Street Photography At Clubbing Hours (The Non-Flash Way)July 22, 2011
Street photography during clubbing hours was something I wanted to try for ages but kept postponing it for one reason or another. Last Saturday, an opportunity came up to do just that(!) so, naturally, I grabbed it by the horns and went for it.
Using a tripod and very low shutter speeds is a rubbish idea for street photography so I was only left with two options: 1.) Use Flash or 2.) Don’t Use Flash and work through the low light consequences. Using a flash would be a new experience and easier to work with but since I don’t own a flash cable for my Leica, it meant I would have had to ditch the Leica in favour of my SLR. Between the two cameras, the Leica wins every time, so, I went for the “no flash” option and left the SLR buried in the cupboard for yet another month.
It wasn’t long before I re-confirmed that going with the heart instead of logic was the right decision: Low light was no issue at all! (Click on pictures to enlarge)
I did however come across a very unexpected problem: It was almost impossible to capture candids! I must admit, I did have plenty of scenarios in my head of how “street photography during clubbing hours” could have developed but this… this… got me way off guard. For every candid picture I managed to take, I also ended up taking at least 3 or 4 non-candids. “Hey guys, guuuuuyyyyssss… COME BACK! HE’S GOING TO TAKE A PICTURE OF US!” started to sound very familiar. I’m not complaining, it was fun and I got to meet many lovely people.
Some cheeky rabbits even tried to take my picture, but I got them first :-)
Also surprising was the fact that non-clubbers stood out more than clubbers. They just looked so serene amongst the mayhem and being chilled out, meant it was quite easy to catch a candid…
…a split second later… (Again, I’m not complaining…)
Shooting late at night turned out to be a phenomenal experience! The city changes mood completely, the “mundane” is left at home and just like that, it’s party time… I can vouch that street shooting late at night was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had with my camera. People are so much more friendly, less suspicious and always with a smile on their face.
With a smile on my face, I headed towards Piccadilly gardens to catch the bus home. Just before that though, one last shot… my favourite of the day; even though the four ladies were not amused at first.
What’s your experience in shooting street photography at night? Do you applaud using flash or condemn it? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Technical Bits: All pictures shot with a 50mm Summilux ASPH mounted on a Leica M9 at f/1.4, 1/90, ISO1000 (third picture pushed by 3-stops).