Why you need to get up early for Street Photography. A personal story of a succesful morning. Thanks to Matvey Z for planting the idea of writing this!
Scratching sounds awoke me at 5 AM. Next to my head was a small puppy, rescued from the streets just five days previously. He needed to get outside, quickly. On returning from our brief walk together, it became apparent my snoring had led to me being evicted from my half of the bed, a morning of romantic spooning was not on the cards. With the Internet down, I found myself with little to do and in a situation that called for an early morning photo walk.
Street photographers are often a lazy bunch, we like afternoons and evenings, capturing images in the dying light. However, mornings are a fantastic time of day. The light can be beautiful, and people are just waking up and may be caught unaware by the photographer. Calmness can reside in places that will be in chaos later. I had to remind myself of this as I sat in my Uber, worried, as the skies opened up and the rain started to pour. At this point, thoughts of bed were sorely tempting. Lady luck was with me though; the rain stopped as the car arrived at my chosen location.
I had chosen a slum area north of Bangalore’s centre. As expected, it was quiet. Five minutes into my ramble I was invited into a home. Grandmother was cooking a rice breakfast, Mother holding child, sisters coming and going and father waking up. For a small place, it was extremely busy and a photographer’s dream. I resisted the urge to start clicking and managed some form of communication. Coffee was served, which I hesitantly sipped (and it turned out to be just fine!). Finally, photos were taken. I have since printed these pictures and will return with them as gifts. The room was small and dark, and I had to crank up my ISO. I am pleased with the pictures, and they will provide a reminder of my morning photo walk.
Drumming was heard not two minutes from leaving the house. The noise quickly escalated, and I found myself in the middle of a religious throng. Photography heaven ensued. Groups of worshippers walked by, gripped by religious fervor, whipping themselves into frantic dances driven by rhythmic drumming. Drummers and dancers led colourful Gods, mounted on trailers and tractors. Streets filled with residence offering pumpkins and coconuts, which in turn were taken by the priests and smashed in front of the gods. Colourful faces called out for photos, and I quickly became covered in blue powder paint (as was my camera, which appears to have survived).
The puppy, unfortunately, had to go and is with a family now. I will have to find another way to get kicked out of bed. Mornings are a time often neglected by Street Photographers, but it is a time of day that can be pretty awesome. I came home with a set of pictures I was proud of, and my hit rate was higher than it has been for a while. So, mornings – give them a go. The early bird may catch the worm yet.
Take care and keep clicking, Chris