While I don't often feel intimidated when shooting people in public, there is one situation that I do find difficult; i.e. when people make eye contact with you and you can't judge how they feel about being photographed. In these circumstances my instinctive reaction is to look away – much as I would if there wasn't a camera between us. However, a street portrait can be a lot stronger when a subject actively engages with the process of being photographed, so it's often worth staying focussed for a few more seconds than you would normally find comfortable to ensure that you get the shot.
In this instance, I'd been photographing this guy for a couple of minutes before he glanced up, and my immediate impression was that either he didn't want to be photographed or he found my presence distracting. Either way, I shot a few more frames before thanking him for his time and moving on.
12.41pm on 6/9/08|
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM