Feeling the Heat / Street Photography

Feeling the Heat - Street Photography

New York City is not the most commuter friendly place for bicyclists. Yet, an increasing number of people seem to be traveling and commuting by bike. This photograph was taken on a humid and scorching day last week.

Someone asked me for some Street Photography tips:

Most of the photos that work are rarely taken on dedicated street photography trips. Street Photography is about anticipation and timing. When the decisive moment is about to arise, you can only get the shot if you have a camera with you. The photograph above was taken from the car while waiting on a red light.

Even when I can not have my camera with me, I attempt to seek people with a distinct body language and "mentally click" when their expression reaches a climax. Or, as in the second photo below, of the gentleman running towards the bus stop, I try to visualize the point where the activity might peak.

Probably the most difficult aspect of street photography is the limited control of the background. Composing for the background and then waiting for people to fill the foreground rarely produces a photo that works. On the other hand, if the subject is moving through the frame, timing can yield a better background. One second too early, and the rider in the photo above would have entangled with the poles and the person in the rear; one moment too late, a part of a car would have been in the frame. The pile of garbage behind the rider was the least distracting choice.

There is no single best focal length for street photography. I generally shoot with the 85mm and 150mm primes on a full-frame camera. Although zoom lenses could be more versatile, they are larger and inconvenient to use in low light. I don't mind being "caught" so long as the moment is captured. When "caught" I bring my camera down and make a gentle waving/thank you gesture and usually get a wave back...

You can also check out this whacky video about shooting strangers in public areas.

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