Every now and then I like to spend a weekend in Oslo practicing my street photography skills. I did a first attempt at capturing some Oslo street views a few years ago, and I really enjoyed it. It’s still a bit terrifying off course, but I enjoy it nonetheless.
Street photography – where to start?
I first thought that street photography would not be something I was going to enjoy, as it involves the risk of someone telling you off for photographing them in the streets. However people have never been my main subject when I photograph street. I try to make sure that the people that end up in my frame is not recognisable, and that people are merely a prop that makes the street landscape more interesting. Nonetheless I do admire street photographers that manages to capture some amazing street portraits of lovely people. And if street photography inspires you and you’d like to give it a go, I’m sure it’s a great hobby. But how do you get started?
My go to when learning new photography skills the last few years has been YouTube. I’m not however going to list everything I’ve learned about street photography, because I’m just a novice in the craft. I’d rather point you in the direction of Sean Tucker. He has great quality content, and I’ve learned a lot from him. Check him out both at YouTube and Instagram for some street photography inspiration.
Oslo street views – the monochrome series
Let’s get back to photographing some Oslo street views this spring. I had decided that I wanted to do two series of images. One monochrome series shot from breakfast to dinner, and one series in colour shot from dinner to sunset. That was all the planning I had done, the rest would have to come as the day went by. As a result I stepped on the first tram that passed outside my hotel, got off after a few stops and started shooting whatever caught my interest. It’s run and gun shooting, but in a true mindful matter.
Focusing on the monochrome series first, I was looking for lines, repetitive patterns and shapes, and contrast in colour, light or texture. This process is a favourite of mine, as it is a very different way of seeing the city. I get into a rhythm that I truly appreciate, and the hours just fly by. Oslo is a great developing city, and every time I go there to shoot street there’s something new that has changed the compositions I have shot before.
Oslo street views – the colour series
Eating dinner at a restaurant all by yourself is a bit of a challenge. It’s easy to start feeling like a sad loner, and the extra nice treatment you get from the waitress does not help feeling less weird. However I really needed a proper break, and so I found that bringing the iPad to look through the images I had shot before dinner helped me kind of have a purpose while I enjoyed my meal in silence. With rested feet, feeling somehow confident that the monochrome series wasn’t half bad, I was ready to take on the colours of the city.
Even so I found transferring from thinking monochrome to thinking colour a bit challenging. Some of the things I looked for were the same. I still needed good leading lines, interesting shapes or patterns. However introducing colour into the mix, I found that the images got less clean and more chaotic very easily. Nonetheless I was up for the task, the challenge I had given myself. And after a few bad shots I got into it.
The missed opportunity
I have to make a short detour and tell you about this one shot that I missed due to my lack of experience photographing strangers on the streets. There was this amazing row of cherry trees blossoming, and right next to it stood this lady in her sixties. Her clothes had different tones of pink and purple, and she was putting on a scarf with a floral pattern in the same colour scheme. Leading lines were great. Wind was blowing her scarf giving the image great movement. She was totally surrounded by the cherry blossoms, but isolated nonetheless. Even the light was great. Therefore I’m sure it would have been an amazing shot. But I hesitated as I became aware of her friend watching my camera. Meanwhile the moment passed.
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