The Art of Street Photography

Mumbai Taxi

Mumbai Taxi
Fujifilm X-T20 @ F22, 1/15s, ISO200, 21mm

By Alan Blundell

In the last 4 months, we have explored the fundamentals of street photography – shooting techniques, gear, and basic settings.

In this month’s article, I want to look at some of the more artistic ways cameras can be used to deliver more creative outcomes…  What do I mean by arty?  Well, Andy Warhol once described art as “Anything you can get away with”. Art is limited only by your imagination and ability to capture, experiment, and produce a final print.

Let’s look at some ideas to allow you to put something together with a less technical focus and start you thinking about more abstract work when out on the street.

Motion Blur

Up to this point, the discussion has been about capturing an image that is in focus, but what methods are available to deliberately convey that sense of movement?

Panning – This idea can be used in a scenario where you stand side-on to the direction of movement and follow your subject with the camera at the speed it is travelling. The objective here is to freeze the moving object and blur its background.  The principal variable will be the shutter speed – which of course will vary slightly depending on the speed of the object.

Moving object – Holding a camera still with a slowish shutter speed such as in this circus silk rope act image - especially with strong lighting, can create dramatic results. The challenge here is keeping the camera still and making sure you get your exposure right. An f-stop of around f11 is needed here to limit the amount of light getting through to the film or sensor for the longer period than normal that the shutter is open.

Combination – If you have a willing participant, (such as my wife during lockdown), you can set up some scenarios and experiment with still and moving elements until you get the right mix of static and dynamic to produce, in this case, an interesting variation on a portrait. The texture in this shot is really important. Adding soft fabric elements can introduce a lovely softness to these types of images.

 

Silk

Silk
Leica Q2, @ F1.7, 1/30s, ISO640, 28mm

Read the full article by Alan Blundell in issue 55 of NZPhotographer magazine.


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