The time stamp on this photo reads 12:45 a.m. The smile on page Alyson Pelletier’s face spoke for most everyone. Lots of folks were unhappy with the details of the two-year budget the Legislature had just approved, but nobody was sad to go home.
I stayed until the bitter end, as the budget bounced back and forth between the Senate and the House for the various procedural votes. I was hoping to get fist pump pictures or maybe a high-five. But that didn’t happen. Everyone was too exhausted.
I filed out the door of the House with everyone else and heard a gleeful ripping of paper. That’s where I found what might have been the only smile in the building, on Pelletier’s face.
I could lie and say I was busy, but I won’t. I’ll tell you the truth: the weather was too darn miserable.
This set of pictures, this whole one-lens-no-cropping-no-Photoshop experiment, requires me to walk around the city. I’m mostly cold-proof but I just couldn’t bring myself to hang around outside. Nobody else was around anyway. They were all scurrying to and fro.
In the future, I’ll try and stick closer to my once-a-week goal.
Anyway, now the weather’s getting better and there’s more to see on the streets of my dear old town. I hope you like what I saw.
It’s been a while since I did this. It shows. I’m out of practice.
In fact, I haven’t gone out on a 5@50 hunt since before we had any serious snow. It was way back at the beginning of January that I last roamed the streets of Portland (my hometown) looking to make five pictures with my trusty 50mm lens.
I admit, these photos are not my best work. But I’m committed to posting whatever I come up with — no crazy cropping, Photoshop tricks or pictures taken over several different days — just five pictures at 50mm.
That’s a challenge, but challenging myself is the point.
Sometimes you walk away from an assignment with a good picture that doesn’t really have much to do with the story. I flagged this image down yesterday while covering the grand opening of an office building. It was definitely the strongest image of the day, but did little to advance readers’ understanding of the issue at hand: the new building and its controversial location.
To help celebrate, the crowd was herded outside (including the governor) to see an honor guard raise the flag. In reality, it had already been up. I watched through the window 20 minutes earlier as they took it down. A freezing wind whipped off the nearby airport runway and it took a couple of them, holding onto the corners, to keep the flag still while another hitched it up.
The wind billowed the fabric like a sail and the low winter sun shone through the scant trees at the far end of the parking lot, casting a backlit shadow on the stars and stripes. I used a long lens and some cropping to isolate the colors and the shadow.
And there you have it. A rather striking image that will, no doubt, be trotted out as a file photo on patriotic holidays, but didn’t have a whole lot to do with the day’s story.
I give you five more pictures from the streets of Portland taken on Friday Jan. 2 with my 50mm lens. It’s a test of my skills. If all goes well, I’ll be publishing a new set of five pictures taken with the same lens every week with no crazy cropping or Photoshop trickery.
The weather was warm, for January, and quite sunny. The streets were not empty. Folks seemed to be in good spirits. I easily struck up conversations with Kelsey and Heather.
I’ve been trying to walk pretty much the same beat since I started this. It hasn’t gotten boring yet. I figure, if I take the same walk over the course of many weeks, I’ll really start to notice what it is I’m looking at.
Incidentally, I know Glad Swope. He’s a musician and quite a character.
These are five more pictures from the streets of Portland taken on Tuesday Dec. 2 with my 50mm lens. It’s a project I started a few weeks ago as a test of my skills. If all goes well, I’ll be publishing a new set of five pictures taken with the same lens every week with no cropping or Photoshop trickery.
This week it was quite cold. Most Portlanders were scurrying to their destinations. I didn’t see anyone hanging about until I met Helen. She was just finishing up a Christmas decoration project. She was friendly.
Sometimes it’s hard to approach strangers on the street. You have to get a decent photo and then get their names. There’s lot’s of great shooters out there, but to do this job you also have to be friendly enough to make people feel vaguely comfortable giving you their names for a photo project they’ve never heard of before.
Here in Portland, I also have to include my now well-worn paragraph about how I work for the BDN, yes, but this is my hometown and I work here. I live here and cover it for that paper “up north.” My business card usually helps make me seem legit.
The other pictures I came up with this week were much easier. The stairs, the watches and the blue sky with buildings and wires were free for the taking.
The man walking by the window was a gift. I turned. I saw it, focused, snapped. Then he was gone. It takes all kinds.