Saturday, 22 November 2014

But once a year

I'd hoped to get into town earlier in the week but waiting for deliveries that weren't delivered kept me tied up and unable to get out anywhere. Saturday afternoon isn't my first choice for hitting the shops, and the crowds put me off searching for anything that wasn't essential. As chance had it I'd taken a camera along and there was something going on. A rather feeble event heralding the switching on of the town's Christmas lights.

In days of yore there would have been lots of cameras in evidence. I think I spotted three DSLRs, one bridge camera and  one mirrorless, today the majority were using their phones or tablets to record the goings on in either still or moving formats. Needless to say I took a fair few photographs. Most turned out to be snaps. Some were reasonable photographs - if a little formulaic. I think I got a couple of pictures. I sued to dismiss any 'street' photograph that had someone looking at the camera. These days it doesn't bother me - pretty much in the same way I don't always fret over a shot that's not quite level. These small 'imperfections' can sometimes make the pictures work.

Something I've found myself doing when photographing people in shifting groups, and I do do it intentionally, is have an out of focus person in the foreground to act as a compositional device. Something else that would probably have annoyed me in the past that I don't worry about any longer.

Wonky angles and blurry faces are two things that it takes a while to get your eye in to shoot well. It's a kind of letting go of the rigidity that the viewfinder tends to impose. That and the (mistaken) culture that stresses level horizons and sharp focus as the measure of a good photograph.

This sort of event is more interesting to photograph than landscapes. People - and animals - make for far more engaging pictures. Things are in a state of flux with new opportunities arising all the while. It's much easier to remain alert for possibilities.

It's a pity I had a rapidly expiring parking ticket cutting my time short or I'd have exposed more than the 123 frames which I whittled down to a still over-long 35 for a slideshow. I've noticed that when I'm taking photographs in a busy situation I rarely 'chimp'. After all there's no going back to get a second try when everything has moved on. You've either got a picture of you haven't!

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