Photo of the Week #31 - Casual Sax

August 03, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.



This photo was taken in Balboa Park in San Diego, California.  The beautiful park is popular to tourists and has gardens, walking paths, museums, theaters and the world famous San Diego Zoo.  There is no shortage of people milling about so it is a great place to try your hand at "Street Photography."  This is where you capture candid images of people just being themselves instead of posing for you.  Candid photos truly show the essence of a person and how they are interacting in their present environment.  Street photography requires that you become very observant of the people around you and how they interact with their surroundings.  You can choose to sit or stand in one place and watch as people come and go or you can continuously walk around and seek out opportunities.  Either method can be successful but in the end it comes down to which one you feel most comfortable doing.


In the photo above, I was walking through a courtyard and I heard a saxophone in the distance.  I made my way toward the sound and spotted an elder jazz man seductively playing a variation on "When the Saints Go Marching In," much to the delight of a small audience.  The street musician was the epitome of "cool" in his suit, fedora and dark sunglasses.  He finished the song and a few people dropped some spare change into his saxophone case sitting on the ground beside him.  Some of the onlookers threw out a request and he happily obliged.


I thought long and hard about how to compose a photo that would document this experience in a way that I would be proud of.  I felt that shooting it straight on would be the type of picture most anyone would take so I wanted to avoid that.  While checking out the ornate cement railing that he was sitting on, I decided to make that an integral part of the photo to add some depth and interest.  I placed myself diagonally from Mr. Sax Man and positioned the railing so that it would enter the photo from the lower right and lead the viewer's eye into the distance.  The play between light and shadow as well as texture and mood are enhanced by the black & white version as opposed to the color rendition.  I wonder what the Sax Man would think of this photo...



Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/80 sec at f8.0, ISO 200
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 55mm


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