photographs

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, #17

At 319 Broadway in downtown Kissimmee, Florida, is Sittin Pretty Professional Dog Grooming. They have been at this location for 13 years. Brenda and Bradley were each busy grooming dogs when I walked in the door and introduced myself. I went into my now-routine spiel about the “Faces of Kissimmee” project and my hope to capture a photo. Or two.

The morning had gotten off to a slow start, so I was quite pleased when they both agreed to be photographed. Some days, I find the hard part of this project is often getting the first photo. Once the first shot is on the card, though, subsequent opportunities seem to fall into place much more naturally.

Being an animal lover, I was impressed that the dogs Brenda and Bradley were grooming seemed quite content with the treatment they were getting. I wondered how the calm atmosphere of the place might be altered if I brought in my long-hair princess of a cat, Layla, for a grooming session and some bows. Yeah, I was kidding myself; Layla would never let that happen.

"Brenda" [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 1250, f/1.8 at 1/500 sec., 85 mm

“Brenda” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 1250, f/1.8 at 1/500 sec., 85 mm

"Bradley" [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 1250, f/1.8 at 1/250 sec., 85 mm

“Bradley” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 1250, f/1.8 at 1/250 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, #11

Kevin works for the city. I was getting in my car to leave when he and a coworker pulled up in a large truck and began to take orange traffic cones off the back. Camera in hand, I got back out of the car, as I didn’t want to pass up the potential opportunity to get another photo. Kevin’s coworker wasn’t thrilled with being photographed, and communicated that they had a pressing job to get done. Kevin paused for a few seconds to give me a shot. He had an instant, natural smile. The lighting was pretty flat and I wish I’d had a few more seconds to better meter the shot.

"Kevin" [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/3.3 at 1/3000 sec., 85 mm

“Kevin” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/3.3 at 1/3000 sec., 85 mm

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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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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #8

On Tuesday evenings from 4:00 to 7:00 PM, the Kissimmee Valley Farmers Market takes place downtown in front of the Civic Center. In addition to fresh grown and handmade goods, one can also get fresh information on other happenings in the area.

Kayla is a purveyor of local information. She is just the kind of person you want to encounter if you’re an out-of-towner looking for things to do that are more real and less derived than the area theme parks. She listened with interest as I explained my “Faces of Kissimmee” project. To my excitement, she said she’d seen some of the photos from the series I’ve already posted. And she liked them, too! I knew then she couldn’t say “no”, so I popped the question and clicked the shutter.

"Kayla" [Click image to enlarge/shrink size] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f.1.8 at 1/1500 sec., 85 mm

“Kayla” [Click image to enlarge/shrink size] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f.1.8 at 1/1500 sec., 85 mm

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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #7 (Squeek! Squeek!)

As I sat at Mrs. Mac’s restaurant on Wednesday, enjoying a magnificent piece of lemon meringue pie (seriously delicious!), I suddenly became aware of a squeeking sound. So absorbed had I been in overexciting my taste buds, I hadn’t noticed someone had come in and started cleaning the windows. As my back was to one of these, it wasn’t long before we courteously greeted each other; he with a “hello”, and me with a “[unintelligible sound] this pie!”. He smiled and nodded in agreement and left me to my preoccupation.

I left the restaurant a short time later, lamenting that I hadn’t indulged in a second piece of pie but intent on capturing a few photographs for this series. It wasn’t long before I noticed the window washer doing his thing at another downtown storefront. I had still found no victims, save a parking enforcement officer writing a ticket. Though I had asked, he didn’t think it a good idea to be photographed while performing the task he had at hand. (Huh. Imagine that.)

Thinking of so many other things I needed to be doing at home as I took in the view of the empty 3 PM sidewalks ahead, I decided to pack it in. I would turn east and then turn again, heading back toward my car a block off Broadway. It was when I turned east that things changed, for there he was again: the window washer. I realized it was just meant to be.

