One thing that always (mostly) works well in Street Photography is capturing moments. No, not the right timing and not the Henry Cartier-Bresson “decisive” moment, but rather a moment where emotions can be read in people’s faces. A moment between two people or a moment when someone realizes something or notices something and you can see it in their face.
These moments can be difficult to catch as they are often fleeting moments. One must be ready, and quick. Or, one must be stealthy and maneuver into place and then get the shot knowing you will only fire one or two off before they notice you and the moment will be gone. They can also be difficult because the perceived moment we see in real life will not always transfer into the final image. Sometimes the lighting will cause problems or perhaps the subjects face will not transfer or display emotions well when captured in camera.
Here are two examples of moments shot this past weekend. The above one is a calm, caring moment between two young people in love. The background and location help set a story for you to read into. In this case I had to do the stealthy thing and be ready as I approached. Amazingly I was able to fire 5 or 6 shots and continued on my way and I’m not sure if they even noticed me.
In this example I was chatting with Ian and the camera was hanging from my neck. On and ready. All of a sudden, this woman started yelling at this man. Keep in mind this is in Chinatown close to the Vancouver East Side. We had seen and heard a lot of people yelling for no reason all day. After a few short yells she grabbed him as it was time for him to take the family photo in front of the pond. They were both so loud and animated at the very beginning. As they were so close it was startling at first but then the “get this shot” got in my head. I quickly fired off two shots before the event was all over.
This is the other kind of moment where something dramatic happens and all you can do is react quickly to catch it. The gestures here play an important role in telling the story.
The exposure was not perfect as I was set to underexpose by one and a half stops as I was working on “shadows”. But, still managed a workable grab. You can never set this kind of stage!!