As I write this I am stinky. Very stinky. I’m so stinky that even I can smell it, so you know I’m stinky.
It’s October when I should be wearing one of my new sensible long-sleeved button down shirts. But not today. Nope. Today it got up to about 230 degrees in the shade. I should know. I was outside, sweating, on the shady side of the street for a couple of hours. I saw a few people venture onto the sunny side of the street, but after the 3rd one spontaneously combusted I figured the risk of death wasn’t worth winning an Olloclip no matter how much I wanted an Olloclip. Gosh, if only I had an Olloclip my life would be fabulous!
What’s an Olloclip?
I don’t know!
See, a few weeks ago, Kevin posts a message on our Secret Facebook Photo Club Page about a photo walk on the Gettysburg battlefields. I signed up. Later, Kevin mentioned something about how the guy leading the walk would send our pictures in to a contest so we could win fabulous prizes. Like Olloclips. Ok. Whatever.
It wasn’t until I arrived for the walk this morning that I realize this is a Big Event. Apparently, this is a World Wide Photo Walk. Twenty-eight thousand photographers around the world signed up to take pictures on this day to compete for that blasted Olloclip. People had driven from Pittsburg to be here in Gettysburg. That’s a 5 hour trip!
Those poor things—it turns out that the Gettysburg battlefields are closed due to the government shutdown. They drove all this way and couldn’t even get their battlefield shots. The man leading the walk gathered us all together promptly at 9 a.m., told us we’d have to stay in town, gave us the parameters of the contest, led us outside, and then…everyone split up.
Well, drat. That’s not what I’d hoped for. I’d signed up for the photo walk hoping for a nice leisurely stroll with other photographers so we could chit-chat about photography stuff and give each other tips on getting pictures of the things we saw as we walked around. I didn’t expect us to scatter through the streets of Gettsyburg giving the stink eye to “the competition” and getting in each other’s way with our tripods.
I half-heartedly took a picture of this sign feeling bummed about having to try for a picture of “Gettysburg” that could win a prize, competing against every other photographer In the entire world.
Just as I was about to take a couple more shots from a slightly different angle, another photographer set up his tripod right under the sign and got in my way. Eh. The picture wasn’t worth the effort. I moved on.
This time I found myself in the greenery in the middle of the traffic circle in Gettysburg. I’m so tired of taking pictures in that greenery in the middle of the traffic circle in Gettysburg. Blah. Been there, done that. Here’s yet another shot of the Gettysburg hotel from the greenery in the middle of the traffic circle.
It’s nice enough, but looks like a picture in a hotel brochure. Blah.
I wandered back to the regular sidewalk and took this picture which is a nice idea—the sign that “Lincoln Slept Here” with the statue of Lincoln in the forefront—but is so achingly boring that I must apologize for making you look at it.
At that point, I got completely bored with the whole project and gave up the idea of entering the competition.
But I still had 2 hours to kill before lunch so I took a picture of this shiny red dragon just because I liked it.
This red Chinese dragon hangs on the side of a tattoo shop. I was still working on getting the picture when the man who works in the shop arrived for the day. He explained that the dragon had been part of decorations at a local Chinese restaurant that had been gutted and redecorated. Dang it! If I’d have known all those decorations were up for grabs I’d have gotten me a red Chinese dragon, too.
The tattoo guy was so much fun that I asked him if I could take his picture. He said yes.
I had such a good time taking his picture that I remembered a project I’ve been considering: taking portraits of strangers, out in public, right there on the spot.
So that’s what I did.
Here’s a picture of a little old guy sitting on a bench.
I took it with my zoom lens. But that’s not a portrait, so when I got closer to him, I popped on my 50mm lens and asked him if I could take his picture. He said, “Abash blot” and posed.
Umm….ok. I guess abash blot means, “Sure, go ahead.” So I took the picture.
You’ll notice that it’s a little out of focus. Yup. I’m still working on nailing this manual focus on my 50mm lens. It’s tricky.
I shook his hand and said, “My name is Jackie.” He said, “Glup mambum.” I said, “Excuse me, what did you say?” “Lom blat.”
Ok then. I smiled at him and wandered off.
Later, my friend Scott, who was also on the photo walk and works in Gettysburg said, “I saw you taking a picture of that little old guy.” Scott clued me in about the little old guy. The man can be found sitting on that bench or wandering the streets of Gettysburg every single day. He walks the 5 miles up the road to the outlets from time to time. Local Gettysburg lore says he has gobs of money, (unconfirmed) but he looks so scruffy that when people leave the local churches they stop and give him handouts. Scott has tried greeting him in the past, but you never know if you’ll get a “Mephblum” back or if he’ll just turn his head and spit at your feet.
Next, I found this woman who works in one of the local shops. She was sweeping the leaves outside of the shop. I asked for her picture. She agreed and I tried a shot with the sun behind her, but I had trouble getting a nice sharp focus what with me facing into the sunshine.
So we tried again from a different angle.
Then I saw this horse. He was a great subject and stayed perfectly still for me so I could take as a long as I wanted manually focusing.
Next was this woman in her scarf. She was absolutely tickled and somewhat befuddled that I wanted to take her picture. She kept saying, “No one has ever wanted to take my picture before! Why do you want to take my picture?” Why wouldn’t I?? The nose ring, the scarf—why not?
And then this happy lion:
And this statue. It sort of looks like it’s looking at the camera:
At the end of the walk I asked to take a picture of this woman with her funky hair and earring. She told me that her hair was like this due to a medical procedure she’d had. I won’t give details of it because then I’d be that creepy person who takes people’s pictures and posts personal medical information online. She was out sight-seeing with her sister.
Anyhoo, I’m home now, stinky from my sweaty day in the hot shade. I’ve spent the afternoon playing with my pictures and checking out the prizes for the World Wide Photo Walk which includes the baffling Olloclip. I’m not sure all that stinky sweat was worth an Olloclip, fabulous as though I’m sure they are. But at least I had a chance to practice portraits of strangers and I ended up having a lovely lunch with two of the other photographers after the walk was done. Nice to meet you Wendy and Missy!
And oh! Almost forgot–which picture should I submit for the contest??