Friday Faces: A weekly photo feature

Friday Faces: Roz
Friday Faces: Roz

Friday Faces is a weekly photo feature that I started in 2013. Because of the extremely cold and icy weather this past winter and early spring, I temporarily retired the feature, which I had been posting on my other blog. This summer seems like a good time to bring it out of retirement, so today I went for a photowalk in the park, and “captured” a Friday Face for this week. Today’s Friday Face is Roz, a fellow photographer I occasionally (although not regularly) encounter in the park. Roz has the same camera I have, a Nikon D7100, although with a better (longer) lens than mine. She is dedicated to producing excellent bird photographs, and spends many hours on the trail in one park or another in search of her quarry.

When I ran into Roz today, she was kind enough to show me the nest of a red-eyed vireo that she recently discovered.  If you are a bird photographer, you know how elusive the little critters can be when summer arrives and the trees are in full leaf.  We’re not talking about  eagles here, we’re talking about warblers and other small birds. If you are lucky, you will spot the bird flying into its nest, and that’s what happened with the red-eyed vireo. It’s tiny; it’s sweet; and it can be practically invisible when it sits on the nest. I never would have spotted it on my own, but, thanks to Roz, I got my first red-eyed vireo photo today.

Want to give Friday Faces a try? Here are the rules. If you enjoy photographing people, or perhaps would like to stretch your wings :P, give Friday Faces a try. There are just a few rules for this photo feature, which I will list below, but rules are meant to be broken when it comes to photography. Read the rules, but feel free to break them if that’s what it takes to capture the “face” you want. (I broke rules  #2 and 3 with Roz. She is not a stranger.) So go on, break the rules if you need to. Here they are…

  1. Always carry your camera.
  2. Smile and be friendly when you meet strangers along the trail (or wherever you meet them).
  3. Choose someone who smiles back, stop, say hello and engage them in conversation.
  4. Remember to be a good listener and give them your full attention. (See this recent blog post).
  5. After you’ve talked for a few minutes, explain about Friday Faces and invite them to help you with your project (Most people will agree, but if they don’t, thank them anyway).
  6. After you take the picture, offer to email it to them, or (and this is what I prefer) hand them a business card with your name and the website where they can find the picture.

That’s all there is to it. Let me know if you give it a try, and have fun.

Skip aka Carolyn

PS Look here and here for other posts I have written about Friday Faces.

Another Friday Face: Bob

The first day of May, a Friday, was the day we had waited for all winter. Sunny blue skies, warm air, and soft breezes drew lots of visitors to Chagrin River Park. I was one of the visitors, carrying my camera with two goals for the morning’s photo walk:

  1. The first goal was to find another park visitor, a stranger to me, who would be willing to let me take his or her picture for my Friday Faces gallery. I was standing near the bluebird nesting boxes, hoping to see a pair of bluebirds, when I noticed a man standing nearby who seemed to be just as interested in the bluebirds as I was. After awhile he began to ask questions about them. He said he used to pay no attention to the birds but recently has discovered that they are fascinating to watch. That started a conversation and allowed me to ask him if I could take his picture for my Friday Faces project. With no hesitation and only a slightly surprised look on his face, he replied, “Sure!” So here’s Bob! Thanks, Bob, for the photo opp. I hope you like your picture.

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2. My second goal was to get a good picture of a bluebird. In all my walks to the park in April, I hadn’t even spotted one, let alone taken a good picture of it, but today, I was in luck on both of my quests. I found a great new Friday Face for my gallery, and the bluebirds were out and about. Here’s one that posed especially nicely for his picture:

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For the Record

  • Weather-As I said above, it was a gorgeous morning, a great day to be in the park, a great day to meet an interesting new person, and a great day for bluebirds.
  • Exercise-I had time for a long walk, but have lost the little slip that said how many steps I walked. I know for certain that I didn’t reach my goal of 7200. I’ve got a long way to go to achieve that goal.Today I will have to be satisfied with achieving two of my three goals.
  • Thanks for visiting. If you want to leave a comment, please do. I look forward to connecting with other bloggers, and if you like bluebirds, that’s a bonus!

My Nikon is my mentor

It was in December 2013 that I initiated my Friday Faces project. I don’t post one every Friday, and I took quite a few weeks off this past winter, but since this first Friday Face and the two I posted today, April 17, 2015, I have posted the faces of 38 different people. Each time I gather the gumption to approach a stranger and request a  photo opp, I have taken a step forward. Photographically, I have learned from my mistakes. Although I now know that I am never going to open a portrait studio, I have learned how to approach strangers, put them at ease, produce a reasonably good photo of them, and enjoy the process. And I think my victims models enjoy it too. Most are surprised to be asked to pose for a photo shoot, but only two people have turned me down, and while some are self-conscious, others are very natural in front of the camera. When I started the project, I printed out each person’a portrait and gave them the print, but these days I just explain the project and hand them the business card I have printed up with my name and the address of the blog where I post their picture. That seems to work well for them and for me too. One man told me that his picture is sitting on top of their TV and another proudly reported sending his portrait out to all his family members that live far away. I felt pretty honored by that! The best part of this project is the way it has changed me from a solitary introverted walker focused (pun intended) on taking pictures of the birds I see on the park trails into an open, outgoing individual able to initiate interactions with an amazing variety of people. Best of all, I have a lot of new friends. I owe it all to my camera, which is why I can claim my Nikon is my mentor.

