Anatomy Of A Street Shot
I was about to post this shot with a few others from the same day, but as it’s one of a sequence of three, I thought it might be good to have a look at them together to see the reasons one is chosen over the other. A lot of street photography is about one shot. Someone walks toward you, you take the shot and they’re gone, never to be repeated ever again. But sometimes you have a chance to fire of two or three. This was one of those times because the dog slowed things down. I shot this in Glasgow (Scotland) with the X100. It’s still my favourite street camera, even though I now have the 23mm f1.4 (35mm full frame) for the X-Pro1. There’s just something special about this tiny silent camera. As a side note – the X100s in black was announced yesterday…food for thought.
SHOT 1: I like this street as it has character, but it’s not usually busy. I think this was my second shot of the day. I saw this guy walking his dog and I liked the contrast of the long dark coat and the odd wooly dog. I knew we were a bit far apart for the 35mm field of view, but as it was only my second shot of the day, I took a test shot and checked the photo in the viewfinder. If you are not familiar with the Fuji X100 ( and XPro1), the viewfinder has a tiny screen that slides in when you take a shot and let’s you see the photo without chimping on the camera LCD. My exposure was ok. The Sky was a bit blown out, but it was a grey day and it was more important to expose for the street. But I knew this wouldn’t be a keeper. I knew that before I pressed the shutter.
SHOT 2: I moved closer and he moved closer. I crouched low to get a better angle. This is the shot that works best for me. It has strong leading lines that take the viewers eye to both subjects. It doesn’t matter if your eye reached the man or the dog first because the tight lead that connects them also causes you to shift from one to the other. I really like the pose, it’s a little stiff with one foot slightly raised and twisted as it leaves the kerb. The expression is good and makes you wonder what’s going on in his life. He has things on his mind that might be worrying him. I also like the man walking in the opposite direction on the other side of the street and the ‘Beer Cafe’ sign seems to suit the overall look of this street too. There’s a lot of elements that just work in this shot and it’s the one I chose as the keeper.
SHOT 3: This shot is usable, but a lot of the elements that worked in shot 2 are missing. The man on the left has almost gone, the dog lead is hanging loose and doesn’t work as well as a leading line. Although the main subjects pose is ok, his expression is nowhere near as good. In this shot he looks more annoyed at me taking pictures than lost in his own thoughts. This is all subjective of course and I realise some of you will prefer shot 3 over shot 2. But for me there is more to keep my attention in the second shot. It’s important to take the time to study a shot. We tend to fast forward everything in this digital world, but there’s nothing better than sitting down with a cup of tea or coffee and a big photography book.