These Streets Glitter in the Dark

Anyone who's ever gone on a group photocrawl knows how difficult it can be a manage a group of street photographers.

  What 'don't walk' sign?

What 'don't walk' sign?

And yet we go anyway, because the streets are fascinating. The patterns non-shooters overlook because they're such an everyday sight make for some pretty cool compositions.

  Whoever can correctly identify what's going on here gets a gold star.....

Whoever can correctly identify what's going on here gets a gold star.....

I'm pretty new to street photography, and I've been enjoying it quite a bit. It was daunting at first, though. The different light sources, for example, are every portrait photographer's nightmare; ghastly fluorescent greens and jaundiced tungsten oranges pollute the cityscape, to say nothing of the aging neon fumes and unprediacable vehicle headlights. How is one to take a pleasing, balanced portrait with that entangled White Balance in the background?

Answer: who cares? There's plenty of time to work on color theory, but there is only one now, and that now is ever-changing in the Streets. The true question is, can I keep up with it?
 

  Or do I even  want  to?

Or do I even want to?

Like concerts, the streets have no time for your petty lighting techniques. Better to let the streets light themselves in their own gritty, shadowy way.

  And what better way to light gritty, shadowy characters than with   gritty, shadowy light?

And what better way to light gritty, shadowy characters than with gritty, shadowy light?

  This guy insists on being called "Afro" for the same reason I insist on being called "Babyface Baldy." He's also one of the best street shooters in San Antonio. 

This guy insists on being called "Afro" for the same reason I insist on being called "Babyface Baldy." He's also one of the best street shooters in San Antonio. 

This was my first time travelling light in the streets. I had my recently-acquired 85mm f/1.4 lens (a portrait lens, BTW) on my ungripped DSLR. The tripod and the 8mm never even left the bag, for the simple fact that I was shooting in concert mode: quick, quiet, and unnoticed. 

  Who knew San Antonio looked so much like Gotham City?

Who knew San Antonio looked so much like Gotham City?

  And the road goes on forever...

And the road goes on forever...

Portrait and event photographers frequently curse incandescent lighting and the sickly yellow light it bleeds. On the streets, though, the sleaze isn't such a bad thing. It does indeed add character. 

Of course, no contemporary scene is complete without a glimpse of this:

No one's immune, I guess.  Sigh...