PoV Street Photography in Cleveland, Ohio
Not gonna lie – I am really enjoying our “PoV Photography” YouTube series. It’s fun to travel and explore, and of course, it’s fun to take photos so I guess it’s a no-brainer that I am having such a kick out of this. We continue the trend today with a new video straight outta Cleveland! It’s basically winter here and the air is chilly and the wind is biting, so we’re all bundled up (almost – we missed a few important pieces of clothing for maximum warmth!) as we roam the streets of northern Ohio’s most populace city.
ABC – Always Be Creepin’
When I say creeping, I just mean roaming, ok? So let’s not get too carried away here – we’re not up to anything nefarious. This is street photography, after all, and we are trying to keep a low profile so we don’t affect the moment too much with our own input. For this adventure, I went with the ever so very slightly smaller EOS R, rather than the R5, and two small primes; the 16mm f/2.8 and the 50mm f/1.8. The nice thing about these two lenses is that they are so small I can actually keep whichever lens I am not using ready in my jacket pocket, making it quick and easy to swap out at a moment’s need.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten in regard to shooting on location is to simply turn around and see what’s behind you. We spend so much effort looking only at whatever is in front of us that we often forget that there’s an entirely new perspective just 180 degrees away. When doing street photography you can achieve this easily by simply walking down the street in one direction, and then, instead of making a full circle, just turn around and walk back in the other. Heck, even cross the street to get an entirely new perspective. It’s amazingly effective and you’ll be surprised at just how differently the scenery is.
Go Wide, Crop Tight
I took my 16mm with me because that focal length really makes the high-rise buildings feel like they are towering over you. It also means everything feels tiny when you’re standing even a moderate distance away from your subject. There’s an easy way to fix this, however – crop! Don’t be afraid to crop your images. Jay Maisel, an NYC-based photographer, famously said that the final image lives in the crop and this is another piece of advice I often have to remind myself of. When I am back at my desk, editing my photos, I can often see an image and feel like, dang, I didn’t quite nail the perspective. That’s my little emotional queue to let me know I might just need to crop in a little bit.
More Seeing, Less Looking
Learn to see rather than just look. The act of looking is just your brain’s autonomous activity to input visual information into your brain for simple navigation purposes. The act of seeing is your brain offloading that information to other parts of your brain, including creative areas, for further refinement. For some, seeing is an easy process, for others, it is much harder to tap into. I have a simple exercise that can help, one that I use a lot to good effect. If you feel like you’re having trouble seeing the visual opportunities around you, just stop walking and take a moment and really look around – take in all of the information around and don’t rush it. Take in the big picture and then focus on the little details. See if there are any visual queues that tap into emotion and sense memory. It make take a solid 2 or 3 minutes of just standing and witnessing your immediate surroundings, but soon you should be able to key into details that excite you. Once that starts the creative side of seeing will take over and the photos will flow!
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