Thinking Like a Mountain on the Street

As part of my ongoing Project 365+1, I thought I'd share a story from yesterday, the 99th day.

 InFormation. Downtown Eugene, Oregon. (c) 2016 Josh Spice

InFormation. Downtown Eugene, Oregon. (c) 2016 Josh Spice

Standing just down the sidewalk to the right of the frame, I had been replying to a friend's deep comments on Facebook for a handful of minutes, while watching the world go by. People were walking all around, and some quite interesting ones at that, but I wasn't real drawn to trying to capture any of them. And I was in no rush. Being almost 6 pm, the light was low angle and there were large areas in shadow. Something wasn't right and I just felt out of place. I hadn't been downtown shooting street in quite a while; maybe that's why.

I decided I'd cross the street and go to the other end of the block and shoot at the bus depot, which was more open to the sky and better lit. When I crossed, right through the image frame above, something told me to stop, so I did, still in the street. I saw this guy coming down the block and somehow immediately knew I had to have it.

The framing and his placement was already in my head. I turned on the X70 and held it up, just to verify my placement, and it was perfect - distant to capture the whole spread, but close enough to get the detail. As he walked, to my surprise, he kept his head glued to his cell phone. It was actually all coming together and I felt a rush of excitement through me - kind of like a hunter gets buck fever when they see a big rack on a deer.

I snapped when he was centered and a mirror image of the silhouette behind him. When I chimped, only then did I notice the contrasting angled light to center of frame and his white shirt on the black silhouette. It was perfect in my eye and I knew right then I had gotten my shot. The funny thing to me is, as you recall, I had been doing exactly what he is pictured doing - staring at my phone, just ahead of him, out of the frame, leaning up against the wall. I went from making a scene to making the scene. I stepped 'out of the picture' to capture, in essence, what I had been doing, just with better framing and environment.

Walking around after taking this, I was very sedated in shooting. I only saw two shots after this, one I took (my wife & I - almost doesn't count in a street shooting sense) and one I didn't - across the street and headed the other way when we were heading home. I chalked it up as seeing was just as important as capturing.

I don't often stop shooting after I get what I feel is a solid keeper when everything comes together, but for some reason today, I had that feeling strongly. With a background and schooling in ecology, conservation, and hunting, I was again the hunter, but this time it was not the excitement of the big rack, but about Thinking Like A Mountain. When the street provides to me, I feel the need to not push it and take too much away from it on any one day. When it gives me a good scene, I make it, thank it, and move on, leaving it's grit and flare, while only taking but a fleeting moment.

How do you feel when you shoot street?
 

View The Street Gallery


Get your own Fuji X70 through this link, at no extra cost, & help support Stay Sane, Sleep Outside.