Sunday, June 5, 2016

He's Watching Me

He stood astride his bicycle at the corner of 8th and Franklin. I could feel his intent gaze on me as I photographed the red doors of Trinity Episcopal Church. Satisfied with my red door captures, I wandered toward the former Masonic Temple father down the block, I felt his gaze follow me.

Maybe he was the documentary photographer that I had been fantasizing about, but I doubted that he had $4000 of camera gear in that backpack at his feet.

I was on his side of the road and started to make my way towards him, but I chickened out at the last minute, choosing instead to recross the street and photograph some pretty flowers at the side of the church. I wasn't ready to answer any questions regarding what I was doing. Even though I had my acceptable answer ready. I was taking a photography class, and one of the assignments was to visit a small town and photograph the buildings. While not 100% true, I am always taking some online photography course, and I will probably need pictures of architecture sooner or later.

By the time I had finished photographing the flowers, he was gone. He must have realized I was avoiding him, and didn't wish to creep me out any further.

Able to wander freely again, I set off to explore the rest of the downtown that I had driven through for the past twenty years. Driving through the boarded up and crumbling in favor of the bright, shiny and new at the Outlet mall.

I was happy to see fewer empty, dusty plate glass storefront windows and more open signs. A sign of hope and better things to come. Restoration is a slow and painful process in small towns like this, but it can be done. It just takes a community that cares about supporting local businesses and local business owners. 

Eventually I did have to answer the question of what I was doing, but I was ready when the time came. I had passed this door once, in favor of an artfully arranged window of local artist's wares, but I could feel the tug of the green door pulling at my heart. I went back. In the process I passed the owners of a new gallery admiring their business sign that had been hung the day before. As I passed them the second time, they inquired if I was looking for a certain business or waiting for a store to open. I gave them my 'taking a photography class' answer, and they completely understood. But I could have told them the truth, that I was having a day to myself to photograph and work on writing a blog post, they would have gotten it. They were artists after all. 

Even after my successful day of exploring old buildings, it was hard to leave even one unphotographed. On my way out of town, I saw this place. My heart got that fluttery feeling, and I knew I had to turn around and go back. As I got out of my car and stood in front of this boarded up building, I looked around for the guy on the bicycle, I was ready to answer his question.


  1. I can understand where you are coming from here Sarah. Sometimes I feel self aware when I know I am being watched as though I am completely mad taking photos of things that are ordinary to anyone else. The artists would definitely get what you were doing but to the passer by they wouldn't. Beautiful shots.

  2. I know the feeling too..One day I was out taking pictures, testing my new fisheye lens..I was trying to compose my photo of a sunset, one without a distorted horizon..I had to bent and contort myself into positions near the ground ..I overheard passerby asking each other "What is that crazy camera lady doing, was she photographing bugs?" Lol..

  3. BTW the thumbnail that is my blogger profile pic comes from that very batch of pics taken with my fisheye lens... From the shoot I mentioned in the above comment..This shoot took place about 7 years ago :-)

  4. Know what you want to do.

    Then proceed to do it.

    Not bothering anyone...

    Simply following your inner voice...


    Keep at it. Your photos are time capsules.

    But... You are braver than I. I think I would have really been creeped-out, by an intent gaze. In a place, without too many people. But that is my problem. :-)

    Thank you for sharing...


  5. Love your fun days out exploring no matter what! Your shots are just as good as your prose!

  6. Why are we afraid, to let people see us or ask us what we are doing while we take photographs of houses, buildings, or anything else that catches our eye. I love walking around our small town or wonder the back roads, but always worry what people will think. I might start using your responae, photo class assignment. Love all your photos, but the last one makes my heart single.
    Always take the road less traveled if you have a choice.

  7. Wonderful, Sarah! I love that beautiful church - those vibrant red doors with their decorative ironwork are tugging at me to come inside. And that last one...that one makes my heart flutter, too. What a great day out you had!

  8. PS - If someone asks me what I'm doing, I usually explain and try to show them. I've found many people to be interested and excited to notice something they've never paid attention to before.

  9. Very nice, once again . . .
    Red door is a prize . . .
    In this life we live in today . . . caution is wise too.
    I might also say . . . "My photography classmates are inside for pictures and my friend and I am responsible for these outdoor shots." That is if he had approached you any closer and you were out there alone with no one near . . . might be good to let someone know you aren't alone.
    Final photo . . . ethereal . . ,

  10. Hello my dear friend, it seems that whenever someone is doing something different it brings on attention. Here is to being different!!!

  11. I would have been scared. Not sure I would have been scared enough to leave...but I would have kept my eye on him and an exit route..I do spend lots of time in the woods alone but usually not really deep in anymore. I don't run as fast as I use to... so my advice is go for as long as can and keep the faith.
    Your old buildings are know what you like and you go after it...something to be said for that...
    Have a great week ahead.

  12. Another wonderful story with photos Sarah. Those heart went pitter patter! Now I'm thinking if I need a story at the ready! lol xo

  13. Ah, those red doors! They are beautiful! This little town area has much to offer for someone who loves old things. The sign on the half green, half brown door fascinates me: no parking, standing, or stopping. What's that about? It could have just said "go away!" Looks like you have a fun day and found many things to get a little breathless over!

  14. That last one is a stunner an perfect in monochrome. Great story.

  15. Great images! The red doors really stand out and the green door has great texture, love the sign. The last one is my favorite with the weeds growing up the wall. The guy may have given you the creeps...but he did give you a good story. :)

  16. Oooh, that last building would have set my spine to tingling, too... when I'm out on my own, I never worry about making that U-turn to go back and take a picture. And if DW is driving, all I need to do is say, "Oh, we need to go back" and he turns around. I spend a lot of time walking through small towns on our road trips, and sometimes get some odd looks. But usually I just smile and say something like, "You have such a beautiful town." And I always get a smile in return.

  17. I have the photography class answer ready all the time. It is the easiest answer and people accept it.


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)