Its been too long since I posted in this blog. I’ve been neglecting my reader. To be honest, I haven’t felt that I had any new insights to share as Covid restrictions seemed to steal away my motivation for a while.

With more people venturing out and about shopping and sightseeing more opportunities for street images have arisen. There’s a plethora of interesting facemasks out there just waiting to be captured on camera.

Usually I like to go out snapping on my own. Just wandering aimlessly around looking for interesting people and situations, choosing my route as I go. My most sociable photographic ventures were as a member of a Photo Meet Up group. Pre Covid, we would gather at an appointed place, then disperse to take pictures and eventually reassemble in a cafe or pub to discuss the afternoons events and life in general. However, I rarely set out with a ‘photo buddy’ on my normal walkabouts.

I have done exactly that a few times in the past weeks (face masks and social distancing of course) and have to say I’ve enjoyed the company and learnt some good tips.

Firstly, I have learnt to slow down. My modus operandi when encountering a potential image or scene would be to see it, shoot it and move on, all done very quickly. Even writing this down, its obvious that I’m not going to produce the best representation of a scene working with such a scattergun approach. Observing another photographer at work in the same environment at the same time has made me question my method of taking street images. I have slowed down and am considering viewpoint more. I have to suppress the urge to move on too quickly though, I put this down to fear of confrontation.

Discussing camera settings is an obvious topic for us camera obsessed individuals and has led me to experiment a bit. I rarely use manual mode when street snapping, with the exception of street portraits when I have asked permission to take someones picture and can allow myself more time to make that picture. Having tried manual again with developing street scenes, I definitely miss too many shots. I just seem to muddle it, the results were poor. However, I’ve been more successful experimenting with ISO settings. My normal set up would be Aperture priority with Auto Iso and minimum shutter speed set to 1/500, but I’ve been playing around with this to see what I can get away with while retaining sharpness when subjects are moving. I’m beginning to accept a little motion blur in the hope that it looks creative!

Working as a pair seems to create a bubble of authenticity and I’d like to think professionalism. I certainly believe people are less likely to question what you’re doing when you’re with another photographer. In my case it has made me more confident and bolder. Perhaps not a good thing!

Sharing the delight when you think you’ve nailed an image is another bonus, as is realising that you are actually still shooting in a solitary manner, as your results will invariably be very different to those of your companion. It also increases your awareness of your surroundings. Several times my friend showed me a great image she had captured and I hadn’t even seen that scene. We have our own styles and what one finds interesting the other may not. The final added bonus is that you can adjourn with your pal for lunch when inspiration runs low!

The Car Park Five

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