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!

punch and judy

punch and judy - street photography

los angeles, california

I grabbed this shot in a cafe in West LA. I was drawn by the striking resemblance in both expression and demeanor the lady on the right bears to the figure in the painting just above her.