Into a Rising Sun

I admit that I prefer to be a solitary shooter. I like to go where I want, be on the move, react to what I find along the way. I also want to understand how other people see the world and am intrigued when I spend time shooting with other photographers. A paradox. Photowalks? They are overwhelming to me and if I do one, I accept that it's just a social occasion and not to expect anything to come of it photographically.

A few Sundays past I met Ryan K. in downtown and walked about with him for a while. I was gratified that he just followed me around and let me work the way I prefer. We had an excellent time -- at least I did, you'll have to ask him his opinion. After spending the first few minutes after sunrise on the Burnside, we walked down to Skidmore Station, one of my favorite locations. Immediately I noticed the sun shining through the bridge pillars and I imagined the shot even before there was anyone there to shoot. Early/late day silhouettes into the low angle sun is my shtick.

Ryan and I messed about, each taking a few pictures of each other when this gentleman came walking past. He was the perfect mark and I quickly fell in behind him, stalking the moment. As he walked along, I tried some things but I really wanted to try to get a sunburst along some part of his outline. In this frame, the sunburst, warm tones of the sunrise, his stride, the long shadow with cane and classic perspective composition of receding columns all came together in something I feel really great about.

I have titled it "Into a Rising Sun." While that factually describes the scene, I think it's crucially important to distinguish it from a setting sun. This man is walking into his morning, into a day full of hope and possibility and I chose it purposefully to underscore the mood and intent of this photograph.

While this would be a fine ending to the story, there is another twist that enriches my experience immensely. My last submission to the PDXStreet blog was the "Blossom Blizzard." Soon after shooting "Into a Rising Sun," Ryan and I continued on to the waterfront to see what we could see. As I was messing about, I saw Ryan talking to a guy sitting on a bench near the cherry trees. At once I knew that it was the same man from the blossom photograph. I hurried over and Ryan showed him that shot on his iPhone. His name is Mike and he loved the picture. We stood around for a little bit recalling the windy afternoon swirling the blossom petals into the river, reliving the richness of that moment.

And the final twist in this story is that this is, in fact, a picture of Mike.