Trying Street Photography   

delanys-coffee

morning-riders

metro-free-daily

street-window

walking-down-the-street

 

 

Last week I wrote about my short adventure wandering Denman Street and the Stanley Park area of Vancouver, BC, with my camera.

Each morning I got up early so I could stroll Denman Street before the sidewalks filled with too many people. I wanted to try to find the kind of people some street photographers do find, but I’ll admit that I am not very comfortable with that invasive type of photography.

I am sure there are some street photographers that might laugh at my reticence at photographing people going about their life in any area, be it city street or a back alley, with their various paraphernalia of shopping carts, back packs, box houses, or bicycles. I really like the genre of street photography; I mean to say I really enjoy looking at photographs made by photographers that are good at street photography.

I think that successful street photography captures a moment from the society around us. It’s a moment in time that is an important for the present and future.

I am sure some photographers shoot for the challenge, and there are some that wander the city with their cameras as a release of stress from everyday existence, while others have a need to make some statement about the world in which they live.

I try to do a bit but I expect it will take me more preparation than a few early morning walks to get my head in the correct creative space it takes to do street photography.

I searched for some street photography tips and here are a few I found.

  1. Use a wide-angle lens.
  2. Get close.
  3. Look for juxtaposition.
  4. Focus on the essential.
  5. Look for the light and shadows
  6. Look at the foreground and the background.
  7. Tell a story.

I read that in a good street photograph it is possible for a viewer to see and maybe imagine more than the original photographer intended. Practicing street photographers capture fleeting moments, interpreting life around them, and challenging our perceptions of the world.

I have had some limited success at country fairs and city festivals in the past. This time I intended to get pictures of people going about their daily life on Denman. There is so much happening on a city street, or even within a small neighborhood, that it takes a good eye, and a fast camera, to capture it all.

Most of the street photographers I follow online shoot with small mirrorless cameras and are good at getting up close, but, personally, I would have been more comfortable with a mid-range telephoto. However, attaching a big lens on big DSLRs makes a photographer stand out. When I pointed my camera along the walk people would actually stop and wait for me, or change course to walk around me. Oh well, there will be another time and I can plan on trying again.

Wikipedia defines Street photography as ”Photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places”.

The genre of street photography is an old one and since the early days of photography there are those that have left us with their own styles of street photography that affects each viewer on an emotional level.

I welcome the comments of street photographers.

 On Vacation in Vancouver.     

2-laughing-sculpture

3-group-laughing

4-denman-street

5-bike-rentals

6-bicycles-only

7-english-bay-bike-path

8-english-bay

9-tree-top

9a-mounted-police

9b-harbour-air

9c-grandville-bridge

9e-night-harbour

9f-expo-sales

9g-vancouver-harbour-lights

9h-park-goose

“We should go on some kind of trip”.  When my wife said that a month ago she didn’t have to do much to convince me.  So about an hour later we had reserved a top floor room at the hotel on the corner of Davie and Denman Streets in Vancouver.

We chose Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so we would miss the weekend rush.  After a picturesque five-hour drive through British Columbia’s coastal mountains I was carrying suitcases and my bag loaded with our cameras up to our room.

What a great location. Not only were we moments away from the restaurant and bar scene of one of Vancouver’s most exciting areas that divides the city from the magnificent 400-hectare natural rainforest of Stanley Park, but right across the boulevard from our hotel was picturesque English Bay.

I discovered Denman Street when I first moved to Canada in the 1970s. Maybe it was the curiosity I had for a street that sounded and was spelled pretty closely to my name, I don’t know. But in any case the street was just as much fun then as it is all these years later.  One can either join others people watching while sitting at an out door pub, or choose food from almost any country in the world. We chose Greek at the English Bay for our first evening meal of the trip.

The next morning, while my wife slept I put a 24-70mm lens on my camera and headed out. There wasn’t much traffic on the street, or people walking along Denman. It was easy to photograph the buildings and I picked out a funky little coffee shop that we could go to later.  I walked the street and wandered the alley behind our hotel, (I like alleys) then headed for the beach.

My mother always told me to look both ways and be careful of cars when I crossed the street, but she never told me how dangerous it was to cross the bike path along English Bay. I dodged several riders and jumped to the lawn covered with slippery geese droppings when a woman rider zoomed by yelling, “Bikes only!”

I suppose I have become one of those hick tourists gawking at all the sights of the big city, but I reached the safety of the beach where I could meander along pointing my camera where I pleased.  Gosh, I even got to meet local Vancouver photographer Trent Watts, who was kind enough to take time out of his morning to talk with me.

Linda finally got up, and after coffee at the little shop I found earlier, we decided to drive into Stanley Park to take pictures of the harbour and stopped for anything we thought might make a fun picture. We also were looking for a good vantage to take some night pictures of the bright city across the harbour. Gosh, we had so much fun we overlooked having lunch.

Much later we wanted to try our hotel’s fish n’ chips special being offered for supper, however even that had to wait because I stopped to photograph and talk with the two Canadian Mounties who have special dispensation to rest their horses after touring through the park in the cool pleasant entrance of our hotel’s basement parkade.

After supper I went out for night shots of the Granville Street Bridge that crosses both a boat filled water way into English Bay and the shopping district of Granville Island and joined several other photographers on the beach as the sun went down. Then just after 8:30 packed up and drove off for more photos at the location we had chosen in the park.

 

The next morning I must have been tired after all the previous day’s activities, because after I had photographed a white goose honking loudly at me on the beach I checked my watch and it was a late 7AM.  Oh, well I had a good time and anyway I was on vacation!