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Gevon Servo

Refining My Streetphotography -04879-20140829

On the surface, street photography can look easy. You go for a walk and take photos. But I have learned enough to know there is a lot more to it. Picking up your camera and going for a walk is only the beginning. Street photography is an art form that has been practiced for some time. A person can only get better through practice. Over this past summer, I took it upon myself to try to refine my street photography. There are many lessons to be learned from photo walking almost every day.

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There are many 50mm lenses out there that come in a variety of options. You can get a Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art lens at just above $1000, or you can get a lens like Leica 50mm f0.95 at around $11,000. However not all lenses are expensive super stars. Some are meant to be a common man workhorses. This is where the 50mm f1.8 lenses come in, and I have a few. They are the Volkswagen beetles of photography and just may be the best lenses for street photography. Here’s why.

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dealing with police Geservo-0447-20140115

Due to the nature of the work that I do, I was recently asked how I stay out of trouble with the police. The question caught me off guard. The person asking the question brought up the fact that I’m always in New York with a camera. In my photography life, I have occasionally run across my share of bigots. But photographers are mostly a great community of people–and the issue some photographers have is their race and the law. Not everyone is treated equally 100% of the time. As an adult I have rarely, if ever, been singled out and stopped. I am not going to say I have never been harassed but when I was young–I quickly learned how not to make myself a target for police. As a photographer, I worried about that subject even more. So here is my answer.

Editor’s Note: Chris Gampat has co-authored this piece.

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Sony A7 Grip GServo-3697-20140810

As technology changes, so have I. With Nikon not releasing the camera I wanted, I purchased the Sony A7. As I got comfortable with the Sony A7 there were certain aspects of the camera that were weird at times. One important issue was the size. It is great for my small lenses but when I use a big lens I really wish that the Sony A7 were designed to be bigger. This is especially true when shooting portraits. Luckily Sony has prepared for this when they released the camera.  They also released the Sony Vertical Battery Grip for Alpha A7, A7R and the  A7S.

And for the most part, it is the great equalizer.

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MS-Optical Perar 24mm F4 Super Wide-3719-20140810 gservo

It’s nimble and small. In fact, it’s the smallest lens I have ever owned. On paper, it is a handmade beauty from Japan. The MS Optical Perar 24mm f/4 Super Wide is produced in the basement workshop of Mr. Sadayasu Miyazaki. When I first read about it, I was infatuated because I always wanted a pancake lens. There was one small issue. It was an M mount and I use a Sony A7. There was a quick easy fix though, a Metabones Leica M Lens to Sony NEX E-Mount Adapter. So I spent my money on it while having no clue what to expect with this lens. It could have been crap or wonderful on the A7. It was a risk I was willing to take and here is what I think.

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Battery Charger gservo-3668-20140728

After purchasing a Sony A7, the way that I shoot and do my daily routines have changed. But one thing that really kills me (and the camera) is the battery life– it’s just not the same as my Nikon D700. It runs out much more quickly. If you follow my Instagram feed you know I try to go on a photo walk every morning. Sometimes I forget to charge a battery or two though. But with some of the latest generations of cameras, there is a way around that problem. Cameras like the SonyA7 and the Samsung NX300 have something interesting in common: they share a similar micro USB plug for charging–the same plug that’s on most android phones. I recently found out that I can use a portable battery, like the Anker® Astro E5, to keep the battery alive.

Now when I forget to charge my batteries I plug-in my camera on a train or while taking a coffee break. This can all happen in my bag and the camera can stay out of sight while charging.

However, this can’t replace the for need extra batteries. Extra batteries are great for the moments when you need power right away. Having a battery charger is great for those calm breaks when you are not focused on taking pictures. You just have to remember to keep your battery packs charged. If you want to take this to a another level you can get a solar pack. On crazy long days of photography you can keep you mobile devices charged. If you are a photojournalist your always ready. Our world is becoming increasingly mobile there are even more natural disasters happening. Don’t let the lack of power prevent you from getting a shot, ever.