Hà Nội Scribbles

Travel & Living in Hanoi, Vietnam

Beginner’s guide to drive by shooting

I think I may have stumbled across a new genre of photography. I like to call it busography, and here is why.

First of all, you nab a window seat on the bus, either side will do but the pavement (sidewalk) side is usually best. Next, you take your phone and prop it up on the lip of the window frame and tight against the glass.

At the traffic lights in Ha Noi

It’s now awkward to see what you are shooting but that doesn’t matter. Simply fire off shots at random whenever the notion takes you. Using the phone’s volume controls to press the shutter is probably easiest unless you are double-jointed. Thinking of it, I am normally in portrait but landscape will work just as well.

Take lots of pics and guaranteed there will be one or two out of every ten you will decide to keep. Like me, you will be surprised at the images you capture purely by chance. Little tableaus played out that you could never set up any other way.

Being high up also gives you a different viewpoint on the world. Literally. And it is this elevated and commanding observation point that is the crux of busography. Taking pictures through a car window doesn’t qualify in my book.

Try to find a reasonably clean piece of glass to shoot through. Don’t worry too much about exterior dirt as this lends a slight soft focus to your drive-by shootings. If need be you can sharpen up the pics in the editing process later on. Instagram has a sharpening tool. No doubt others are also available.

Sometimes as you get ready to shoot you do, of course, see something coming up ahead that you want to grab. And that’s good. But don’t forget to look behind you too for people on motorbikes that are going to catch up with your vantage point.

What appeals to me about busography is the random nature of not knowing exactly what you are recording. Although it can be a delete-athon afterward, there are always a few images that make you say ‘I am keeping that. It looks like I planned it.’

In my case, I don’t always see the point of interest straight away. And at times a heavy crop is what is required to get to the ‘point’ of the image.

Give it a try. I would be interested in seeing your efforts. Meantime here are some of my ‘busographs’.

No. Scrub that. They are xe buyt-ographs. I am not convinced busography would work in cold, grey same same urban Europe.

2 comments on “Beginner’s guide to drive by shooting

  1. Pingback: Things move on… | Hà Nội Scribbles

  2. Pingback: Ga xe buýt on Flickr | Hà Nội Scribbles

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This entry was posted on June 9, 2016 by in Transport and tagged , , , , , .

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