Nick Exposed

A Creative Community Hosted By Photog/Designer Nick Mayo

Window Washing

ISO 1600 55mm f/5 1/250 sec

So I had gone on an adventure to capture last nights sudden snow for my daily exposure today, and some where along the line lost my sd card with all the pics on it. Not sure what happened to it, but it was no where to be found when I returned home. Luckily it was only a cheap 4gb card and not one of my better larger cards. So with the sun already resting past the horizon of the earth I decided I would take the opportunity to share some of my other shots from yesterday. Now obviously I don’t typically share more than one image at a time, but with the special circumstances of losing a card I’ve decided I would cheer myself up by sharing more than the usual.

Ill start off by talking about the main photo in this series which is the one above of a very kind and courteous gentleman who I met later in the day after shooting this image. I’ve been working on pushing myself out of my comfort zone when it comes to shooting people (with my camera! Im not a crazy person I promise), and if you’ve ever done street photography you know the initial feelings of hesitation when taking photos with out necessarily requesting permission. However Im finding that a sincere smile on my face will get me pretty far when it comes to people cooperating. My goal is to not necessarily take something from them, but to either share an experience with them, or in most cases where they don’t realize Im shooting to capture an interesting moment that pays respect to them and there story.

The story of this scene speaks to me in such an astonishing way. To think he will move from shop to shop washing windows for just a few bucks a piece. Most people would think it was a boring or lonesome job, but I truly think he finds enjoyment in it. I watched as he meticulously scanned the window for any imperfections to ensure the job was well done. When running across him later and in our brief conversation he would show a constant smile, and was intrigued with what I was doing with my photography. I showed him the pictures I had taken of him and he returned with a warm smile and sincerity in his eyes as we went our separate ways. I can only imagine the level of accomplishment he feels as he walks down the roads of downtown passing by each pane of glass he’s cleaned in the past, knowing he has left his mark (which ironically is by removing marks) on the city streets. He’s his own boss and lives life by his own rules, he’s free to rome where ever and is comfortable with what he does. And when I seen him slowly stroll down the sidewalk, with his green bucket of window cleaner and squeegee attached to his homemade cart, what I seen was confidence.

Ever since I was a wee little lad, I’ve always been fascinated with people. The way they walk, talk, act, the mannerisms from one city to the next, I am not afraid to admit I am a people watcher. I’ve always felt everyone has something I can learn from, and I am continually working at being open to what they have to teach. Translating that over to my photography, I have found it extremely interesting photographing people, and even more exciting to see the way I document the way I observe.

ISO 1600 55mm f/11 1/250

“Working on the Go”

What caught me with this scene was the way the business man was walking in form of the “Walk” sign, as he leans slightly forward with one arm bent and other arm straight moving forward. He appears to be in his own little world almost oblivious to his surroundings as he focuses on what I assume would be his cell phone.

ISO 1600 50mm f/5.6 1/1250sec

“Half Off”

I love the body language in this scene. I can just about feel the biker slowing down to gaze at the deals in the window to the discounted sports ware advertisement. I can imagine the mental note he’s making on returning before the sale is up in hopes of finding some good deals. Its something I often do when seeing signs of discounts, but very seldom do I remember to return and take advantage. haha

ISO1600 50mm f/5 1/1000sec

“I’ll be there”

This image was actually shot from the hip with surprising results. I still remember the laughter bellowing out of this guy as he zipped past me. He’s on a mission, with car keys in hand, and an eager friend to the other side of the phone. He’s in such a rush in his jog that both feet have left the ground. He’s not going to miss this party!

ISO1600 50mm f/5.0 1/1000sec

“Tension in passing”

As the title suggests this was a rather tense moment, as I had been waiting to get a shot against this wall. Its a beautiful Orange wall that works great as a vibrant back drop so I had stood here waiting for a proper subject to come passing by, which probably made me look like a creeper haha. I had on my 50mm so I was actually pretty close to the wall, and as this lady approached it was rather apparent she was a little drawn back by my camera’s presence. I took a shot anyway after waiting for sometime for someone to pass by with something more interesting then just a casual walk. After taking a couple shots she did look back and I gave her my genuine smile and silently said thank you so not to interrupt her call. She did smile back and I could hear her laughing about the situation with her friend as she carried on. I wasn’t pleased with the colors of her outfit compared to the backdrop so decided to save the brilliant orange for another time and stuck with the same black and white processing as the rest of the days series.

ISO 1600 50mm f/4 1/4000sec

“Chasing Shadows”

I love watching as peoples shadows always seem a couple steps ahead of themselves. Its a sort of lost boy peter pan kind of thing in my mind as I think about the old fairy tale with catching the shadow. It was something that as a kid constantly amused me as I would chase my shadow all over trying to beat it in a race or catch it as if it were some sort of illusive animal. And now days it inspires me to be in a race with myself and to not get caught up in what others are doing. Often times we try to compete with others, which puts us in a frame of mind that were trying to be better than someone else. Thats not what I aim for.. my intentions are to be the best-version-of-myself, so in a sense Im still in a constant race with my shadow.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the extra treat of a series from yesterday rather than the single pic. Ill let you know if I find my memory card and will share any beauty I was able to capture from todays winter weather.

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42 thoughts on “Window Washing

  1. These are great, I enjoyed your extras for today, thank you. I was most amazed by the one shot from the hip of the guy smiling and running across the street, that’s brilliant.

    That’s a top tip about smiling at your subjects too. It’s quite awkward taking photos of people in public places because it can feel as if you’re invading their space and their privacy, but engaging with them on a human level with your smile sounds like a really good way to go about it.

