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.
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.
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.
What did I do wrong?
Playing with fire
Father & son juggling
4th of July Parade
Folsom 4th of July Parade
Street performer in Seattle. A tip provided the incentive, and a face to face encounter!
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.
Quietly seated among the daffodils
Silhouette at McKineley Park
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.
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.