I was out practicing my street photography last night. Working on getting out of my shell and getting used to training my lens on people regardless of if they knew I was there or not. I had all of three encounters with people who knew I was taking their photos. The first was a couple of police officers who I shot (pics didn’t turn out) and they didn’t know I was there and when one saw me out of the corner of his eye he turned and asked what I was doing. I told him and he just laughed and said wait till they were at least in action arresting someone. Would be a better picture he said. The next was with a burly biker guy who said no more pictures and I offered to delete it and he said don’t worry about it but don’t take anymore. The final was the nice Indian grandmother who looked dead at me while I shot. I smiled and thanked her and went on my way.
There were a few technical issues with taking photos at night. I used my Olympus E-PL2 and my Olympus 45mm 1.8. I was shooting in priority mode and set the ISO limit at first to 800 then I had to take it 1600 but it still was struggling to lock focus. The images are grainy for a couple of reasons. The first is there is some noise because of the ISO I used. The E-PL2 can’t match the E-P2 for night shooting. Technically the same camera but I think the programming in the E-P2 uses different logic to handle low light images. The other factor is the Lightroom plug-in I use to convert the images to black and white. It adds grain to give it the film look and when you combine it with the high ISO it made it more grainy. I’m too much of a lazy git to go back and reprocess them with another plug-in or use Topaz or SilverFX.
Now that my excuses are out-of-the-way with the gear being clearly at fault I do want to talk about the images. Not all of them are stunning masterpieces. Like my earlier work some are complete crap. The only way I learn is by doing and then going back and looking. I pick apart a lot of my images on technical qualities. Street photography is about capturing the raw moment not if the picture is perfect and that’s what I’m really trying to learn. Shooting a portrait or a flower is easy because it’s a controlled environment. Shooting something on the street and trying to get the essence of it isn’t. It also means I need to let loose on my anal retentive selection process and just go with what I captured.
With all the photography talk out-of-the-way I wanted to talk about the images themselves. When I took the images I was just looking for interesting people to shoot. When I started to process them I was shocked at the sheer diversity I ran into while out and about. I know that America has a ton of cultures in it but I never really pay attention. I have people of all races and cultures around me and shooting it with a camera has allowed me to see it for the first time, within my own neighborhood.