Monday, December 22, 2008

To aim or not to aim?

  When it comes to "street" photography I mostly leave it to others. There are many who love to do it and are quite good at it. Concentrating mostly on static subject matter, I prefer a more calculated and slow way of working, but when you're traveling, especially with someone who may not be that happy standing around all day while you set up and fiddle with a particular shot, you have to either give it up entirely or go with the flow and change your habits. Not a bad thing to do once in a while anyway, no matter how confident and happy you are with your usual technique.
  As an assignment in school many years ago we had to go out and literally "shoot from the hip" without looking through the viewfinder and see what we could capture. Big surprise, some of the results were remarkably good. If you try it, I guarantee you'll get something interesting... off angles and interesting compositions that you never would try otherwise. It's especially good for capturing people at ease, since most folks will react to some degree and even stop whatever they were doing when they see a camera pointed at them. This is an example where, even though the men were inside and I was out, I knew if I started aiming at them through the window they would stop and look, so I set my lens to a wide angle and the exposure to "auto" and just fired away with the camera hanging around my neck. No way I could anticipate the nice reflections of the buildings from across the street, but that's where the luck element comes into play.
  Not that it always turns out this well; you'll get plenty of useless junk too, but hey, we don't even have to waste film anymore...  I may have to go downtown and try some more of this again soon just to change things up a bit.
"Butcher Shop"-Paris, November 2008


Anonymous said...

Come spring and summer I want to get into street photography... I usually wait for a community event to do that :-)

roentare said...

Photos like this always bring out story. What a great imagery here

betchai said...

oh, thanks for this tip, street photography is something i hesitate to do because i am so conscious of people and am afraid they will get mad at me if they see me pointing my cameras at them. i did not know we ca just shoot pictures without looking at the viewfinder. i may try this at downtown too :) and see how lucky would i get :)

Mark Alan Meader said...

Betchai: You're really digging back into the archives here.. thanks. This is a fun technique to try if you want to do street photography. Some will tell you that it's better to approach people and talk to them before photographing and that's fine, but that depends on your personality I guess. You'll get a lot of junk this way but probably some amazingly good ones too.