Archive for February, 2012

Got hit by a van yesterday…

February 20, 2012

So about 400 of us gathered together at BarCamp Miami 2012 at Miami Dade College in downtown Miami on Sunday.

For those of you who don’t know what BarCamps are, they are nicknamed “un-conferences” where anyone can speak about anything they want. Mostly social media and techie types attend and many came from all over the state for this one.

The great thing about BarCamps is that nothing is planned. Especially getting hit by a van. Some people had presentations prepared. And some people didn’t. Guess which category I fell into.

I decided that I would speak about Instagram and made up a quick title: Instagram: The most social of the social networks. So right after lunch break, as I was walking back to give my presentation, I spotted a homeless man who wouldn’t tell me his name but as you’ll see let me take a few pictures. We spent about 5 minutes together. I gave him a few bucks and he blessed me for the money and promised he would use it for food but I didn’t have time to enforce it. I asked if I could snap a couple of pictures but he said under one condition: that he could tell me where to stand so I could take the best pictures. And I listened to him.

I was so taken by our brief time spent together that I just couldn’t wait to look at the pictures that I had just captured. So I’m walking back looking at them on my phone. And as I was crossing the street, SCREECH! And bam, a van loaded with shoppers headed for Bayfront Park clipped me. The mirror hit my arm and spun me around real quick before the back tire could run over my foot. Everyone on the van screamed. The driver stopped and screamed, ” Are you OK? Are you OK? I tried to stop! I tried to stop!” It really happened so fast.

I asked him if he would stand for a picture and he agreed even though it was difficult for him.  The only thing he wouldn’t let me photograph up close was his socks. Why? Because that’s where he told me he kept his private and valuable stuff.

I have spoken with Jeff Zelaya many times about public speaking and I was lucky that I got to spend much of the day with him at BarCamp. I’ve always said that one of the keys to public speaking was having a great opening. Well, I had one. I just got popped by a van for the love of Instagram.

Maybe I’ll think of something a little safer next time.

Have a great short week everyone.

~Mike

Trust no one

February 18, 2012

They say that the best camera you will ever have is the one you have in your hand.

So I’m minding my own business getting gas on US1 in South Miami which is a rare event in itself when you drive a Prius. And then, I see him.

He said his name was Vanny. He wasn’t panhandling and he looked a little worse for the wear. Actually even worse than that. So I struck up a conversation with him and gave him a dollar. He had just gotten out of the hospital and told me he had been beaten pretty badly the day before but he said he’s used to it. I needed a moment to gather myself and digest that one.

I asked him if I could take some pictures and he said that he didn’t think he looked so great after the beating but as you can see he was fine with it. Actually he even hammed it up.

Then Vanny and I sat down and had a beer together. He told me he is a college graduate, he says he’s retired but wouldn’t say from what and is homeless.

He was so kind to let me take many, many pictures. But the one he liked most was the one of him making a “face like a shark”. He begged me to use that one if I used any of them so here it is.

It was quite the shoot here in South Miami today.

By the way, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Instagram. I find it to be one of the most enjoyable and engaging social networks. If you have an iPhone, give it a try. Or an iPad 2 will work and so will an iPod touch. The download is free. Android user? You’re out of luck for a while. I just read an article published yesterday that says that version is running behind.

Now I have to go share this on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and I’m probably forgetting about 10 others…

Happy shooting everyone.

~Mike