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My Second Attempt at Street Photography (long meaningless post)
Old 04-23-2006, 01:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Yeah, i know, this kind'a stuff ain't exactly my forte but it does interest me. I sometimes get bored shooting beautiful women in various stages of dress and undress so, ocassionally, I need some other photographic outlet.

anyway, here't the tale of my second attempt at shooting candid stuff on the street:

My second attempt at street photography didn't start out so well. I decided to go to downtown L.A. (To skid row to be exact.) I figured I'd catch some interesting images there. I was dressed in my usual bum-like attire and, with my kind'a long, shaggy, hair and beard, I figured I'd blend in okay-- except maybe for the camera. But no sooner had I snapped two clicks when one of the locals got fairly upset and started shouting at me, "No pictures! No (Effn!) pictures!"

Being the nice and respectful guy I am, I stopped, shrugged, and started back for the car to hunt new photo-prey.

(Note: The shouter is the woman behind the tent in the middle of the image below. I was thinking this was going to be a series I'd maybe call "Scenic Campgrounds of L.A." or something like that. I think the image below captures the moment this lovely lady first spotted me with my camera.)



Anyway, as I'm casually walking back to my car the woman continues shouting at me--with (shudder) colorful profanities peppering her anti-photo litany--even though it was obvious I had ceased using my camera and was leaving without any fuss.

Now she's really annoying me. I stopped, looked at her, pointed at my ear and shouted back, "I heard you the first fucking time." (Pardon my French.)

Almost at once, some dude pops out of a tent and starts yelling some crap at me. I ignore both of them and continue to my ride. When I arrive at my car, I hear some guy from behind me, i.e., from my side of the street, who's mumbling some crap about "pictures" and what-not and I sense he's moving towards me. I turn and spot a couple of guys sitting on the sidewalk near my car and giving me the stink-eye and this other dude, still mumbling some **** about "pictures," is definitely moving towards me. I stopped at the door to my car, opened it, tossed my camera in and, with the woman and the guy across the street still shouting whatever at me, I put on my best, bad-ass, glare-and-stare, dare-ya-asshole, face for the benefit of Mumbles who's still walking towards me. Mumbles halted his advance and backed up a step. But now there's some other people yelling something unintelligible from somewhere else--from where I don't know--and the two dudes who were sitting near my car decide to stand up and they're now fixing their best, bad-ass glares at me so I opted to ease into my car--not too quickly cuz showing anything that remotely resembles fear ain't usually a good idea in these situations--started my car, pulled slowly away from the curb, and drove off.

I guess if you're gonna drive to skid row and try to blend in with the flora and fauna and take some pics it ain't the best idea to drive there and park a BMW 740i in front of the inhabitants... I now realize it might be kind'a similar to walking the backstreets of Baghdad or Tehran wearing a tee-shirt with an American flag and "Kiss Me! I'm American!" printed on it.

Anyway, now I'm driving around looking for something else to shoot when, almost immediately, I hear live music. I drive around the block looking for its source when I discover the music is coming from a square amidst some buildings with a wall around it. I park the car again, grab my camera, get out and walk through a gateway and into the square. Turns out there's a gospel music thing going on! Hallelujah!

I'm not much of a religious guy but the music was loud, upbeat, and pretty cool and I was getting into it when all of a sudden here comes this parade of people praising Jesus and marching and dancing as they moved into the square!



I'd sort'a forgotten I had earlier set my Canon 20D to B&W mode (when i figured I'd try monochrome-mode out for my skid row snaps) and I continued clicking away at whatever interested me.





I chimped some shots and, realizing I was in B&W/Large JPG mode (which means I wouldn't later be able to convert the images to color), and seeing as this event was very colorful in every way, I switched my 20D's parameters to COLOR and continued snapping. (I know, I know, I should be shooting RAW.)









The people below were tooting some crazy-looking, dead-animal horns at some shrine they put up. I think they were recreating the Battle of Jericho even though that happened a long time before Jesus came along. BTW, altho the square was surrounded by walls, nothing came tumbling down.



