Friday, April 08, 2011




Cloudy day but hey, at least it wasn’t freezing cold, raining or snowing.  And, that at least is a bonus.  Very encouraged to see how fast the snow is going away now.



Today was spent again on grounds clean-up & hauling out a few summer lawn ornaments.  Some bird feeders were taken out of storage, dusted off, filled & hung up in our front yard.  Looking forward to some bird photos soon but it’s a little early yet for the colorful songbirds to arrive.  The utility trailer is out of the carport, mobile & ready for action.  Cover is off the Motor Cycle & the bicycles are out of the shed & back into the carport.  We’re a little behind this year we’re getting there:))



Some reader’s may remember the post I wrote back on December 1rst of 2010 regarding OUR VISIT to the Grapevine Canyon Ranch near Pearce, Arizona.  I just read this morning on EVE'S POST that she has decided to call it a day after 30 years of love & devotion & sell her beloved Grapevine Canyon ranch.  What an absolutely beautiful ranch & property this is & I feel so fortunate that we had a chance to meet Eve when we did & spend a couple hours at the Ranch.  Oh, how I would love to win a big lottery right about now:))


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In catching up with another reader’s question, Christopher said...."My question is about taking pictures of strangers in public. As an example, you took several of people in Bisbee. You might have taken some people working in a restaurant, etc.  How do you go about taking these pictures? What is your method or approach?


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Well, that can be a tricky bit of business but as I understand it you can take any photos you wish on public property unless 'no photos' signs are posted.  With Facebook, You Tube & shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos there doesn’t seem to be any hard & fast rules about taking photos anymore.  Basically it comes down to the discretion of the person holding the camera.


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For me the key is to be considerate & sensitive to my surroundings & I never post a photo that I feel would be offensive to whomever I have photographed.  I do not keep a Rogue’s Gallery of unflattering pictures either, I just delete them.  If I feel a particular candid photo of someone would be acceptable to them, I will publish it.


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I am also comfortable with my motive for taking candid photos of people once & awhile because they are not for exploitation or profit & only appear here in the blog.


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Just as I see beauty & character in landscapes, flowers, animals, birds, architecture, etc I also see a beauty in people going about their business of being their natural selves.  Just as in nature, no poses, no forced smiles & no coercing the subject into an unnatural setting.  I very briefly tried my hand at Portrait & Wedding photography many years ago & quickly found out that was not for me!!


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I find many people of the American southwest particularly interesting because there just simply seems to be so many great characters there.  Anyone who has ever been to Bisbee Arizona will understand that & it is Bisbee where a few of my ‘candid character’ photos can be found.   MY BISBEE ALBUM



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I like to take candid photos of people who dare to be different & I have a lot of admiration for those types of people & their courage to break the standard society mold & just be the way they want to be & look the way they want to look.  And, that’s why I occasionally like to photograph them.


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Most times I use a long 300mm telephoto lens so I am never in anybody's face making someone feel uncomfortable.  Very few people ever know I have taken a picture of them.  If I am in an area where people are drinking alcohol I will probably not take any photos for obvious reasons.  I never approach anyone & ask if I can take their picture because that just defeats the whole purpose of people just being themselves.  I leave that kind of approach to the portrait photographers.  I am also very quick in taking the photo.  If I see someone sitting on a bench maybe a couple hundred yards away I will pre-focus my camera in an opposite direction for about the same distance then casually pan back to the area of the bench taking the photo as I keep the camera moving.  That way I am not making the person feel uncomfortable if they see me a couple hundred yards away with a camera steadily pointed at them.  Other times walking down a street my camera just comes up, auto focuses in about a second or two & I hit the button for a single photo & the camera comes down again.  Time elapsed, about 4 seconds.   Sometimes I just leave the camera hanging low down from my neck & as they used to say in the old wild west days….shoot from the hip.


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If I think the inside of a restaurant or store is nice, has some great colors, designs or architecture, I will just go ahead & take photos of it.  Occasionally I have been asked 'why' I'm taking a photo of something & I have just simply returned the question asking if they had a computer & explained about the blog & gave the person a Bayfield Bunch card.  Always nice to sometimes get an email a few days later saying they checked out our site & how much they like the pictures:))  I feel my photos are done in good taste & have always been understood & received that way. 


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Last summer I happened to see a family fishing in a very picturesque setting & I took some photos of the natural area they were fishing in with them in it.  I knew the photos were going to be nice so before I left the area I gave them a Bayfield Bunch card & briefly explained our blog & to look for their photos at the end of the day.  They were thrilled & so was I knowing I had provided them with some nice memories of a quiet family outing in a beautiful setting.  That always makes my day.


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And, like I have said before, my photos are not for sale or profit so I have no ulterior motives for taking candid people pictures other than to put them in the blog here once & awhile at the end of a day.



