street portraiture

Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #34

Clarita is a nail technician who has worked for many years out of the space she occupies downtown at 205 Broadway, in the back of Butterfly Impressions Gifts. You may recall that Terry, the owner of that gift shop, was the subject of Faces of Kissimmee, #31.  When I approached Clarita asking to take her photo, she was in the midst of massaging a woman’s feet – part of a pedicure in progress. I was a bit tickled when she asked what I wanted her to do for the photo, but only because she was already doing it.

I learned Clarita has done my mother’s manicures for over 10 years and has built a loyal following of customers. I liked that she was so comfortable in front of the camera; so easily able to forget I was there and go about her work.

Thanks for the photo, Clarita.


“Clarita” [Click on image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 2500, f/4.0 at 1/200 sec., 85 mm

Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #33

Ryan was sitting on the street bench at the south-most end of Broadway, just outside of Jammers Music Center. He had his earphones in. If you were stretching to incorporate a bad joke in your dialog, you might say he was jammin’ to some music outside of Jammers Music. But I’d never stoop to bad jokes here…

I could see as I first approached him that behind Ryan’s glasses, his eyes were closed. Though he opened his eyes as I drew closer, I walked past without disturbing him. Upon reaching the end of the block, I turned around, then passed him a second time without saying a word. I often liken that little voice in my head to the GPS in my car, warning that I’ve made a grave error by ignoring its directives as it announces in a barely tolerant tone, “Recalculating!” Except the GPS in my head isn’t so nice: there would be no recalculating. It commanded me to stop, turn around and take the photo that was right there waiting to be taken. I finally opened my mouth and introduced myself…

I know I’ve said it here before: some days when I’m in search of street portraits, I find it can be difficult to ask the question the first time. You just have to push through it and do it anyway.

As a side note, I am very pleased with the quality and low noise of this high-ISO capture on the Nikon D800. You can see from the shutter speed that the high ISO wasn’t required, but as I’m still getting to know this camera, I’m still asking and playing with lots of “what if….?” scenarios.

“Ryan” [Click on image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 2500, f/3.2 at 1/8000 sec., 85 mm


Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #31

You won’t find another place in Central Florida quite like Butterfly Impressions, located at 205 Broadway in downtown Kissimmee. Osceola County’s first and only butterfly store, owner Terry Miller has created a very unique, one-of-a-kind shop. The shop offers butterfly-themed gifts from all over the world: kites, balloons, jewelry, books, shirts…and a whole lot more. They can also arrange live butterfly releases for events through Butterfly Dan’s – another local who is the former president of the International Association of Butterfly Exhibition. (Who even knew there was such an organization? Certainly not me.)

I found Terry to be quite photogenic, and she was gracious enough to let me take her photo for inclusion in Faces of Kissimmee. You can visit her website at

“Terry” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 1250, f/3.5 at 1/80 sec., 85 mm

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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #30

I recently discovered that my favorite place to have breakfast is Mrs. Mac’s Restaurant, located at 215 Broadway Avenue, in the heart of downtown Kissimmee. In business since 1945, it’s a very popular and dependable destination for a simple, home-cooked meal. It’s perhaps not the place you want to go if you’re concerned about calories and cholesterol, as these are standard components of the Southern-style menu. I’ve typically come here for lunch with my parents: an earlier post made note of the amazing homemade pies offered here (see Faces of Kissimmee, #7 if you missed my accolades for the oh-so-delicious lemon meringue).

Joyce is the owner of this family business and she rules the kitchen. One often sees her standing in the window that separates the kitchen from the diners, putting up food orders and ringing the bell to alert the ever-pleasant servers to come-and-get-it. Sometimes she’s there just surveying the goings-on and ensuring things are to her liking. Mrs. Mac’s is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM. Their Facebook page notes they are “…closed Saturday and Sunday so we may spend time with our families.”

Warned by staff that I’d never get a photo of Joyce by asking for one, I was instead reminded that “forgiveness is often easier to obtain than permission.” I sure hope she likes the photo; I’d hate to lose my access to those awesome pies.

“Joyce” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 800, f/2.8 at 1/45 sec., 85 mm


Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #29

I had been hoping to run into Charlie again for a few weeks now: I had a print of his portrait from “Faces of Kissimmee, #2” to give him that I had been carrying around in my backpack. When I saw him sitting and chatting with another man, I thought it might be a chance to capture a new street portrait, too.

Joshua was seated such that deep shadows were behind him, while the morning sunlight was striking his face. It was the perfect setup, and one I thought would allow me to really capture him in an accurate and telling way. Joshua granted my request to take his photo, so I quickly dropped to one knee and took the shot. I love it when things just naturally and effortlessly work out. I also realized that all three photos captured that day were of men whose names began with the letter “J”; an interesting coincidence.

