I like the idea of street photography. Capturing the real day to day activities of a locale. During my trip to Kenya this year, I wanted to capture some “real life ” images, but whenever I got my camera out everything changed . . . . . because I was there, and everyone knew I was photographing them. I gave up early on in the trip and then got an idea on the last day. On my final day in Kenya we left Masai Mara, and drove for about 8 hours to the airport in Nairobi. As we were leaving the game reserve, I was shooting with my color camera, and the Lensbaby Velvet 85. During a short stop, I set the camera against the window at the bottom and realized it would balance there. That’s when I knew I had the ability to do what I wanted. I just had to set the camera correctly.
I was shooting with a Canon 5DMKIV and knew that my sensor would allow me to push my ISO and still get something usable. Since I was using the Lensbaby Velvet 85, I set the manual focus to infinity. Then I cleaned the window of the Land Cruiser as best as I could with a napkin I had in my pocket. I knew we would be constantly moving, and I wanted to freeze each scene. I started out with a 400 ISO, but quickly realized that I need double that and went with 800 ISO and a 1/2000 second exposure.
The nice part was even when we came to a complete stop no one outside the vehicle knew I was shooting. This gave me a chance to capture real life while not influencing things with my presence. Now, these images are far from perfect. The window was not as clean as it could have been, and because of the speeds we were traveling there is a bit of blur on the edges of each image. But The images are of real life, and if I told you I saw a guy riding a motorcycle with a couch on the back, you probably wouldn’t believe me, would you?
Believe me now?
When I was done I couldn’t decide whether I liked the images in natural color or as a monochromatic sepia-toned image, so I’m going to show you both.
First the sepia. I thought those looked better with the side blurs.
and here’s the color.
I intend to give this another try next year when I take a group back to Kenya for another safari and this time I will make a few changes. First, I’ll go with a slighter wider lens. Second, I will be better prepared to clean the window the morning we leave.