4.15.2012

The Sunday Walk, Part 1.


I was walking along Congress Ave. with my friend, Frank.  We'd just crossed Third St. and we were heading north.  This man was at the intersection and he caught my eye and I caught his.  We smiled at each other while Frank and I walked by.  Five steps later I turned around and approached him.  "How's it going?" I asked.  "Pretty good." was  the reply.  I asked him if I could make his portrait and he smiled and gave me his permission.  I directed him a little bit.  I asked him to look right into the lens of my camera.  He did.  I clicked off a few frames, thanked him and shook his hand.

Then he hesitantly asked me if I could trade him one or two dollar bills for the change he had in his pocket.  I didn't need the change but I had spare ones. We wished each other well and Frank and I continued north on our walk through downtown.  It was a nice encounter.  His face is wonderful and his handshake was expressive.  It made me happy to be a photographer.

I spent today with my camera in the "black and white" mode.  That's a setting on the picture styles dial.  I shot the largest size, extra fine Jpegs.  I was using a Sony a77 camera and this portrait was done with a 50mm 1,4 Sony lens that I picked up used recently for a couple hundred dollars.  I was shooting at ISO 400, 1/1250th of a second, f2.8.  I added a little contrast and warmth to the file in post processing.

I'm very happy with the series photographs this man gave me and consider it a small sign from the universe that I'm on the right track.

11 comments:

stefano60 said...

another beautiful portrait, thank you for sharing. there are so many incredibly interesting faces out there, 'screaming' to be immortalized ...

the key, as your approach proved, is always to treat one another with respect.

one must never forget that, whatever the conditions might be, there is another human being, just like us, in front of our camera, who deserves to be treated with dignity.

kirk tuck said...

He treated me with dignity and respect, how could I not respond in kind? Thanks.

Frank Grygier said...

Amazing portrait. One of your best from the street.

kirk tuck said...

Frank. It was great seeing you downtown today. Your good energy helped me get this photograph.

Joey said...

Kirk:

I think you have connected well with this camera. Your ability to connect to the individual is a given, but there is more here... it feels like "comfort" to me..

Regards,

Joe

Sean Staples said...

It's so refreshing to see a pro like yourself actually using the jpeg modes in the camera and talking about it. Sometimes it's just about the moment and the capture and these cameras are capable of doing the rest.

kirk tuck said...

Sean, that's so true. There's nothing inherently wrong with JPEGS. All raw, all the time can get....precious.

wjl (Wolfgang Lonien) said...

Very nice portrait again Kirk, couldn't have been done (and explained) better. Thanks.

Mark said...

Great portrait.

I think it's worth noting the limitations of the camera's black-and-white mode, though, which is like another version of the raw vs JPEG debate.

If you use a camera's B&W mode, you're stuck with its idea of the optimum way to mix the R, G and B data from the sensor to form the B&W image. In the old days, we had some influence over this by using filters with B&W film - typically orange or red filters to smooth out Caucasian skin tones and darken blue skies.

Whilst you could still do this "live", the computer can be used in post-prod to separate the three channels from a colour digital shot (if you took one!) and blend them to provide the optimum B&W "print".

Obviously, that takes more time in post, and I doubt I'd come up with a better blend than this one in this case, assuming I'd even got the shot rather than sitting in a chair prattling about theory...

kirk tuck said...

Everything's a trade off...

Mike said...

This is an excellent image... and a black and white out-of-camera JPEG? I must do that sort of thing more myself. It takes commitment, but it's so rewarding to just "let it be" and allow a shot to stand on its own without endless tweaking in post.