mans best friend

mans best friend - street photography

madrid, spain

In England it’s a well known fact that if a husband says to his wife “I’m just taking the dog out for a walk honey,” what it really means is that he’s nipping down to the pub for a quick pint.

In fact it has been said that this phenomena is a major contributory factor to the high incidence of dog ownership in Britain. It is also how the dog first gained its’ well earned reputation as mans best friend.

I know this to be true because a friend told me so in a pub once.

In Spain where “el amor” is constantly in the air, mans best friend has a different role to play, and he plays it with the true loyalty and faithfulness he is well renowned for.

flighty lady

flighty lady - street photography

albuquerque, new mexico

It’s not immediately apparent but this was one tough shot to capture!

This flighty lady was in constant motion, jumping around from one spot to another shooting photos.

Yet she was doing it with a dancers’ grace and poise which I sought to capture in the image. You can be the judge of whether I was successful.

You can see from the figures in the background her attire was in stark contrast to clothing one would normally wear for a chilly New Mexico morning.

Maybe that was why she was constantly on the move – she was just trying to stay warm.

Whatever the reason she certainly did it with a lot of style!

keeping the beat

keeping the beat - street photography

london, england

This image is so full of character and energy. The eye is drawn immediately to the drummers face with his very distinctive sunglasses and headgear, plus the cigarette lazily resting in his mustache covered lips.

The eye starts wandering to the two bowler hatted gentlemen behind, on to the three ladies forming the rest of the musical ensemble and then it is arrested by the conservatively dressed, grim faced gentleman in front.

Who is this guy?

Is he the bands’ manager?

Is he on his way home from work at the bank and just got caught up by the seething mass of bodies?

Is he an undercover policeman seeking out troublemakers in the crowd?

I guess we’ll never know…

the bust stop

the bust stop - street photography

hamburg, germany

There is some very clever word play in this image and I’m not referring to my title, which I think is pretty darn clever even if I say so myself :-)

Most major European cities have excellent public transport and Hamburg is no exception. You can purchase passes that let you complete your journey on a variety of transportation modes including bus, train and subway.

Because public transport is so popular advertisers get a great return on their investment by crafting  messages  specifically directed at the passengers, which is the case in this instance.

“Feiner zug, oder?” when translated literally means “Fine train, or?”

However in German it can also mean “Fine tension, or?”

So in fact the copywriter has cleverly targeted a relevant message to public transport users while also pitching one of the major benefits of the product in question!

As we can see in the image the message is obviously lost on the two ladies. However I’m not sure whether they are part of the advertisers target market :-)

This little marketing gem was what drew me to the shot in the first place.

Honest…

the odd couple

the odd couple - street photography

lompoc, california

An odd couple indeed! This immaculately groomed Toy Poodle, being very “princessy” in its’ owners arms, is not normally the type of dog you would consider to be the companion of such a “manly” man.

Perhaps he is not the owner and he is just holding it for a friend, but I think not.

The relaxed posture of the poodle is a dead giveaway. There is a definite relationship here.

I wonder if his buddies at The Moose Lodge know about this…?

cafe gossip

cafe gossip - street photography

madrid, spain

The Spanish have a wonderful cafe society. Every cafe is different. They all serve their own unique coffees and pastries but all have a common goal – to provide a place to relax and enjoy the company of friends.

These two ladies were engrossed in conversation from the moment they sat down. Both smartly dressed and faces full of character. They were sat in front of me and I just couldn’t help but take the shot!

streetch those legs!

streeetch those legs! - street photography

heidelberg, germany

I spent some time earlier in the day in this “platz” sat just a few feet to the left of where this gentleman is sat now.

There’s another statue on the other side of the platz facing this one. I spent a fruitless half hour waiting for something to materialize around it that would make a compelling image.

I had a couple of old ladies sit by it and enjoy an afternoon natter. I had two kids clamber all over it. I also had a young lady with a poodle sit down for a rest. I could see that the poodle was a male and thought if only it decided to cock its’ leg against the statue – that would be worthy of a great image!

However it didn’t and I decided to move on.

On my return as I was strolling by my “street intuition” kicked in. Any street photographer  that spends a lot of time on the streets will tell you they develop a “street intuition” which the more experienced can “manually turn on” or sometimes it kicks in of its own accord.

This “street intuition” is a hyper awareness of everything that is happening in a much expanded field of vision. Time seems to slow and you can see with absolute clarity every detail and every interaction of every element in your field of view.

Now my camera is strapped to my right wrist at all times. It’s a simple rangefinder with easily accessible controls.  Through years of practice I’m able to read the light and set the aperture, shutter speed  and focal distance accordingly.  I do this with one hand and without bringing the camera to my eye. In fact I’m constantly adjusting the controls as I walk the streets. It’s become second nature.

So all the controls were perfectly set before I figured out exactly what my “street intuition” was telling me

Then I noticed the gentleman fumbling in his pocket. That was going to be the shot. I mentally composed it, brought the camera up to my eye, stopped walking for a brief instant, took the shot as he reached full stretch, and then continued walking on.

These kind of shots are what I call “pinnacle shots”. All the actions I described above happened completely devoid of conscious thought in a very brief instant of time.

It was a moment of grace.

It’s the “juice” that every street photographer strives for and what keeps us pounding the streets.

For those of you interested I’ve previously published a handful of “pinnacle shots”.

three men and a wheelbarrow

just good friends

a warm embrace

all elbows

the jurassics

the connection

in sync

wandering eyes

memories of time past

pay attention mom!