The Unusual in the Usual - tyneholm
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The Unusual in the Usual

Assignment S35

Street photography is often thought of as being whimsical, playful, or just plain funny. While you shouldn’t rely solely on these “moments;’ they are always memorable, so when you’re patrolling the streets with your camera, turn your observation dial up to the max. 

You’ll be looking all around you, scanning every face, every group, every square inch of your environment, trying to predict what might happen next. The more you do this, the better you’ll become at second-guessing human behavior, reading body language, and getting into position quickly enough to grab a great shot. 

Keep your eyes open for things that are out of place or simply “odd’.’ We humans sometimes do peculiar things and, if you’re in the right place at the right time-and are quick enough-you’ll be there to record them. Look out for sequences or series of things (where you would normally find only one of them), odd gestures or body movements, one element placed in front of or behind another to create a witty situation, or people doing things that make them look awkward, such as carrying unusually large or heavy loads. See if you can find four examples that share a common thread and work together. 

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  • A good technique is to put your camera settings into “walkaround” mode. This means setting an aperture of maybe f/8, a shutter speed of 1 /500 sec., and Auto ISO. Then you will be ready for anything and able to react quickly to everything around you. 
  • Don’t hesitate. Once you have a shot in mind, commit to it and fire the shutter. Hesitation has ruined many good pictures! 

Field Notes

  • Joel Meyerowitz is a skilled observer of human life and brilliantly captures the unusual in the usual; check out his work for inspiration. 
  • Always have your camera switched on and ready to go. If there’s a “sleep” mode, switch it off-there’s nothing more frustrating than going for that killer moment, only to find your camera is asleep. 
  • To stop yourself hesitating, wear an rubber band on your wrist and every time you miss a picture because you hesitated, give it a big painful twang! You’ll soon condition yourself to shoot quickly!