Pentax K5 IIs
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Pentax K5 IIs: Street Photography, a word or two

This is a response to a few emails I’ve received in the past few weeks. The question can be summarized in the following statement: What’s your style of street photography, your subjects don’t seem to know they are your subjects and what techniques are you using. Well, let me try to elucidate a few points with some images. First, like Ansel Adams once said, “there are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” This my friends is a very salient point. An image is either part of a story or the story in and of itself, and for me, its really that simple. Why bother with all the philosophical aspects of this or that. There is nothing wrong with that if you want to go that route but don’t try to espouse to others like some bloggers do. The question is “do you like the image you made?”, and like Daido Moriyama says, “are you pouring your soul into processing.” These are the two questions that rule my modus operandi when I photograph anything. For me capturing the picture is only half the battle, the other half happens in Lightroom in my case, but whatever photo management application you use is just fine, as long as you know how to use it to create your vision. In today’s market there are a ton of options: Lightroom, Aperture, Pixelmator (what I use), Photoshop Elements, Photoshop, DXO, Capture One, and so forth. Oh, and I almost forgot, the multitude of smaller applications which in do two or three things quite well, let us say, special processing filters or collages,  you get the idea. Just take a virtual walk in the Mac App store and you’ll see what I mean. The point of all this is not to fall in the trap that your images won’t be as nice as those folks who process in Photoshop or Lightroom, etc.

All photographs by Jorge Ledesma ― Pentax K5 IIs ― Pentax SMC-FA 31mm f/1.8 AL Limited ― click to view as a gallery

Remember the image is the first part of the equation and if you feel comfortable with the image, then go for it. I’m not saying it will be a Pulitzer price image but then again, another question must be answered ― “who are you photographing for?” I photograph for myself, first and foremost, and if people happen to like what I photograph, then its icing on the cake. Perhaps, I won’t win a Life Magazine achievement award, but to me or perhaps a family member it sure will feel like one. So be happy, work hard to create the images you want and pour your soul into the processing and I’m sure you’ll be happy with the results. If you need an opinion, you can always email me and I’ll be more than happy to give you an opinion on what you share with me and not you as a person.  These two sets of images were both processed with a $10 app from the Mac App store and I just love how they came out. Could I have done it in Lightroom? Yeah, playing around with some sliders here and there but guess I arrived at my vision with just a few clicks here and there and the results are pleasing to me. As far technique, just shoot, put your camera in TAv or Aperture priority and get know your camera in and out, then worry about Zone Focusing and all that stuff. On Pentax cameras including the new Ricoh GR the TAv mode is so money, I love it. Set your camera’s aperture and shutter and let the camera decide the ISO. Its kind off like semi manual but it works well in my opinion.

All photographs by Jorge Ledesma ― Pentax K5 IIs ― Pentax SMC-FA 31mm f/1.8 AL Limited ― click to view as a gallery

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