Sometimes it’s hard to sleep. Not for lack of exhaustion but because my mind is wandering. It’s trying to process. Thoughts. It jumps from one idea to the next, waiting for the alarm of early morning. Each morning I set my alarm for five AM. It’s about an hour before I have to get up.
An hour before I have to start preparing for Rivers day. I get up at five each day not because I want to, but because I want to write. Not write but have the feeling after I write. Much like a runner runs. I have never gotten into running.
My days are rather mundane. I sit at a desk and push through the drudgery. I move through the day anticipating the closing bell. The five o’clock whistle. Unfortunately that whistle is always thirty minutes later. I did something different yesterday. It sent blood through my veins. It made me feel alive.
I walked down the street with my camera and I took a picture of a complete stranger.
I walked up to a man on the corner and I took his photograph. It sounds simple, easy, no big deal. It was super scary. I saw the man about half way into my walk. He was standing on a corner leaning up against a small half wall with some iron work behind his back. Brick from his waste down. The had a ball hat. Dark aviator sunglasses, larger than your typical glasses. Some form of bag around his shoulder and a black shirt with very bold white lettering.
I didn’t take the time to read his shirt. When the photo comes out, it will be a nice surprise. I was too interested in ensuring I got the right focus. I put the camera up. I turned it to portrait. That is when he noticed me.
This is when I should have take one step forward but I didn’t. I stayed where it was. About 7 feet back. Four would have been better. A lower angle might have helped. I should have gotten closer but oh well. It’s ok. We’ll have to see how the photo turns out.
I focused as he turned his head from one side to the other. He looked at me then looked away. I took the picture and said thank you. Then started to walk away. The thank you through him off guard. He said “thank you” back.
Then he got angry. He said, “You do that again and i’m going to…” the sound of his complaints was behind me now. I was walking into the crowd. Away from the corner. I was walking pretty lightly on the ground. High from the experience. I wondered if he was following me. I wondered if he would be waiting to attack me on my way back. I would have to use the other side of the street on the way back. I should use a different road all together. I don’t know. Is he behind me?
Should I turn around? I continued to walk. I was not looking for anything to photography, then I was stopped. Two people asking for donations or something. I wasn’t thinking about the situation. I was about a block back in my mind. I was eager to move on and think more about what had happened. So I did. I continued on.
I took a couple of more photos here or there. Nothing as dramatic or accelerating. A cloud of smoke appeared. Out from a corner of my eye out of the smoke came an older gentleman. Black suit. Black hat. Some Rosacea on his face. A large cigar in is hand.
Taking occasional puffs of smoke, he slowly walked down the street. He was walking in my direction. I didn’t follow him, because I was going that way anyway, but I ended up following him. I took one picture of him from behind. It might not be good. I made my way past him at a faster pace. I tried to take one from the front but he saw me and avoided my shot. I was trying to take a picture of something else hoping he would walk into it. He did not.
The well dressed man passed me once more. Ahead of me on a tight corner, he offered his light to two guys. I lifted my camera and took the shot. As I walked by the group I could hear my shutter go off. Was I in focus? Was I too close? How was the exposure?
I was one second too late. The passing of his lighter from old to young was done. The youth was lighting his cigarette. The exchange was over. I was closer than normal so if the exposure was using a large depth of field it might be in focus. If not then I will be out. I hope its not blurry. I’ll have to wait to see the results. It might take up to two weeks.
I have to finish the roll and send them off. When they come back I will update the essay with images. All in all it was an exciting day. I saw the old and young interacting on the street. People living their lives. Doing what they do. It’s an interesting world out there. With lots of interesting people. Be sure to capture it. And don’t let anyone stop you, not even yourself.