August 23, 2011

Street Photography at the Lawrence Busker Festival

Pretty good? No? Pretty good? No?
To inaugurate my new website, I thought I’d post about the Lawrence Busker Festival last weekend.

I have been less photographically active this summer than last year. I think that the summer heat is largely to blame. But when news of the Lawrence Busker Festival popped-up, I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity. Downtown Lawrence, KS is a wonderful, small, artsy area which encourages walking. The Busker Festival brings out street performers and the whole area begins bustling with activity.

After a disappointing outing in the afternoon, I returned around 8:30 at night. The streets were busier, and even though it was dark, the light was great. Lawrence just installed new LED lights in their lamps which really help to light up the sidewalks.

I first tried my luck at the strong-woman performance (touted to be the headlining performance this year). Unfortunately for me, the crowd was densely packed around her, and my 5’ 4” height prevented me from getting any good looks. However, my interested was more in the people watching than any performances I would be able to capture.

This group was standing around with a dog who was very curious about my approach. I snapped a few frames, smiled at the owners and walked off.

After talking a few frames of another adorable dog further down the street, I noticed a scene unfolding before me with another street performer. This guy’s act is to sit perfectly still and let other people put hats on his head and items in his hands. This kid was having a great time swapping out the items while the rest of the audience looked on.

This next musician was someone who I had passed by a few times before. He was close to one of the main stages and he played and sang very quietly. I could barely hear him each time I walked buy. I saw a crowd approaching and watched them pass him by.

All of a sudden, this mother (I assume) and her two kids showed up. It was already nearly 9 o’clock, but it looked like they were just arriving. The kid sat down with his drum and the girl immediately started dancing. To me, this one frame captures the doll-like look on the girl’s face along with her mother’s unfaltering smile.

Pretty good? No? Pretty good? No?
As always, regular life downtown isn’t going to be interrupted by a festival of street performers. The normal activities in shops and restaurants continue, and I find the outdoor dining areas to be rather compelling. The lighting around this group piqued my interested. I didn’t have much time to stop and compose without drawing attention to myself, so I barely stopped walking when I turned to take the shot. Fortunately, just at the right moment, I got an expressive face from the server, and a thumbs-up gesture from the customer.

A similar chance encounter occurred when I was on my way to return home. This woman was looking rather bored in the window of the Chipotle, though the boys next to her seemed to be having a grand time.

That frame seemed to be a good end to the evening. Hopefully the weather will begin to cool down as fall approaches, and I’ll feel like getting out more.

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