Written in response to the Mentor Me prompt on the Daily Post

Here is another post on the Friday Faces topic.

Carolyn aka Skip

Here’s what happens when I ask strangers for a photo opp

When I walk the trail in the park, I frequently encounter a person I’ve never met. This was one of those days. Sometimes when that happens the thought runs through my mind, “This person would be a great addition to my Friday Faces gallery,” and I will take a deep breath, engage them in conversation (it helps if they have a dog), and eventually get to the point. Explaining about my Friday Faces gallery, I say, “Would it be okay if I take your picture?” Believe it or not, most people quickly recover from the shock of being approached by a complete stranger, and nine out of ten will say “Yes,” or “Where do you want me to sit,” or some variation of that question, and the photoshoot begins.


2015_04_13_Chagrin River Park_068This time it didn’t happen that way. Here’s what actually happened. I was photographing this yellow-bellied sapsucker, when two people came down the trail and stopped before they got close to me. Sometimes thoughtful people will do that so they don’t scare off the bird, and this couple was that thoughtful. They didn’t seem to be in any hurry, and when the bird eventually flew away we started to chat, and to my delight, the gentleman said,“Why don’t you take my picture? You won’t get too many opportunities to take the picture of a World War II vet. There aren’t that many of us left.” I’m really not sure of his exact words, but I do know that I quickly exclaimed, “I would love to take your picture!” The photo shoot was on, and he was great!

It’s always a good idea to chat with your subject to make them feel at ease, and that’s one of my favorite parts of these photo opps; however, making this fellow feel at ease was absolutely not necessary. He told me his name and made sure I spelled it right: Lud Lekson. He wanted me to know that he was 92 years old and had served in the Merchant Marines during WWII, entering the service when he was only 20 years old. As I clicked away, frame after frame, I learned that he was one of five brothers who served, four in the Second World War and one in the Korean War. To my comment that it must have been very hard for his family to send four sons to war, he replied, “That’s the way it was. That’s what everyone was doing then.”

When I asked where Lud fell in that family of five, he wanted me to guess, but then quickly told me he was the middle son…”The one in the middle always gets passed over, you know.” He was especially proud that his oldest brother was a highly decorated paratrooper and an officer. Once, while Lud was stationed in the Philippines, he discovered that his brother was in the same area, just one island over, and they got permission to spend some time together.

2015_04_13_Chagrin River Park_098When we finished our photo session, I walked with Lud over to where his wife Helen was patiently waiting on a park bench. Even though I had come to the park intending to get some much needed exercise and take a few pictures, I wasn’t in any hurry to end this encounter.  I was enjoying this unexpected blessing. Lud Lekson is a charming man. The twinkle in his eye and his ready chuckle only add to his charm, but when I told him he was quite the charmer, he replied, “I have a lot of BS. Do you know what that means?” I assured him I do, and I suspect there is more than a little truth to his claim, but the twinkle in his eye in no way belies the absolute sincerity and pride in his voice as he recounted his experiences during those long ago war years. When we parted, Helen and Lud headed down the trail one way and I went the other, knowing I had been honored to listen to his story and learn a little of the history of one great American who, along with four brothers, served his country well.

Thank you, Lud and Helen, for taking the time for today’s photo shoot and some very special conversation. I am delighted to add your pictures to my Friday Faces. Click here to see the gallery.

For the record

  • Weather: Partly cloudy with a high temperature of 57 degrees. Not as nice as yesterday, but it was still a great day for a photo walk…and it didn’t rain.
  • Distance walked: 3,825 steps or almost 2 miles (1.8 to be exact).

That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed the experience.

Carolyn aka Skip

Faces

Sometimes on a Friday, I set out to find a new face to add to my collection of Friday Faces. My only requirement is that the face (or faces) be someone I have never met. It’s a wonderful way to make new friends!

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Jessie & Joe

Cobra and Jack

I ran into Cobra and Jack when I was in the park earlier looking for a stranger who would be willing to participate in my Friday Faces project. Jack was standing near the pedestrian bridge in Chagrin River Park in conversation with Rich. Cobra was hanging around at their feet, probably waiting for the chitchat to end so he could get on with his walk. That’s just my guess, of course, based on experience with our dog Gulliver. I was very glad I went to the park when I did because Rich became my Friday Face for this week. Cobra and Jack became the newest addition to my “Dogs and their People” gallery on SmugMug. Click the link if you like dogs and want to see the gallery and read my version of how Cobra came by his name. You can see Rich’s portrait here in my Blipfoto journal where I post a picture (almost) every day.

That’s it for today.
Thanks for visiting my corner of northeast Ohio where it is currently rumbling and raining.
Skip aka Carolyn

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