Street photography: Fun with a 50mm…

Last summer I spent six weeks traveling throughout China and Japan.  The first half of the trip was dedicated to photography.  The second half of the trip was split amongst taking more photos, a family vacation, taking more photos, visiting my sister in Japan, and taking more photos.  You get the picture (no pun intended).

I have this problem that I think is common amongst photographers: I carry a LOT of stuff in my photo backpack.  I am like some weird Girl Scout photographer: I want to be prepared for anything!  My psyche could not handle finding myself in an amazing situation without the right equipment.  I usually carry two bodies with a 24-120mm lens on one and a 70-200mm lens on the second.   Of course I still need a flash, a few 1.4 lenses, and a teleconverter in that backpack.  I copied the two-body/two-lens technique off a good friend of mine and I have to say it works well.  Alas, sometimes your back and neck have to be taken into consideration.  After five weeks it was screaming “no more!” and I had to listen.  I have a healthy back and want to keep it that way.

The day I took this photo I went out with one body and an easy, lightweight, 50mm lens.  My body was thanking me, but my mind was in a panic: “What if <fill in the blank> happens and I don’t have my <fill in the blank>?”  Flirting with hyperventilation, single camera in hand, I ventured out into the city with my family.  I will be the first to admit that I took a lot of crappy photos that day.  As I was waiting to cross a street, I looked over and saw this amazing scene that I immediately visualized would make a great black and white photo.  A girl in a white dress was talking on her cell phone on the other side of the crosswalk.  The stripes of the crosswalk were leading right into her.  I prayed for my 50mm and me to make it work.

Upon editing, I was elated to see that the 50mm worked perfectly.  I was surprised that only a bit of cropping was needed.  I selectively dodged the areas I wanted the viewer to linger a little longer on, such as the girl, and burned the areas that did not add to the story.  The end result is what you see.  I doubt that street photography will become my norm, but for one day my back joined in on the family vacation.

Photo Info: Nikon D4, 50mm, ISO 800, f/4, 1/6400, -0.33ev.

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