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.

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Glass Harp Player, North Union Street

Glass Harp Player, North Union Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/250 sec.
Glass Harp Player, North Union Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/250 sec.

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.

Violinist, King Street

Violinist, King Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/8, 1/200 sec.
Violinist, King Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/8, 1/200 sec.

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.

Street Musician, North Union Street

Street Musician, North Union Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/250 sec.
Street Musician, North Union Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/250 sec.

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.

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!

Street Magician, Old Town Waterfront

Street Magician, Old Town Waterfront. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/4, 1/400 sec
Street Magician, Old Town Waterfront.
Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/4, 1/400 sec

The Old Town Waterfront is usually bustling with activity, but no more so than on weekends and holidays. This is the time when tourists are abundant and the street performers plentiful.

This particular magician specializes in sleight of hand. As you can see, he had just found a quarter in this young girl’s ear.