Living Out Loud

Adventures in Camera Land


ADVENTURES IN CAMERA LAND - Crowds can be a good place to get candid shots, or not. On a recent Friday night, we went to see the Easter Bunny and some Green Berets parachute into a sea of over-sugared children, a relatively normal thing in my hometown. I was prepared to get nothing. In 2024, taking any kind of undercover picture of a child gets you an automatic assignment to the creep bin, even if you're not in the least bit creepy, like me. As we headed toward the landing zone, I did manage to quickly get the cooperation of a college-aged couple for a quick street portrait beside the library. The lady in the equation seemed flattered and was just as cooperative as she could be. The guy gave me one of those "I'm just doing this for her" kind of looks. Snap, snap, snap. It was all over in less than a minute. 

The closer we got to the Easter Bunny's future home, the more difficult it became to take child-free images. Kids are cute, but I wanted some shots of parents not in the image of Dr. Huckstable (please) or the ilk. Give me a tatted-up hipster with gauged ears pushing a baby carriage. Those guys were everywhere. And in between them and my camera were a sea of aggravated parents asking themselves why in the hell they volunteered for this bedlam. I may have been projecting. I don't know.

Since I couldn't get what I wanted to get, I looked for targets of opportunity. My scant few years of military training from back in cold war days served me well. I saw the best picture of the night walking toward me. I pressed the shutter button and held it down until my camera got tired. Yay team, we got one.

The next day we went to the zoo because there are never any kids at the zoo. What?

Actually, Wonder Woman is a pretty whiz-bang animal photographer and she wanted to go the zoo and I like going places with her, so I went to the zoo too. And, I took my camera. And, I saw a cute kid. And his grandpa. And, no I didn't get a picture of them. Because god hates me.

But, my wife loves me. At her suggestion we went to Raleigh, a city with lots of sidewalks with people walking on them. She dropped me off and headed for a nice peaceful botanical garden. I managed to stumble almost immediately into a Lebanese-American street festival. Dancers! Music! Hummus! Pita! And, pictures, finally, finally, finally some pictures. I got street vendors in pink wigs, old men dressed like Johnny Carson sketches, coeds smoking hookahs and crowds of people paying me no attention. I was in heaven.