It was a day to discover the unknown. My assistant and I were traveling along a busy highway when I caught site of an abandoned property, by the looks of it desolated for half a lifetime. Sagging roofs of overgrown shacks and black staring windows half-hidden among trees and shrubs. And yet people once lived and worked and played there. All gone. Forgotten by all but the mind of the dreamer.
Some landscape photos can be more than yet another rolling hillside. In the late autumn when the world falls asleep every view can be tainted by the mysteries commanding the finger that opens the shutter. And a fish-eye lens, such as the one used here, is a great way to give a panorama that extra touch of the alien.
Once again I found myself wandering amid a farmers market. Always new faces, new stories from which to glimpse a frozen slice. Happiness, frustration, boredom, hurry, gaiety and abandon: from shopper and vendor alike, the blinking eye and snapping shutter by turns can only hope to grab the tiniest part of it.
But the lowly point-and-shoot, my choice for street photography because of its unobtrusiveness, can be the tool to get surprising shots. I fit mine with a flip down mirror that enables me to shoot at chest level or lower. In addition, I use a p&s model that allows for manual exposure and focusing, the latter of which allows for more rapid capture because the camera doesn’t need to waste time focusing and thus increasing the chances of losing the moment.
Once I get home and peer at my photographs on the laptop, rejecting most out of professional nit-pickiness and saving the precious few, memories are stirred and power emerges. I wonder what those people I glimpsed are like each day, what their dreams are, what makes them happy or sad. I dare to pay tribute to the unknown but loved stranger. And I hope the reader will dream along with me…
Cemeteries are by nature peaceful, but winter adds a further element of silence. All seems to sleep under the blanket of the coming snows; but the dead, silent in their repose, are unheeding of Jack Frost or of the stealthy tread of we who still walk under the sun. They slumber on until this age’s ending note.
An HDR photo taken with my 60D, ISO 200 at f/5.
Street photography isn’t always of people. Sometimes a place has its own story to tell.
Shirley Jackson once wrote, “Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.” I couldn’t help but remember that quote when I photographed this old mansion from the roadside. I wondered who lived there, what happened inside its walls and whether or not, in the end, I wanted to know.
HDR effects were achieved using Photomatix Pro. Topaz “ghostly” filter applied in Photoshop.
While my 7D is my workhorse, my 60D is never far away. In fact, if I’m in the field solo and need rapid access to two different lenses, I often wear a dual body harness. I personally love the 60D because it allows for extremely interesting perspective shots with its articulated screen. It’s more delicate construction relative to the 7D is a bit of a drawback, but I’ve yet to run into a situation where that really becomes a factor, even in the wild. Plus the 60D has a feature set that satisfies me and and boasts enough megapixels to get an awesome composition.
This photo was taken in a crowded farmers’ market. I was standing under a big skylight and waiting for life to happen. Then came the infectious smiles.
There’s an intangible “something” about certain moments that make them worthy of remembrance. An honest candidness that calls to you. I often think that the subjects of a photo can be just as much artists as the person composing the shot. There is an artistry to life itself: a conscious decision to make worthy people and estimable moments. And I’m blessed to be around to catch the whisperings of that spirit.