Daily Inspiration #303 by Carl Wong

Hi Steve,
I stumbled upon your site about half a year ago whilst reading up on Micro Four Thirds cameras. I’m now a regular and check out your site every morning before work! Anyway, I spent my Christmas over in Hanoi with my missus.. Prior to my trip I spent hours mulling over which camera to take with me: the Nikon D7000 or the E-P3. In the end, I “settled” with the Olympus. I’m glad I did: I spent hours wandering around the streets so I was thankful for its compactness and its light weight. As your site has inspired me to shoot more street photography, having the discreet PEN where I can shoot from the hip and not draw too much attention was a God send. I’m still very much a beginner with street photography and find it intimidating work, so the friendly locals who are so used to tourists with cameras made the shooting a lot simpler. Here’s some shots I took. They’re all from the E-P3 with the Oly 45mm/f1.8 and Pana-Leica 25mm/1.4.
The Old Man I shot quickly from the hip. Straight ooc.
I noticed the Girl on Bike’s reflection from her wing mirror approaching from behind and quickly grabbed a shot. Straight ooc.
The Mobile Vendor is just a typical lady selling goods out on the Old Quarter streets. I touched up with Alien Skin on this.
Thanks, Steve.
Here’s some more of my shots: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37571138@N07/


  1. Can someone have a look at my photos please, I tried to submit them to the daily inspiration but they didn’t get featured as they aren’t very good. Perhaps someone would be kind enough to have a look and let me know where I am going wrong. Thank you. http://www.leicamoments.com

    • julian,

      i don’t know why you were snuffed by huff, but i don’t think you should take offense, nor find it discouraging. while a great site, it isn’t after all a gallery, museum, or national geographic. it is a camera gear site, run by one man according to his own tastes, preferences, and motives. i’ve enjoyed frequenting this site for more than a year now, and to my eyes… your stuff is just as good and mostly better than 90% of what i’ve seen posted as inspirational.

      I don’t know much about what makes for good photography, but i know enough to know that when your stuff is good… you know it is. and you should, because yours is.


      • Thanks for your words. I think this site is great too as it is a constant source of updates for the latest cameras and lenses and indeed it must be a huge amount of work for one person to run and maintain.

        I wasn’t intending to inspire anyone with my images but rather share some images that I thought were a little different.

        I know my images are ok but I know that everytime I take a photo I learn something new whether I am aware of it or not.

        All the best!

      • I dont snuff anyone. The fact is I get about 15-20 A DAY so they all go in a folder. I have thousands of DI’s so not all can make it in a timely manner, or at all. Sorry!

  2. Carl,

    Great shots! Especially number 2, my favorite. I like that kind of street photography. Keep up the good work!

    Cheers, Jeroen

  3. Carl

    You are very welcome. In addition to just using one lens to lean how it sees there are three additional techniques that will help with your street (and candid) photography. The first is manual focus and the second is using depth of field; actually these two techniques go hand in hand.

    Manual focus may be a bit of a challenge but the EP-3 can be set for it; using AF in street photography can be a bit of a disadvantage, since the camera will try to refocus the lens each time you press the shutter. The technique I use when I find something interesting is to focus on (not my subject) that is about the same distance away from your subject, then swing your body to your subject, compose, and take the image. This way your subject will think you are going to photograph something else and they generally ignore you; this can be very effective at weddings and parties. Yes, you can use this technique with AF turned on, but if your finger moves off the focus lock, you have lost the images since the subject is now aware of you again.

    Using depth of field, or depth of focus, requires having the camera set to manual focus as well. In this technique having lenses with a depth of field scale and distance scale is a necessity; otherwise you will need to do a lot of testing to create your own. With this technique, use either aperture priority, or manually set your exposure at a particular f-stop (I usually use f-5.6 or f8), next manually adjust the focus of your lens to a desired fixed distance, or set the maximum distance from the lens for good focus just inside the guide mark for the aperture selected. I usually focus my lens to 10-12 ft (3-4 m) since I can visually judge this distance fairly well and depth of field will make up for any errors. Now when I am walking around and something catches my eye, all I need to do is compose.

    Finally, there is a third technique which makes for excellent street photographs, though these are not candid images. If possible, take some time and talk with your subjects before you photograph them, ask to photograph them, and later give them a print of the image you captured. In the case of the gentleman above if he is usually at the same location take him a print, talk with him, and he may let you take another image; and he may give you more insight into the area where you are photographing.


  4. Thanks all for the comments.

    Thanks for the kind comments and advice. I see what you’re saying about the first image. Certainly, I am learning to resist the temptation of taking all my lenses out with me and only using a fifty to shoot!

    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate what you’re saying. Street photography is definitely an area I’ll continue to explore and working on – hopefully some that you will find more inspiring.

    Cheers, all.

  5. carl,

    as evinced by the land and city-scapes on your flickr account, you have a great eye for composition and natural beauty. those photos seem so confident and strong… yet, i don’t get that feeling with your street photography. i understand that in that, you are a humble beginner, but it’s unfortunate that your admitted intimidation with the subject shows.

    sure, sometimes shooting from the hip results in unforeseen compositions which might be more interesting than if you had properly composed them. but, whatever the methods, the results should be engaging, and in these i find it hard to engage with anything, because you yourself seem so disengaged from them. i hope you continue to shoot what pleases you and find increasing confidence to do so… even if only in the idea that doing so makes you happy.


  6. Carl

    Very nice images. Of the three I prefer the second and third since they have more of a sense of place and a story. The first image is almost there for me, but having the mans feet cut off by the edge of the frame is a distraction.

    As you practice your street photography take a little time to look around the edges to see what is at the edge, and what is missing from the edge. Also, take some time to use only one lens for a day or more. This will teach you how each of your lenses “see” and you can better judge what will be in your viewfinder, and how close you can get to your subject, when these “from the hip opportunities” present themselves.

    Keep up the good work, and share more with us.
    Paul B

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