The title I chose for this blog post was “street snapshots”. The reason I don’t want to call these photos “street photography” is because I don’t consider myself to be a street photographer just yet… I suppose the term scares me a little, and I would feel a bit pretentious calling myself a street photographer. Oh well,, hoho, I guess I am a bit of a neurotic 😉
I do try to develop an “eye” for shots, but as of now I am mostly just forcing myself out into the streets, trying to gather enough courage to press the shutter around-about situations that I think might look somewhat interesting, and every now and then I actually do.
Back home I will assault the files in photoshop, add some grain, crop to oblivion and pretend “yeah, this is exactly how I imagined it when I pressed the shutter”. Sometimes they actually are; sometimes not. I am not really sure it matters, though. Am I enjoying myself while I am out shooting? Am I liking the end result? Why does there have to be a direct connection between intention and the actual result? These aren’t university exams I am taking, I am shooting some goddamn pictures!
…oh, and please do notice the reflection of the handsome fellow in shot below 😉
Unlike with landscape photography, where you have much greater control over the situation, street photography is more about walking around, hoping to stumble upon something interesting and then quickly using your skills as a photographer to make something nice about it. Sometimes I see something I reckon might make a nice photograph and decide to stay there for a while to wait for that “something” to occur; that person to enter the frame to make the photo just right.
So where do I see myself right now? Well, there was a time when I was starting to get more and more comfortable with this type of photography, but then I got lazy and simply quit doing it. Now I am all rusty again, and I try to get used to taking pictures of people without their approval, as well as not feeling like too much of a perv. I felt that I somewhat quickly got back into gear now that I have been out a few times this winter, so that’s a good sign.
Especially during this last photo walk I felt like I got into a really nice groove, where I would slow down my pace and just take picture after picture of people walking by. When I reached the end of a busy street I found myself feeling sad, turned 180 degrees and did it all over again.
I do all of my street… shootings… with my 50 1.8 G. I use it because it’s a very small lens that doesn’t attract much attention. I also don’t want to have the ability to zoom. Rather, I want to know just what the frame looks like without having to think about it and look through the viewfinder too much. Shooting repeatedly with the same focal length makes my eyes adjust to it and I know even before I lift the camera to my eyes (if I even decide to do so) roundabout what the frame will be like. I do think this focal length is often much too tight on a crop sensor body as my d90. Since I intend on soon (hopefully) upgrading to a d800 I look forward to shooting with an actual focal length of 50 mm instead of the effective 75 mm that I get with a crop sensor.
As for settings on the camera I will be shooting in aperture mode and quite differently stopped down depending on the time of day and the weather. The more light, the more I will stop down. Street photography is about depth of field and having lots of things in focus most of the time, I think. I will use auto iso set to somewhere between 125th of a second up to maybe 250th to try to freeze the action as easy as possible. Since it is part of my shooting style when I am out on the street to not stand too still and too obviously put the camera to my head, I want to be able to take pictures somewhat “in flight”.
Then comes the editing of the photos. This is really a major issue for me. I am having big problems deciding on how I want them done in the post processing. Sometimes I go black and white, sometimes colour; sometimes very grainy and with washed out colours; sometimes not. I am hoping I will slowly develop a style that I feel comfortable with.