tube pedestrian player lighting timing composition street photography

Don’t waste time waiting. You’ll miss too many good moments with too many good photos.

With about an hour between the assigned arrival time and the actual start of my assignment, I had several choices. The hotel bar was a little too expensive for my taste for cheap beer. Call some friends nearby to see if any were available for an unexpected chat at their desk. Or, go look for photos. I chose photos and it didn’t take more than a few steps to find this.

It’s late in the day. The assignment was coverage at a dinner in the hotel. Most people downtown left their offices about an hour ago so there is little sidewalk traffic for the street musician. So few that my talk with him about his street-side performance was lengthy and detailed. That was to my advantage.

A shaft of light created by the space between two office towers and the overhang of a theater marquee moved down the sidewalk parallel to the roadway. I waited for a pedestrian to walk into the light shaft, quickly stride past the performer ignoring the opportunity to listen. (setting, at left)

A proper exposure, to hold the shadows while not overexposing the highlights was critical. The depth-of-field also needed to be deep enough to hold focus on performer and pedestrian. A high ISO would have created too much noise in the shadows and the contrast would have been increased between highlights and shadow.

The great irony in this setting was watching as people passed by the musician, most hurrying away with little attention to his music or appreciation for the talent provided without charge. The building immediately to my left is the Ohio Theatre, one of three downtown theaters restored to their original designs and home to Broadway shows, rock performers (saw Santana in this theater) and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

Today’s street performer was a member of the symphony who preferred to practice in the open, one the sidewalk to offer some of the rich glory and tradition of music to anyone willing to pause long enough to accept the gift.

Few did.

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