Before you head out for the very first time, either on our walk next week or on your own, the two first things you need to think about are Safety and Comfort. And they do go hand in hand. And by safety, I’m not talking about the big thugs most new Street Shooters worry about but rather making sure you do not hurt yourself out there!
Be aware of your surroundings at all times. The streets are alive. People are about, moving around, a clear path could have a dog there in half a second, oh, and watch out for cars. Then there are the cracks, pavers, and other obstacles. Over the years I have seen people fall, stumble, break gear and even an arm. From what I have seen it is all because people were not aware of their surroundings and not conscious of what was going on around them. Don’t just step out on the street to get a better angle! Look for cars and cyclists first! Also, don’t just step back, there’s a good change someone is behind you.
Learn to pick up your feet. If you drag your feet around most days and find you always hit little rocks, cracks, un-even pavers or slabs, you may want to make a conscious effort to start picking up you feet.
Street photography is not a race. You can slow down. Take the scene in. Look around. Be aware. This process of looking around, even behind you, all the time, is what can get you those great images. Things will not always happen in front of you. This is also part of being ready. I will discuss being ready in an upcoming post.
The next thing to think about is comfort and this leads to safety also. First and foremost, make sure you have good comfortable shoes with good soles! Your soles should not be old dried up rubber that becomes slippery in wet weather. Ideally, they should have some tread and they should keep you warm if the temperatures are colder.
The next rule of comfort is ‘Keep Warm, Keep Dry’. If you hit the streets on a cold winter day or a rainy day, it’s very important to keep warm and dry. Wear the proper clothing. For me a hat is essential to keep the rain off my glasses. It also helps keep me dry, and my bald head warm. If its cold, I’ll wear an appropriate warm jacket. If its wet, I’ll wear a parka. If I’m not sure about potential wet weather, I have a light packable shell that I bring with me.
When you are cold or wet, is when you will most likely make a mistake. Keep your hands warm in winter. Fingerless gloves work well. So remember, Keep Warm, Keep Dry, be Aware!
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