A woman who appeared to be an American Indian was really rocking out with the spirit moving her but her daughter, who looked like she might be a member of the Care Bear Tribe, didn't seem to be into it quite as much.



And finally, here's a guy who just seemed to be passing through... both the gospel music concert as well as life in general.

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Last edited by jimmyd; 04-23-2006 at 02:25 PM..
 
Re: My Second Attempt at Street Photography (long meaningless post)
Old 04-23-2006, 02:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I love these type of photo stories,.....after reading it and seein the pics, it makes me take another serious look at maybe moving to rural nebraska, or somewhere like that.

Next time you go to the unsavory part of la, I suggest you shoot from your drivers seat with the motor running,...I'd hate to see you on the evening news with all the others.
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The next time you go to skid row. . .
Old 04-23-2006, 03:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I volunteer not to be one to go with you to explain your rights to them. But don't worry if you're injured or your property is damaged or stolen you can always sue.
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Re: My Second Attempt at Street Photography (long meaningless post)
Old 04-23-2006, 05:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Great story, and I'm glad you switched to color although the first few in B & W are pretty good too.
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Re: My Second Attempt at Street Photography (long meaningless post)
Old 04-23-2006, 05:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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WOW!!!!!
You just don't do anything halfway.
This is the kind of stuff I do.
I get more than a free pass downtown. Once a month I teach innercity children photography. It's fun, and if anybody starts to give me guff, I'll have a dozen or so come to my rescue.
It's funded by that city ollie was talking about so I have sworn to limit my showing of any of the images I take.
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Re: My Second Attempt at Street Photography (long meaningless post)
Old 04-24-2006, 07:10 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice job. Fish has some competition for resident story-teller, I think.

Too bad about the tent city issue. Not sure the car had much to do with it, though. Lotta such residents have a more-than-healthy amount of paranoia. And would you like some tourist stopping by your living quarters to snap a few?

Good start. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: My Second Attempt at Street Photography (long meaningless post)
Old 04-24-2006, 09:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I sometimes get bored shooting beautiful women in various stages of dress and undress so, ocassionally, I need some other photographic outlet.
Jimmy, none of us want you to be bored. We look forward to your images, believe me. Street photography is tough. There is a place around here called "Needle Park" for obvious reasons. Go in pairs, one with hands free. I guess I'm lucky, I get to decide which lense, which body, and whether I want the .45 or the 9mm.
Pepper spray is cheap and effective, too. And it works on the inevitable pitbull terrier, that the poor homeless guy keeps on hand.
It's a little bulky, but the .45 is my favorite. Tens of thousands of dead people can't be wrong.
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Re: My Second Attempt at Street Photography (long meaningless post)
Old 04-24-2006, 10:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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That makes for an interesting day. I'm not sure why there are tents on the street side in LA, but I also don't know why people LIVING in tents on the street in LA care about pictures.
(btw, the trumpet ram horn thing is a shofar. DAH DAAAAAAAHH!!)

Hey, maybe you can get some half nude hottie to blow the shofar for a cool image!? Start with the Jewish girls!

-joshua

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Re: My Second Attempt at Street Photography (long meaningless post)
Old 04-24-2006, 10:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I very much enjoyed your story and accompanied photos. Just goes to show that it's not always about boobage.

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Re: My Second Attempt at Street Photography (long meaningless post)
Old 04-24-2006, 12:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Great shots JimmyD. I really like the tent shot.

How do you arrive at your exposure when you are shooting these types of images if you don't mind me asking. Do you put it in one of the "program","Tv","Av" modes or do you manually set your exposure? I am just wondering how others handle the changing lighting without being able to run up and take an incident reading. I generally find myself looking at the exposure indicator in the viewfinder and manually changing the shutter/aperture until I get the amount of over or underexposure I think is appropriate for the subject and then stick with that until the lighting changes.

It is certainly a lot less difficult to get images of an event than it is to get images of people going about their everyday lives. I don't know what the key is to being good at capturing everyday happenings. I guess you have to be pretty unobtrusive or at least non-threatening.
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