Brooklyn Bridge

I’m afraid to shoot people on the street. One of them might notice me and speak to me, and my fear is that what they say will be negative: “Hey, I don’t want you to take my picture. Stop that.” It’s happened to me. I hated it.

I’m such a loner, such an introvert. I really just want to keep to myself. But when lots of people have their cameras out in a crowd, my camera and I effectively become invisible and I can openly and fearlessly photograph people. The Brooklyn Bridge was crammed with people and cameras when we visited. I was able to get a couple shots of the people themselves. This is my favorite. Because what’s the point of a bridge if there are no people to cross it?

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Photography

Captured: Halfway to Brooklyn

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12 thoughts on “Captured: Halfway to Brooklyn

  1. hmunro says:

    I love this shot, Jim! There’s something so appealing about the juxtaposition of the bridge and the U.S. flag — both solid and static in the background — with the unpredictable movement of the people in the foreground. It’s like you captured a little microcosm of our nation. I can practically hear Diamond’s “They’re Coming to America” playing in the background as the people march toward you in slo-mo. So glad the plethora of cameras around you gave you the courage to face the crowd and take this shot.

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  2. Dan Cluley says:

    Another introvert here, and I know exactly what you mean. It looks like you were using a bit of a telephoto here, and I find that helps. I have read that using a TLR can make street photography less obtrusive, but haven’t really tried it myself. On the other hand, it seems that the fact that everyone is taking pictures everywhere with phones these days just makes this less of an issue. I know I took some pictures inside a favorite restaurant recently and I probably wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing that years ago.

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    • I had my S95 zoomed to the max, 110mm equiv. — it really does help, because I can stand farther back! Even when everybody else is using phones, when I haul out even a tiny regular camera I still feel like I stand out.

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  3. I like this!

    I understand completely how you feel. I feel somewhat similar myself, although I’ve tried my best to overcome it over the years because I do find people endlessly fascinating.

    When I’m carrying one of my Nikon cameras, I tend use a slightly wider than normal 35mm lens. I’ll quite often go right up to people and point the camera slightly wide of them as if I’m shooting something else, and look in that direction. I’ll then manually focus on the part of them I can see in the lens and then quickly move the camera on them when I see my chance, all the time appearing to look at something in the distance. I just try and give off a ‘why on earth would I be taking a picture of you?’ vibe, but If I see people getting worried I’ll walk past them and pretend to shoot the scenery behind them. Or sometimes I’ll just walk briskly past them firing the camera at them as I go but looking elsewhere. There’s only a couple of times people have asked me about it and my stock reply is ‘ you may have been in the picture I took, but I wasn’t taking your picture’. It’s never caused a problem. The Olympus Trip is also really good for up close and in yer face street photos. I see people getting a lot more uptight if they see someone pointing a DLSR with a 200mm lens at them!

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    • I’ve done a little street shooting with my film SLRs and I’m always detected when I do. I find that my little Canon S95 is a solid choice for street. It’s tiny, and I can easily and quickly dial in 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 105mm (equivalent). I have to admit, I usually do 105mm so I don’t have to be so close. I don’t have my techniques for avoiding detection as refined as yours!

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  4. Awesome shot. Love the facial expression on the girl face. Am also afraid of shooting people in public for the same reason as yours. But there also a part of me that say not be afraid cause they are probably photography someone with their iphone and beside they in public. I do exercise caution with photography people/ street photography. I want to avoid any confrontation. It always help when there a public event where there are other photographers doing the same thing.

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    • It’s the dark-haired woman up front who makes this shot for me. She’s actually slightly out of focus though! Yes – photographing people at a public event does make one less likely to be spotted.

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