Cuba #3 – Shoe Shine


Fuji X-E2 – 35mm at f/8

This street scene feels more organic to me.  I was on the other side of the street hangin’ out.  I’m sure they were aware of my presence, however, I did not jump in and start taking pictures.  Rather, I hung back looking at other things knowing full well I wanted this shot.  Eventually after they forgot about me, I was able to raise my camera in their direction and make this image.

I found having a small camera is indeed a benefit for street photography.  People do not seem to mind near as much as those having the big guns. I also learned having a fixed focal length is not a hindrance at all, in fact I would say 80% of my shooting on this trip was with prime lenses.  Having the 1.4 f/stop on the 35mm and 23mm lenses is great for many situations.  

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  1. Lea Gallardo January 18, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    Great post, John. I am still very uncomfortable with people/street photography
    and this provided good information.

  2. Jeremy Woodhouse January 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    At what point does it become voyeurism? I believe that the success of a good street photo is the “connection” with the subject/s. Without that the image becomes forced. Look at the body language of the shoe shine – he knows you are there and there is a stiffness, even thought the chap having his shoes shined seems jovially oblivious.

  3. jeff January 18, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    great shot! I enjoy doing street photography also!

    • john8276 January 18, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

      Good point Jeremy. By the way, for those who don’t know Jeremy’s work GO LOOK! He is AMAZING!! His work is what I want to be able to do. And what I notice, is your work Jeremy is often almost staged and I love that. Connection feels better to me too. Thank you for confirming that!

  4. Stephan January 18, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    Great image JB! Reminds me of a classic Norman Rockwell scene. Amongst many details, NR always added expression, character and interaction in his work. Here, you captured this in pixels! Your vision of the potential image and patience for the moment definitely paid off! I also love the colors, lighting and the shadows providing that pop!

    The only thing that I will add is “interaction” with your subject. Either speaking the language, communicating in some fashion or sitting as a paying customer to break the ice or perhaps obtain some detailed close ups while he is working on your shoes … all provide some respect that you are not merely there to “take” an image from the vendor who essentially set up the scene.

    As you mention, obtaining permission or a photo release would be the ultimate … but, there typically is not the time, opportunity and can remove the element of surprise and natural candid work we strive to capture. Capturing first and asking after (shoot first ask questions later) works at times as well … sometimes providing more opportunities.

    Definitely well worth the wait and awesome reward for your patience. Excellent job and post JB!

  5. Scott O January 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    Reminds me of the day when a 50mm was the go-to lens. This one is fun…love the expression of the guy on the right. I also love what you are doing with the Fuji!

  6. Peggy W January 18, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    I am enjoying your Cuban images, especially the people. You capture them at their special moments and these moments shine through. I am also enjoying seeing your work with the Fuji X-E2. I have wanted a camera that could easily go with me anywhere. I am wondering, do you have an opinion on the program Genuine Fractals which is now Perfect Resize. I am questioning whether it is useful if an image does not have a great enough pixel density to be enlarged or if you just want to resize an image from one format to another?

    • john8276 January 19, 2014 at 2:00 am #

      Genuine Fractals is excellent Peggy. One of the best at what it does.

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