Friday, February 5, 2010

Strangers in the Night....

...exchanging glances. Well actually none of these photos were taken at night and rarely were glances exchanged. These kinds of images have become some of my favourite style of photos to take. I love the idea of having pretty much no control over what I will happen upon or how the final result will look. With each of these photos, I probably had no more than 5 seconds from the time I spotted the scene until the time the image you see was captured. If you so much as took the time to recite the alphabet it would've been an opportunity missed - not that I normally just pick random moments to recite the alphabet, but I think you get the point. Thinking about that, on occasion I do find the need to recite the alphabet, it seems to be the only way that I can remember the correct order of the last quarter of it...I do believe the ABC portion gets more than it's fair share of promotion, I think I should start a campaign for XYZ to get some compensation for being so neglected!
I digress...back to my love of strangers. There is something somewhat sinister sounding to the last bit of that sentence. Never mind, I learnt long ago to accept that strangers and strange situations, play a big part in my life - sometimes for better and sometimes for worse, but it always keeps life interesting! In fact, just recently I was sharing my love for strangers with someone who, up until recently, was a stranger to me - until one day when 'Man' from Montreal commented via Myspace on one of these very such SAM blogs and since then we have kept in regular contact. Man and I are now friends, so indeed strangers can be very good, we share a similar 'odd to most' way of thinking and we also share the joy of watching strangers in their natural habitat. As I like to capture these creatures through photographs, I have the proof to show their existence.
Here's my thoughts on the images shown.

The first image was taken on a smokin' hot day in Bellingham, this woman just looked so serene, I pretended to be taking a shot of the islands in the distance before pointing my lens (quickly) at her...literally 2 seconds later she got up. I wish I knew who she was, I think it would be a nice photograph for her to have - it could put her in a Zen-like state when life isn't offering a Zen-like day.

Next we have, a fella that I lovingly refer to as, 'Mop Man', taken on the ferry en route to Tofino. Normally we'd take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, but I had a hankering to leave from Tsawwassen instead...strictly because, those are the kind of hankerings I get, some folks may get a 'hankering for a hunk o' cheese', but I tend to get the non calcium kind of hankerings. As it turns out, this crossing is the XYZ of crossings...hence the lack of cars and the chance for Mop Man to make his appearance - I thought he cut a rather striking silhouette!
Moving onto man reading in park, Bear Creek park to be exact and although he needn't really worry about a bear attacking him whilst he reads his book, he may want to consider, teen jumping out of bush and mugging him! This is why he got my attention, I could never just chill like that alone in those kind of surroundings, I would need to be aware and alert. He seemed to be lost in the words before him.
I remember years back I was travelling on my own, and while in Germany, I was sitting along the bank of the Rhine River writing poetry and every now and then I'd think...'if I went missing right now, would anybody notice?', then I further pondered the chances of me being 'young adult-napped' and just continued writing. That day I wrote about 3 poems, which was good considering the amount of time I also pondered things like, 'I wonder if Hitler ate here, bought shoes there, plotted evil deeds here'. I know, I know, I've watched way too many WWII documentaries!

Back to Bellingham for the next shot, same smokin' hot day. This poor guy must have lost 20lbs in sweat by the end of the day, he was like a pack mule. I took his photo to remind myself to pack light...a lesson I know well, yet still seem to break, despite being well travelled...check out my June 2008 post 'Can You Give Me a Hand', for a glaring example of my stupidity. It will make you laugh, it will make you being repeated in select cities, check your local listings.

Next, we have a fine example of how the wrong camera settings can make the right image, that is the reason I love this one so much. Taken at the Abbotsford Airshow, inside a bomber plane. You had to enter at one end by ducking down, or in my case, just bending my head slightly. After I straightened up, this lovely lady at the end was the first thing I saw. I quickly popped my lens cap off, turned on my camera and had just enough time for this quick chance to adjust any settings at all. I'm glad in happened that way, as to me, there is something ethereal about this photo, especially in contrast with the subject matter. The top of the bomber is fairly sharp while near the bottom of the photo it is quite blown out and hazy, like she's fading. It represents for me how the bomber takes away lives, maybe no one else will see it this way, but I always think of life and death when I look at this photo.

Leaving somber behind, we're back at the park. I just loved how this gentlemen looked, very 'On Golden Pond', This was a tough one to get. I needed an accomplice - enter in oldest son, who is more than used to the mad ways of his mother. We were on the next bench over, only about 10 feet from this man and I was trying not be obvious, so in my spy-worthy manner, I called Gavyn (aka Agent Red)over. I told him to sit beside me so I could point the camera in the direction of 'Henry Fonda', then I told him when I say 'now' move back quick!! Nice shot of self esteem for my son - sit nice for me, and then get the h-e-double hockey sticks out of my way while I photograph a stranger....ah not to worry, I took loads of photos of him later, and gave him a five bucks to keep quiet if he was ever to find himself under the heat of the interrogation light. Nothing a little therapy won't sort out later in life.

Nearing the end we have Don Corleone, who looked incredibly fabulous, and out of place up in Whistler this summer. He had to be European, a dead give away is the fact that despite the heat that day, he was thumbing his nose to comfort and going for complete that! Very much a man of that generation, similar to how, in photos from the 1950's my male relatives in Britain, would remove their suit jackets at the beach to show they were 'kickin' back', the wilder ones would sometimes even unbutton their shirt sleeves and roll them up - a sure sign of rebellion.

The last of my strangers is Goose from Top Gun, again at the airshow. I'm pretty sure I heard someone ask him where the washrooms were and as you can see by his pose, he's giving them the 411. Again, maybe it's just me, but I prefer to think he has just spotted the Luftwaffe in the distance, and is telling me, Secret Agent Mel that danger is near. Anyone with me on that one? With that, I do start to wonder, who is stranger?, me or the strangers?? I think I'll just leave that one alone.


  1. Strange is as Strange does, Mel, dear...

  2. My thoughts & views....I don't believe they're strangers...just friends we haven't met yet! :)

    Luv'd the pic's & the thoughts on each one. :)

  3. Thanks Shell! I agree, we've got a world full of people just waiting to become friends - that's a nice thought! :-D

  4. Once again you have captured wonderful moments in time Mel. Love, love, love the picture of the man in Whistler... he looks so genuinely happy that he makes me smile :) Dapper Dan for sure! Thanks for sharing your creative eye and words. Looking forward to the next blog!

  5. Thank you for your lovely compliments Tracie!! The Whistler man is actually one of my favourite photos wonderful to see people enjoying life so much! Thanks for taking the time to read my words! xo

  6. Well that was very entertaining Mel. My fav was the On Golden Pond capture. your very good and love your take on it all!

  7. Thanks so much Jody - for checking it out.
    I was lucky to spot Mr. On Golden Pond - he made for a great capture! Thanks for your kind words and continued support! xo