I was taking photos, a long time ago with another photographer. It was one of those weekend photo trips we often did when not shooting our little fingers off for the newspaper. We whizzed by an abandoned country store, slammed on the brakes, and spilled out of the car, gear in tow, with all the excitement of school kids when they reach the beach.
We split up and began shooting everything we could find. There was no one on the site but the two of us. There wasn't a home or person in sight, just the cars that sped up and down the ambling Georgia road, taking no notice of us.
I developed the film about a week later. As the print was coming to life in the tray I began to see the face of a man in the window pane. It was clear to see, when the print was dry, that the man had a beard and was wearing sunglasses and a hat. Closer inspection revealed a white shirt and possibly a dark overcoat.
We all marveled at the photo for awhile; everyone had their own opinion of what it was, or who, and of course, how the image came to be on the photo. After the new wore off, the photo ended up in my huge collection of b/w photos, mostly forgotten except when I ran across it while looking for something else. The last time that happened it I pulled it and placed it inside my desk, telling myself I would locate the negative and have an expert ghost hunter look at it.
Since it is Halloween, I thought I would post, and get some viewer opinions. I swear, this photo was never altered to include a ghost. I remember it was a cloudy day but very warm so even if someone had happened to walk up from behind me out of nowhere he would not have been wearing a winter coat. And as a photographer, I am always aware of my surroundings so sneaking up to be a reflection and disappearing with no trace, would have been impossible.
The photo is un-retouched, even the dust specks and scratches on the negative can clearly be seen. I ran it through the scanner so some clarity is lost. Do you see the man in the leaning window pane?
If anyone wants to eyeball the negative, I will be happy to locate it. This has been a mystery to me for many years and I would love to know who the man was - in his living life. So, Ghost Hunters, let's solved this mystery and find out who the ghost could be.
I know a lot of good photographers who never take photos of people because they are afraid to approach strangers. To that I say, "Never pass up a photo you want." These photos are to show you that if I can take photos like these, you can take a photo of people doing everyday things. Never be afraid.
The above photo, along with those shown at the end of this article (all scanned from silver gelatin prints), were taken while on assignments. I didn't have to take these photos but I knew they would make good material. Getting them was easy as asking. I can only remember a few occasions over thirty years where people did not want their photos taken. Some people are camera shy but it is always worth a try to approach people. I have found that most people are open to having their photos taken with a 'real' camera even, if like the people in these photos, they know they will never see themselves in print. The iPhone is another sort of animal. People may think you are up to no good.
I love street photography and have taken my share - thousands of photos are hiding in un-scanned negatives and slides and on my computer, waiting to be discovered. One day, they will all be sorted and posted. I hope.
If you are interested in photography, don't neglect life. That flower will be there for awhile, the deer will always return, and the mountain...well, the mountain ain't going nowhere. Record life as it happens and you will make for a much better photographer and won't bore people with your people-less photos. Just kidding. I love your vacation photos of waterfalls and buildings.
I can't emphasis the importance of evacuating before a hurricane hits your area. I have been in several hurricanes, dating back to Gloria in 1985. It was only a category 1, but it was enough for me to learn to respect the power of nature.
It was always one of my assignments to photograph weather-related events. News photographers are expected to cover blizzards, flooding, high winds, extreme heat and cold, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Newspapers call them 'weather shots.'
In getting those shots, I have photographed from my own vehicles, rode in the backs of pick-ups, hitched rides with law officials and the National Guard, and sometimes used my own 2 feet to walk a weather related event. Newspapers want the entire story, from people shuttering windows, emptying grocery store shelves to the after-effects of the storm. They also want those up-close and personal photos of the weather, and that can be challenging when it comes to hurricanes. Knowing when to leave an area is a skill you gain with experience.
With the explosion in cell phones, I have seen people doing some dangerous things to get photos to send to their local newspapers and TV stations. Don't. There is no 'safe' when you are at the mercy of the weather and an inexperienced person could be risking their lives in certain situations. Hurricanes are the worst because of downed power lines that could electrocute you and flooding that could trap you in your car.
If you don't adhere to warnings and decide not to leave your home, and are in a truly safe place, go ahead and take photos, but know that the window you're standing at could be blown apart at any time. The same goes for a tornado.
I hope people are heeding the warnings about evacuations. If you have nowhere to go, call the Red Cross or your local law enforcement office, or check with a nearby church.
Many times, during a hurricane, I have had to pack up my cameras and head home or to the nearest 'safe' location. You need to remember that if you decide to stay and the weather worsens no one will come for you. Even the National Guard will leave a dangerous area if the weather dictates. There will no EMS, no fire personal, and no law officials until conditions are safe.
As for photographing a hurricane, the media pays people to do that job. Don't put yourself in danger for 2 seconds worth of fame.