Can my camera lead me out of my comfort zone?

I grew up watching my Dad talk to everyone he met. At times I felt a bit embarrassed. We would be stopping at a grocery store and the conversation would start with the cashier.  I would think, just pay for the milk and bread already. Standing in line my Dad would strike up a conversation with the people waiting behind us.

Well I find that lately I am following in my Dad’s footsteps. This is particularly true when it comes to my dog. My Libby acts as quite the ice breaker. Her friendly demeanor draws people to her. I love sharing her with others. When my parents were in an assisted living setting I always visited with my dog. I kind of miss taking her there. When I am at a pet store I start conversations from treats, training, leashes and everything in between. Rather than be bored waiting on line I look around, and inevitably I’m in conversation. Sometimes I find I have a question to ask, or an opinion to state (My 2 cents worth!). I shop by myself, and if I have trouble deciding I will ask anyone around. Lately I can’t find helpful sales people around. The shopping experience has changed, but that is a conversation for another day.

I am often told that I look like someone else. This has happened on both coasts of the country. It has happened when I was 40 years younger, when my hair was long, short, straight or curly. No not me, I reply. Then I am asked if I am related to … No and I have no sister. Have you ever been mistaken for another person? Another conversation starter.

How does this relate to my original question? Well I bought my new camera with the intention to get into bringing personality into my photography. A simpler camera, an easy way to change settings, a totally silent shutter, and a less invasive look helps. Having a big camera with a powerful zoom can capture people without their knowledge. Stand back and peek at the world. Less confrontational. Until they turn and see your big lens pointed at them, I fear. More of a paparazzi feel to the image. May make for an interesting story. This may be something I am over thinking, and I need to change my attitude.

This image was taken with a zoom lens. Not sure if the natural feel would have been there if they were aware. I felt safe capturing the moment.

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My street photography tells a story!.

For me to capture people close up I will need to bring myself into the game. This is where I move out of the comfort zone. But if I start with my new found use of conversation with people I meet, I may get a more satisfying photograph. Then I will have a story behind the image to remember. That will be “the connection”.

Looking through my over 40,000 images I am currently drawn to the photographs with people in them. Now I want to  review why I like them. I am not talking about my family photos. That is a different set of circumstances.  I am looking at some of my landscapes where I included people in the image and the landscape provides the environment.

In the middle of Old Sacramento this couple would not have noticed me. Again, I was using my zoom lens.

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Eyes for you!

I also need to look at location and situation where people and environment come together. Festivals, city streets, group gatherings parades all provide good opportunities. Here are some photographs I have taken over the years.

Renaissance Fair

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What did I do wrong?

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Playing with fire

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Father & son juggling

4th of July Parade

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Folsom 4th of July Parade

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Street performer in Seattle. A tip provided the incentive, and a face to face encounter!

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This time no eye contact. 

Captured this couple in the mining town of Columbia. They had finished shopping. Some post processing added an old time feel.

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Quietly seated among the daffodils

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Silhouette at McKineley Park

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Through the corn maze

Captured from a distance or from the back is easy enough for me, but now I’m looking to up my photography and make the connection.

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With my 35mm viewpoint found in the Fuji X100F I can capture the person in their environment. Find a good location and wait. This is one street photographer’s approach. I need to be comfortable with my new camera’s capability. Many street photographer’s share their images in black & white. Usually I focus on color, so I may need to study what makes the black & white process pop.  My raw files can always be changed to black & white later.

Not sure how conducive the suburban or rural life will give me similar settings. Luckily Fair Oaks brings back Fiesta Days this weekend and  I plan to be there making a connection.

 

4 thoughts on “Can my camera lead me out of my comfort zone?

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