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Thread: Seattle Streets

  1. #1
    lovelife65's Avatar
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    Seattle Streets

    These were shot in my fuji's ACROS mode. They are pretty much SOOC because any import of raw files renders them color. The lighting was decent today, and while waiting on das auto for service I walked about 5 miles thru the city (I figured it was better than sitting and eating pastries in the lounge).
    This is mostly in the pioneer square area. A historic neighborhood that is beautiful but struggling with homeless and crime. I made it over to Pike Place too, always fun.
    Not perfect images, still learning to shoot this style and it can be tricky.

    #! street magazine "vendor". A sweet sweet man. I gave him $10 for his $2 street magazine (yes I know possibly where that money goes). Wish I would have used a different DOF on this one, but his expression is still tragic.

    Seattle Streets

    #2 A girl and her dog.

    Seattle Streets

    #3 Amongst the trees

    Seattle Streets

    #4 In flight. Wish I could have missed the rail in front, and got his front side.

    Seattle Streets

  2. #2

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    Re: Seattle Streets

    Sharon,
    The shot of the vendor is the best of the four because there is some interaction between you the photographer (and through you the viewers) and the subject. His expression is wonderful, a mixture of sadness with perhaps a glimmer of hope, and his looking directly at the camera draws the viewer into the scene.
    For me the greatest shortcoming is not the depth of field, because showing the subject's environment clearly helps to tell the story of his circumstances, but rather the composition, or perhaps the crop. Showing the subject's hands and the magazine he sells would have added to the story, while cropping to the right of the lamp post would have eliminated the woman entering the doorway, which I feel adds nothing to the story and is merely distracting.
    On a more personal note, I've been shooting on the streets for many years and have often debated the question of giving homeless and street persons food or drinks rather than cash as it may be used to purchase drugs or alcohol. My feeling is that I cannot save the world or even truly help even one person who does not want to help themselves. An alcoholic or drug user can only begin to break their habit if and when they decide to do so, and me preaching or trying to change that by buying what they don't want is a useless exercise, so I simply give them the couple of dollars and the respect to control their own lives in some very small way. In short, I wouldn't concern yourself with what they may use the money you give them to purchase.
    For me the Girl and her dog is the best of the remaining three shots, mainly because of your close proximity to the subjects, although I do consider photos of persons busily engaged with their "devices" to the exclusion of all else, to be the low-hanging fruit of street photography.
    Three and four? Too much background and too little subject.
    To do really good street photography, one must be brave, audacious, pushy when necessary, a risk-taker, and a good schmoozer.
    And remember what Robert Capa, the wonderful Combat Photographer, (and one of my photographic heroes) said. "If your pictures are not good enough, it's because you're not close enough."
    I hope some of this ramble is helpful.
    Robert

  3. #3
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    Re: Seattle Streets

    Robert thanks for some nice feedback. Yes about number 1. I barely captured his hand, and should have cropped the girl out. On the flip side, I didnít want to ask him to hold the street paper up, that would have felt crappy, a little too posed, and a little too much already done. I just wanted his eyes. The thing around his neck relays what heís peddaling (they were all over). Seattle has big issues with homeless right now. Nothing like San Francisco, Los Angeles ect. But bad enuff.

    The rest: Hereís my side of the story. I prefer more candid stuff, which may mean I donít get eye contact or even permission. Permission to me is more street portraiture. For example the girl and her dog. To me itís a story...which involves her being engaged with her device more than her dog or surroundings. Speaks to our society in a big way, everyone looking down at their phones, ect.

    The third one. Big city, big trees, small human musician carrying his case. I was trying to show scale in that image.
    The last one, okay it sucked I wonít argue.

    Iíve read that philosophy you describe in regards to street, and Iíve read photographers that have rebuttals to it. Lol.
    I doubt I will ever be in anyoneís face, but instead trying to watch and capture what is going on around me. Maybe that means I will just suck at it, but I think candid can be interesting if done well. In the end I believe I will be putting more distance not less. Itís what I feel is right.

    Yes about money, etc. to the homeless. There are certainly a lot of different classes of them. Would anybody give the guy in the photo a job? Doubt it. Others I see, different story. I used to buy a guy in a wheelchair in San Francisco breakfast every morning on my way to work. I knew he was playing the ďsystemĒ, I saw him get picked up in a van every evening. Oh well. Like you said canít save everyone, and my family comes first.

    I did take a lot of photos today, getting more used to doing it, how my camera responds and eliminating some of the fear. Itís my first real attempt other than a few dabbles here and there. Not exactly the safest area for a chick to be doing it, but Iíve been in far worse places by myself. The lot I had parked in originally had six cop cars in it and a girl outside her car with all doors and trunk wide open, trying desperately to convince them of her innocence.
    🤔
    Last edited by lovelife65; 30th November 2017 at 05:53 AM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Seattle Streets

    I love the image of the street vendor. My comment is that it could perhaps use more 'pop': - More LCE (local contract enhancement) and adjusting the white point. It is a drab and dismal scene, so you don't want it all bright and shiny, but I think that the impact will; be greater with, as I say, more 'pop'.

