Motion Blur

Posted on November 05, 2013

Panning is one of the great joys of still photography. It takes a lot of practice and luck to capture a good image so I try to take a couple of these on every photo walk. The real trick to creating a successful panning shot is to start your camera moving first and then press the shutter while the camera is in motion. That way you get a nice, fluid movement.

I really like the silhouette of the bike rider in this image. The little flip of his coat tail gives it a whimsical feeling. I got really lucky to have caught the blur of the tire spokes, I don’t get that very often. It really adds to the feeling of motion. The blurred figure in the foreground was distracting to me at first but the soft focus has a great effect on the composition. The viewer is forced to look past him and focus on the bike rider. Also, it creates some distance between the viewer and the subject and safely places the viewer on the sidewalk as a part of the crowd.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/90, f/5.6, ISO 640

Bus Stop

Posted on November 04, 2013

This photo was heavily influenced by Saul Leiter, a New York street photographer from the 1940s and 50s. Leiter was mostly known for his quietly different abstract compositions and helping get color photography more accepted in the fine art world. Up until then color photography was associated with snapshots and family photos. His abstract shapes and innovative compositions have a painterly quality that I’m really drawn too and I think are reflected in my current work.

This image has some interesting contrasts. Most dominant is a series of straight vertical and horizontal lines that are contrasted by a sharp diagonal light beam that cuts thru the center of the image. This is the most dynamic compositional devise there is, at least in western cultures where we read left to right, top to bottom. There’s a second significant contrast in this image and it’s with the gestures of the people waiting for a bus. The squatting person calls attention to himself with his low profile making him different from everyone else at the stop. It almost looks like he’s trying to get out of the way of the light beam which is interesting in itself. There in lies the meaning of the image; to be different you don’t always need to call attention to yourself. A subtle, quiet gesture can be even more powerful than even the most dynamic one. Leiter’s work has these same sensibilities.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/90, f/8, ISO 125

Blue Schwinn

Posted on November 03, 2013

It’s hard for me to resist taking a picture of a classic bike locked to parking meter. They are everywhere in the city and the older and more beat up they are, the better the photo. I found this one near San Francisco’s Union Square. The light was just so incredible, it was a must take picture.

I always use natural light when I’m shooting in the street. I’m finding the light in California quit amazing and I haven’t found the need to add any electronic flashes yet. When I see incredible light it’s usually being reflected off a large surface, like the side of a building. What makes this light so amazing is its ability to illuminate the subject without any distracting shadows. It almost like the subject is self illuminated. This is the kind of light studio photographers strive for when they are able to control every aspect of the lighting conditions in the studio. But a street photographer has to be able to recognize the light when they see it and have only have a brief moment to capture it.

So when I find incredible light in the street, I normally look for a subject near by being self illuminated. Bikes locked to parking meters are readily available subjects.
ng conditions in the studio. But a street photographer has to be able to recognize the light when they see it and have only have a brief moment to capture it.

So when I find incredible light in the street, I normally look for a subject near by being self illuminated. Bikes locked to parking meters are readily available subjects.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/750, f/1.7, ISO 50

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