Smile! You’re On…The Road Show? – Arcadia, Florida

Last year I was one of those people who were going HDR crazy. I couldn’t get enough of it. I went to state parks, beaches, anyplace that was offering harsh light to see exactly what this technology could do. I had read all of the books and was a regular at some forums to collaborate what the best processing options were. To help enhance my creativity I had always thought that doing a photo shoot in Arcadia, Florida would be neat. Arcadia is known for the best place to find antiques and its historic buildings. Some of these buildings have not been touched since they were built a hundred years ago. Get rid of the cars and bring back the horse and buggies and tear up the asphalt and go back to the old dusty dirt road, I think that this place would have its old early 1900’s charm back.

Thinking to myself that using this new technology on old buildings might be interesting, my wife and I packed the gear into the car and headed off to Arcadia, about a 30 minute drive from where we live. We arrived and found an abandoned parking lot and set up shop. I mounted the camera to my trusty tripod and attached the cable release. This is the best part about HDR photography, no complicated lighting set ups. We walked up and down Main Street a.k.a. “downtown”. I looked around for some interesting compositions. Some of the buildings have been restored and others are in need or repair. We walked down the left side of the street and took notice of some of the buildings neat features. When we turned around at the end of the street, I photographed back the other way. One of the best shots that I got was of the old Opera House. It’s now a bunch of antique stores, but back in the day, I’m sure it was bustling with the locals wanting to get some entertainment for the evening. A friend of mine writes ghost books and once told me that it was haunted. I mentioned this to my wife and she just looked at me. Here was the thing, it was a late Sunday afternoon and there was NO ONE in downtown when we were there. This was a little eerie to say the least. Needless to say, we had already driven there, and I was going to get the photos that I wanted. Then it got interesting…

I had seen an old, brick built church that had some really mice lines to it. We walked up the side road to get a better look at it. I thought why not, and set up the tripod and started to rattle off a few shots. It wasn’t long and I saw someone running out of the church straight towards us. It was the minister. I’m not a big one to talk religion or politics with people, but this is to good to keep to myself. I’m an open minded person and I think anything is possible. The minister comes up to us, and starts asking us all kind of religious questions. For example, “Do you know Jesus?”, “Do you know about the rapture?”. The questions went on and on. I don’t like to cut off people, so I let him say his piece while I was photographing away. I let my wife answer most of the questions because she seemed to have the right answers and is more educated about this than I am. After a few minutes of “interaction”, I thought it might be a good time to move on. Me being me, and not always thinking, I asked him if he knew anything about the Opera House being haunted. To me, this was a historical question and I was just curious. This was the “classic” moment. He told me that he did not believe in ghosts and ran inside. My wife put her hand over her face and shook her head. I’m still standing there looking around like a deer in the headlights as I’m lost to what just happened. The minister came back out and invited us into the church. I told him that I ate before I left and I was “good”. He handed us some “reading material”, I promptly stuffed it in my pockets and moved on. It was an interesting ride home as I was “informed” on what I had done. In the end, I had gotten the shots that I wanted.

Fast forward about a year later. Our local magazine was doing an article on the renovation of downtown Arcadia. Arcadia is now trying to get the shop owners to live above their shops since these are two story buildings. We revisited and took photos of the current state of the buildings and will go back when they are finished. (I steered clear of the church this time.) Since I had some HDR photographs that I had taken earlier, I submitted them to the magazine and told them to use if they wanted. When the magazine came out, one of my HDR photographs was used in the opening spread of the story. This made all of the work worth it in the end.

Later that week I got a phone call from the magazine. Apparently the Antique Road Show will be visiting Arcadia. They saw the article in the magazine and wanted to use some of the photos that I had taken. They asked if I would allow them to use them, I was like ugh…SURE! So there you have it. If you see the Antique Road Show that will be in Arcadia, chances are that you will see some of my photos. It’s strange how things work out.

One last question….Does anyone know if the Opera House is haunted?

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean


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