Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shooting from the Hip: The Photo Sleuth.

Enroute to California.

You can't always setup your shots. Putting your camera to your eye is a dead giveaway that attracts attention. Some situations require the photo "sleuth" in you. This day was one of those situation.

We are on our annual trip to California. We stop in Roseburg for lunch on our way. Roseburg is typical small town in America struggling through the recession. Being right on Interstate 5, a highway that can take you from the Canadian to the Mexican border, it is filled with transient hotels (e.g. Motel 6) and marginal eating venues. Denny's is one of them. However, as generic as Denny's Restaurants are (same menu different waitress) the customers tend to reflect the character of the area. This day was no exception. As we enter I see "Tex", a quintessential urban cowboy, all by himself having his fried and probably somewhat dry chicken (by the way, that is why you get the dipping sauce). He was alone at the counter, a place where you can at least chat with the staff, cowboy hat still on, long carefree hair, leather jacket and cowboy boots. Though I wasn't expecting it, a picture was before my eyes. I just love this stuff. I decide to capture the image. However it was going to have to be one of those "shoot from the hip" images. I returned to my car, grabbed my Canon Rebel (unfortunately only 6 MP and captured in jpg). I set the zoom at wide angle to ensure I would capture the "context" - the surroundings that contexualize the situation. Then, walking in, I shot one image form the hip. Yes, I stole an image. No one knew but me. His face was such that his identity was protected (mind you, the hat and hair would be a giveaway to the locals). This is the result. A sweet memory for me. I never did meet him, however, now immortalized.

So, keep you eyes open. Practice shooting from the hip. Use different focal lengths. I recommend 35-28 mm on a standard full frame SLR. If you are using a point-and-shoot, set it on its widest angle. Practice to that when a situation arrives, you will be ready.

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