Photography Project 52: Week 30 – Street Photography and Shooting from the Hip

For people who are shy or uncomfortable about shooting street photography, there is a technique called “shoot from the hip”.  Whoever coined that phrase must have been at least 6’5″ – because I had to “shoot from the rib cage” to have any success”.

I have to say, I absolutely love my photos from this week’s project.  I must have shot over a  100 frames, and what you see in this post were the only usable ones – I had many shots of peoples’ feet, of the sky, of the tops of their heads, and too many of the sidewalk.  It almost reminded me of the film days – you had no idea what you were going to get.  Not being able to look through the  view finder or Live view added an element of suprise.  My first successful photo is of the bald gentleman looking up – I was so excited I yelled “I got one” half-way across the park to Peter.

I was practicing a technique called “shoot from the hip”  in which you manually set the focus on your lens using the Zone focus approach, and then hold your camera at your hip and release the shutter.  This way you can take pictures of people without being so obvious, and compromising their natural expressions.  I thought the hardest part was going to be setting the focus  (but Peter was as usual very patient, and would mark off different distances for me so I could get a feel).  The hardest part was actually figuring out how to position the camera – the height, the amount of tilt, and how to turn the lens in the direction of your subject if they weren’t walking toward you straight-on.  My compositions looked like teenagers shot them (in that wacky, energetic way teenagers take pictures of each other where the world seems at a tilt).  The other challenge was blur – I took most of these as I was physically walking, one-handed, most often while my subjects were walking toward me.  If that wasn’t challenging enough, I thought I would limit myself to processing just with Lightroom.  Every image is processed straight out of Lightroom using presents (Joel Olives and onOne).  The only exceptions were the two father/daughter pictures where there was significant blur – I used onOne Focal point on those images.

These pictures really opened my eyes to how much I don’t see as I walk around – I love the expressions on the faces in these photos, the way people interact with each other, and the irony that most of it is happening in some sort of “happy” costume.

To see larger photos, click on one to enter slide show mode.

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