    • Yea absolutely Lorna! Just look at it as sharing an experience with them. What Im realizing more and more is that people are getting used to the idea of being photographed, especially with all the camera phones and webcams. So its not so much being photographed that makes people uneasy its the approach of the photographer. Which believe me I dont have the approach down pat yet by any means but Im getting there and Smiling and just expressing a fun time to them has been a big help. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  2. liz2you on said:

    Nice pics! I was going to say something around the same lines as tearoomdelights; with all that goes on in the worls today about identity and data protection, I think you quite brave.
    I would love to have the nerve!
    Pity you lost your snow shots.

    • I can understand that, but like I mentioned to Lorna, I don’t think people are as intimidated to have there picture taken as we make it out to be in our mind. If you think about what their true fears are, Do I look good in that pic, and whats it being used for, a smile and a thumbs up can quickly comfort them. Its us as a photographer communicating and saying hey you look awesome thank you for sharing this moment with me 🙂

  3. Oh, ouch. I so relate to the lost SD card. I lost mine when leaving Oslo. With an entire week’s worth of holiday photos on it. I meant to use the flight out to transfer the photos and took the card out. Last I saw of it.

    The smile is definitely a great strategy. I found it works when I travel. It feels awkward taking a photo fo people up close and sometimes they don’t like it at all. Most times, really. But a smile disarms and deflects that hostility.

    • Oooo Holiday photo’s.. thats a rough situation. And your so right a smile is probably the best at disarming people, and the great thing is its an international language 🙂

  4. I love these, Nick. Each one has something going for it, but I really do like the hip shot. Still shooting at 1600, I see, with great results. One of my favorite street photographers is Robert Doisneau, who stalked the streets of Paris back in the 1930’s. I agree with liz2you, its a gutsy enterprise.

  5. Great shots and stories Nick! I especially enjoyed the window washer and the girl against the (orange) wall. I’m so looking forward to doing some street photography soon as I feel like I might be working up enough courage to actually get some shots, I love how you waited for some of the subjects to enter the light instead of chasing down the subjects themselves. Inspiring stuff!

    • Yea that’s a big point. As I’ve heard another photographer quoted “find your stage and the players will come”. Street photography is all about walking slow and knowing when to stop and wait. Thanks for the kind comment

  6. maribetz on said:

    Really enjoyed the set!

  7. Great set of photos! I have to agree that my fave is the shot from the hip…I love everything about it…great composition, great subject, perfectly frozen in step.

  8. Great images and descriptions:) I agree that I think people aren’t as intimidated to get their picture taken as we make it out to be. I am a stock photographer too and I have to get them to sign a model release which I fear they will wince at that or what a % of my cut. Again, it’s probably all in my head:)

  9. What a fabulous series of photos freezing little moments in peoples’ rushed lives. I really loved the running commentary going along with the photos. I think you should do more series like this Nick!

  10. Love the shot of the guy on the phone. And you’re right: the biker’s body language is priceless.

  11. I, too, love the man laughing and running across the pavement but for different reasons. I immediately thought of the photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson where a man is running across water, both feet off the ground with the forward heel almost touching down. Cartier-Bresson talks about the decisive moment in photography. You also caught a decisive moment where all elements come together to make this an energetic, fun, and interesting photo.

    I enjoyed all these photos today. Thank you!

  12. Taking pictures of random people is way out of my comfort zone, too. I need to be in a place where I can blend into a crowd and shoot relatively unnoticed. You did a great job with all of these shots and I enjoyed your narrative. You should do posts like this more often!

  13. Excellent post. I really like the photo of the window washer.

  14. Great street photography here Nick… Chasing the shadows is my favorite, they are all good but this one is another level 🙂

  15. What a great post, Nick. Though I’m sorry you lost your card but I am also glad because you brought us something even richer. You commentary is great.

    I recently walked up to a tough looking group of motorcyclists and asked if I could take their photos. Sure, they agreed, but one of them very carefully kept his face hidden. It surprised my husband that I walked right up to them, I’m sure in his typical protector mode he was visually sizing them up to see if he could take them as for sure he was going to need to rescue me. 😉

  16. So many great street shots. And I love the story you tell too. It all goes together so well.

  17. This is a great series, Nick. I enjoyed reading your commentary and getting a feel for how you approached each shot. I struggle with the lack of confidence in approaching strangers when I’m out on the street, and it’s nice to learn that feeling is not uncommon.

    I found it interesting that you used such a high ISO while out shooting. It gives a nice quality to your shots that have a “newsy” feel to them. Looking through these has certainly given me some ideas. Thanks.

    • Hey thanks Tarheel! In some previous posts I’ve discussed my inspiration for shooting at 1600 while in the streets was from someone I consider one of my Greatest mentors when it comes to street photography, Jay Maisel. He states he’s more interested in Picture Quality rather thank Pixel Quality. Shooting at such a high ISO leaves me worry free of having any blur in my images as well as giving them a bit of a gritty feel adding to the whole street feel. Thanks for your comment and Im glad you’ve walked away inspired with ideas 🙂

  18. Stunning shots. Love black and whites. Thank you for sharing such amazing talent with the world 🙂

  19. Pingback: Smiles « Nick Exposed

  20. pradeepjavedar on said:

    You’re right about the hesitation part, i ve a great hesitation to take pictures without permission, specially in my surroundings people don’t usually take it easy! but i find it satisfying when someone really enjoys that im taking their pictures!
    another amazing series of images ehre Nick! U were right store fronts with good displays are an amazing lookout for great pictures of passersby gazing at the products..

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