When I am walking around the streets with my camera I rarely worry about my camera settings. I do a general adjustment and mostly just focus on the time speed as I capture images because I really like a bit of blur and movement. I really like the creative part of photography, I don't care much about gear or the technical aspect of photography. Not to say it isn't important, it's just not what drives me. I care more about connecting to the moment and seeing interactions play out. I can often see a scene and know that with a little patience everything in that moment will play out like a beautifully choreographed dance to reveal a perfectly fleeting moment in time. And my job is to wait, camera in hand ready to capture and preserve its beauty forever.
The first image is one that I took in Paris, France along the banks of the Seine River. It was a warm summer day, and I had my camera on hand as usual. I was early for a meeting and decided to kill some time exploring. It was a lively afternoon and I was in the heart of the tourist center just behind the Notre Dame on the bridge of Ile St. Louis. The street was busy with people eating the famous Berthillon ice cream found in that particular area.
People were leisurely walking enjoying the Paris backdrop, small crowds gathered as they enjoyed various street performances and the banks were lined with people lazily lingering along the quai. I walked through the unfolding event, carefully observing all of the people as I tend to do with street photography.
I didn't really see anything that caught my eye or very interesting until I got to the end on the bridge where I decided to stop and look out onto the water and see if anything of interest was happening there.
In a small nook where the quai merged with the river there was a small group, two women talking and a child that had taken interest with a flock of pigeons sun bathing all along the short path, just far enough away so that the ebb and flow of the river wouldn't disturb them.
The adults were paying her no mind but her fascination intrigued me. So I continued to watch as she sheepishly approached the flock and I knew that something was about to emerge in front of me. I didn't exactly know what was going to happen but I knew it was going to lead to a wonderful cloud of birds flying away. So I lifted my camera to my eye, braced my elbows on the ledge in front of me and slowed down my shutter speed to capture the sudden burst of movement and I waited.
I took a few images of her timid attempts at making the pigeons fly away and nothing. One, maybe two took notice of her and left; as they did she would run back and hug the wall behind her.
I waited for maybe 10 minutes watching patiently through my lense and she slowly built up enough courage to reach her final goal.
But then the child did something I did not expect, she took her scarf, draped it over her head and shoulders and ran into the flock of pigeons. And as I expected, an incredible moment unfolded; though not the one I originally anticipated.
The girl with her makeshift covering suddenly stopped in mid-attack; her scarf took on a bird-like shape and the birds all flew away in annoyance from the troublesome child that had ruined their peaceful afternoon sunbathing. As it all came together I captured the image below and I instantly knew that I had captured the image I felt was waiting for me in that moment.
Whenever I get an image like this one I tend to feel very grateful to the universe for allowing me to be there at that perfect moment, and it reminds me of one of my favorite quotes “Luck, is when preparation and opportunity meet”
When I got home and uploaded my images I started editing in Lightroom, I turned it black and white, high contrast, with a soft deep vignette to pull the viewer into the scene and closer to the moment.
Focal Length: 76mm
Time: 1/25 sec
So what do you think of this image?