Claryssa Webb plays King Street

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Thursday late afternoon, at my favourite King Street, Waterloo hangout, Coffee Culture, I was shooting photos from Dupont St across King and trying to achieve some panning shots of bicycles flying by.  I was going for sharp focus on riders and strong motion blur on the background.  Turns out this is harder than I expected, so I ended up camping at the corner for a couple of hours working on it.  And I heard the most beautiful violin music over by the old post office…

Meet Claryssa Webb, violinist, Laurier Music student, and…

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happily for me, King St busker.  I was loving this music from the corner and trying to get my shots, but I thought I’d better get over to chip in some bucks before the musician packed it in.  When the work is good, especially this good, I always support the artist.

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Claryssa agreed to let me shoot some photos, which was terrific because instruments+musicians is something I could shoot forever.  I really got hooked by that subject domain when I shot the Jazz Room a couple years back (thank you Stephen Preece!)

Claryssa comes to Waterloo all the way from Sault Ste. Marie where this violin was built just for her in 2006.

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I asked her the story of this violin, because every instrument has a story, and she told me this one has paddled canoes and travelled as far as Guatemala.

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She practises for 6 to 7 hours a day—let that sink in—which goes a ways to explaining the quality of this performance.  Her usual place is the public square, but the farmers market was on tonight and she “didn’t want to disturb them”.

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I’m usually a bit reluctant to engage people on the street and ask if I can photograph them, but there was this really great energy and happy vibe on King St today.  People were smiling and saying hello to me and joking about my camera and even stopping to chat, so while I’m zero for twenty on the panning bicycle shots, I did grow a bit and reaffirmed my belief in photography that the most interesting shots appear when you camp out and patiently watch (and listen) as life happens.

Thanks Claryssa.  There are a few more photos over on Flickr if you want to have a look.

More practice for both of us, I reckon.


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