Show Up, Shut Up And Pay Attention

From the Best of Mark Toal

A few weeks ago I was in Las Vegas for the NAB trade show and decided that I needed to get up and photograph the sunrise on the New York, New York Hotel across the street from the hotel where I was staying. Normally I try to not have a specific goal when I go out to take photos so that I that can be open to whatever comes up, but this morning the sunrise was calling me.

NY NY Las Vegas

I made the long walk through the MGM and headed across the walkway between the MGM and New York, New York just as the sun was rising. A homeless man sitting on the walkway looked up at me and said “Hey mister.” I cut his sentence off and said that I don’t have any change or time. He looked at me again and said, “Hey mister, your fly is down.” I immediately realized that I hadn’t been paying any attention up until that point.

I stopped and give him $2.00 and we talked for a few minutes about his life and living outdoors. His name was Brad and he described himself as a street preacher and told me how to make street soup from cheap ingredients. By the time he was finished the sun had risen, but I didn’t care.

The lesson I take away from this is to stay unfocused, don’t have a goal when I go out taking photos and be open to different outcomes.