Did I tell you that I am taking a street photography class? I've done some online photography classes here - a great introduction when I knew nothing at all about DSLR's or staging tabletop photos. Now I know JUST enough to get into trouble.
I've always been a "on the one hand...one the other hand" kinda gal. On the one hand I LOVE the control you have with tabletop photography. You pick the subject and the lighting and the props and the composition and and and...You create the mood, the atmosphere, the feel. Tripod, f-stop, exposure. Stop and plan. It's all in your control.
On the OTHER hand, I LOVE the spontaneity of street photography. You might go out with an idea or a concept or a goal but you really just work with what you find at that particular moment. On that street. In that part of the day. Looking in this direction or that. Quick. Get the shot. Compose instantly. Shoot it NOW. Missed it? Too late? It's gone. Forever.
I'd been snooping around street photography on the web and the man came across an 8 week class here where I live. And I signed up. Two weeks ago I went out for three hours in the rain and shot along Main Street. I was happy with what I got for a first time out.
Yesterday I went out again for three hours and shot along Commercial Drive but THIS time part of my assignment was to ask five strangers if I could take their picture. Ack. You see, I am the QUEEN of being incognito when I am out and about on my own. After all these years of travelling alone in big cities, I've learned to have that mildly disdainful, bored look while walking around. Avoid being a target. Easier not to engage.
But I had to do the exact opposite. I had to not only engage a stranger in conversation, I had to ASK something of them.
I can be loud. I can be bold. I can embarrass myself and others with me when I am in a group. But on my own? I tend to be quiet and keep to myself.
Well, I did it. There was the old man with the guitar. The hipster chick with the red hair and blue glasses. And the two friends having coffee. The couple with the two baby rats. And the nanny with her two kids. Not one person turned me down. They all happily agreed and posed and then went on their way.
I'll do it again. Because I want to be good at this, this street photography. And it'll be easier next time. And the time after that.
You know what I realised? That sometimes when you want something - something that will make you happy - sometimes you REALLY have to push yourself. Be awkward and maybe a little embarrassed. Sometimes you have to be uncomfortable to be happy.