Fall 2013. We were to practice the art of being a flaneur and connoisseur of the streets, something I’ve come to enjoy more and more since. All I used to do was work and play video games, and even when I went on a hike, it was earbuds in and head down. These days, I take a camera with me almost everywhere, I stroll, I look at almost everything, and I learned to always have the camera cocked, the next exposure ready to go: you never know when that perfect shot will materialize.
I remember we watched several videos, looked at plenty of pictures, all having to do with street photography, and how to really go about getting over fear, being able to just walk up to someone, put a camera in their face, and snap a shot before they knew what was happening. I’m still working on that, it’s about as far from my natural inclination as can be.
I experienced a truly transcendent moment while out on one of my walks in Woodland Park: I had crossed three sides of one intersection, just killing some time, when a group of middle school girls appeared, capering up the street. The light was red and I was waiting at the cross section, they were coming from the other side of the street. My camera slung around in front of me, I made sure I was set for another shot, stopped down all the way and the focus set to take in as much of the action as possible. We all waited at the crosswalk together, myself and about a dozen tween girls. As the sign changed to “Walk,” the girls surged across the street towards Starbucks and a shot of caffeine they obviously didn’t need; I had the camera hanging down at stomach-level and when I was in the midst of the crowd I took my shot blind and as surreptitiously as possible, well aware of the cars stopped and the possible witnesses. I’d never felt like such a creeper in my life, some bearded guy in his late ’20s wearing an army jacket and taking pictures of middle school girls. I just hoped I’d escaped the notice of the stopped drivers, just brushed the camera, tripped the shutter release, casually kept walking up the street. I didn’t even wind the lever again until I was around the corner. Usually, it’s pretty easy to tell when I’ve captured a great image because it sticks in my mind hours and days after I’ve taken it, before I ever get the film developed, and this was definitely one of those times.
Here are a few outtakes: