Exposure: David Cheng

Photographer David Cheng swapped university life for working in a camera store. He shares his favourite moments and street photos on Exposure.

Lexy Savvides
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David Cheng

(Credit: David Cheng)

Photographer: David Cheng

Speciality: street, documentary photography

Biography: David is a 21-year-old photographer, born and raised in Sydney. After studying at university, he deferred to work full time in a camera store in 2010. He has been a photographer for over two and a half years.

During a road trip around Australia, he realised he wasn't working to improve his skills as a photographer. Since then, David has been getting better with each photo. He loves shooting on the fly, capturing moments, faces and motion. David's strength is shooting what's already there, though he has been dedicating more time towards staged shots.

Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L IS USM, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM, 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II USM, Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM, Canon 50mm f/1.8 II, two Canon 580EX II Speedlites, Canon OC-E3 off-camera shoe cord, Hahnel Giga T Pro remote, Aperture 3

Video interview

More of David's work can be seen on his Flickr account or you can follow him on Twitter @drearyclocks.

I was shooting for a Sydney blog so I was looking for social doc shots at Sydney Festival Opening Night. I always prefer to shoot candid moments, it seems like people drop their guard and you can better gauge the way they feel.

Exposure: 1/200, f/5, ISO 800, 200mm

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Festival opening night

This was also shot at a similar time and is a different mood and tone. I upped my shutter speed to better catch the performer's fast motions.

Exposure: 1/320, f/5, ISO 800, 70mm

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Kitty, Daisy and Lewis

There was just something I liked about this gig photo. It's nice and close, I loved the lighting, the bokeh and out-of-focus guitar neck.

Exposure: 1/200, f/5, ISO 640, 200mm

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I'm trying to shoot more set-up scenes with a bit more creative input. I have tended to be more documentary, capturing the action. This was taken in Glebe tram yards as part of a competition (I didn't win).

Exposure: 1/40, f/5, ISO 1600, 16mm

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I had the opportunity to try Canon's MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens. I took this shot handheld, elbows on knees, moving in and out as the lens doesn't have a focus ring, with the subject lying on the carpet in the tea room holding my flash towards her face.

Exposure: 1/200, f/8, ISO 2500, 3x macro magnification

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This is one of my favourite photos, I'm happy with the composition and result. When I looked up at the leaves on Crown Street in Sydney's Surry Hills, I noticed the leaves were creating glowing edges so I positioned myself so the street lamp backlit them.

Exposure: 1/80, f/2.8, ISO 2500, 200mm

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This was one of those moments where I captured the moment and the mood. The roller derby player was on her way off the track after a tough bout and you could just see the exasperation on her face.

Exposure: 1/200, f/4, ISO 4000, 200mm

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Another more documentary-style shot.

Exposure: 1/125, f/2.8, ISO 4000, 70mm

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Rosie Catalano

A friend in between songs at a gig. I really enjoy using natural light as opposed to flash, shooting close and wide has a look I really enjoy and the light outlining her face is quite pleasant.

Exposure: 1/100, f/2.8, ISO 3200, 70mm

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Victoria Room group

My first time using studio lights. There was an Elinchrom D-Lite 4 with Portalite and this group of friends landed on the couch for a photo. Once again this shot highlights my preference for shooting close up and wide.

Exposure: 1/160, f/8, ISO 250, 24mm

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The Event

From what I've seen, theatre provides some of the best lighting to shoot with and good shooting situations. So long as you're not disruptive you can get some great shots.

Exposure: 1/160, f/2.8, ISO 2000, 145mm

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Hands clasped

I captured this at an installation night at a pub. A 50mm is ideal for these low-light situations where flash shouldn't be used. The available light was a series of fluorescent tubes that were great once balanced.

Exposure: 1/125, f/1.8, ISO 400, 50mm

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The only photo I've submitted that wasn't manually exposed. I used an off-shoe cord for my flash and pointed it at the wall to my left with an omni-bounce attached. I also played around with the colours as it was quite striking.

Exposure: 1/200, f/3.2, ISO 100, 50mm

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I just liked the composition and colour. This was captured in Katoomba one weekend with my 24-70mm.

Exposure: 1/125, f/2.8, ISO 100, 70mm

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Devil's Marbles

One of my favourite landscapes from a road trip last January. The clouds and rocks seem to converge.

Exposure: 1/80, f/3.5, ISO 1000, 10mm (16mm full-frame equivalent)

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