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Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Tale of Two Photo Ops

On a photo safari one evening, riding home from work, I stumbled upon a painter by the FBI building. He had a poster-sized canvas he was painting the view of Downtown on, and I was fascinated.

He was pretty absorbed in his work because he didn't notice me pull up on my bike, dismount, put the kickstand down, unzip my camera bag and get my Nikon ready. I didn't want to startle him, though, so I announced myself.

"I hope it's okay, I'd like to shoot you working on this, it's a great image."

He said something along the lines of "Oh, okay," and went back to his brushes until he heard the first shutter. Then he said, "Wait, what are you going to use this for?"

I started to say for my own personal use. I was even going to ask him if it was okay to put the picture on my throughly not-for-profit blog, but it was too late.

"No," he said. "This is going to make me nervous."

"Okay," I said. "Deleting, leaving." And I deleted the one shot I'd taken, packed up and resumed my safari elsewhere. Case Park, as it happens, where I got one good shot and a couple of dozen to remind me about turning that godawful VR off on the lens before doing tripod work. I should probably leave the VR off all the time, I'm not convinced it helps with handheld shots.

Fast forward a week, and I was once again taking the long way home and looking for shots. I got some downtown from the 14th Street Bridge. By the FBI building, by where I'd frightened the painter.

I got some from another angle, then headed down the 12th Street bridge. Then, realizing I'd missed a chance to shoot the Edge of Hell's sign with my Nikon, I was going to go back up the bridge. The top deck.

But I figured the lower deck might be a more interesting angle, looking up at the sign instead of straight on. So I set up my tripod and started shooting.

Cars come down the deck every once in a while, and rather than trusting they were all sober, alert, excellent drivers, I reasoned that turning on my NiteRider helmet light to let them know I was there was a smart move,

After one of these encounters, reaching to turn my light off I accidentally set it to strobe. This got the attention of the folks across the street.

I'd observed, in addition to the rat eater and other carnies who work the haunted house, a uniformed KCMO cop, probably off-duty making extra money; a white-shirted, uniformed security guard, and then, it turns out, a black t-shirt wearing, fat, gray-haired guy who walked across the street to his truck and asked me what I was doing.

"Just taking picures," I said.

"You're going to have to leave, you can't be taking pictures."

Just because you have a job moonlighting as the third tier of security at a haunted house does not mean you own the 12th Street bridge. I didn't say it in quite those words, but it was close enough. I was on a public street shooting the facade of a building. I wasn't violating anyone's privacy and I sure as shit wasn't trespassing.

He got on his walkie-talkie and said something that started with, 'Sarge...'

A bonafide police cruiser pulled up right quick, and chatted with this guy for a sec, then the cop looked up at me. I called down, "I'm minding my own business, shooting pictures on a public street, and this asshole tells me I've got to leave like he owns the neighborhood. That doesn't work."

The cop said something to the jerk with the truck and left. The fact that the cop didn't then come bother me, I think, indicates that what he said was, more or less, "The dork on the bridge isn't doing anything illegal, lighten up."

The red truck did come up the bridge, though. Drove real slow by me, I assume looking to see if I was doing something like selling heroin to children, something Sarge would actually get worked up about.

I thought back to the painter. My instinct with him was to delete and leave. But his appeal was that I'd make him nervous, and I'm not out to ruin some guy's day or his painting. The dick in front of the Edge of Hell, on the other hand, was more like a counterfeit Yertle the Turtle.

After, I stopped on Beardsley (I wouldn't have had to go up the bridge but there was a train parked across the road down in the bottoms) to shoot the Bottom Cat. It's one of my favorite pieces of public art, and judging by the progress the Gray Paint Gestapo has made lately, the fish (maybe it's supposed to be a carp or a koi instead of a catfish) is on the endangered list.

Here's an example of how sharp the city cleanup crews are. They cover over gang tags and real art as if they were the same thing. Then, they encounter Frost, a fantastic piece, that's back on a limestone cliff face that's probably not even city property. And they clean out their paint sprayers just to deface it. With geniuses like this, the murals on the Woodsweather Cafe aren't safe.


howie said...

Fun blog... stumbled on it by looking for where to buy tempeh in KC. Looks like you've used it in some of your recipes; where do you get it?

(The closer to Union Hill, the better... maybe Brookside Market?)


Chixulub said...

Sun Fresh and Price Chopper in Brookside might. The Price Chopper down in the Power & White District is another possible. I haven't seen it at City Market, but I should look again. All of it I've ever bought was from the Whole Paycheck Market, but I don't think they have anything in midtown and if you find it anywhere else it's bound to be cheaper.

howie said...

Whole Paycheck / indeed, it's my last resort, but I want to try cooking with it so if that's what it takes, I'll be there :-) Thanks for the info & happy cooking! -h

howie said...

For future reference, Brookside Market had one kind of tempeh. Picked it up, haven't done anything with it yet. -h