I have been busy, for want of a better word, over the past few months trying to give my Instagram account a bit of content and identity. I suppose it’s more for the likes and followers than for any greater good to society, so don’t expect me to reveal something worldly there.
Some time back when I was still in Korea I thought it would be a neat gimmick to just post photos in black and white, or monochrome. It was a thing, and I’ve kept at it. Of late I’ve been focusing a lot on Dublin’s streets, and have been trying to get some shots which could be recognised as street photography, but with my phone and not my Nikon. It is not as easy as you’d think, because regardless of the quality of the image your phone takes it will never replace the speed and accuracy of a SLR.
But it is doable. All you need to do is:
- Be patient – find the shot, frame and wait a moment or two until you have the right level of human activity. Don’t stand around being creepy holding your phone up waiting for people to arrive or react to something. If the shot you want doesn’t come, move on and try and find another elsewhere.
- Be different – look for a way that you can make your shots stand out from others. Tilt your lens, shoot from the ground up, find a perspective which most people are unfamiliar with, or just find your own way of standing apart from other instagrammers – which is harder than it sounds.
- Be curious – I walk around just taking random shots with my phone around the city, and every so often a shot comes good. You can’t win them all, and there’s a chance you’ll take some pretty awful shots but as you take more shots and take more chances you will be surprised at what comes out.
- Crop Cleverly – When you take your shot use your regular phone camera and don’t shoot inside the Instagram app, as this automatically takes you to the edit and post menu. Shoot away with your normal camera, then when it comes to editing you can use the 1:1 frame to both crop your image in the desired area, and also to move around, zoom in, and even rotate the frame until you are happy with the shot you’re about to post. This might seem like a no-brainer but I personally feel this step is vital to the image and could be overlooked (or maybe most people just take it as a given).
- Ignore advice – whatever anyone tells you about doing street photography, just ignore them and do your thing. You shouldn’t really be listening to advice anyway, you should be walking around taking photographs, or at the very least looking at other people’s photos.
Of course these tips are purely my own opinion, and what do I know – I’ve only got 298 followers on Instagram.
Anyway, here are some of my favourites from the past few months, all tagged with the very cool #dublinisinblackandwhite hashtag.
If you do find it within your heart, you can follow me here. Or not.
For every second that passes I cannot chart the exact action followed through. There are a lot of seconds, and there are at least as many actions. Granted there are plenty of hesitations and thoughts about action. None of this amounts to much more than whatever it was that came about. Over the last few months its true that this has been the case as much as ever. Allow these images to be a sample of what might have happened in the past few months since my last confession.
(Did I mention I thought I lost my camera but then I found it, not in the last place I looked)
You won’t be surprised to hear that I’m still Instagramming away. The topic has changed, of course, and as has my user ID. Seeing as I’m no longer in Korea being Conzie in Korea just didn’t seem right, so after a night of brainstorming and the convening of a focus group I decided that the best name for my Instragram efforts was…
Pretty clever, right? Don’t all rush to praise me at once.
I also have a new phone with a better camera, but that’s nowhere near as important.
I’m still sticking with the black and white theme, because I like it. Some have called for colour but I’m holding out on that for the time being. Monochrome is my gimmick, and it seems to suit Dublin well, which is what my theme seems to be mostly made of.
Most shots are taken on the walk to or from work, and I suppose if you know this city you can trace which way I take.
Here are a few of my favourites over the past month.
First shot back.
From Capel Street Bridge.
When I get to the bottom I go back to top.
From Temple Bar.
All but half past two in the Dublin afternoon
From Henry Street.
From Dame Street
People Watchers Place
From South William Street
Coppinger Row 8AM
From South William Street
From Capel Street Bridge
From somewhere in Temple Bar
Life is better on the outside
From the Little Museum of Dublin, St. Stephen’s Green.
From Dame Lane
Please follow the links to the photos, give them a like if you think they’re worth it, and sure you could also give me a follow if you really thought I was worth it.
Let me know which ones you like in the comments, and don’t forget to share your own IG ID too!
Not so long back a blog post by photographer John Steele on the pros of using a smart phone for taking photographs turned up in my timeline.
Of course, you’d have to live under a rock, and that rock would have to be in the middle of a very large and uninhabited space to not realise the dominance of smart phones in 21st century everywhere. Not just for the photographic capability, but also for their connection to the wider internet, and all their other conveniences. Let’s not forget the well worn trope of folks staring mindlessly into their screens 24-7.
I’m a bit of an Instagram nut as you already know, but when I’m not posting pictures there I can be found taking pictures of other things. Like John Steele, I also use Snapseed, but mostly on my iPad where I actually edit pictures taken with my DSLR. I decided I’d download the app again to my iPhone and try it out on my shots there.
I’ve used other apps for editing photos before, like Camera+, but I’m more familiar with Snapseed’s simplicity of use, and I quite like the colours and tones that come from the editing process. They’re not as smooth or natural as Lightroom on a desktop, but they can almost give an HDR effect.
Here’s a few recent spring type shots taken around Suwon, with a Gangwon-do cameo in there for added effect, that I’ve edited with Snapseed over the past week of two.
As I am the proud owner of the humble iPhone 4, which is approaching vintage status at this stage, the pictures probably don’t have the clarity of newer and more advanced Smartphone cameras. When I put them up on a larger screen they could do with some more clarity as the graininess is pretty obvious. I could buy a new phone I suppose, but after dropping over 500,000 won on this one a few years back I‘m inclined to want to get more milage from this – I also like the idea of have a phone bill of a mere 30,000 won every month.
And yes, I know that all of these pictures are in colour.
Yesterday’s photo was forgotten. It’s somewhere on a memory card that was left in my car last night. No harm done, I trust.
Today I returned to Suwon by bus. Here is today’s photo from there – alas no clear and snowy Daegwalyong, only a Munmak supplied latte in the sun.