Raising my light meter just about eye level so I can get a grasp on what my settings will be, my focus shifts past my equipment to examine the scene one last time before I fire the shutter. I’ve been excited about getting into the city to street shoot for a while now and I finally have the opportunity to do it. I take a breath, time slows and I shoot. This will be the beginning of my blog.
I venture back to my seat and continue listening to the conversations on the left side of me and the new Yo-Yo Ma album on the right. I can barely contain myself for what lies ahead. We pull into the station, walk up the stairs and out onto the street. At that moment, walking out the doors, the city hits you like a sledge hammer. Meeting up with the group, it’s nice to see old friends and make new ones.
China town was our first destination on the list. I had never been there but I’ve always seen images from that part of the city and have since wanted to roam the streets and see what I could come up with myself. You really never have any clue whats going to happen during a Philly visit but I think that’s what makes the entire experience so great.
First off a bus pulls up and rams a car, which I can only assume was trying to turn in front of the bus. Accidents happen, life goes on. Heading north on 12th we stumbled upon a closed off road that was hosting a sort of market. All types of vendors were set up selling all kinds of treasures. Live music was happening as well that gave the street a nice vibe. Philadelphia is a street shooters heaven. There’s so much diversity and character hidden in the shadows all you have to do is find it.
The group definitely didn’t have any trouble finding it. Everyone hit the ground running capturing moments they saw and not letting anything slip by. At points it was nice to sit back and watch how everyone works. Their technique is an art in itself and amazing to witness first hand.
Street shooting is an inspiring event for me and I always come out feeling extremely renewed with a better sense of creativity and passion for photography. It’s an extra boost I enjoy grabbing before workshop season kicks into full swing.
China town was nothing short of awesome. It is other worldly being just within those few blocks that you almost feel you’ve left Philadelphia. Just a brief visit, we were all starting to need fuel so we did a big loop back to the reading market for some lunch. I of course had a “Franklin Cheese steak” which was a cheese steak…with cream cheese, onions and mushrooms. It was amazing. After lunch was finished up we started down the street to independence hall where we ran into a small wedding and a big protest.
I grabbed my wedding shot and ventured into the crowd of protesters to see what fun I could get into. Trying to find the best vantage points for shooting this was a major player in portraying the event properly. Normal photography just wasn’t going to work so I had to step my game up and work fast because these activists where not sitting still. The group eventually formed into a parade and we went marching down the street into the heart of the city. I had to keep reminding myself that I was with a group, if I didn’t the large mass would of pushed me down river and who knows where I would of ended up.
After the excitement died down we did a group shot minus a few who left earlier and then we all went our own ways. 3:30 came fast and it was time to head back to the station to catch the train home. When we did arrive at the septa station an announcement came on saying that all of the trains were late and the displays were all wrong. I took that as go shoot some more.
Found a few more gems in the station that I couldn’t just let them slip away. All and all the Philly trip was a blast and I had a lot of fun breaking from the norm and jumping out of the comfort zone to explore the world of street art.
I was pushing myself to learn consistency and to be conservative. I shot a total of 48 images during this trip. Just over 3 rolls of 120 film at 15 images per roll.
Hopefully you got to come along on our adventure and if you didn’t I hope my post gives you a general idea of what we experienced. Thank you for reading along and I hope you have a wonderful week. To see more of my art please visit Zach Heaton or follow along with my Facebook or instagram.
All of my images were taken with a Mamiya 645 1000s using a Sekonic hand held light meter. The settings for each shot are located under the images.
Film: Kodak Ektar100, Fuji Acros100, Kodak 400TX