photographer

Easter Sunflower Service

“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.” — S.D. Gordon

A sunflower appeared in my back yard several weeks ago; I can only presume a bird dropped a seed because it was not intentionally planted. The bloom opened a few days ago, beautiful and new, tender and unspoiled — perfect symbols of renewal and life for Resurrection Day.

Sunflower and Fly BW c2017earlharrisphotography
Sunflower 5760 c2017earlharrisphotography

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earl harris photography
Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings
throughout Central Florida.

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The Laughing Place

There is a spot in Kissimmee that sits hidden just feet from Highway 192, the main road through town. It is a place that has somehow beat the odds against the so-called progress resulting from having Walt Disney World in your back yard. It is fortunate to have kept most of its pristine natural beauty. It was a favorite spot to bring my camera as a teenager back in the 70’s; in fact, I won a 1st-place ribbon in my first photography contest in high school with an infrared photo taken here. At some point, I started referring to this as my “laughing place”. Of course, I took that name from Joel Chandler Harris’ “Uncle Remus” story with the same title. In the story, Br’er Rabbit explains that his laughing place is where he goes when he wants to forget his troubles. I’ve killed many hours forgetting my troubles in the shadows of this cypress swamp, watching leaves drift silently by on the mirrored surface of its black waters. Back then, as now, I would often find myself wishing I could somehow just hop aboard one of those leaves and let the slowly moving current quietly pull me away to wherever it wants me to go.

"The Laughing Place" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 640, f/11 at 1/100 sec., 16mm

“The Laughing Place” [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 640, f/11 at 1/100 sec., 16mm
Purchase this print here.

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Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings.

Booking family, individual, business and pet portrait sittings for 2014.

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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #22

Friends have asked me how I go about approaching perfect strangers on the street and asking to take their photograph. It’s really pretty simple, once you learn to be truly observant.

I first spotted Lori with her City of Kissimmee crew members. They were standing together on the street corner in front of 3 Sisters Speakeasy, talking. As I walked up the opposite side of the street, I looked on as Lori demonstrated a personality that appeared outgoing and enthusiastic; included a good sense of humor; seemed easily approachable. Eureka! That usually works. As if on cue, she left the rest of the crew and began to cross the street toward me. I quickly calculated that our distance and speed would cause our paths to intersect.

“Good morning.”
“Hi. How are you today?”
“That all depends on how you answer a question…”

As you can see, Lori’s answer was, “Yes.”

“Lori” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 250, f/3.3 at 1/2000 sec., 85 mm

By the way, Lori works with Paul, who was featured in Faces of Kissimmee, #13.

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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #20

I was heading back to the car to go home when I spotted Mark sitting outside Quokka Coffee on Broadway. To be fair, it was Mark’s glasses that I noticed first; I thought the frames were really nice. I commented as I walked past him, “Cool glasses.” He replied with a big, bright smile. I got two steps further when an alarm went off in my head: “HEY! YOU MISSED A PHOTO OP! YOU MISSED A PHOTO OP! STOP!”

Heeding that alarm, I turned back and introduced myself and my “Faces of Kissimmee” project. Mark didn’t hesitate to grant me permission to take his photo. Cool glasses and a great smile, right?

"Mark B" [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 1250, f/3.3 at 1/4000 sec., 85 mm

“Mark B” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 1250, f/3.3 at 1/4000 sec., 85 mm

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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #19

Charles and Samantha were sitting at an outdoor table at Joanie’s Diner. Samantha was in Charles’ lap, and they were sharing what appeared to be a glass of iced tea. Samantha occasionally lapped her portion from the bottom of a small take-out container that served as a bowl. It was obvious these two loved each other very much, and seeing them interact put a smile on my face. I couldn’t help myself; I had to interrupt them and ask for a photo. I was quite happy when they both agreed.

"Charles and Samantha" [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/4.0 at 1/250 sec., 85 mm

“Charles and Samantha” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/4.0 at 1/250 sec., 85 mm

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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #18

When Mike first walked past me on Broadway, it was evident he had something to accomplish. I wished that hadn’t been so because he looked interesting and emanated a lot of character. He was the perfect potential subject for a “Faces of Kissimmee” street portrait. It was the lunch hour, and I had a hunch that he was probably on a lunch break errand. If so, that meant he might be coming back by again in just a few minutes on his return to wherever he’d come from. Although it felt a little like stalking, I decided to stay where I was for a few minutes just to see if my hunch was correct.

