Behind these shots 5


Yes, this year is starting with a bang ! Two for the price of one. I decided to write Blogs when inspiration comes. I may not write for several weeks. It’s like Street Photography. Don’t force things. Nothing good would come of it. It must remain a pleasure. These photos were taken less than 5 minutes apart.

Last Friday I went to have lunch with my wife in town because she had a two hour break. After dropping her off at her work around 2:00 p.m., I parked to go hang out in the streets of Saint-Denis because I had to pick up the children at 3:30 p.m. after their day of scooter training. I had stopped at a crossroads because there were workers who had blocked the road that leads to the city center. Signs had been installed. I had decided to linger here for a few minutes because I always find the traffic cones, the signs, the workers in orange vests graphic … But of course that is not enough. We need something else: like a guy in an electric wheelchair in the middle of the road ! Pfff don’t exaggerate Jeff, that never happens. Well to be honest, I had this situation a bit later in the afternoon. Well, not in the same place, but sometimes the stars are aligned and that’s when you have to click !

In short, back to our workers. No electric wheelchair in the area. On the other hand, passers-by called out to the workers because their car was parked behind the panels and they asked them if they could move them just for a moment so that they could reverse. It becomes interesting as a situation. A few years ago, I would have been satisfied with this composition. But now I’m trying to look around to see what I can still fit into this composition. It is at this moment that I see this lady who comes in the distance on my right, holding her hat because there is a little wind. The timing may be tight, but it’s playable. She has to be at my level before the car leaves, otherwise I lose the first element of my composition. She arrived at my level when the car has finished reversing. The workers even put the road signs back in place. The selected photo works because I have this lady with her hat which offers me a nice foreground and the scene which is played behind questions. If I were to show only this photo, the position of the car is not normal.

I put you below, all the photos taken before this one.

This lady in blue becomes the focus of the photo when it had been composed without her. My focus and interest changed while composing this photo. Moreover quite quickly I follow in the footsteps of this lady because I like her attitude. Her blue dress which floats in the wind and her right hand which holds her hat. I follow her, hoping that another interesting situation will allow me to take more photos. Which is not easy because she walks fast and walking just as fast behind her, would make me a stalker ! Even if in absolute terms it is not completely wrong at the time … Luck comes to my aid because she arrives at a pedestrian crossing where the lights are green. She must wait to cross. It gives me time to catch up with her without it looking too suspicious. This is where the second photo will be taken. Two young girls are also waiting in front of the pedestrian crossing. Their gestures are interesting and I can even integrate a 4th character on the other side of the street.

Below are all the photos taken.

Exactly 4 minutes separate the first photo from the second with the two girls. I could have stopped after the first photo with the workers, but sometimes you feel like you have to keep going because there might be other opportunities. It does not always work but this Friday, I did well to insist !

All photos were taken with the Ricoh GRD4.

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5 thoughts on “Behind these shots

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      You know what is funny John? A few meters after the last shot. I decided that it was enough. No need to stalk her anymore. She continued walking in the shade of a building and she took off her hat. The magic was over for me. It’s like a sixth sense which stop me from following her.

  • John Harper

    You’re quite the Casanova! One minute lunch with your wife, the next you’re stalking women around the town 😉 A great start to 2021, evidently the photographic stars are aligned for you. I see great photographs ahead, hold on, my crystal ball has clouded over, ah, back to the U.K…
    Seriously, it’s incredible how sometimes everything seems so easy and the actors more or less behave and move how we would like them to. The images almost form themselves. Of course we have to be there with our camera, watching, anticipating and with an eye that’s trained to see. Great job with this Jeff, it all seems so simple, but of course we know it really isn’t.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      I guess it has a lot to do with the state of mind. Last week I had to go downtown a few times and I took advantage for walking a little in Saint Denis. For two weeks, I stop my street photography work just to recharge my batteries. It was the right time because it was family time during christmas and new years eve. I don’t know but it feels also good to be back with the camera I prefer on the streets. It could be related or not.
      Anyway one thing I have done also, is go to places I don’t often go. Boredom also came from the fact that I always roam the same neighbourhoods . I needed to get out of my confort zone and go elsewhere in Saint Denis.
      We’ll see. It’s only the first week of 2021.
      One last thing is to make photos. I had the tendency lately to take snapshots without building the frame. Don’t misunderstand me. Taking snapshots is good but making photos takes more time and it’s a more grateful because you work on a scene, you try to add things in the frame, you build your image. On the contrary, talking snapshots is a just a reaction to something happening in front of you. Well a different approach and I’m more in the mood of making photos

      • John Harper

        The best way I think. I do a lot of snaps nowadays, a natural response to what I see, I quickly grab it. My best photos (arguably) are mostly the ones where I’ve stopped, framed and waited for the scene to evolve. As you say, much more satisfying.