Last Saturday at a meeting of a photography group, one of my fellow members, Lee Steiner, expressed an interest in street photography. Monday looked like it was going to be a nice day, so I suggested we meet downtown and he could walk with me.
As with many beginning street photographers, Lee was concerned about people’s reaction at having their photo taken on the street. But he soon learned that, not only is it extremely rare for someone to get upset about it, many people will actually stop and pose when they see you. (I’m not particularly fond of people doing that, because the idea is to catch people being themselves. However, one way of seeing it is that those who pose are being themselves.)
Lee, who has primarily shot landscapes previously, acclimated to the new challenges of street photography quickly. Unlike landscape photography, or even portraiture, street photography requires continual observation and quick decision-making. As a rule of thumb, you have about one second to decide you want to shoot a photo, bring your camera into position, and shoot – before the scene moves away or changes enough that you lose what drew you to the shot in the first place. As much as I’ve done this, I had at least two shots that I missed on this walk because I didn’t make the decision fast enough.
However, before our two-hour walk was over, Lee was taking some shots that showed me he was on the right track.
And most of all, I enjoyed the time with him – mentoring him but also just spending time with a new friend.
A Surprise Shot
Toward the end of our walk, I decided we would make a pass through part of Waterfront Park, a mixed use park along the Ohio River. When I was in that area last Monday, I took a couple shots of a woman sitting on a bench reading a book while enjoying her lunch. Much to my surprise, she was back – on the same bench at the same time. So I photographed her again.