There is one area of candid people photography that I do stay away from though.  It’s kind of unfortunate because the subject matter can provide some of the greatest photos imaginable & that is the area of Children.  Because of the obvious sensitive nature in this day & age I would not recommend taking pics of children without a parent’s permission.  I did take one of small boy running across a street in Bisbee this past winter & a couple years ago took a picture of a Mother playing with a couple of her Children on the green grass of Borrego Springs Christmas Circle one morning at a Farmers Market.  I was quickly taken to task that time by a fellow blogger’s comment the following day for taking unauthorized photos of children.  So, it’s just an area of photography I generally stay away from now.  Too bad, because kids facial expressions & antics in a playground for example just make for the greatest photos.


In conclusion I will just say again it is up to the discretion of the photographer.  If you take a photo of an old lady standing on a corner waiting for a bus with a guitar around her neck & she chases you for 3 city blocks & lays a beating on you with her big red hand bag, well……so be it!!  Good luck Christopher:)) 


GROANER’S CORNER:((  A photographer from a well know national magazine was assigned to cover the fires at Yellowstone National Park. The magazine wanted to show some of the heroic work of the fire fighters as they battled the blaze. When the photographer arrived, he realized that the smoke was so thick that it would seriously impede or make it impossible for him to photograph anything from ground level. He requested permission to rent a plane and take photos from the air. His request was approved and arrangements were made. He was told to report to a nearby airport where a plane would be waiting for him. He arrived at the airport and saw a plane warming up near the gate. He jumped in with his bag and shouted, "Let's go!'' The pilot swung the little plane into the wind, and within minutes they were in the air. The photographer said, "Fly over the park and make two or three low passes so I can take some pictures." "Why?" asked the pilot. "Because I am a photographer," he responded, "and photographers take photographs." The pilot was silent for a moment; finally he stammered, "You mean you're not the flight instructor?"



Tourists see the world, travelers experience it. 

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails -William Arthur Ward
The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.


  1. Al,
    Thanks for the great advice and the great photos.

  2. So many interesting faces. Your picture are always so clear.

  3. I enjoyed your thoughts on this kind of photography. I haven't tried it yet, but perhaps I will now. Never thought about the child angle, though. Thanks.

  4. Great photos. Good thoughts about photographing people - and I agree about the children, although they often make the best subjects. Candid's are my favorites.

  5. Your candid shots are always great and it's nice to hear about some of the ways you accomplish getting the pictures while the subjects are natural.

  6. I was trying to pick out my favorite from among these photos and finally decided...I can't. Each photo tells a story and they are all good. I have GOT to quit being intimidated by my big camera and just get out there and do it! Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. those posing pictures are no where near as nice as the candid ones!..nice post today!...thanks for sharing your thoughts!..I wish I could be as subtle as you when it comes to taking pictures of strangers!

  8. Excellent post and great pictures. People's faces can tell such wonderful stories.

  9. Interesting post - candid shots do tell a story - great job! (Max looks so comfy!)

  10. Great photos, Al, absolutely great! Except for the naked butt--I saw that butt once in Q and once was enough--way too saggy!! put some clothes on, man!!

  11. Great Blog Al, as usual. Thanks for the tip's. The "butt" stopped me for a moment, then I said to my self, "Oh for the love of Pete"! There are some crazy's out there and you did a great job of slipping that one in.. That's exactly what pictures are for.

    Feed those Boid's, their hungry!

  12. Al, we like your candid photography just as much as your candid blog posts! I'm going to have to take a leaf or two from your book, because of our annual family calendar. We usually use our scenic photos for the calendar, but the 2012 theme is going to be "faces of Arizona" in honor of the 100th anniversary of statehood. I need a lot of faces, but we'll include Arizona scenery as well. Wish us luck!

  13. Massachusetts Mark said:

    Al,In todays post a lottery win was mentioned. I think your life learned writing skill/talent may take you in that direction!.....I am not kidding about that... write a novel.....Ps.Dan Brown did it how about you ?............or are you already doing it ?

  14. Most interpretative. People do make great subjects....and your photos prove evidence of that.

  15. Yep, candid shots are usually the best...But..I have been known to ask if it's OK to take a photo...depends on each unique situation...Some peeps see a camera and run the other way!!

  16. I love your pictures - especially of the characters. But where in the world were you when you took the photo of the gentleman without his britches? :-)

  17. Love your candid pictures and I'm glad you answered how you catch such interesting still lifes. Always wondered.

    The groaner's corner was a grand fit to your blog entry. Husband is still laughing.

    Lessie (TARDIS)

  18. And of course you know that you don't have to take pictures of the naked book seller candid. He will stand right there and let you take him from any angle you want, and with whom ever.

    Here is an article on Paul Winer.

  19. Agree with every word you regarding taking photos in public. I like the way you describe you techniques, I use some f them myself. ESP the heap shooting. Needles to say that you have a great eye to catch the whole story in one photo.

  20. Al, thanks again for sharing your thoughts and photos! Great post.