Thursday, June 07, 2012
Welcome To The Loon City
Plattsburgh bills itself as The Lake City -- yes, it is right on Lake Champlain -- but may I suggest a more appropriate secondary name?
Noontime. I'm walking about with my camera and notice an unusual object on the sidewalk. The Blessed Virgin Mary. Or to be precise, a large photo, a headshot of a BVM statue, still wet from the rain.
I have my back to the other side of the street. My camera is aimed straight down at the sidewalk. Suddenly some man yells at me: "Don't take any pictures of me or I'll break your friggin' ass!"
I turn around. Across the street some shaggy, bearded weatherworn guy is walking along with a woman. He glares at me. Maybe he was trying to impress his girlfriend. He's obviously out to pick a fight, probably still drunk from last night. This doesn't surprise me because Plattsburgh is plagued by a plethora of pugnacious pudknockers.
As he storms down the other side of the street, he keeps looking back, daring me to photograph him. Sorry, pal, you ain't a Kodak Moment.
Let's flash forward: later the same day, evening time. I'm intrigued how plants, especially weeds, resist man's dominance. They refuse to die off, growing up through cracks in concrete and tarmac.
I spot a rusty metal cap labeled WATER embedded in driveway asphalt near the sidewalk. A tall weed protrudes from the edge of the heavy metal cap. Once again my camera is aimed down to capture the image.
Out of the corner of my I notice someone walking my way. Suddenly the woman ducks behind a tree next to the curb. I ignore her, wondering why she is doing that since I'm not standing on the sidewalk. Plenty of room to pass by.
Then she comes out from behind the tree and looks at me, scolding: "You know some people don't want their picture taken?"
I know my rights. With a few exceptions, if it's in public view, I can photograph it. And that includes people. Don't like it? Then stay home because downtown has police cameras watching your every move. Visit most gas stations, stores, and public buildings and you're being recorded.
But in this case I'm photographing a damn stupid weed. I look right at the woman who had been needlessly shielding herself with the tree, replying that my camera wasn't even aimed at her. She scolds me some more as she walks by.
I take an image of the photo-paranoid woman as she leaves.
I also enjoy bird photography. I also like to shoot loons.