let The Pictures Come To You

A long time ago, when photography was just a hobby for me, I’d spend hours walking around my hometown of Lausanne, Switzerland, looking for pictures. But I was making a basic “rookie” mistake. I was chasing the action, running all over the place, and as a result very often came up empty handed.

The two best things to happen with regard to my photography education were the internet and learning english. There is a wealth of information online, and the key thing I learned about street photography is to pick my spot and let the action come to me.

Older gentleman walking in front of a very colourful wall  in Edinburgh, Scotland

Colour is an important element of design I look for when I’m walking around with a camera. This wall immediately attracted my attention.

So when I saw this colourful wall surrounding a construction site close to where I live, I thought it would make for a great photo background. But at first, the street was pretty much deserted. A while back, I would have moved on looking for another picture opportunity. But having learned some of the secrets of street photography, I decided to stand across the street and wait. And sure enough, after a while, a number of people walked by and I was able to capture a number of frames that I like.

Gentleman with an iPod or other mp3 player walking in front of a colourful wall in Edinburgh, Scotland

On a different day when the sun was out, I was able to capture more people walking in front of that colourful wall.

Now, if I find a great spot for a photo but it is missing people in it to make better, I just stick around for a while. Chances are, I’m going to get a good photo opportunity sooner or later.