street photography

First Friday Art Walk Albuquerque May 2019

First Friday Art Walk Albuquerque May 2019

Art Acrobats Dance Downtown Albuquerque Event

On the first Friday of each month downtown Albuquerque becomes an outdoor art exhibit and market, but actually much more than that. You can walk through an interactive light art experience, decorate the streets in chalk, and dance like you are trying to win a contest! Those are just some of the things I witnessed the first Friday in May 2019 in downtown Albuquerque.

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Hong Kong Street Photography May 2002

Hong Kong street photography - made with my first digital camera Olympus 2040ZI visited Hong Kong in May of 2002, but it was not exactly on purpose.  By that I mean I did not think to myself where do I want to go for a three-day trip?  Hmm, Hong Kong sounds good.  I went to Hong Kong, it could be said, just to see a movie.  Of course it was not just any movie, but rather EPISODE II.  I was living in South Korea at the time and the movie was not opening there for months later, which was unacceptable.  The movie opened on a Wednesday if I recall, and I did have a job teaching in South Korea then.  I just told them I needed a few days off, no reason given, and certainly not that I was leaving the country!

I do not remember how, but I made a contact with someone in Hong Kong, a fellow Star Wars fan.  Tickets would of course sell out so I could not just stroll up to the ticket counter on opening night, so he said he would buy one for me when he bought his ahead of time.  Now I was a total stranger just reaching out to another fan, and he totally came through for me.  I guess we just agreed to meet at the theater as I had no cell phone with me to use in Hong Kong or anything like that.  The power of fandom!

It felt like the buildings were leaning over you in Hong KongI saw the movie three times in those three days in Hong Kong!  I did manage to get out and explore a bit too though.  Hong Kong felt very intimate to me, like everything was packed together and happening out on the streets.  The buildings themselves felt like they were leaning over you, closing in even more.  

Sign overload in the shopping districts of Hong KongAll these photos were taken with my very first digital camera, a 2.1 megapixel Olympus 2040Z.  

You have to weave your way through pedestrian traffic in Hong KongIt was a great three days in Hong Kong.  I stayed in touch with the guy who got me the tickets for awhile afterwards.  I also made friends with the guys in the PC cafe near my hotel that I visited often to read about reaction to the movie, etc.  Somehow I bought a white Mountain Hardwear t-shirt at a shop there that I still wear to the beach this day.  In the airport I bought a portable alarm clock that I have been using since then too.  All in all, it was a very memorable trip.  I watched the sun set from the airplane window as my time ended and I flew back across the Sea.


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    Have a Photography Philosophy Part 1 - make photos for yourself

    One of my all-time favorite personal photos, man contemplating Tokyo - Nikon D80 Nikkor 50mm @ f/8 ISO 400 1/250th (notice early in my DSLR photography learning I used settings I would definitely not today!)Earlier today I came up with an idea for a new photography tip series entitled, "Having a Photography Philosophy," as there are intangible things that going into photography beyond mastering exposure and even composition.  One of my personal photography philosophies has always been, even from the very start of getting more seriously into photography, was to first and foremost make photographs for myself.  It also may surprise you that I even carry this philosophy into shoots I do for clients.  The way I see it, clients have browsed my portfolios.  Therefore, they must like what they have seen to have hired me.  Thus, if I make shots that appeal to me, as I have always done in the past, then the photos I make for the client now will appeal to them as well.  Of course not every shoot allows for such creative freedom, but when I make portraits for clients or photograph cars for clients, I make shots I think look cool.  I want the final shots to also be ones I like.  This philosophy balanced with client input I believe creates very successful final images.

    In my personal shooting I entirely shoot for myself first and foremost.  I go out to make shots that I like.  If someone else happens to like them, that is great, but not necessarily important to me.  After all, if you do not even like the photos you are making, how can you ever expect anyone else to like them either?  

    The photo in this post is one of my all-time personal favorites.  If I could only choose one photo to remind me of what my life was like in Tokyo, it would probably be this one.  I walked by this very spot almost every day, and like the man pictured, never ceased to stop and stare at all the action, all the craziness, all the life before me.  It was also one of the very first, if not the first shot I ever took with my Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens that I bought in Bic Camera just to frame left.  So as you can see, this photo cannot possibly have the same amount of meaning to anyone else, which is why it is important to make photographs for yourself.

    Try street photography for making memorable shots of cities

    Street photography portrait of a girl on the streets of Takadanobaba, Tokyo, Japan - one of my personal favorite shots of all timeThe above photograph is one of my personal favorites that I have ever made.  It is the kind of photograph that may appeal only to the photographer who took it.  The reasons I can give for why it is a personal favorite would be, after all, personal.  I do not know the girl in the photograph.  I will never return to the city I made this photograph in.  However, they combine to make a photograph that reminds me of my time in Tokyo more than a photo of even Tokyo Tower.  Much of my time in Tokyo was spent out on the street.  In that city you walk, a lot.  You are also always surrounded by people on the streets.  In my last year there I bought my first DSLR and often had it with me.  I then realized I loved street photography.  I made this street photography portrait on one of the very first times I used my newly obtained Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens.  It was the first time to have a f/2.8 lens and immediately I was blown away by the bokeh it could make at f/2.8 and 200mm, and in particular the bokeh in this image.  I can still recall seeing this photo first pop-up on the review screen on the back of my Nikon D80.  It was the beginning of my street photography career.

    So my photography tip is this:  to help you remember the city you are traveling or living in, try street photography.  Those images may come to have more meaning to you in the years that follow than the best landmark photograph you took. 

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  • Tokyo Christmas Lights Stranger's Kiss - street photography

    This is one of my personal favorite photographs - Location: Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan December 2008I can no longer remember what I saw and what I was thinking before I pushed the shutter to make this shot back in December of 2008 while I was still living in Tokyo, Japan and making daily trips to shoot in and around my tower apartment in Shinjuku.  I know I had been on to photograph some of the millions of Christmas lights in the city.  Japanese really, really like Christmas lights.  All of Tokyo is covered with them.  They refer to them as "illumination."  

    This night it was just me and my Nikon watching the thousands of people walk by watching the thousands of lights.  There is a comfort I feel when I am out with my camera, almost a kind of security, that I would not feel if I were just one of the others out enjoying the lights.  

    What do you see in the photo?  What of the two people?  Does it look like a couple about to kiss?  Actually, they were just strangers passing by and I happened to push the shutter just at the right instant to create the kissing illusion.  As I mentioned above, I can no longer remember if I intended to do this.  I am not even sure if I intended any people to be in the shot at all.  

    Nevertheless, this illusioned shot of a couple's kiss is one of my personal favorite shots because it makes me think and try to remember.  

    The Future is on the Street

    I did not edit this photo, so much as I imagined it . . .I do not want to explain the technical aspects of the above image.  I made it based on a feeling I had this evening.  I was thinking of the street and of the future.  A home can be a cocoon, especially on a cold day.  Desire to go outside lessens in favor of remaining inside, in warmth.  However, the street is always out there.  On the street is a network.  There is a potential to go anywhere, do anything.

    The future is on the street too.  The future is not going to come from within one's home.  Pieces of the future can trickle into it, but they will not spring from it.  

    How is photography connected to the street and to the future?  That is up to the individual photographer to express.

    Photography Tip:  make an image based on a thought, not thinking of exif data