Sometimes it's difficult to get in the "Zone" with Street Photography, your heart just isn't in it. This week I decided to take another trip over the Severn Bridge to Wales (here's the link to that post) and the capital city of Cardiff which is around 55 miles away. Not the most thrilling ride, it's practically all motorway and bikers don't like motorways. It has to be said though that your heart is well and truly in it, in your mouth that is; Cars and Lorries perform a kind of "automotive ballet" which involves overtaking, undertaking, cutting up, tailgating all with split second timing. Meanwhile you sit on your bike practically naked in terms of protection. You know that one wrong move and it's curtains, you'll "pirouette", "soutenu" and "fondu" into oblivion! You're not cocooned in tons of metal, if you get hit you're dead. Arriving in the city centre it took me almost half an hour to park, extremely frustrating and I felt negative. once I finally got the camera out the urge to capture life just wasn't there. I wandered and wondered around the city centre, changed the Noctilux 50mm to the ever faithful Summicron 35mm, but it simply wasn't happening. I realised that this was chiefly due to my own frame of mind. I headed off for the Welsh National Assembly and Millennium Centre in an effort to lift my spirits. It was all but empty, so I snapped a few and came up with an idea, more of that in a moment and it was positive. Here's a selection of my first hour or so in Cardiff when the frames weren't quite happening -
As you can see, I swapped lenses after frame two. There was absolutely nothing going on, a photographic society had set up a gallery in an old caravan, that was the highlight. Two ladies having lunch on the steps were being chatted up by two Security Guards and two Anti-Terrorist Officers complete with machine guns. really nothing better to do, even with those "weapons" they failed to impress them! So, what am I saying here? Well, my frame of mind needed changing, I need to get into the photographic zone and that required a change of scene. I knew that only 3 miles away was Penarth, which has a Promenade and Pier. "Oh, We do like to be beside the seaside, we do like to be beside the sea" or so the that old song goes and it rang in my ears as I headed for Penarth. It was like a breath of fresh air, the sun was shining, people were smiling, I was happy and it reflected in the way I saw the frames, how people reacted to me; here's a few from the promenade -
Things were starting to improve, it really was a different frame of mind. I felt more positive, the possibility of capturing a decent photograph was likely, my bouyant mood was reflected in what I saw and those I encountered. A lesson in life and photography perhaps. Onto the Pier -
I took those images along the Promenade and Pier, my Frame of Mind was much improved and receptive, thoughts drifted to the Shopfronts Project. There's a small shop on the pier serving Teas, Coffees, Ice Cream and Chips, the usual seaside fare. I bought an ice cream and spent a happy ten minutes chatting to the owner, of course I asked hime for a photo and he agreed -
I was happy and that feeling was contagious with those I met. In Cardiff I didn't speak to a soul, in Penarth I made conversation with a dozen people. If I'm photographing portraiture or a wedding I'm feeling this way and things fall into place, the images happen, the same attitude is necessary on the Streets. I made my way back to the motorbike and quickly clicked this shot of three people on a bench -
In the end a much better trip than I initially thought. You may not necessarily agree, but I think the quality of the photos improved hugely as rapidly as my mood and the day wore on. In order to see, then our minds and eyes need to be wide open, there's no room for any negativity. Food for thought...
Don't forget that you can click on an image to enlarge and that I welcome any comments.
All photos were taken with a Leica M, first two Noctilux 50mm, the rest with a Summicron 35mm lens.