As expected around the holidays, the weather in New York has dropped tremendously that you’re likely to see the multitude of people walking faster than usual on the streets. I’ll admit the coldness can be discouraging when it comes to photographing but it certainly shouldn’t be an excuse. I took my advice today and hit the streets as a tourist in my neighborhood.
Telephoto lenses aren’t normally the tool of choice when it comes to street photography but I wanted to use the recently purchased 85mm f/1.8. Any street “purists” will tell you that the whole purpose of the genre is to get as close as you can to the subject but it wasn’t easy when you have to step back to capture anything with a telephoto lens. I resorted to the school of thought of shoot-from-the-hip but even that was challenging. For a cropped sensor like my D90, a 24mm would have been more suitable but until I add that prime to my collection, I worked with what I chose to use.
I shot a total of 147 photos within a span of 2hrs while walking up and down the long blocks that constitute Myrtle Ave. I noticed that photographing on the streets has become a bit easier now because people are becoming oblivious to their surroundings and more focused on their smartphones. The downside of it all is that because we’re living in an age of terrorism, the people that do notice you with a camera become more suspicious than ever. For those individuals that approached me on what I was doing, I presented myself as a street photographer and handed them a Moo Card.
You definitely have to give yourself time to get use to the experience. It’s nerve wrecking at the beginning but I think anyone who isn’t and is instead willing to stick a camera in front of people’s faces has no potential to become a respectable street photographer.
Regardless of any technique I experimented with to instill confidence in what I was doing, I still felt I was invading people’s privacy. The only thing that kept me going was feeling that what I was doing was worth the effort and that I presented myself to certain people.