'Shooting' people on gray days

 ... Lack of light sets a different scene

by Don Norris

Four Photo Group shooters -- Lorry, Elizabeth, Natalie and Louise (with black hat) are engulfed in a sea of moving bodies.

There is something to be said for gray days and slow film. It means, if one is shooting available light, that there will be lots of blurry images, and the trick is to turn that movement into art. As a result, most of these photos were shot with a wide open aperture, at one-quarter, even one-third of a second, hand-held. For you non-aficionados, that's too slow to stop a snail.

It all happened on a SilverStringers' Photo Group shoot, this day in Faneuil Hall area of historic Boston. I have an essay, a collection of related photos that reflect human nature of people while experiencing the gaiety of an early holiday season. Don't take umbrage with the blurs. I shot the people who were standing relatively still, who were framed by those in motion.

It worked, and I am happy with what I did.

A TRIP TO BOSTON wouldn't be anything without visiting Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall. There's a ton of good people, great shopping, minstrels, good food, marvelous sights to see, even on a gray day in December.

TRICK PHOTOGRAPHY: While waiting for a salesperson, Don Norris passed the time toying with a floor-length mirror and his Nikon 950. The resulting photo is of Don shooting Don, shooting Don. "Trick photography," he said later, quoting himself. To appreciate the irony, you have to look hard for the camera, then check out the ELAS on the blue sign. Confused? His right thumb is on the shutter release button.

THE BOY IN the orange coat was giving a rather brassy Red Auerbach what-for. The young man never saw the camera, but then the cameraman couldn't hear what the youngster was mad about. I think all three of us were playing games -- even Red, for he was speechless.

A BEAUTIFUL BLOND in a red coat would cheer up any gray day. She was so busy shooting a souvenir photo of her clients that she didn't even notice the old guy who was stealing her picture.

THAT'S BEN FRANKLIN, trying to spread the word about Boston's role in the approaching colonial revolution. My wife and I saw him, last year, getting on the subway at Malden Station, but we identified him in spite of his trying to blend in with the crowd. He is a fine person, spends time at grammar schools, talking with tourists, inventing things -- one time he was carrying a kite, a ball of string and his housekey -- we couldn't figure what he'd be doing next. It was shocking.

IN THE GLASS gallery built onto Quincy Market, the crowd is shoulder to shoulder. The darkness of the hour caused the camera to slow down, and therefore the movers and shakers are shown as blurry ghosts wandering through the crowd. It's always like this -- a fun place to go.

BREAKING BREAD: Lorry Norris and Natalie Thomson appear to be giving the blessing before breaking cornbread, while taking a break at Durgin Park in Boston. They had put their cameras away for the minute -- and two minutes later Natalie had pencil and paper out, interviewing the waitress for a story in this, The Melrose Mirror. Talk about living a job ...

INVETERATE REPORTER sees a story in this young lady, whose sister has her name spelled the other way -- backwards, she said. Natalie Thomson has been given 17 non-awards for her insightful stories over the past six years. As for Kina, we'll have to wait for Nat's story, for she is the one who took the notes. This all happened at Durgin Park, famous eatery at Faneuil Hall.

SHARING A MEAL in a flowing river of a crowd, this beautful couple are unaware that they are standing in a pool of light, waiting to be photographed.

FRIDAY, QUITING time for Boston's office people. The brick building ahead is Faneuil Hall itself, diminished by skyscrapers and Boston's City Hall. At the left is an equally famous Quincy Market, once the wholesale food market, now a center of history, tourism and modern marketing. It is all located right on the edge of Boston's financial district. It is the crux of the city; it is beautiful, historical, inviting, warm, even in winter winds. It is where we locals show off for thousands of visiting guests. And it is six miles south of Melrose.

January 3, 2003

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