The urban adventure continues from my last post here on the Sigma Pro’s Blog. This time I’ll concentrate on street shooting—things and people. These photos are how I practice seeing. I work to look beyond the obvious. Come along and see what I saw.
I put Sigma’s most excellent 85mm f/1.4 prime on my Canon 1Ds Mark3 and hit the streets.
I discovered technology out of time… a pay telephone complete with yellow pages! This is what people had to do before iPhones and Google! I had to have a photo. After all how long will it be until the last of these once ubiquitous talk tools disappears? Will you have a photograph of one? Do you know where there’s still a phone booth?
A little later, a light pole covered with stickers caught my eye. I zoomed in and discovered that the city of Seattle inventories there light poles using barcodes! Look back at the photo with the pay phone? See the bar code? What do you see in the viewfinder that others don’t?
Later, after walking almost all the way around Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia; I dropped off the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8, the 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 and the 2X teleconverter in the trunk of my car. The walk through the city continued with a single zoom lens—the ultra versatile Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX HSM. In the Gastown neighborhood I found more technology from yesteryear. This is the world famous steam powered clock that chimes every quarter hour. It is arguably the world’s most photographed clock. People gather around more to see the steam venting from its top than to hear the notes. And of course to take a picture or two.
Walking around a community like this never fails to delight the eye. Was William Tell a Canadian?
An outdoor copper kettle showering a ladybug with plastic dinosaurs, penguins and others looking on…
Or how about a leaping, life-sized orca made entirely of giant Legos?
Then there are the people. People and what they do fascinate me. At a street fair I came across this pair of men in black holding their opinion between them. I stood less than twenty feet from them for several minutes. I exposed a dozen or so frames during that time. Only one person stopped and not for long…
On a lighter note, I found these newlyweds in front of their apartment building. I walked up and we chatted for a couple of minutes while she cut his hair. Of course I asked if I might make a photo or two and they agreed.
By the time evening arrived, I felt as though I’d thoroughly walked the entire city. Truth is, the distance was closer to a dozen or so miles. I stopped at a charming Greek restaurant for something to eat. I got to know this guy who, for the price of a Grand Marnier agreed to pose. He told me that his passion was swimming in the ocean every day after working at a bakery on Granville Island.
The point to photographic walkabouts is to stretch and exercise our visual skills. What catches your eye? A barcode on a light pole, a whale made of oversize Legos, or even a haircut? Or something else. Take a walk with your camera. Choose a single lens. Challenge yourself by using a fixed focal length prime like Sigma’s 50mm f1.4. Move closer or farther away to make the composition. Most of all, play!