After writing last week about my pathetic attempts at street photography, things moved very fast. In fact the next day, everything changed.
The day I wrote that blog entry, I had walked past the University and thought “if only there was a graduation ceremony going on, then it would be easy to photograph people”. Well, the next day I walked past there and, lo and behold, loads of mainly Chinese/Malaysian/Korean students dressed in black gowns and mortar boards. As I was approaching, one lone student saw my camera and asked me to take a picture of him. Another group of students across the road asked me to do the same. I photographed them all with their own cameras and then with mine. And it was downhill skiing all the way from there. I’m still a long way off being able to approach people easily, but I’m over that first, hardest hurdle, and moving forward a lot quicker than I’d expected.
I also experimented a little with my approach. Soon discovered that, as I’d already been told, wrapping the camera strap around my wrist made it a lot easier to shoot, and felt a lot more “right”, than dangling it around my neck (didn’t half make my wrist ache though). Abandoned fully manual settings for shutter-priority exposure metering (re-evaluated whenever the light changed) and single-point focus (because actually I can set up an auto-focus point on my EOS-20D a lot faster than I’d realised, and my attempts at leaving the camera at hyperfocal distance didn’t work too well, mainly because I wasn’t getting as close to my subjects as I’d anticipated).
I even had my first confrontation – from a policeman who told me I should ask for permission before taking his photo. Feeling slightly cocky, I pointed out that there was a big CCTV camera behind him which didn’t ask for anybody’s permission before taking their pictures, but this didn’t go down too well! Good thing I didn’t say “I’m from the Stockwell school of photography – shoot first, ask questions later” as I’m sure my camera would have disappeared faster than you could say “suspected terrorist”. As it was, he kept me hanging around, asking me lots of uneccesary questions. Eventually I just apologised quickly & did a runner while he was talking into his radio.
I’ve uploaded the results of my day’s shooting – no killer pics there, but not too bad for a first attempt. Onwards and upwards…