This is street photography, even though it’s in a park. The idea is to freeze a moment in time to preserve the essence of movement, place, and people. Street scenes are studies; they take something fluid and solidify to be examined in detail later. In scenes like this, I see things that were not apparent at the time. I think there is value in that, like maybe an appreciation for the multitude and beauty of things unnoticed.
Each time I come there is something to see. I always bring my camera looking for stories. Stories are little vignettes of life that, when we see, it sparks our imagination. In that way, the photo doesn’t have to be too complicated. I think this photo is an example of what I mean.
Here is a shot of my wife Crystal and our dog Wiggles at Bayfront Park on Longboat Key. The few times I’ve been here it’s usually empty. It’s a nice place to visit if you’re looking for that kind of thing. We stopped in on the way to dinner at St Armands, Circle; a little village just south of here. A few minutes later when we got to St Armands, the sun was setting so I quickly double-parked and ran out on to the beach to grab a few shots. That’s the problem with sunsets, they always occur around dinnertime. It helps to have a patient family.
Back here at the park we were watching a manatee just off one of the piers. He was just resting in the water, blowing bubbles and coming up for air every few minutes. Manatees and dolphin sightings are common in this area. They’re fun to watch but I’ve not had a lot of success in capturing them in images.
I took a lot of pictures in the few minutes we were here, including some from the drone. We were just heading back to the car when I noticed the long shadows. This is an example of just trying to be aware of scenes as they unfold and going with the flow. I had other shots in mind but this ended up being my favorite. It was completely unplanned yet somehow wins the day. That’s pretty much how every outing goes, I may get several shots I like, but usually there is just one that stands out, and this is that one for me.
This is a panorama of the Sarasota waterfront. This section is known as Marina Jacks and is the main marina in town. If you want to take a fishing tour or sunset cruise, this is the spot. I’ve done both from here and it never gets old.
I’m going to come back here, this weekend perhaps, and get the same scene at sunrise; this was closer to dusk. As with many of my panoramas I’ve combined several photos so that the resolution is higher than a normal, enough to see very small details. For example, if you zoom in you can see the baseball game on the TV inside the restaurant on the left. That’s perhaps way too much detail, but I think it’s cool nonetheless.
In a panorama the view sweeps from one side to the other. There is something epic about the perspective; it gives you a sense of scale. Anyway, this is one way to capture the waterfront without taking a shot from an aircraft or drone.
I was walking my dog when I took this. I held the leash in one hand and the camera in the other and took five images from left to right; no tripod was involved. That says more about the capabilities of the Sony camera than it does about my camera holding skills. It’s perhaps not the best way to go about it but the dog needed a walk and I needed a picture, so we compromised. In the end we both got what we wanted.
I use random people in scenes all the time. Sometimes a person is positioned in such a way as to create a scene. Street photography is all about people in scenes. One technique is to create compositions where people are juxtaposed to nearby architecture or structures. A simple example is a person waking past an archway. Looking for a composition is like a game; you feel a sense of accomplishment when you capture one. I haven’t played but maybe it’s a little like Pokémon Go.
I took this at Bayfront Park in Sarasota recently. The park is an island with a trail around it and these swings are spaced every fifty meters. I come here when I want to do a mixture of people and landscape photography; it has plenty of both. As I walked behind this lady I think she knew I was taking pictures because she glanced back. She didn’t seem to mind so I paused to get several more.
I use people in this way all the time. Of course it’s better to be coy about it, if people become aware of what your doing they may change their behavior. Lately I’ve taken to carrying only a small 35mm lens on my camera. That way it doesn’t stand out so much and I can almost pretend I’m a casual shutterbug. In reality I’m on an undercover mission.
One time it backfired on me. I was trying to be nonchalant as I took a picture of a rundown garage in a gritty part of town. The people inside thought I was snooping on them and started yelling at me. It turned out okay but I should have asked first. Most people don’t mind if they know what you’re doing. And if they do mind, well, no biggie, it’s just a game.
Whenever I come to this park to get some pics I have my two best friends on a leash. So I never really get a chance to focus too much on what I’m doing. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Why waste a perfectly good drive to the park if you don’t have a couple of four leggeds. At least that’s the way I see it.