Thursday, June 19, 2008


So I'm doing a job downtown, near Pennsylvania and 17th. It's a short little in and out. 6 photos. 4 exterior, 2 interior. Takes about 20 minutes to complete. Across the street I hear...hmmm what's that, Louis Armstrong? Miles? Dizzy? Groovy sounds drifting my way.

On the corner is this fellow with a white Redskin's cap. A bucket with an American flag in it. Trumpet case open, coins and bills scattered within. I'm not much of a "street photographer." Not my bag. But this looked to good to pass up.

I'm still on the other side of the street at this point. I pull out the flash, set it on 'remote'... I'm going to hold it off camera and trigger it wth the on camera pop-up flash. Zoom the flash head out to 105mm to get that spotlight look. Under expose the camera's meter by about a stop and a half and then I'm just waiting for the "walk" signal.

I decide I'll just stand there and watch for a little bit. Groovin' to the sounds. Here I am with an orange safety vest, hard hat, work boots, torn jeans, etc. Camera over my shoulder, green canvas bag with the flash in it. He's got to be wondering what this guy's all about!

So I'm boppin' to the tune he's layin' out there...(ya kickin' with my "jazzy" talk?) and I fish out a couple bucks. He catches this and without missing a beat pulls his hat off his head and holds it out to me. I deposit the dough and he flips it back on. Keeps blowin'.

I groove a little bit more then casually pull the flash out of the bag, kneel down in front and take a few shots. He's down with it. No problem. I nod, say thanks. He nods back. Never stops playing.


  1. MK,

    I read this a few days ago. I found my self walking down the main drag in Silverton, Colorado yestrday....old time piano music drifting out of a saloon. I saw the character of this old pianist, the beautiful window lighting and remembered your words/actions from here. I took two bucks from my bill fold, stuffed his jar, asked If I could take some photos...he keep playing..smiled, nodded. I took a seat..set the camera exposure to show the inside of this old building and the scene with interesting, natural light...then I proceeded to snap away with full confidence! We tipped hats and parted ways, piano music continued to fill the streets of this old western town! Thanks for the "roundabout" advice Amigo!

    On another note..I have very much enjoyed the "portraiture" work flowing into DAH's blog as of late and feel very honored to be among those with a "Mugshot" in the judging!

    On another note...if you and Rachel could make it out west this summer, I have just set up a beautiful show in brick walled Cafe in Silverton...we could jump the train up there and come back with some really interesting images...and the Africa show at Mobius is Bitchin' to boot!



  2. Hey! Can't wait to see the results of your piano man shoot. Glad to have been of some assistance.

    I plan on revisiting my trumpeter in the coming weeks. Hope he's there!

    Talk at ya soon.

  3. Hi, just surfed in! You have some nice photos here! I do enjoy street photographing and am somewhat aboyt a believer that you get the best pics when you don't disturb or interact with the subjet. This seems nice composition and all.

    Keep up! Nice reading older posts too.

  4. Thanks very much for popping in! Come by anytime.