100 Strangers 9 of 100 Yana

My 100 Strangers number 9 of 100 is Yana:

9 of 100 Yana

Though Yana isn’t a total stranger, I still classify her as a stranger because I’ve only seen her a few times at a store that my wife and I shop at often. We’ve said hello a few time but nothing really extensive. A few weeks ago when we were at the store I gave her one of my cards, told her about the Stranger Project and asked if she would be interested. She was really quite excited about it, but it really wasn’t the time to do it.

A week or so after I gave her my card she reached out to me via the provided email address and asked if I was still interested in doing photos. “Of course,” I said.

We set up a time to meet at a park nearby and we met up there this morning.

To be honest I was a bit more nervous under these circumstances than had I just been able to take her photo completely impromptu.

Yana is an immigrant from Ukraine and has a couple of young kids She likes to take photos herself and has a nice Canon camera.

“What do you like to photograph?”

“I like taking pictures of flowers and nature,” she said. “That kind of thing.”

We took a few shots in the park and then called it good. She looked at some of them on the back of my camera and asked if we could do some formal photos sometime.

“Absolutely,” I said.

We talked about what that might be like; conceptual things, etc.

I’m rather looking forward to doing a “full blown” photo shoot with her.

I took quite a lot of photos and this is the one that seemed to stick out to me the most.

Thank you, Yana for letting me take some photos of you. I’m looking forward to making some more and no longer being strangers.

Technical stuff:  The sun was still fairly low and I wanted her back to it to be able to get a bit of highlight/rim light on her hair. I had her hold a reflector to throw light onto her face. It would have been best to have a third person hold the reflector at about 45 degrees off to the side and up. I’m not too experienced with using a reflector as I’m more comfortable with off camera flash.


Since I took this photo Yana and I have done two shoots since. Thus far it’s been a good experience as we are both learning; she’s learning how to model and I’m learning how to direct someone who has never modeled before. She’s amazingly photogenic and we’ve done some good stuff. I’m currently working on  a post going over our first two shoots. So stay tuned.

100 Strangers 8 of 100 Carl

100 Strangers 8 of 100 is Carl:

8 of 100 Carl
ISO 200, 85mm, f1.8, 1/160

Previously I posted a Stranger photo of Mariah who works at a local coffee shop that I frequent fairly often. During that encounter she spoke highly of the owners of the coffee shop; the husband and wife who own it. She said that they were “the best.”

Meet Carl, the owner of this coffee shop. Though I’ve spoken with him briefly in the past as he rung up my order I’ve never been able to really sit and talk with him; to get to know him a little bit. Today my son and I sat drinking our lattes and having lunch and Carl walked up to our table and asked how we were doing. At this we began to talk and it turned into a nearly hour long conversation.

Carl is an Army vet who has since retired from service. He spent years in service (exactly how long I didn’t ask). He loves coffee and just over a year ago he and his wife opened up this shop. He’s very active in veterans affairs and he has a program in which he delivers coffee to our troops overseas.

We spoke a bit about politics and the role of our armed forces over the past few years. “We really need to just pull out of the Middle East altogether,” he said. “I mean, what exactly are we doing over there?”
He spoke about the action he saw in Iraq during Gulf War version 1.0 a bit among many other things.

The thing that I took away from our conversation is that Carl is passionate about his family, community and country. Being the son of immigrants I think has shaped much of his perspective regarding life in the USA. My wife is an immigrant and I think that as my son participated in the conversation he was aware of that similarity. In fact as we were driving home my son said as much.

When we were wrapping up the conversation, I asked Carl if he would mind if I took a photo of him. Though I didn’t explain the Stranger Project in detail I told him that I loved taking photos of people that I meet and get to know and post them on social media and tell a little about them.

We happened to be in front of a large window that was letting in absolutely amazing light. I asked him to simply stand positioned at just a slight angle to the window and I moved in such a way as to not have other people in the background.

Technical stuff: Because the light was so amazing I didn’t have to really do much as far as post production is concerned. The big thing was that SOOC, Carl’s eyes were way stark and vivid. I actually brought them down a bit because they were just too much. That’s a first; actually pulling back the eyes a bit.

Also, the more that I use the 85mm and get used to it, the more I love that lens. I took a total of 12 shots and didn’t give him any direction beyond having him turn to the window a bit.

Thanks, Carl for allowing me to take your photo. I’m certain we will see each other again as my family drinks our lattes now that we’ve become so acquainted. I’m looking forward to it.

100 Strangers 7 of 100 NutnFancy

AKA Richard.

ISO 100, 50mm, f2.0, 1/320

Richard’s public moniker is Nutnfancy. He has a YouTube channel called The Nutnfancy Project which he’s been running for years. The channel is a gear review channel in which he reviews various things from backpacks to watches, knives, camping gear and firearms. He’s amassed nearly 750,000 subscribers.

I met him at some protests/counter protests at the State Capitol several days ago. Richard was on the counter protest side of the issue. When I saw him addressing the crowd with his bullhorn I knew that I wanted to ask him for a Stranger photo.

When I went to approach him he was filming the crowd with his camera and I waited for him to take a break then approached him. I held out my hand, introduced myself and told him about what I was wanting to do. He was pretty cautious at first.

“Are you with the media?”

“No,” I said. “I’m just a guy taking pics.”

He still wasn’t quite convinced. “What’s your political stance?” He asked. “Are you pro 2A?”

To the average person it may sound odd that he’s so cautious, but when you’re a somewhat public face like he is I think it’s understandable.

After a few moments I convinced him that I didn’t have an ax to grind and he lightened up a lot. In fact he became very friendly and agreed to let me take some photos.

Again, like the previous photos I took at this event, the background was a real challenge. He understood it, too, as I asked him to move a bit to position him. I finally positioned him so that we were parallel to a wall which seemed to be about as good as it was going to get under the circumstances.

I snapped a few frames; some close up head and shoulders and some further away. I liked this one the best because it encompassed some of the environment and crowd but wasn’t overpowered by it.

After I finished taking the pics we talked for a few short minutes about various things; history, government; high level things like that. I wanted to ask him so much more, but I knew that he was there with his camera, too, and wanted to get back to his work.

Technical stuff: ISO 100, 50mm, f2.0, 1/320.

I knew that his hat was going to be a problem with darkness over his eyes so I exposed as far to the right as possible without the building in the background blowing out (ETTR when shooting raw is your friend in these kinds of circumstances) and then pulled it down just over a stop in post (-1.2 in Lightroom). I took a number of photos with various degrees of ETTR and this one was just perfect. SOOC, it was pretty bright, but I was still able to maintain the details.

Before going out to shoot pics at this event I made the conscious decision to go with my 50mm. Up until I took this pic I was really regretting it as most of the pics I had taken up to this point had been head and shoulders/close up shots. The 50mm is not really a good focal length for that kind of portrait shooting because of the perspective distortion that always has to be contended with at short distances. However, for this shot, the 50mm was near perfect. We were both standing on a ledge and I backed up as far as I could for this frame. If I were using the 85 I wouldn’t have been able to get this half body shot showing his bullhorn.