Images shot with Super-Takumar 55mm f1.8
“You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather”
The words there of one of the greatest thinkers of our time: André 3000.
Sometimes, photography is impossible to predict. Other times, it isn’t. And you never know when it will or won’t be.
Both street photography and manual focus photography are made up of elements that fall into two camps; the ones you can control, and the ones you can’t.
You can control all of your camera settings, and with practice master them, but you can never really control what people are going to do, or how they will behave.
You also can’t control the light.
With practice and a little research, you can become better at guessing, or forecasting, but for the main part, you’re likely to spend more time being reactive than proactive.
This isn’t a bad thing at all.
Learning how to react to situations rather than engineering them keeps things interesting.
Often, the best thing you can do is just get out there and get shooting.
Zhongshan Park, Shanghai
I didn’t know exactly what I was going to find, but you can always take a good guess when you go to a park in China.
The elder generation.
Whether gambling, dancing, flying kites, singing badly, painting water graffiti on the floor, or looking after the grandchildren, they will always be there.
55mm Super-Takumar photography in the park
Shooting with the 55mm Super-Takumar means I wasn’t able to capture any wider vistas of Zhongshan Park.
But that doesn’t matter. It’s better to look for what you can shoot than worry about what you can’t.
A No Swimming sign, some birds, and a few silhouettes.
It isn’t a list of classic subjects, but what is?
Photography is unpredictable, remember?
Practicing pre-focusing on a distance
In my experience, the 55mm Super-Takumar performs really well with black and white photographs.
I’ve been shooting with mine for a fair amount of time now and have definitely learnt how to get more out of it than I could when I first bought it.
These rollerblading kids allowed me to practice pre-focusing on a distance and capturing them as they passed through it.
Needless to say, there were a lot where I missed focus.
As you can see though, even with manual focus lenses it’s possible to get sharp images of moving subjects with a little practice of certain techniques.
Just like the kids learning to skate though, improving what we’re capable of doing by deliberate practice is one aspect of photography we can safely predict.
All the images in this essay were shot with the Super-Takumar 55mm f1.8.
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