Vacation/Street Photography

I’ve always loved street photography. Since a lot of what I do as a photojournalist could be classified as street photography in one form or another – candid moments that take place, a large percentage of the time, in public spaces – I use the term more literally. This is also the time I like to take the phrase “shoot from the hip” quite literally as well.

While on vacation last week I chanced across this scene while parked waiting for a family member to return. It’s nothing special but the early morning sunlight between the green buildings caught my eye.

I sat in the driver’s seat of the car and rested my camera and lens inconspicuously on the window ledge waiting for people to pass by. A woman in purple hospital scrubs passed by touching up her makeup as she walked to the near-by hospital for a day’s work.

As she passed I clicked a single frame.

Nikon D700, Sigma EX HSM 14mm f/2.8 at 14mm, f/2.8, 1/1000 sec. and ISO 400.

Nikon D700, Sigma EX HSM 14mm f/2.8 at 14mm, f/2.8, 1/1000 sec. and ISO 400.

Like I said, nothing special. I do like the color and the everyday routine feel to the image. If there’s nothing special about this morning for the woman, if it’s part of her everyday routine an everyday routine image works perfectly.

Since I was on vacation and just playing around I didn’t stop her to ask her name or any other information from her. That’s part of the joy of street vacation photography for me: anonymity. She doesn’t know me and I don’t know her. We’ll both go on our way with neither of us being any wiser.

While working it’s not only my job to come up with great photographs, but with detailed information to go with them. I must name the nouns, verbalize the verbs, and … you get the idea. It’s all about the “Five Ws” (Who?, What?, Where?, When?, Why? and How?). (What ever happens to “How?” anyway? “Five Ws and H” just isn’t as catchy a phrase, but how is just as important as any other. Hmmm.)

The joy of street photography is being able to forget about all that. I tell stories with my images everyday, or at least I try to. Sometimes it’s great to just take photos without really thinking about them and without more questions to answer. The photograph doesn’t have to mean anything at all. It’s just a photograph.

And to me, that’s sometimes what vacation is about: no questions, no answers, just sitting back, relaxing and enjoying where my viewfinder takes me.

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