Street Photography

Fishing Holes

One of the best ways to create interesting images is to go to an interesting place and wait for your subject to enter the frame. Another, often more enticing method is to go where there are a lot of people. On the one hand, you have a lot of subjects to choose from. On the other, it can be difficult to make a good image with multiple subjects in the frame.

Shooting in crowded areas is a great way to ensure tons of opportunities. I liken crowded areas to a good fishing hole. Sure, there are probably other photographers who know your spot, but what’s important is to have a list of favorite places to go back to over time.

I have many fishing holes, one is the St. John’s neighborhood. There are frequent street events, people walking about and interesting subjects. One visit to St. Johns was last year, during a parade, and I kept seeing this guy, who seemed to be the star of the show, the grand master of the parade. I’m not sure what his role was, but he popped up everywhere I was. Then, after milling around the street vendors for about an hour, he appeared here.  He was just standing there and the crowd sort of parted perfectly framing him for my shot. I took this one frame, which was the only one of him I took that day, despite seeing him multiple times.

Untitled - By Ryan Katsanes

Untitled - By Ryan Katsanes

Street photography can be a lot like fishing. You have your favorite spots, and sometimes they pay off while others you strike out. Sometimes you just need to go to your fishing hole, and that provides plenty of satisfaction, whether you catch something or not.

Be Ready

Usually when you hit the streets with your camera you’re purposefully ready. Your camera is on, it’s set to or close to the settings you need and you’re on the hunt for a scene. Other times you’re just out and about and you happen to have your camera with you. This image is a mix of the two. I had met up with a good friend of mine for coffee and catch up time, then we decided to walk down to Pioneer Square to see if there was any photographic action.

En route to the general area, we came across this scene at one of our Benson Bubblers. I was not actively looking for a shot, but definitely recognized there was one here. In all of about 2 seconds I flipped the camera on as I raised it to my face and made this shot. I particularly like how the dog is looking in, as well the man on the left is looking in to the scene. These young men were presumably adventurers (wanderers, perhaps homeless) who were there to get their water bottles filled up for the day ahead.

‘Eff Love’ by Ryan Katsanes

‘Eff Love’ by Ryan Katsanes

Had I not known my camera well, bonded with it in such a way that photographers do that you don’t have to think much about settings, I might have missed this opportunity. I can honestly say this shot was made instinctually, they aren’t always, but when they are you know it and you know you got something good. It’s a lesson we all learn eventually. The sooner we do the better, so we can be out there blending into the street and making great shots.