A key development in the evolution of nimble urban photography had nothing to do with camera gear. Surprisingly, it is the modern coffee shop.
I'm talking Starbucks, not Denny's.
These warmly lit cafes provide outposts in the urban jungle. We need a place to rest, get something quick to drink or eat, upload our photos, then continue our adventure. I think Starbucks was created for the nimble photographer.
First, the essentials. Coffee. Strong coffee. And just as important, a the clean restroom. You can't have one without the other.
Then there's the atmosphere. I like the mishmash of tables, stools, and overstuffed chairs. I feel like I have options to match my mood. I enjoy the music too. It's usually perfect for sorting through pictures and posting to Facebook. And finally, where would we be without free WiFi?
I buy my coffee at Starbucks with my iPhone. When I wave my device in front of the scanner at checkout, the purchase amount is deducted from my account. It's fast and far less pedestrian than using a credit card, which feels glacial for those waiting behind in a long line.
I'm not sure how many photos a year are posted online from a Starbucks. But I'm willing to bet the number is in the millions. Happy, caffeinated, relieved, toe tapping, nimble photographers reporting on metropolitan life, from one coffee shop to the next.