Here's a novel idea: Let's all leave our cellphones in our cars and pretend that being out shooting photographs in San Antonio is a lot more fun than checking all the text crap every few minutes. We could spend a day off the grid!
So much for wishful thinking. Well, we're counting down the days until we intersect in San Antonio for what I hope will be a day of wandering around shooting stuff that really resonates with me. If you are coming I hope you'll find stuff that resonates with you. And it doesn't have to be the same stuff. We'll meet at the Alamo at 8:30 am. I'll have some (printed) maps with some of my favorite routes on them. If I get ambitious I'll even include visual landmarks. We'll yakk for a few minutes and then everyone can start drifting through downtown, aiming, generally toward the Mercado. There's a huge restaurant there called, Mi Tierra. I'm aiming to have brunch there at 10:30 am. I may call ahead and let them know that we might have a big table of people but I have no idea how many people are actually planning to attend. The food is classic Tex-Mex. If you are an ardent Vegan you might want to bring something to gnaw on. The coffee is totally vegan!!!
Someone asked about lunch. Get serious. If we have a big Tex Mex El Brunch at 10:30 am you'd have to have the metabolism of a caffeinated hummingbird to be hungry a few hours later. Coffee breaks? Yes. Snacks? Sure. Full out lunch? If you feel you need one there's a ton of places to choose from and I'm sure you'll be able to find a fellow photographer to go with. I'll be walking around shooting stuff.
At 3:30pm, or there abouts, I'll be hanging up the street photography thing and driving over to the McNay Museum. http://www.mcnayart.org/index.php Please take a few minutes to go to their webpage (if you plan to attend) and look at the stuff they say about photography on their property. You are basically agreeing to use images only for personal use. That pretty much means you can't sell them as stock to anyone. They are happy to have you take photos on their grounds and in the rooms but no flash and no tripods. Read the stuff and you'll be happier. The entry fee is $8 for adults. If you wanna get your money's worth, go earlier and plan to spend a couple hours there. There's a lot to see.
The museum closes at 5pm and it's just down the street from one of my other favorite restaurants, La Fonda. It's on N. New Braunfels in the Sunset Ridge Shopping Center. I'm heading there after they push me out of the door at the McNay. I'll be talking photography and savoring the ambience until everyone gets bored and leaves. Then it's back home to Austin.
Some thoughts about shooting: The fewer cameras and lenses you take the more comfortable you'll be shooting all day long. The fewer pieces of lighting gear you bring the less you'll have to carry around.
For example, right now I'm anticipating taking one DSLR camera, one normal lens, and two 8 gigabyte cards. I'll be shooting raw. And if I need more than 600 images I think I'll have shot too much, too quick.
I'm not bringing a camera bag or a flash or a tripod. I'm not bringing a water bottle because I know how to get water when I need it. I am bringing shirts that breathe, comfortable shorts and good walking shoes. I expect to cover four or five miles over the course of the day.....
I'll definitely bring a hat. Love my hats. Can't decide between a boring khaki baseball cap (made out of very light weight technical fabric, not as one northerner conjectured, wool) and my straw cowboy hat. The cowboy hat does a good job covering my ears and the back on my neck but falls down on that whole "anonymous appearance" thing. I'll be leaving my crappy little Nokia phone in the car. I'll have a driver's license, a credit card and some cash in one pocket and my car keys and memory cards in another. That's it. No vest. No wild strap construction. No bags. No walking stick. No PDA.
Good Rules for street shooters: Just like dating, "No" means no. In this context it really means, "no, I don't want my picture taken and you're just being a pain in the ass if you keep begging me..." We're not acting as photojournalists so we don't really have an ethical right to make someone miserable in order to get an image. If you can't get complicity thur sweetness and charm-----let it go.
If you see a great photo in a restaurant or museum, by all means, "go for it." But let's try to be discreet and not involve innocent bystanders in the whole thing. You should have a shot mentally roughed in (composed) and you should have an idea of the exposure settings before the camera even comes to your eye. A quick tweak and a quick press on the shutter and you're done. If you circle someone for five minutes while taking variation after variation you will have stepped over the line....
If it's hot, take time to step into Churches (San Fernando Cathedral is one of the oldest and most charming in the country) Hotels (check out the lobbies at the Gunther and the big hotels on the Riverwalk) and shops in order to soak up a bit of air conditioning. Sit for a few minutes. Drink some water.....
If you see something be sure to shoot it now it probably won't be there (or won't be there the same) when you come back.
Getting the most out of Kirk......I'm hoping you know how to use your gear and that you've already bought and brought what you enjoy using. I want to help you feel comfortable walking along the streets and taking photographs. I've done this for decades and would love to share what's worked for me. Whenever we meet up (Alamo, restaurants, rest breaks, etc.) feel free to come on over and ask me anything relevant to street photography. I'll do my best to answer. Be aware that there are no private Kirk sessions so don't save your questions and then think you'll have me to yourself for an hour or so. Ask em proud! Let everyone in earshot have a chance to debate it and share it.
The whole point of the Anti Workshop is that you guys are all pretty smart, creative and individualistic. You don't need a lot of handholding. Most of us just need an excuse to get out and shoot. That's what this is all about. The framework of the experience is to have something to blame when you need to tell your boss or spouse that you won't be able to handle the saturday shift or scoop poop in the backyard. Come down to SA loose and ready to just soak up the ambiance of being in a place and letting the images come to you.
We're not providing models or food or drinks or tee shirts or pens with my business name on them. We're just providing an excuse to stretch those art muscles so you don't cramp up over the course of the year.
I'd love to have a "top shot" post on the blog afterwards. It would be great if everyone sent me their one favorite shot of their day with an watermark on the bottom and let me share it here on the blog.
That's all I know. Thanks. See you there. Kirk