I introduced myself and as Lee introduced himself in return, he jokingly asked if I was following him. I replied that it was unintentional, but yeah, I was. He told me how he had made his living washing windows in downtown Kissimmee for over 40 years. We spoke of the changes that had transformed the area in the passing of those years. He said I wasn’t the first over those years that wanted to take his photograph, either. I thanked him for letting me be the next one.

"Lee" [Click to enlarge or shrink image.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/6.7 at 1/125 sec., 85mm

“Lee” [Click to enlarge or shrink image.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/6.7 at 1/125 sec., 85mm

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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #5

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.”
– William Arthur Ward

Had the above quote been mine, it would read, “A warm smile and/or a great cup of coffee is the universal language of kindness.” Shaina (pron. “shy-ana”) delivered both of these. Her smile seemed to light up the darkened room, and I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to capture it through the lens. When I asked to take her photo, she was a little hesitant at first – as though a perfect stranger asking to take her photo isn’t something that happens to her every day. I find that hard to believe.

Shiana [Click image to toggle size.] Nikon D300, ISO 1600, f/1.8 at 1/125 sec., 85 mm

Shiana [Click image to toggle size.] Nikon D300, ISO 1600, f/1.8 at 1/125 sec., 85 mm

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The Darkroom: A Luddite’s Tale

I got my first digital camera from my father in 2007: a Nikon D100. I have to admit I was slow to pick it up and try it. It was a difficult transition for me, since my love for photography began in the darkroom and not behind a camera. Photography was supposed to include a dimension of wonderful chemically smells and the joy of lost weekends in the darkroom. And there is that magical span of minutes when a print sits in developer: you watch it materialize on the paper you carefully and purposefully painted with light from the enlarger. I wasn’t ready to let go and leave those things behind. You see, I grew up enjoying there always being a dedicated darkroom in any home we ever lived in. My father is a man of few hobbies, but he always made sure the one he still loves most was accommodated.

My own love for the darkroom has never waned, though its accessibility has. When James was diagnosed with cancer last year, we swiftly vacated our Utah home and moved to Florida to seek more hopeful treatment options and cut the distance between us and our families. I can still hear the hollow sound of the basement darkroom door closing as I pulled it shut for the last time on that Wednesday morning in September. The equipment I have continued to use since childhood – including the still-perfect stainless steel 35 mm film tank I learned to wind film on about 43 years ago – sits packed away in boxes. I wonder when – perhaps if – the darkroom will ever see the light again.

Necessity has a way of increasing our appreciation for just about anything. The process doesn’t smell the same or make my fingers slippery with developer, but I can admit I love digital photography, too.

Nikon D100, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/250, 80 mm

[Click image to expand/shrink its size.]  ©2007, Nikon D100, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/250, 80 mm

Tomorrow’s post will be No. 5 in the “Faces of Kissimmee” series. See you then.

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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #1

I am taking on a new personal street portraiture project, which I am calling “Faces of Kissimmee.” A once-small town in Central Florida, Kissimmee has tons of historic charm and character. In 1950, the population of Kissimmee was a mere 4,310 people. These residents primarily made their living either cattle ranching or growing citrus. When Walt Disney World opened its gates in 1971, Kissimmee was thrust into an unprecedented age of growth and forever changed. Its primary industries are now travel and tourism. In the wake of that change, the population has grown to more than 60,000 people.

Mark [Click image to view larger size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/2.4 at 1/750 sec., 85 mm

Mark [Click image to view larger size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/2.4 at 1/750 sec., 85 mm

I am going to be concentrating on random, unstaged street portraits for this series, and posting the photos here on “I Shutter at the Thought!”. It is my hope you will enjoy viewing some of the faces I encounter on the streets of Kissimmee, Florida.

Want to be featured in this project? If you’re in Kissimmee, send me an email and let’s set something up! There is no cost or obligation other than consent for me to use your photo.

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