On October 2nd, I participated in another great Worldwide Photo Walk. This year, the event hosted over 1,100 walks with over 28,000 photographers around the world. I chose Bristol Virginia, where I followed Walk Leader Chris Duncan and about 25 other walkers around State Street in Bristol TN/VA. I hadn’t really toured around State Street much in the past, so this was a nice way to see the area.
The first photograph was captured right before sunset. A fellow walker, Bill Bryant, was having a conversation with an older gentleman on the sidewalk. I noticed this, because the gentleman had a face like I have wanted to photograph for sometime. One with lines that told many stories. While most of the other walkers, myself included, were trying to capture something special in the landscape with their camera, Bill yelled out to everyone that if we would like to grab a different kind of portrait, that this man has a special talent he is willing to share with us for a photograph. You could tell it was a trick that he has perfected well over his many years. He would wave his hand kindly over his face and turn his eyelids inside out. It was a trick I had seen a few times when I was a kid on the playground years ago, but he was quick and smooth with it. Freaky I know, but everyone happily clicked away at it. He was very friendly, and went on to tell his story that he did this when he was younger, to keep his eyes open to study. Because of this, he said he has damaged his eyes a bit. But, it was a trick for conversation, and if it wasn’t for the trick, I would not have had the opportunity for this capture. I hesitated at first even going over there, photographing strangers still feels awkward to me, even if I do have their permission. I am so glad I did though. Like I said, this is a photograph, and post process I have been looking to try for some time. It was just him at pause during the conversation with another walker, with of course his eyelids at their “normal” position. I could have quit shooting then. I was so happy to have had the opportunity to capture this. Once everyone got their photographs, we let him go on his way. I thanked him for his portrait, he smiled and said “your welcome”. After reviewing all the photos from the walk, this is still my favorite capture of the night. For this photograph I used my Nikon D700 and Nikon 80-200 f2.8 AF-S lens at 200mm, 1/320, f2.8, ISO 400.
The Bristol sign was a photograph that another walker, Nathan Mays, had pointed out to us. He had shot it before, and it was well received, so he was kind enough to share it with us. When we started the walk around 5:15, we went up State Street a bit, then started hitting some back roads taking in all the structures of the old town. The Historic Post Office, old rail passenger cars along Volunteer Parkway, some ducks by a creek, the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, beautiful military monuments, and many other things. Since Nathan wanted us to try and get back to the State Street sign at the old train station in time to capture it at sunset, a few of us skipped some of the other sights. We headed toward the sign once Nathan felt the sunset was right. And I am glad we did, the beautiful colors of the golden sun blending with the blue of the sky at day’s end, made for the perfect backdrop. Sometimes it’s hard to capture what your eye truly sees in a photograph, but I am happy with my results. I haven’t caught a sunset like this much, but this will go in my file as one of my favorites. D700 and 24-70mm f2.8 AF-S lens at 60mm, 1/5000, f5.6, ISO 400.
My final image was one of my last photographs of the evening, the Paramount. With a beautiful evening, the luminescent street lights, fluorescent sign, and the streaks of break lights on passing cars. We all gathered to capture our shot of the Paramount. I snapped a few of this scene trying to find the perfect mix, wanting to capture the blue of the sky as a backdrop to all the lights. I guess I was here for 45 minutes, snapping the shutter, waiting for the sun to fall further and bringing more of the night sky in. This was my last capture at the Paramount, I was happy with it once I viewed it on the back of my camera. I figured I wouldn’t be able to do much better at that location, and everyone was heading toward Machiavelli’s for the after walk meet. So I packed up and moved on with the rest of the walkers. D700 and 24-70mm f2.8 AF-S lens at 29mm, 10 seconds, f11, ISO200, B+W ND .9 filter.
I decided I would head back to the train station to load my gear in the Jeep, then drive back to Machiavelli’s. As I was about to cross the street, I decided to grab one more picture of the State Street sign fully illuminated. This was my last shot of the day, just a quick grab, but made a nice image for my feature photo in the header. For this shot I used the D700 and 24-70mm f2.8 AF-S lens at 50mm, 3 seconds, f10, ISO 200.
At Machiavelli’s we had a back room where Chris, our Walk Leader, had a projector set up showing a slide show of some of his impressive work he has gathered from all over the world. He had many wonderful stories and images to go along with them. We all ate and enjoyed each others company talking shop and such, then Chris started sharing some helpful hints on cleaning lenses and digital sensors. Great instruction I think all in attendance took notice of.
This was my second walk, but I am already looking forward to another next year. I recommend it to anyone who has a love for photography. These walks have all different skill levels from beginner to pro, and I saw camera’s from your average point and shoot, all the way to pro model body and lenes. Everyone was sharing freely their thoughts, knowledge, and pointers, and I think everyone in some sense left a better photographer. Many thanks to Chris and Nathan for guiding us on this walk, and especially a thank you to Scott Kelby for dreaming up this gig 4 years ago.