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The Story Behind That Picture: "Always Wear a Camera"

By: Thorsten Overgaard. August 3, 2016.

 

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Always wear a camera. That's the rule for me, and I never question if I should bring a camera or not. I just do it.

So when I walked one floor down at the Hotel Internazionale in Bologna, Italy to have breakfast, I had my camera with me.

This type of hotel is nice to sleep in but boring to stay in. It's the type that bought solid furniture that will last 30 years and it all looks 4-star. But it's been looking that way for 25 years and everybody is performing a routine under energy-saving light bulbs and with the same five-year-old plastic flowers standing in strategic decorative locations.

The breakfast routine was no different. I got it over with quickly with a view upon two sleepy-eyed couples, the only others in the restaurant that morning.

I still had time before we were planning to leave. Joy was over at the gym, at the sister hotel, doing her daily three hours of training for her upcoming bikini fitness competition.

I turned around to look out the low-sitting window behind me to check how the weather and light looked outside. This type of hotel always throws in an extra floor when possible, so I was basically sitting under the ceiling of what used to be a lofty high ceiling building, now divided into two low-ceiling floors.

 

Morning commuting in Bologna, Italia, May 2016. Leica M9 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Morning commuting in Bologna, Italia, May 2016. Leica M9 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

I recognize a picture when I see one, so I took a series of 8 photos of this scenery through the window. I wasn't dedicated enough to move out of my chair or try to open the window. I was just sort of training with the light and already knew I had to go outside for a while.

I stayed in my seat. I prepared the focus and waited for the people to move, or someone coming into the frame.

If you photograph when you see it, it's too late. You have to press the shutter for a series of 2-3 photos when you sense something is happening. A bicycle enters from the left and you shoot 2-3 pictures without knowing at that point if he moves up vertical in the frame, goes across or stops in the middle of it. You see him coming, and you take 2-3 photos.

 

           
 

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Compose and wait

In this case I picked a stage and made sure to have the focus where the action should be. I had the shadow in the top and the pillar to the left working as a frame.

Don't move the camera to follow anything. No matter what, just stay with it and capture what is offered within that frame. That's my rule.

I did this for a short while; after all shooting from a chair through a window is not considered the way to do it.

But the low morning light had made me enthusiastic and I wanted to go outside and get more of it.

 

The contact sheet of the six pictures I took out through the window. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
The contact sheet of the six pictures I took out through the window in Bologna. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

I walked through the streets and through a park for 40 minutes and then to the sister hotel where Joy was training. I trawled through that hotel for pictures as well, then coffee for another half hour. Not much luck despite promising low sunlight and approaching thunderclouds.

When I later imported and edited the photographs, this first photo of the day was the best one.

Nobody could tell it was taken from sitting on a chair, photographing down at the street through a window. If it works for you, it works for everybody.

Always wear a camera; also even if you are just having breakfast one floor down.

 

I hope you enjoyed today's article. I will be returning to Italy in May 2016 to do workshops in Milano and Rome. As always, feel free to mail me at thorsten@overgaard.dk for suggestions, ideas and corrections.

 

 

 
     
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Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
Leica M cameras:   Leica S:
Leica M Type 240 and M-P Typ240 (Leica M10)   Leica S1 digital scan camera
Leica M-D Typ 262 and Leica M60   Leica S2 digital medium format
Leica M Monochrom Typ246 digital rangefinder   Leica S digital medium format
Leica M Monochrom MM digital rangefinder    
Leica M9 and Leica M-E digital rangefinder   Leica Cine Lenses:
Leica M9-Professional digital rangefinder   Leica Cine lenses from CW Sonderoptic
Leica M4 35mm film rangefinder    
     
Leica M lenses:   Leica SLR cameras:
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica SL 2015 Type 601 mirrorless fullframe
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica R8/R9/DMR film & digital 35mm dSLR cameras
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R10 [cancelled]
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R4 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R3 electronic 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL/SL mot 35mm film SLR
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95    
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 and f/1.2   Leica R lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 75mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 80mm Summilux-F f/1.4
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 180mm R lenses
Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8   Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
Leitz 90mm Thambar f/2.2   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
    Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/4.0
     
History and overview:   Small Leica cameras:
Leica History   Leica Q full-frame mirrorless
Leica Definitions   Leica Digilux 2 vintage digital rangefinder
Leica Lens Compendium   Leica Digilux 1
Leica Camera Compendium   Leica X
The Solms factory and Leica Wetzlar Campus   Leica Sofort instant camera
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Lightmeters   "Finding the Magic of Light" eBook (English)
Color meters for accurate colors (White Balance)   "Die Magie des Lichts Finden" eBook (German)
White Balance & WhiBal   "Composition in Photography" eBook
Film in Digital Age   "The Moment of Impact in Photography" eBook
Dodge and Burn   "Freedom of Photographic Expression" eBook
All You Need is Love    
How to shoot Rock'n'Roll   "After the Tsunami" Free eBook
X-Rite   The Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course I
The Origin of Photography   The Overgaard Photography Extension Course
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The Good Stuff  
Hasselblad/Imacon Flextight 35mm and 6x6 scanner   "Magic of Light" Television Channel
Leica OSX folder icons   Thorsten von Overgaard YouTube Channel
   
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Henri Cartier-Bresson   Christopher Tribble
Birgit Krippner   Martin Munkácsi
John Botte   Jose Galhoz
 
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Byron Prukston    
     
The Story Behind That Picture:   Thorsten Overgaard on Instagram
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Leica M240/M246 User Forum on Facebook   Leica Camera AG
The Leica User Forum   Leica Fotopark
Steve Huff Photos (reviews)   The Leica Pool on Flickr
Erwin Puts (reviews)   Eric Kim (blog)
LeicaRumors.com (blog)   Adam Marelli (blog)
Luminous Landscape (reviews)   Jono Slack
Sean Reid Review (reviews)   Shoot Tokyo (blog)
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John Thawley (blog)   I-Shot-It photo competition
   
 
 
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Gallery Store Specials   Ventilated Shade for 50mm Noctilux (coming)
 

 

 

Above: Morning commuting in Bologna, Italia, May 2016. Leica M9 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 





 


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Leica Definitions
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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

Feel free to e-mail to thorsten@overgaard.dk for
advice, ideas or improvements.

 

 
           
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