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    Re: Seattle Streets

    Nice series, if this area is like most west coast districts, where you suddenly find yourself in the midst of a seamier neighborhood; it can come as a shock and you are probably recognized as an outsider because your jaw has dropped to the ground. Cites don't have warning signs and you usually get the story behind the area from the locals.

    I like them all, the first a bit tight on the crop but still it works. I like the perspective of the third, I will often position myself on all sides of an area like this, too bad there aren't any park benches on the side, I'd spend a few hours capturing the flow of the area if I had the chance.

  6. #6
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    Re: Seattle Streets

    Thank you Donald for the suggestion well taken and I will give it a look. Acros is supposed to work the contrast but it is a little low light in this area with buildings.
    John thank you. I know this area quite well so no jaw drops lol. I'm pretty comfortable ijn almost any area but more alert in places like this. I walked there on purpose it is quite interesting. It is rough but nothing like east Oakland! The historic buildings are beautiful too. Yes about the bench. There actually are parks in the neighborhood so your suggestion on sitting down and watching is great.
    It's a bit controversial to photograph homeless yet I've come to believe they should not be ignored as if invisible. Often you can be kind and hear their story. I don't want to exploit tho so it's a fine line.

  7. #7
    lovelife65's Avatar
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    Re: Seattle Streets

    Here's a bit of an adjustment.

    Seattle Streets

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    Re: Seattle Streets

    That works. The focus is more on him, along with which it is still clear that this is a street image.

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    Re: Seattle Streets

    Hi Sharon, as said, cropping the small figure out really improves it, but the image is quite flat, I have used one of the presets in Nik SilverFX to boost contrast on the figure, brighten his beard etc, and darken the background, everyone to their own tastes but I believe this harsher treatment brings out more of the character of this guys and his environment.

    Seattle Streets

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    Re: Seattle Streets

    I like John's edit for the reasons he stated.

  11. #11
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    Re: Seattle Streets

    Hi John thanks for the edit. I tend to try not to do too much editing but in flat lighting it really is necessary as you have shown. I may have taken it somewhere between where it was and what you did. I am still learning black and White and the tones and contrasts and how they should all work.

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    Re: Seattle Streets

    Interesting thread, Sharon. Re the vendor, I like the crop, particularly as it takes out the white areas on the road. Ones eyes tend to go to the brightest part of the image first. If it was my image, then I would add depth of field which would be worth the effort in this instance. Nevertheless, I do appreciate that you do not like to meddle too much with the image, and it would take away from the natural street feel. I would try lightening his eyes and see how that works. Almost invariably lightening the eyes of such images can do wonders.

    However with the lady and dog I would definitely tone down the whites of which there are a lot.

    You may soon be an updated Vivian Maier!

  13. #13
    lovelife65's Avatar
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    Re: Seattle Streets

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim A View Post
    Interesting thread, Sharon. Re the vendor, I like the crop, particularly as it takes out the white areas on the road. Ones eyes tend to go to the brightest part of the image first. If it was my image, then I would add depth of field which would be worth the effort in this instance. Nevertheless, I do appreciate that you do not like to meddle too much with the image, and it would take away from the natural street feel. I would try lightening his eyes and see how that works. Almost invariably lightening the eyes of such images can do wonders.

    However with the lady and dog I would definitely tone down the whites of which there are a lot.

    You may soon be an updated Vivian Maier!
    Thanks Jim for the comments and suggestions. They are all great and thoughtful. Somehow you are right the whites took over with the dog lady. Toning it down felt flat. Will pay attention to that next time. Couple things working against me....new mode for camera (acros) Iím learning, the sun and shadows and my newness to this type of photography. I donít like to get in peoples faces. So the eyes with the street vendor were hard. He was a very sweet man. I do some volunteer work for the organization he participates in. I know shooting the homeless is controversial. Iím still figuring out if thereís a way to do it respectfully, with a new approach, and in a way that matters and makes a difference to them. Not sure if possible. Much kindness and empathy in most cases needed. Was in Vancouver, BC on Sunday and took a few photographs of various scenes. Fun city.
    I got a long way to go to be a real street shooter. Takes lots of practice, figuring out a style, and getting over fear. There are a handful I really enjoy out there doing the work tho. I think in many ways being female helps a little. Iím not very threatening. I use my optical view finder so camera at face....I donít hide anything. Smiling sometimes helps too 😀😬

    Thanks again for advice. Great way to learn.

  14. #14

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    Re: Seattle Streets

    I think that homeless and similar people can usually read your intention. Just be you, Sharon, am sure it will be fine! Be honest and forthright.

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