One Night in Times Square

Street photography isn’t everyone’s thing but I find it to be an almost anthropological study of human beings.  A photographer can take a photo of someone with their permission and perhaps even talk to them to learn something about their lives; resulting in an image that tells a fuller story.

Other photographers prefer to go as unnoticed as possible and capture people as they are.  That too can convey a story but it can be a bit dodgy as some people (and rightfully so) do not wish to have their photo taken.  How you do street photography is strictly up to you and in the end it is what you are trying to say with your photos.

This night, in July of 2014, we were up very late  – or was it very early in the morning – in that ultimate, and very crowded, tourist area of NYC.  It was too crowded that night and I wasn’t totally comfortable taking strangers photos at night in Times Square; you never know who you may encounter!  But I wanted to capture the energy of what was around me so I went with the shoot from the hip technique.

Some set their camera to fixed settings with a certain depth of field which allows them to capture someone within so many feet of the camera without necessarily having to hold the camera to their eye and obviously looking like they are taking a photo.  Others use telephoto lens to take their shot from a distance.  When I shoot from the hip I set my aperture to where I think is best (after a few trial runs) and let the camera do the rest for me.  Holding the camera actually at my hip or around stomach level, I wait until my subject/s are in range, I hear the camera focus and beep when it is locked on and then the shutter is pressed.

Not every shot is a winner but with street photography sometimes even motion blur, not conforming to the rule of thirds, or parts of people cut off will make for a great photo.  In this instance I didn’t think much of the shot initially but when I came back to it, I felt it conveyed a slice of life.  Everyone is in their own little world heading someplace.  Who is a tourist and who is a citizen of NYC?  And then there are the window and door signs behind them especially the one about feet.

After all, they are walking.


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  1. #1 by Mark Myers on January 18, 2016 - 6:37 am

    Times Square is certainly a study in humanity. I can sense their boredom in their expressions. What an interesting way to take a picture!

    • #2 by imagesbytdashfield on January 18, 2016 - 7:25 am

      Amazing how we put ourselves into little bubbles and avoid contact with others sometimes. But yes, TS has it all day or night…and some of it needs to be refereed!

  2. #3 by ChgoJohn on January 18, 2016 - 11:54 am

    You’re right not to look like you’re taking pics of passers-by in Times Square late at night. You’ve come up with a great way to get the photos, though. I need to practice this. 🙂

    • #4 by imagesbytdashfield on January 18, 2016 - 1:48 pm

      It really is fun…I suppose what you capture depends on how tall or short you are and where your hip is 🙂

  3. #5 by milfordstreet on January 18, 2016 - 1:02 pm

    Times Square is quite the place. I like the image you made. Street shots are always a challenge. You have to take a lot of shots to get a few good ones. Cheers!

    • #6 by imagesbytdashfield on January 18, 2016 - 1:49 pm

      And sometimes you just have fun and try to look as blaise as possible LOL

  4. #7 by infraredrobert on January 18, 2016 - 1:53 pm

    I have a high percentage of success with this kind of public shooting – it makes me be at ease and therefore, unnoticed…

  5. #9 by badfish on January 19, 2016 - 3:57 am

    I agree…street photography can be precisely an anthropological study of a place. I have a question, when you shoot from the waist after having set the aperature…does your camera automatically focus itself, or do you have to push the button half-way down?

    • #10 by imagesbytdashfield on January 19, 2016 - 8:19 am

      I hold it half way until I feel/hear it lock on then boom!

      • #11 by badfish on January 20, 2016 - 1:30 am

        so…you’re like double jointed then, right

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