The city of San Diego is colorful mishmash of cultures, characters, and architecture, which makes it not only a great vacation spot but also a beautiful subject for photography. A loose schedule, lots of sleeping, and lots of eating allowed my wife and me to relax and recharge after a very busy spring. I think the lack of stress took a lot of the pressure to take gigabytes of “good” photos off my back; I could enjoy my vacation without the anxious need to take lots of photos, while still focusing on my photography when a photo moment arose. I guess if you spend enough time out on the beach and the streets of Pacific Beach, you can’t help but be infected by its laid-back personality.
A lot of the photos in this post are street shots. And on that note, I wanted to share an interesting quote I recently heard from an interview with photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. He is often credited with establishing (or at least bringing fame to) the art of street photography and the concept of the “decisive” moment. And yet, when he was questioned about his iconic “leaping man” photograph, he credits chance rather than skill.
Interviewer: You couldn’t see the man leaping?
Interviewer: That was lucky.
C-B: It’s always luck. It’s luck that matters. You have to be receptive, that’s all.
(Translated from French.)
What a relief it was to hear that one of the most famous photographs from one of the world’s most famous photographers was made by taking a chance on a shot that he couldn’t even see! Sometimes I feel lazy for just looking around for a moment to present itself. But Cartier-Bresson is teaching me that, in candid photography, laziness is not paying attention and leaving your camera at home. And that sometimes our best work will come from taking a chance on a blind shot.
Back to San Diego, here are a few of my favorites. It’s rare for me to be happy about an entire set of photos – I can’t tell if I’m just really critical, I’m really inconsistent, or that’s just the way it goes for photographers. But with this set from San Diego, I can say that I’m genuinely happy with the whole set, whether they’re objectively good photographs or I just plain like them.
This photo of the man and his dog is kind of special for me. In a rare moment of outgoing behavior, I actually asked this man for a photo of him and his dog and struck up a conversation with him. Moments like this one help reinforce my struggle against my own insecurity as a photographer.
P.S. These photos are among the first that I’ve processed with Lightroom 4! You probably can’t tell the differences just by looking at these photos, but Adobe made some significant improvements in noise reduction, clarity, and exposure control…the kinds of things only a photo geek could get excited about.