Failing and learning in Vienna

By In Photography, Travel

I visited in Vienna for a weekend and did some street photography. I took many, many photos, and most of them failed. It was a steep learning curve, but hey, I learned a lot!

During the daytime me and some colleagues attended WordCamp Vienna. These WordCamps are conferences in various cities, which revolve around WordPress (This site is built with it). With Savvii, the company I work at, we often attend these conferences. They’re a great way to learn about WordPress and get to know the community. I just love the fact that my job enables me to travel and see the world a bit.

Coffeeshop Blues
Coffeeshop Blues

Hitting the streets

The Conference location was a bit more than 5KM away from our hotel. This enabled me to take long nightly strolls through the city streets of Vienna, with my camera of course. I’ve been developing a love for street photography lately, and this was a great time to put my skills to the test.

Roaming the streets at night

And I failed at it, miserably…. Since I’m used to shooting in a reasonably controlled environment. They may be lost places with all their dangers. Still, there’s fixed amount of light, you can use a tripod, and you can take the time to set up your shot, and take the shot if needed with a long exposure. Street photography, however, is all about acting, reacting, agility. Seeing, pointing, shooting. Doing that at night definitely does not make it easier.

Vienna Romance
Vienna Romance
Vienna street nights
Vienna street nights

First of all, I had to crank up my ISO way beyond a level I’d ever thought I’d be comfortable with and did a lot of “shooting from the hip” as I wasn’t comfortable with raising the camera and expose myself as a photographer. This, of course, led to a lot of crooked, out-of-focus photos, that aren’t usable at all.

Learning the basics

The good thing about it is, that during my daytime as well as my nighttime walks, I learned a lot I didn’ t know about my camera, and the restrictions they have when using it in a semi-automatic fashion. Over-exposure by daytime, under-exposure by nighttime, I felt I wouldn’t be able to do my street stuff at all. After a good coffee and reading up on my camera (yes, I’ m that guy that never reads manuals) I have learned to understand it better, and know that my manual settings skills will (need to) improve over time.


Written by Bas

Photographer, traveler, lover of black coffee, red wine and gin & tonic. Wearer of black glasses and a black hat, always a camera in hand, and the occasional writer.

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