Down the Road

Roads and life and how roads are like life

Roadside flowers 2010

Roadside phlox
Canon PowerShot S80 (review)

Hiding in a crowd


I have a deep desire to become good at street photography. But I’m such an introvert. The thought that I might photograph someone who would notice and then want to talk with me — it’s a real barrier. I have several compact rangefinder cameras that should be fine street shooters, but every time I think about taking one downtown I end up talking myself out of it.

That barrier is shorter at the Indiana State Fair because the crowd is thick and cameras are in many hands. I feel like I can hide in the crowd, and if somebody does notice me they will probably not think anything of it. So I spent an evening by myself at the fair last month photographing people.

I brought my Nikon F2AS with a 135mm lens even though it’s a mighty conspicuous camera for street work. I am getting to know that lens, and I figured it would let me shoot from a comfortable distance. But when I arrived at the fair I discovered that the meter’s battery was dead. D’oh! I didn’t want to fuss with manual exposures, so I reached for my Canon PowerShot S95. I zoomed it to 105mm equivalent for these photos. I shot RAW, something I’m experimenting with lately. I was able to bring out some really good color in my RAW editor.

It was delightful to find these nuns enjoying the fair. I’ve never seen all-white habits before, but I’m no nun expert. I just missed getting the cut-off nun at left into the shot. I want to blame shutter lag, which was a factor, but it was mostly because I didn’t get into position fast enough.

Nuns at the fair

This family just came from the lemon shake-up stand. The young man in the middle appears not to have wanted one.

Walking with lemon shakeups

I watched an oompah band play a few tunes. They were remarkably active and spritely with their big instruments in their hands. I have any number of blurry shots of them. That’s why you’re seeing this shot of their saxophonist in a stationery moment.


I really enjoy Pioneer Village, where things are done as they were a century and a half ago. One barn features friendly farm animals you can reach out and touch. This fellow just bought one of the handmade brooms for sale in the next barn over.

Man with broom stroking a cow's head

I arrived in time for the daily parade. There’s always a cache of antique tractors in the northeast corner of the fairgrounds, and many of them roll in the parade. I think this fellow is driving a 1950s Ford. Those are so nicely styled.

Tractor parade

John Deere is always well represented. International usually is too, but I didn’t see one in this day’s parade.

Tractor parade

The evening sun was on everyone’s back, which made for challenging light.

Tractor parade

I’m not crazy about this photo’s composition, but given that my dad worked in the Oliver factory for many years, I had to show this fellow driving his Oliver Row Crop 70.

Tractor parade

After the parade, I caught the driver backing his tractor into its parking spot. These beautiful streamline-moderne tractors are before my dad’s time in the South Bend Oliver factory; they were first manufactured before he was born. I love how my RAW editing brought out vibrant slide-film colors.

Backing the Row Crop in

I also got good vibrant color in this last parade photo. These two are riding in the back of a 1950s Dodge Power Wagon. I wish the other fellow had turned his head toward me, too.


Every time I try street photography I get a better feel for it. These are by no means prizewinning photos but I can see how I did a little better this time capturing expressions and emotions. I’m enjoying the process of being in the moment, feeling the scene coalesce into a good shot, and pressing the shutter button at that right moment.

Now if I can just get over myself and spend some time downtown practicing!

Recommended reading


Here are this week’s exceptional blog posts, at least among those that appeared in my feed reader.

I’m not usually wowed by the results from Holga cameras, but 52 Rolls participant Peter DeGraaf got some melancholy color from one on a roll of film that didn’t want to be shot. Read SouthWest Rocks

Chuck Baker, another 52 Rolls participant, got great contrast and detail shooting T-Max 400 black-and-white film in a No. 2 Brownie while visiting a cathedral in Spain. Read Roll 25 – Brownie No. 2 Model C – Tmax 400 – Sagrada Familia

TV and comic-book writer Mark Evanier is watching The Dick Van Dyke Show on Blu-Ray (again) and is struck by how few episodes were less than outstanding. He also tells about being in the audience for the filming of one episode. Read Rob Petrie Revisited

John Smith considers the beach, which constantly erases yesterday’s evidence of human interaction with it. Read The Beach


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