Selfie - Pic of the week

Shot with a Canon 6D and a Canon 50mm f/1.8 in Rethymno, Crete.

The summer of 2015 in Europe was the summer of the Selfie Stick. They were a regular sight in Greece over the last 6 months, and we found on our summer street hunts in London, Istanbul and Rome that you can hardly move for tourists wielding smartphones on sticks. The plague of the selfie stick has descended on all the major cities and travel destinations, and for the time being at least, it looks like it’s here to stay. For the uninitiated, a ‘selfie stick’ is a collapsible metal pole with a clamp that attaches to a smartphone. It allows the owner to hold their phone out at length and take a self portrait (‘selfie’) in front of a famous landmark or view. I cannot believe how widespread the selfie stick has become. At any tourism hotspot you’re bound to see masses of people all clutching these sticks and smiling into their smartphones. To see so many different people all behaving in the same way is a really weird sight, it’s something from a twisted dystopia, or even a cult!

The day I shot this photo I was using my trusty 50mm prime lens on my Canon 6D. Because this is a pretty old lens, the autofocus performance is quite slow, so I like to use the zone focusing technique for street photography with it where possible. 50mm isn’t the widest focal length though, and the combination with a full frame sensor means the depth of field isn’t terribly wide unless you stop right down to f/22, which means I can only use this focusing technique in very good light. On the day I took this photo I spent lots of time casting anxious glances towards the increasingly gloomy sky as the clouds threatened to blot out the sunlight! I was taking a walk around Rethymno’s Venetian harbour when I saw this man brandishing a selfie stick. I liked how his blue iPhone matched his bag strap, shorts and wristbands, and his pink shirt made him even more colourful. As my camera was already focused and the exposure set, I was able to act fast and fire off a couple of frames as he posed for his selfie in front of the lighthouse. I was particularly pleased by the contrast of the strong sunlight illuminating the man and the lighthouse and the dark roiling clouds engulfing the Mount Ida mountain range. With the pose and the selfie stick too, it made for a pretty surreal combination. Perhaps when we’ve reached ‘Peak Selfie’ in a few years we’ll look back on photos like this one and marvel at how odd we all looked with our selfie sticks!

"Selfie" by Digby Fullam


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