On Thursday night, I shot some street photography in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, which is where Tina and I live.
There was a cool fog that had rolled in, and it appeared plausible to photograph it. So around 10:30 p.m., after a league basketball game and a celebratory beer with the guys, I grabbed my fish-eye, my bike and headed out.
By the time I hit the streets, the fog had dissipated, so I was stuck shooting fogless Uptown shots.
The above photo caused some police to pull over and run my information through their computer. In fact, I think it’s their lights that are streaked through the image. They looked down at me as they drove past, and I thought, “Uh oh, maybe I need to move on.”
I knew that shooting on train tracks was not cool. I’ve been chased off of tracks with my camera several times throughout my tenure in Chicago. I live near traintracks and shoot the train all the time. But being out in public, in an unsavory part of the neighborhood, shooting up at tracks isn’t cool.
I saw the cops drive past, turn around and come back.
They pulled up and said, “Come here for a minute.” They asked for my I.D. and went through my stuff. They explained why they were stopping me, that shooting under train tracks was suspicious. I told them I understood, but I was hoping to get a shot of the northbound train passing that spot.
They let me go, and I said I was going to keep shooting up the street if they didn’t mind. They said, “Sure, knock yourself out.”
I’ll wrap up my Thursday work with the next photo. I was near the Green Mill, which is the famous jazz bar formerly owned by Al Capone, which features a hidden passageway into the space that used to be his speakeasy.
Where there are bars there tend to be transients begging for money. As soon as I walked up, a woman approached me and asked for money. I told her no. Near her, there was another dude asking for money. I told him no, but then I reached in my pocket and grabbed a few singles. I said, “I”ll give you this cash if you’ll pose for a photo.” He agreed. And I got this shot underneath scaffolding that is in front of the Uptown theater building (three or four doors north of the Green Mill):
The guy told me his name, but I forgot what it was. I was taking the shot with a long shutter (six seconds, 15 mm, at f 18). The model was really good at staying still the entire time. I wanted detail, and probably could have increased my shutter speed a lot … but I wasn’t thinking as fast as I should’ve.
On Friday night, I posted a few shots from mixed martial arts fighting that — frankly –I wasn’t very proud of. But I’m glad I went and I’m excited about it as a learning experience.
I went with Bill, as he’s been dying to go. It wasn’t a paid gig, which I’m okay with doing on occasion. Bill got me a last-minute pass, and I thought it would be cool to go.
We were both frustrated with the number of usable shots. I shot over 2,000 and sent over 125. Bill shot about the same and sent over 75.
And I have to say, Bill’s shots were way better.
We were shooting ring-side. And because of my history with high ISO shots being crappy, I tried keeping my ISO low (below 1600). It required me to keep my shutter in the 160 to 200 range. By the end, I was shooting a shutter 0f 320, but it wasn’t fast enough to stop the action. I’m used to shooting with a flash, and due to ignorance, I wasn’t stopping the action completely. I thought 200 was fast enough to stop motion, but you need extra light (or more light than what was available in the ring).
Bill kept his ISO and shutter speeds high. He said his shutter was at or around 400, which was fast enough to stop a lot of action.
All shoots are learning experiences, and some are informative than others. Next time, I’ll do a better job of zooming in on the shots to make sure the action is stopped.
As a photographer, it’s easy to assume or to make snap judgements on the image that pops up in the viewfinder without zooming in.
Sunday, Bill and I shot in the studio with a popular DJ team called Tritonal. I won’t be able to post shots from that until after editing, but it was a fun shoot. And we got some great work.
This week, Tina and four jobs on location, and lots of editing to take care of.
It’s going to be a lot of fun.