Candid Street Photography

crane on a construction site reaching towards the sky

I’ve never really tackled any candid street photography before, but an opportunity arose recently so I took a crack at it.

There is a major redevelopment underway in the heart of my hometown Invercargill.

When I say major that’s exactly what I mean. A complete city block has been razed  – not raised! And reconstruction has literally started from the ground up.

A few days ago the construction site was opened up to allow the public to wander through and assess progress for themselves. In conjunction with this, a family-fun-day-outing had been organised for an adjacent street. There were coffee carts, food stalls, street, chess, hoopla games, and much more to keep kids and parents amused.

The event was well attended and the street was still buzzing when I arrived shortly after lunch time. In fact I found the street activities far more entertaining and interesting than the construction site walk through, so I took the opportunity to try a bit of candid street photography.

a man looks at something outside the picture
What’s that over there?

I recall reading somewhere recently that when we scan a photograph our view is automatically drawn to faces and any text in the image before we scan the whole picture.

In the photo above I was conscious of the young man staring away to my right, and wondered what it was he was looking at. After I had taken the shot I looked around and saw nothing out of the ordinary that might have caught his attention.

a waffle maker
A waffle? Or an ice cream?

This picture of a young lady making waffles – or maybe she is making an ice cream – is another example of a face in a photo drawing your view to it. I took several versions of this shot and the one that stood out for me is this one where she has just turned around to serve another customer.


two boys playing chess on the street
Two boys playing street chess

I just stopped to watch and wonder where he would move his knight to – and was suddenly struck by the fact that the white line painted on the road lines up directly with the boy and his knight.


Street buskers
Street buskers

What is the guitar player looking at I asked myself when I shot this.

candid street photography - a young girl having her nails painted
A study of concentration as a young girl has her nails painted

Little girls love makeup and nail polish.

And here a few shots from the construction site itself.

The lesson I learnt from my day’s outing?

When you do a 2-second reset on your camera and set it to Aperture Priority – check the default settings! For example the 2-second reset set the image quality to Normal, and the focus mode to AF-S – and neither seems to work particularly well.

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