When travelling, much to the frustration of my travelling companions, I am not a fan of guidebooks and maps can be like hieroglyphics to me (I just cannot understand them). I much prefer to ask for directions as I am on the go and when I am given directions, listening beyond the first ‘turn right/left’ is a challenge for me. I just know that I can stop and ask someone after that turn. Or even easier, if I am with someone else, is to let them listen. They can do it much more attentively than me. It can work out well. I have no problem stopping and asking people for directions, while some people prefer not to. So, I ask and they listen.
Same goes for guidebooks. I rarely read them before visiting a new place. But, I love to read them after visiting. Ya, this can result in being in places and missing out on some of the sights. It once took me three days to find the main street in Budapest! Luckily, I was travelling alone.
In many ways, I approach street photography in the same way. When I head out on a photo prowl, I do not have a picture in my mind of what I want to find and photograph. I prefer to be open to what may occur. And therein lies the frustration. Scenes and scenarios can evolve so quickly on the street and so many go missed. In densely populated cities, you can become overwhelmed so easily by all that is going on. In an instant so many things can capture your attention and your task is to isolate those split second scenes.
One of the challenges I face is the camera. Not the iPhone; that is set up for me, but the DSLR. As I like to shoot defocused images a lot, very often I have the auto-focus switched off and when something appears before me that I want to get in all its sharp glory, I miss the moment because the settings are not right. It drives me crazy. I tend to shoot on Aperture Priority mode a lot. I set the ISO to suit the light conditions and besides those two things the only other adjustment I make is whether to switch on or off the focus. What happens then is that I may work on out-of-focus shots for a while, then switch back to auto-focus and work on getting photographs that are in focus. Despite posting many out-of-focus photographs, I also do post quite a few in-focus ones.
The collision of coincidences that must occur for a good street shot is so rare, but the one thing that you have to control is your readiness to click. The one thing you need to develop is your sensitivity to scenes and that is a constant challenge. In many ways cameras can be an obstacle to getting a good shot. Life is difficult when there are choices and cameras, particularly DSLRs have a multitude of options. That is another reason why I like the iPhone. It limits those choices. As you can imagine, if I struggle with reading maps, then the numerous combinations and calculations of settings in a camera can leave me befuddled. With cameras, I am a bit like a grandmother with a TV remote control. Once you can change the channel and adjust the volume, what else do you need?
Today’s photograph is not the best. I would have preferred to have the guy a little more in focus, but then if I had readjusted the focus he would have walked out of the frame. So, I didn’t. I just clicked. That collision of coincidences was a little misaligned in this one. Still, I like it.
This iPhone shot is from the street market area in Haeundae in Busan. One of the techniques I use to blur images on the iPhone is to leave the top of my index finger on the lens as I have my thumb of the shutter release. Then I take my finger off and snap. The results can be nice sometimes.
Enjoyed reading your street photography / travel thoughts. I go about it pretty much the same way, and also often shoot without switching settings as I had intended… sometimes the results are unexpectedly good though. I like this guy’s orange shoes and the oncoming car gives it a bit of suspense. Very nice.
Thanks Joe. Good to hear I am not alone in this ;-)
I really like the soft nature of this image.
Thanks, I appreciate that.
I enjoy your article about the challenges you face with street photography. Sometimes I have great opportunities and great success with my photos, and other times I struggle with boring scenes or chopped off heads as I shoot from the hip. It is comforting to read I am not alone. Living in a rural area we must drive to populated areas to shoot street as we do not have the luxury of just walking out our door. It has been a very busy summer and we have not had the days to get out. I am hoping we can attend an agricultural fair on Saturday, then you can really see the people of rural Connecticut. It might be interesting. As always, I love your photos. I especially enjoy the brightness of the blurred photo. It is very cool!
Street photography is hard when you come from small towns/cities. There is a freedom that comes when you are in new places and this freedom lends itself so much to street photography.
I have exhausted all the locations in Cork, I think. What I am going to do next is get out early in the morning to shoot.
Best of luck in Connecticut.
Thanks for coming to the blog!
Am so in love w/ ur style- like what I’ve said before you inspired me- I tried to imitate em but not easy- and love all ur stories behind the scene- keep em coming and blessings to u:)-btw sorry I don’t have website:(
THanks Joe. Are you on Flickr or Instagram?
I’m on flickr:)
What is your Flickr address?