Today on the way home from work I was thinking I needed to get some photos of people dealing with the heat wave. Earlier in the day I went out for lunch near the Camden waterfront and ate outside. Of course I was in the shade. It really didn’t seem so bad until I saw that the temperature had risen to 100 degrees with a real feel of 120 degrees!
I rushed home to pick up some of my gear and realized that I had to water the pepper plants and feed the cat before I went out. Luckily my camera bag was still packed from last weekends Sundae party. With everything done I had to decide if I was going to ride my bike or take the bus because walking was out of the question. I checked with Google Transit and the number 7 was due in ten minutes. I took the time on the bus to get my camera back to “zero.” This means any special setting I used the last time I shot had to be set back to normal so that when I arrived I would be at baseline so that I could get a predictable exposure.
Drenched with sweat already, I added probably another quart on my short walk up to Swann Fountain at Logan Circle. When I arrived it was as I expected, Philly people from all walks of life cooling off under the spray jets of the fountain and dogs too! During warm months and especially days like today, swimming in the fountain is a long-standing Philadelphia tradition. Once there was a ban in place but things went back to normal a couple of years ago.
One of the things I worry about as a male photographer is the suspicious looks that I get from people when I am taking photos that children are in. It makes me uneasy at first but then I just make my presence known and when necessary chat with people and tell them what I am doing and give out Moo cards. In some cases I ask permission even though this goes against my style of candid shooting. It usually works out and get a chance to do some candids after have taken posed shots. After this, people get used to you being around and they become unguarded and go back to what they were doing and you can shoot to you hearts content. The only worrisome moments came when the wind diverted the spray from fountain right at me and my lens or when people try to direct the spray and it goes in all directions. Even backwards! Although the mist and spray threatened to get on my lenses it was very cool and refreshing. I managed to turn myself or the camera around away from the mist but was unable to prevent myself form being hit by a wet Nurf football. I am looking at the back of the camera and strobe as I write this and let me tell you, Philly has some hard-ass water.
So, mission accomplished! I won’t have to go back out and get any more fountain shots!