Daily Inspiration #435 by Harn Sheng Khor

Hi Steve,

I’ve always been a fan of street shooting and reading your website as well as other “daily inspiration” contributors always inspired me to go out and start shooting. The wonderful photos posted by you and the rest always motivates me to work harder and see the world differently.

I’ve been back to Penang, Malaysia after a year-long working holiday in New Zealand. And as always, one of my favourite place to shoot in Penang is Georgetown, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s always things to shoot over there, from people, old buildings, and lately, wall painting/drawing by one of the famous artist, Ernest Zacharevic.

Street shooting with a DSLR is always harder as people tend to notice you and the huge black camera. However, I took it as a challenge to be braver and get closer to the subject. Currently, I’m shooting with Nikon D800E and the Nikkor 60mm F/2.8 Macro. With such distance, I don’t really consider myself brave enough but I’ll keep on trying. Next week, I’ll be heading to the same site with 35mm and see how it goes.

The photos taken here are shot with Monochrome, tweaked to my liking on camera and minor adjustment such as cropping and clarity are applied using Adobe Photoshop CS6.

Here are my personal blog, www.harnsheng.blogspot.com for those who are interested to see more of my works.

Thank you.


Harn Sheng, Khor

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  1. Great examples of using black and white in a high contrast . The light foreground and dark background works really well in the first two.

    • You’re right, Mario.

      Few people get to see top b&w prints and the chorus of “awesome”, “thanks for sharing (isn’t that a kindergarden training phrase?)” and “fantastic” etc for mediocre, sooty shots seems to show many are satisfied with third rate. Or are trying to be “nice”?

      Harn’s shots isolate his subjects with great luminous tones while retaining the context of their surroundings.

      • James, that’s what 36 MP does for you. Immensely gradated b&w tones. It’s impossible to achieve the “sooty” Tri-X tones (which I like as well for certain images btw) without major changes to contrast etc (filter overlays, ughh), which doesn’t seem to justify the richness of the files.

        It would be interesting to see a comparison between D800 b&w files and the Monochrom. Similar processing to these of course.

        • I do hope the tweaks on Monochrome (pic style) works for me in this case 😛
          Trying not to post processes too much and get it right on camera. The 60 do helps in isolating subjects (the 50 on DX – 75mm used to be my favourite lens) and shooting wide open gives me a nice vignetting 🙂

  2. All three are nice shots. As general advice, I would say use a 35mm for such opportunities, but, in fact, there seems to be nothing lacking in either your composition or your connection and you have used the 60mm well. Remember, Salgado used a three lens combo of 28/35/60 macro for years for his work, and there is no problem there.

    As for using DSLR bricks – I’ve used a Fuji X100S (just recently) and Leica Ms and a Canon 5DII for years. I still find the Leica and Canon faster and more direct to use than the new gizmo. In fact, I’ve got so used to the Canon and a Voigtlander 40/2 manual focus lens that I prefer it in use to all the others. Of course, the drawback is that it is bulky and heavy. However, I’ve never noticed any problem with people shying away or noticing it any more than the smaller Leica or Fuji.

    • I agree Rob. I’m using the D800 (D700 for three years before that) with four primes; 24, 35, 50 and 85. I’ve taped over Nikon and D800 for some reason. The camera didn’t get any smaller however. Yes it’s not small and not light, but it offers so much. I use it with a Gordy’s wriststrap; very convenient.

      I’ve started using old AiS lenses on it as non-CPU lenses, which retains most of the functionality and exif data. The 2.8/28 in particular is amazing for an old lens. Very light and compact, and fun to use!

      • Thanks Rob. I always wanted to master a newly bought lens ( in this case, the 60) before i move on to the next to get comfortable with the range.

        Really tempted to get a X100S.. not now, but one day i’ll get it as a travel camera. For now, stick to my heavy dslr and lenses. For me, weight is not really an issue because i use the spider holster to hang the gears on my waist wherever i go

    • Thanks Ivan. There’s like heaps of people waiting in line to take photos with the ‘kids and bicycle’ painting when i saw this shirtless man from the opposite direction. Decided to wait for him to walk pass the bicycle before i click the shutter

  3. Good shots! Maybe, when you develop your style more, you can try to get in closer with for instance a 35 or 28.

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