Street Performer, Old Town Waterfront

Street Performer, Old Town Waterfront
Street Performer, Old Town Waterfront. Nikon D200, Nikon 60mm f/2.8 AF Micro, ISO 100, f/4, 1/250 sec.

I’ve tried making pictures of this particular performer in the past, but had never come up with something that I liked. He twirls a baton and I’ve tried to capture that action. The main problem is that he’s usually standing in front of a bunch of trash cans, so it’s not the most flattering background.

Yesterday, I realized that what interested me most about him was his face, and to a lesser degree, his hat. So I asked him if he wouldn’t mind me coming in close for a portrait. He speaks very little English (as far as I can tell) so there was a bit of pantomiming on my part to get him to understand what I wanted him to do.

I like this shot the best out of any I’ve taken of him so far, but I’d like to try more in the future. He has a great face, and is quite an interesting character.

Curly, King Street

Curly, King Street
Curly, King Street. Nikon D200, Tokina 11-16mm 2.8 @ 16mm. ISO 200, f/8, 1/250 sec.

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.

Steve the Musician, King Street

Steve the Musician, King Street. Nikon D200, 50mm 1.8 AF, ISO 100, f/4, 1/125 sec
Steve the Musician, King Street. Nikon D200, 50mm 1.8 AF, ISO 100, f/4, 1/125 sec

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!