Monday, March 26, 2007

The Speed of Light

Whenever I'm out shooting, and you can bet money on this, I end up in a wild dash across town to beat the parking meter.

It is at that moment I become oddly enough, like a lot of the poor slobs I photograph - under pressure to get some place with barely enough time to do it.
And equally oddly enough it is just at that moment I see people assuming strange wonderful postures, massing in complex geometric designs blowing interlocking back-lit smoke rings that waft ironically across erudite store displays.
Like runway lights whipping by an airplane window, somehow it is my motion, my mania, that generates these images. They exist in a parallel world where light rays shine on retinas but balk at glass - seen but seldom photographed.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

140L Grip

Sometimes the best shot is not in front of you but to your left or right or behind you or some point in between. And sometimes, a lot of times, you can't turn and face the subject 'cause if you do the shot won't be there anymore. So you need to develop goofy grips - weird ways of holding the camera that allow aiming in different directions while maintaining a secure platform to trip the shutter.

One that I use often is the 140L - camera braced securely against arm and chest with the lens pointing one hundred forty degrees to the left of center. This grip is amazingly stable and remarkably accurate to "sight". If shoulders are kept square when you turn your head you will be looking in the same 140 degree direction as the lens. What you see will be what you get. As always misdirection need be applied as well to make it work.

"Noticed" - (c)bongo 2005 - was made possible with the help of the 140L goofy grip.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Fifth Law

I had nothing that day when I saw two girls, a bleached blonde and a green-dye job - kissing. I ducked in a doorway, the only decent angle I could find. I had just a second to guess an exposure, set the aperture and when I looked up there seemingly out of thin air was a Midget holding a can of Pepsi about two feet from my lens. On instinct I mashed the shutter, turned and with adrenalin pouring out my ears walked away and never looked back.

Crayola haired kissing girls. Pepsi touting Midget. Long strange shadows. I had one good shot that day I thought. I was the new Fellini, no doubt.

But the picture did not live up to expectations. I had caught the two kissing, but the blonde was obscured so you couldn't tell she was a girl. And the midget didn't really look like a midget - the sloping background and the effects of the wide angle lens had added two feet to his height.

In my mind I had seen a circus act but had taken a picture of three lovily people on a sunny afternoon. The only freak there that day I realized, was me. Somewhere in my quest to get "a shot" I had lost my humanity and had broken the fifth law of Street Photography: "Don't be a jerk". I would do my best not to let it happen again.