One of the best things about being a photographer is the people you get to meet along the way. I met Curly yesterday as he was playing conga in front of Market Square. We chatted for a bit about music and then he was gracious enough to let me take some photos.
The glass harpist is a fixture of the Old Town waterfront. He plays all sorts of classical favorites and popular songs, and there’s always a crowd of folks standing around listening—and watching. It’s a fascinating instrument and quite the visual spectacle. What’s more, he’ll explain the history of the instrument to you if you stick around long enough.
Sometimes the light is so good you can’t believe your luck. Other times, the light stinks and you need to create your own luck. For the latter, I usually carry around a small flash.
But in the photograph above, the sun provided all the luck I would need. This musician was standing right on the edge of some great late afternoon golden light. The sun was at the perfect angle to create interesting shadows and reveal texture in the wall.
It was almost as if the violinist positioned himself perfectly for a photograph, but I’m sure he was just trying to fend off the fall chill.
I was sitting on the steps at the corner of King & Union when this singer/guitarist started setting up and playing. The light wasn’t all that great, but as I sat there a little longer it started to get more interesting.
It’s not luck that I had my camera on me, as I try to carry it as much as possible these days. I made a quick lens swap and then snapped several frames of the musician. This was my favorite of them—a thoughtful, quiet moment.
As I’ve mentioned before, weekends are a great time to see a lot of sights in Old Town. In particular, the waterfront and King Street are bustling with tourists and street performers.
I’ve seen Steve playing around town for a while now and I’ve always wanted to photograph him. I’m actually terrible at going up to strangers and asking if I can take their photograph, but I’ve been working on it and getting a lot better. What is there to lose, really? Maybe they say, “no”—worst case, they throw a banjo at you.
Actually, Steve was very gracious when I asked to take his picture and for that I was thankful. I had been standing around with the kids listening to a few songs anyway, and I was delighted when he launched into a rendition of Hero of Canton, The Ballad of Jayne Cobb. I may have been the only passerby to recognize its origin.
This photo was taken with a Nikon SB-26 speedlight mounted to a monopod, optically slaved and fired with my camera’s built-in speedlight. I’ve been working with this technique a little bit and I have yet to feel totally comfortable with it. It can be a challenge to get the aiming just right, especially with people walking by on the street. I’d like to get the light a little more off-axis, which I can certainly work on. Hopefully Steve won’t mind me taking a few more photos in the near future!