The week has been an unexpectedly long one, with work stretching to ungodly hours, and shutter therapy was needed more than ever. I joined a group of old shooting friends and we attacked the Petaling Street, KL this morning. Not exactly my favourite street hunting spot, but somehow it turned out to be very enjoyable.
A while ago, a friend Raja Indra Putra commented on the way I approached the street people (strangers) before I took photos of them. He said I would make my entrance to the scene, posing as someone harmless. After establishing that message of "me being here, not a threat" with the stranger since the stranger is already aware of my presense, then I walked in closer, and work my camera. He said that happened almost all the time, and it worked because it gave the strangers time to decide that I was not someone evil (I do have a very friendly appearance, I think), thus allowing me go in closer and taking photographs of them.
I never really thought about that before! That friend's observation was correct, to every detail, but there was a twist in it. Now the truth, from my perspective, I did not intentionally "enter the scene" and establish that I was a non-threat, at least that was not part of my plan at all.
What actually happened was me taking a quick pause to quickly adjust the camera settings before I approached my strangers on the street. You see, when I saw a stranger that I have decided to attack, I wanted to have all my camera settings set before I go in and make the shot happen. I set the focusing point to exactly where I want the eye to be in the frame, I set the aperture to have sufficient depth of field (depending on how near or far the subject is and how much I want to be in focus), I set the ISO to compensate for the light or lack of, and surely I must watch the shutter speed and ensure it was fast enough to mitigate blur if necessary. All the camera controls should take about 2-3 seconds, and then I make that strike happen by pointing the camera to the stranger and BAM. I tbought it was 2-3 seconds, or so I wanted to believe it was only that brief and I was so efficient with camera controls. Another truth to be told, I actually took about more than 5 seconds, perhaps even 10 sometimes when I do hesitate on my settings (hey, I am not perfect, seriously, I do make mistakes, but at least I rectify it before I shoot). That many seconds of me being stagnant, staring blankly at the camera fiddling with settings, was helpful to give out a friendly signal to the stranger that I was about to shoot them, and for those who are ok with their portraits being taken (of course not all, if they said no, I would respectfully oblige), they have that nice, friendly, beautiful expression on their faces. Honestly, I did not know how they looked the way they looked, but it probably was a mirror to my own expression when I was looking at them. We are all human after all.
All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M.Zuiko Digital lenses 45mm F1.8 and 17mm F1.8
Portrait of a Stranger 1
Portrait of a Stranger 2
By the River.
There was another street photographer in the frame. I could have cropped it off but I thought it was cool seeing him there.
The Flag Bearer
Flea Market People
Portrait of a Stranger 3
Portrait of a Stranger 4. I mean X-T1.