“Joshua” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/3.3 at 1/8000 sec., 85 mm



Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #28

Getting Joseph’s street portrait took a bit of a different course than the others in this series, so far: Joseph stopped me rather than the other way around. He wanted to compliment me on my standard footwear: well-worn Converse All Star “Chuck Taylors”. My shoe-of-choice since the late 1970’s, there are currently six pairs in my closet, ranging from black to camouflage; hi-tops and lo-tops. I immediately noticed he had a kind face and a wonderful, natural sparkle in his eyes. Instantaneously, it became my goal to capture it to share with others.

Though he told me he didn’t have a computer and would probably never see my blog, Joseph was happy to let me take the photograph.

“Joseph” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 1250, f/6.7 at 1/500 sec., 85 mm


Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #27

It was about 9:00 AM. I needed a cup of coffee. Badly. Stiff and zombie-like, I made my way down Broadway to Quokka Coffee. The aroma of fresh coffee filled my nostrils as I walked in the door; it smelled like hope, if hope has a smell. I waited patiently for the two women in front of me to place their orders (“Oh, would you please make up your minds? I’m desperate here!”) and receive them. I had already decided I was going to ask Justin for a photograph; but like the coffee I craved, it was a matter of timing.

With coffee at last in hand, I found a nice indentation on the couch and settled into it. It wasn’t long until the delicious nectar revived me, instilling me with the energy I needed to ask Justin if I could take his photo. This isn’t the first time my caffeine conviction has driven me through the doors at Quokka: one of the first street portraits in the Faces of Kissimmee series – that of Shaina – was also captured there.

Thanks for the photo, Justin – and the much-needed caffeine.

“Justin” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 1250, f/1.8 at 1/90 sec., 85 mm


Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #26

Nick walked up to the corner where I was waiting to cross the street. On their way to the lakefront, he and his infant son, Hayes, were out to enjoy the beautiful afternoon. There was a nice breeze helping minimize the high levels of humidity we typically swim in as we move about here in Florida, so it was a nice day to be outside. Striking up a conversation, I learned that Nick had relocated from New Orleans to Kissimmee after the devastation of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. He met his wife here, and he works hard doing restaurant remodeling jobs. Nick is another person I found it both easy and a pleasure to meet and speak with. I hope he likes his street portrait as much as I enjoyed taking it.

“Nick” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/2.0 at 1/8000 sec., 85 mm


Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #25

Due to today’s observance of the Memorial Day holiday here in the U.S.A., the door at 109 Broadway was one of the few I found open for business downtown. As I entered the front door, Mary Lee was approaching from the rear of the store. Along with her came a great smile and a cheerful greeting. Mary Lee quickly proved to be one of those people that are easy and fun to talk with.

Like myself, she is a rarity: she was born and raised here. She taught elementary school; her father taught high school shop. Today, you can find her at Echoes of Yesterday Antique Mall — along with a large variety of antiques, collectibles and pieces that are — as stated — “echoes of yesterday”. On this visit, I found a 1950’s Hohner harmonica and case exactly like the one I have that my dad used to play.

I already mentioned she has a great smile. Of course I asked if I could take her photo.

“Mary Lee” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 1250, f/2.0 at 1/500 sec., 85 mm


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Street Portraiture: Faces of Kissimmee, #24

Tito was tending to the landscaping at what I will forever think of as “the old First Federal Savings & Loan building”, downtown. This structure will always make me recall the 1960’s and occasional trips here on Saturday afternoons. For my father, these trips meant tending to some undone VP job task. For my siblings and me, they meant an opportunity to raid the sourball candy jar, the Charles’ Chips cans, and the complimentary Nehi orange soda available from the employee lounge. If we behaved – or successfully pretended to, we would sometimes be permitted to play on one of the IBM Selectric typewriters that adorned the desk of every secretary, nka “administrative assistant”. Its interchangeable fonts and ball heads used to fascinate me: just how did it know precisely how far it had to turn to strike the correct letter against the page? But I digress…

It was about 9:30 AM. Tito was amongst some shrubbery, swiftly removing any weeds or debris from around them. I liked his hat; I can’t wear hats, as it is my opinion that I pretty much look rediculous in them. I asked for permission to take his photo. Without saying a word in response, Tito stood up straight and gave me a broad smile. I took the shot.

“Tito” [Click image to enlarge or reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 1250, f/2.4 at 1/2000 sec., 85 mm


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