It was.

"Mike" [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/4.0 at 1/1000 sec., 85 mm

“Mike” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/4.0 at 1/1000 sec., 85 mm

 

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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #16

I watched Paul for about 5 minutes before I caught up with him and asked if I could take a photo. Employed by the City of Kissimmee, he was making his way down the center median on Broadway, gathering the trash others had carelessly left behind. I knew Bette Sprinkle would have been pleased by his efforts.

I approached him and quickly introduced myself and my project. He gave me permission to take his photo, so I hurried to meter the shot and release the shutter. In those few seconds, I captured what is one of my favorite photos in this series so far. 

"Paul" [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/2.0 at 1/500 sec., 85 mm

“Paul” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/2.0 at 1/500 sec., 85 mm

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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #15

Until her death from a stroke in 2004 at the age of 83, Kissimmee and Osceola County had a first lady. Her name was Bette Sprinkle, and she had a special kind of love for downtown Kissimmee.

Bette was often seen watering the plants on Main Street with buckets of water from her station wagon. She and her daughter owned a downtown design business, and Bette considered Main Street her front yard. She wanted it to be beautiful and took pride in helping to care for it. A tireless community activist, Bette organized the downtown farmers market and served as president of the Downtown Business Association for 25 years. Toho Square – a downtown park – has been dedicated to her memory. There is a full-size statue of her likeness seated on one of the park benches there.

I am told that Bette’s husband, Boyd, often described her as “one in a million”. I think it fitting that Bette be uniquely represented among the “faces of Kissimmee”.

"Bette Sprinkle" [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 250, f/2.8 at 1/750 sec., 85 mm

“Bette Sprinkle” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 250, f/2.8 at 1/750 sec., 85 mm

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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #13

As a young kid growing up in Kissimmee, I used to dread being dragged downtown to Sikes’ Barber Shop, located at 119 Broadway. I didn’t so much mind getting my hair cut as I did the fact that “Old Man Sikes” used to scare the bejesus out of me. Perhaps it was the gleam I saw or imagined in his eye while he would masterfully strop the straight razor he always used to “clean up around the edges”.

Today, in the same location, is Tony Touch and Geny’s Barber Shop. It was a bit surreal to walk back into that space after a span of 45 years or so. Gone are the ancient, red, bulky barber chairs. Though it was early in the day, I noted there was no stack of outdated newspapers nor row of seated old timers hanging out to catch up on the local gossip. Instead of terrifying Old Man Sikes, I found Geny opening up the shop. For the first time in my life, I stood inside those walls without any sense of unease. In fact, the place felt good and very friendly. I determined it might be fun to come back in a couple of weeks for my next haircut. In the few minutes it took to photograph Geny, I never saw a razor strop, so I think it’s probably safe.

"Geny" [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/1.8 at 1/250 sec., 85 mm

“Geny” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/1.8 at 1/250 sec., 85 mm

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ARE YOU A DOWNTOWN KISSIMMEE BUSINESS OWNER?

As I continue this series, I want to “get inside” downtown Kissimmee. Are you a downtown business owner who would like to have faces from your Kissimmee business included in this project? If so, please fill out and submit the following Contact Form.

Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #9

Upon meeting Patrick at his Kissimmee Valley Farmers Market booth, I instantly admired him. Patrick is the mind, hands and heart behind “PJ’s Bracelets & Key Chains”. He donates the money he raises, selling bracelets and key chains he fashions by hand from colored cord and aluminum soda can tabs, for cancer research. He buys the soda can tabs by the pound from Ronald McDonald House – and pays double what they ask.

Patrick is no stranger to cancer; it has touched and continues to touch his family. Because we share that experience, I applaud the fact that Patrick has determined to do something to help others. It was clear from speaking with him that his creations are a labor of love and of healing. While his donations help fund research to heal others, I know his work is helping to heal him, too. If you’re in downtown Kissimmee on a Tuesday evening, be sure to stop by his booth at the Farmers Market and support what he’s doing.

God bless you, Patrick. It was an honor to meet you.

"Patrick" [Click image to view larger size] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/1.8 at 1/1500 sec., 85 mm

“Patrick” [Click image to view larger size] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/1.8 at 1/1500 sec., 85 mm

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