365-98 Takin’ it to the streets

Through some comments I’ve had with Nathan Stitt about street photography and a recent discovery of the work of John Angulat, I have a renewed interest in that style of photography. I’ll be the first one to admit that I am not a street photographer. First of all, I don’t live in a large city where most really cool street photography is done. Photographers are practically invisible in large city areas because of the greater amount of people who have their own tasks at hand and don’t care or notice what others are doing. The photographer is able to blend in and take his time surveying a scene or waiting for a moment to capture. As the towns get smaller and the population thinner, the photographer stands out a little more. In my town, I’m often looked on with suspiscion when I’m shooting photos so I try to limit my public exposure.  Although when most think of street photography they think “people” photography, that’s not always the case. A lot of good street photos do have a human element but a lot of times the person is not always the main subject of the photo. To me it’s the capture of the interaction between people and the urban environment that makes for good photos.

So, in a departure from my usual shots of abstracts, urban decay, and nature ;-), I thought I would actually walk on the sidewalk and shoot something. I drove through downtown just to see if I could find a shot for the day. There were some fire trucks and police cars with lights flashing because of, I believe, a gas leak in a building. Since there were more people out, especially on a rainy day, and they were somewhat distracted, I parked my truck and walked around a little. The emergency event didn’t offer any drama to shoot so I continued to browse around and shoot things. My 365 shot is at a local hot dog shop. Hot dogs grilling by the window! I initially wanted this as a color shot because of the red neon lights but the highlight/shadow difference was too much to work with. The photo really worked out when I converted to black and white using Nik Silver Efex plugin. I went with the Tri-X preset for the gritty “street” photography look. I then converted a couple other shots the same way for a consistent look. I know they look more like newspaper photos than anything artsy, but it’s a start! The last shot has nothing to do with shooting on the street but Iliked this sculpture in an art gallery because I’m a fan of guitars. An ode to Pete Townshend? All in all I have a loooong way to go in order to get decent street photos. But it’s maostly for fun and the occasional break from my usual “style”. All shots with K20D and DA17-70.

Dog Whisperer

© David Guidas

  One thought on “365-98 Takin’ it to the streets

  1. April 9, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Hi David,
    Thanks for the mention, it’s very kind of you and much appreciated!
    Judging from what you’ve shown us I think there’s a future for you as a street shooter!
    I love the Dog Whisperer. Well done, great perspective.
    I do have question regarding the second image – please tell me the town isn’t so small that First Responders arrive on bicycle! Great shot either way.

    • April 9, 2011 at 11:50 pm

      You’re welcome John. I like to pass the word on good work. No, the bicycle belongs to a local “character” who rides around town and shows up at fire and police events, but I think he was ducking out of the rain that day!

  2. Nathan Stitt
    April 10, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Sorry I didn’t respond to this sooner. My graphics card died on my PC and I only just finished replacing it this afternoon.

    The first image is incredible, really like it. Is the grain introduced from the processing effect or was it the original? Either way the whole thing really looks fantastic and I think you have your own style that comes across even in your “street” photos. I would consider a lot of your work street photography just because you drive around seeking inspiration within your city. Also, I love the art in the last image. Beautiful.

    • April 11, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      I understand computer problems, I’ve had my share of them! The grain is from the Tri-X film emulation in the Nik plugin. Yeah, I guess you can say I work from the streets most of the time. I tend to favor the abstracts and details over people shots though.

  3. Nathan Stitt
    April 10, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Just wanted to mention that I looked into the Nik Silver Exef and was wondering if it is only available at the $200 price tag? I am not sure I can justify that… unless there is some obviously cheaper way to obtain it without pirating the software.

    • April 10, 2011 at 11:51 pm

      That’s the new version, Silver Efex Pro2, that was just released and I agree it’s a little pricey. I have the original Pro version that I purchased for about half as much. I’m the last person who enjoys spending money on software so it’s usually a big decision to purchase any. You can probably find the version I have at a discount price.

  4. May 14, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    really love black and white.

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