What is "i Shoot From the hip" anyway

May 13, 2008  •  Leave a Comment

 

The Genesis of "i shoot from the hip"

 
 

This blog is really just a way for me to organize my photographs and describe some of the events that led to there "capture".

Seems like I have had a camera around my neck or in my hand for most of my adult life, mostly in my hand, being slung about with abandon. I started out with a Cannon Ae-1, A-1 then gravitated to a fully Manual F-1. My business, the 9-5 one dictates that I document with my camera, as time wears on the eyes tend to get a little worse for wear and the manual focus cameras were replaced with auto focus. At the time Nikon was making the fast est auto focus and so I begrudgingly switched brands choosing a 6006 and then an 8008 body and numerous attaching lens's. I was blowing through $700-$800 worth of film and processing when the "digital" age began to make inroads in the photography business. The list of cameras that I blew through are many, but the first was a Kodak DC40, very prehistoric by today's standards and never really very "usable" but still quite a breakthrough.

I have always been "hard" on my equipment so these things tended to come and go in an unnerving succession.

I shoot from the hip really started about 5 years ago when I started shooting pictures while riding my 2002 Triumph Bonneville with a group out of the bay area, we like to refer to as "The Presidents".

Most of the pictures can be seen on the Presidents Gallery that I administer.
 

What happened during the course of doing this is that I became more adept at riding and shooting, at first the pictures were mostly blurred and lacked composition, most probably because I was piloting the bike and trying to stay in one piece. Over time the pictures began to look the same, they were all 3/4 shots coming up from behind someone so innovation was called for and I began to watch my mirrors for scenic setups behind and in front of me where I could position the rider in a picture that would have alittle more pizazz....., or reach down and shoot inches off the road while speeding along at 50-60 mph. A little over a year ago I bought a Nikon D40X, this is the smallest DSLR camera out there, it allowed me to shoot at higher resolution and still be able to "palm" it while my right hand controlled the throttle and sometimes the front brakes.

Shooting from the hip has been very hard on the bike, affectionately named the "tool", the bar end mirrors are pushed into the rubber throttle grip that does not allow the throttle to "return", hence I have a poor mans "cruise control" if you will, well the only way to manage speed while the throttle is open and the camera in clicking is to drag my rear brake, to date I have gone through some 6 sets of pads and I have cracked four rear disks from overheating. I have only managed to eat some dirt on one occasion in Cambria several years ago when I came up on the backside of two bikes "dicing" through the corners, apparently I was paying more attention to the riders in the camera they the upcoming turn....... The aches and pains, the blisters on my fingers, the wear and tear on the bike have all been worth it, for every now and again you are presented with a real "Jewell" for your efforts.

I ride with the eye of a photographer, I am constantly snapping photo's with my eyes even when there is no camera in my hand, I see the world as a constant parade of "stills".

Still pictures capture a split second of time, they immortalize a moment like no video can. They can become art when shot, processed and presented properly.

I shoot from the hip is a mind set for me, the equipment is expendable but the images that they capture at times can be priceless, especially if you ride and understand the shear joy you can get from rounding that corner, feeling the camber of the road cradling you and slingshoting you into a scenic vision that all to often is lost.

 

It's those moments I am trying to capture and preserve.

 

 

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