I did this a couple of years ago – it’s the elevated platform of the Lake Street light rail station here in Minneapolis. I’d done a photo here long before, and had returned to get a different viewpoint, looking north towards downtown. It’s geometry and tinted glass; a strangely cool piece of urban design, standing over a couple of desolate city blocks where you don’t hang around after dark.
I knew what I wanted to get; I just had to wait for a moment when no one was in the picture. A train came and went, various dodgy characters drifted through. I had my shot in the viewfinder and knew the opportunity would be brief. After a few minutes the moment arrived.
Just as I was ready to shoot, my peripheral vision picked up movement at the edge of the frame; someone was walking into the picture, outside the glass to my right. I thought – well, I’ll just wait him out, there’s no train for a while and he’ll move on. I held my position and kept my eye at the viewfinder.
And then, as he walked further into the frame, I saw this amazing urban character in a cowboy hat and a bright red Western shirt. A bit bowlegged, holding his arms out from his sides like a gunslinger. He’d obviously just been pulled out of Dodge City via a time machine, in the Twilight Zone.
I realized that this was the picture – and I’d only get one chance. I waited until he reached the big window pane in the center and pushed the button, then brought it up on the LCD to see what I had. And when I looked up, the cowboy was gone.
Many people, when they see this photo, assume it’s a setup. But I don’t know this guy. Really. He just walked into my picture.
Anyone who’s ever had a weird stranger bomb their photo – feel free to post it as a comment…