I agree with the two previous responses - a big part of it is getting over your self-consciousness. Please rest assured that everyone who engages in street photography feels this to some degree. The trick is to find creative ways to get over it. If you study about Cartier Bresson, you'll find that he was a great advocate of the "shoot and run" approach to street photography.
I particularly agree with spotulate's response. You may find it easier to shooting in places where you will not look so odd with a camera. As you are in Cali, I'd suggest a popular museum or beach/boardwalk setting. I got over a lot of my anxiety shooting in public by shooting at the Getty Center and at places like the Santa Monica pier and Venice Beach.
Last edited by Shawn Rahman; 10-14-2008 at 02:05 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Adding words for clarity