100 Strangers Project, Set 2

This next set of portraits were shot in Ocean Beach a few weekends ago with fellow photographer Rob Andrew backing me up. 

I found quite a few more characters here than at Balboa Park. My previous best at Balboa was 4 strangers. This day in OB, I got 8 (out of 9 approached). I will definitely be going back. 

This time around I was so concerned with getting critical focus on the subject's eyes, that I was not paying enough attention to my framing, and I made some really awkward crops. This happened in just about every photo in this set. I think it's partly because I'm not used to shooting in portrait orientation. 

The one where it's really glaring is Darren (Stranger 12). He was a great subject! But I had just a minute or two with him (he was in a hurry to get back to his hostel to pack up for his trip back home to Canada), and I cropped him too tightly. I cut off his arms in a weird place, and so I decided to just post a tighter headshot that I got (the one shown above), even though it doesn't show his tattoos, which are what caught my eye in the first place. In another blog post, I'll show the other photo of Darren, and I'll add additional photos for some of the other subjects. 

Another glitch: Jesse, Stranger 8, was another great subject, but I put her on a background that was way too busy.  

Overall, though, it was a productive day. It was easier to find subjects this time, and I'm getting better at making the approach. Just 85 more people to go..

And I've learned a few things along the way: 

1. Not every portrait is going to be amazing. I've made my share of technical errors. Each one has been a valuable lesson. 

2. The very first approach of the day is the most difficult. Once I get past that one, I settle down and the next one is a bit easier. 

3. Most people will say yes. 

4. When I see a potential subject, I have to make a firm decision to approach, or not approach, and I have to make that choice quickly. If I hesitate, my approach is going to be awkward. 

5. People seem to respond well to seeing their portrait in B&W on my camera's LCD. And they respond to the number 100:  100 Strangers, 100 portraits, it just makes sense. 

6. It is surprisingly difficult to get critical focus on the subject's eye when using my 105mm lens at f/4. The depth of field is just a couple inches, depending on my distance to the subject. 

That's it for now. See you next time.