Set the dial on the way-back machine to early spring, 1971. Set the locator beacon to Clark Park in my old West Philadelphia neighborhood. You never knew what might happen in Clark Park. This particular day a pair of pipers and a drummer (with his highly polished drum) showed up to entertain us. I hung out and shot this series of B&W photos.
After all these years, I’m not remembering the sequence of events. I love the drummer’s pose here. He’s obviously enjoying a relaxed moment either before or between. Can you see the “color” in the plaids, the kilts and those marvelous socks? All it takes is a good B&W film like Tri-X and a great lens. I may be walking out on a thin branch here, but “real” color would have dominated the scenes and pushed the people and the mood aside. Good thing I couldn’t afford color back then, eh? The truth is that I’ve been in love with B&W for as long as I can remember. There’s no cure you know.
Still relaxing and taking a wee bit of refreshment here. I was shooting with my almost new, barely a year old, Pentax Spotmatic and my fantastic 105mm Super Takumar lens. I loved that lens. In fact, I never took it off the camera. It was a perfect people lens because it let me isolate my subjects and blur both foreground and background. And superb glass? Oh yeah, was it ever. Zoom? Hah! I zoom with my feets.
Nice pose here. I think they were getting ready for their performance. You have to love those feathers in the jaunty caps. I had some fun headgear myself. I was probably wearing one of the neat berets complete with tassel that my aunt crocheted for me. I think I still have one or two buried in my closet somewhere.
Yep, here they go piping and drumming. I always thought it would be fun to play the pipes. Now if you were to ask an Irishman, he’d tell you the Irish invented the pipes. Most of the blood in my veins was imported from Ireland. With a name like McDevitt and my mother being a Sullivan… Ah the arguments we could be having. Next thing we’ll be arguing the merits of Scotch vs. Irish whiskey. They’re both Gaelic spirits and who cares who was first.
Looks like they’re making their exit here. I don’t remember what was going on that day in Clark Park. I have shots of a young girl wearing face paint and eating cotton candy, a shot of another young lady riding by on a pony and three shots of a young boy climbing the statue of Charles Dickens on the same roll as the pipers. I never dated my negatives so I’m not sure about the season. Early spring 1971 is close enough for me after all these years.
Clark Park was a great place and still is. They have all kinds of things going on there and have their own web site. My wife and I used to go to Clark Park a lot before we got married and moved away. We went to a fair in the park that summer and I have a bunch of photos. Stay tuned for more goodies when we take another trip on the way-back machine next week.
PS — Be sure to join in the fun. Visit James’ Weekend Reflections for more great links.