A Day in the Streets

I want to be more intentional when it comes to composing photographs. 

Many of my favorite images have less to do with the subject of the photograph and more to do with the light and composition (arrangement of shapes) in the frame. I think this is where photography can become more artistic, beyond simply recording a moment experienced or a scene seen.

Recently, I can't get enough of Sean Tucker's street photography. The way he makes geometry and tonal contrasts the main subject of an image regularly astounds me—it's so different from how I typically approach photography. I often find myself looking at his images with a bit of jealousy, wishing I had the creative "eye" to see how he sees. Perhaps a little bit of it can be learned though?

Though the vast majority of my photography is based in the mountains and nature, I decided to explore in Denver this weekend with the loose goal of finding interesting compositions in the city.

The plan was to explore around downtown, experimenting with light and shadows, but parking was a nightmare, so I ended up a bit further north in the RINO arts district. It's a cool area with murals and street art on most every available building wall and I thought it might make for a good exercise in looking more closely for shapes and patterns. I wanted to be careful to not just take a picture of someone else's art, though—that would be fine from a recording-an-experience standpoint, but it wouldn't really accomplish my goal of practicing composition. 

I walked around, trying to find patterns, colors, textures, really anything that caught my eye. I'd then try to study it for a moment and identify something about it, some detail, that stood out to me and try to capture that in frame. To keep it simple, I just used my old iPhone SE. Nothing fancy.

At first it seemed a little silly to be taking a picture of a wall, but I ended up having a really good time. Now, I'm under no impression that any of the images I came away with have any artistic value beyond their role as practice sketches. Even so, I think it's fun to share some behind-the-scenes stuff in addition to the more "complete" images, so here are a few of the compositions I managed to find: 


Just some half-baked ideas and half-baked images, but that's how the learning process happens I suppose.