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Food For digital Thought: Anticipation

Anticipating the action

Anticipating the action

No, I’m not talking about the song Carly Simon sang in 1971…for those old enough to remember it. I’m talking about how the word anticipation plays a key role in “Street Shooting”.

In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I often talk about being aware of your surroundings at all times. This is when it will happen…that shot that could make your day!!!

I’m usually talking about keeping an eye out for the light, and how important it is in coming home with that illusive OMG photo. That keeper that will either go on your wall or in your portfolio…or both.

But in this post I’m talking about anticipating the action. The action that can occur at any moment when you’re walking down a street looking for photo opts.

A good sports photographer knows the sport he’s covering backwards and forwards. He knows it well enough to be playing in it, and at some level sometimes does. A good street shooter has that same instinct, or he at least should if he’s going to be successful.

I watch everything when I’m walking, and even have those proverbial “eyes in the back of my head”. If I see someone that’s sticking out of the environment around him for one reason or another, I’ll watch him/her for several minutes…with my camera halfway up my chest. If nothing happens, I’ll move on to someone else. Sooner or later I’ll see something that makes me focus in tight. I’ll watch and anticipate their next move. A move that I would maybe make myself. It’s people watching at it’s finest.

When I was younger and shot primarily B/W on the streets, I was always looking for that one shot, and if I was very lucky, and I mean very lucky, I might capture someone in a moment where they are expressing their thoughts in some form of body language or gesture. In the above photo, that’s exactly what happened. I was shooting and writing a story for a local Sunday supplement on Mardi Gras day and what the locals had to deal with as far as the crowded streets and sidewalks were concerned. I watched her for some time and just had a feeling that something was going to happen. In a brief moment she had summed up her day to me and because I had waited and anticipated I got the shot.

Btw, this photo is now in the permanent photography collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

One of my favorite things to do is to put on my longest lens and then put the camera on a tripod. I’ll position myself in a crowded area and in a 360 degree movement I’ll pan the people. An analogy for you old movie buffs is watching Robert Mitchum in The Enemy Below when he’s in a submarine panning the horizon at periscope depth looking for targets..Ok,  not actually an analogy, but for me it’s mighty close.

I could literally do that for hours, and on occasion have come close…as in the photo of the woman in a crowded square in Toledo, Spain.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

Keep those photos and questions coming in to: AskJoeB@gmail.com and I’ll create a video critique for you.


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