This is a quick lessson in photography, under the subhead of "what not to do."
I took this photo, along with many others, in the small town of Albion, New York on "Charles Howard Day" last year. It was a day of festivities and ceremonies honoring one of their hometown heroes, a man who dedicated his life to being an authentic Santa Claus, opening the first ever Santa Claus School right there in Albion in 1937, and appearing as Santa in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade for 17 years. He was a real local celebrity, and if you ask any 'authentic' Santa Claus today who Charlie Howard was, I guarantee he'll know. Like asking an Elvis impersonator if he knows who Elvis was.
So, about the photo. There were a whole bunch of Santa Clauses (Claus's ?) in attendance on the courthouse lawn that morning, all in costume, and I was very excited, snapping photos right and left. There were Santas, Mrs. Santas, and elves of every sort. I was having a ball, feeling like a kid again. Snap, snap, snap went the camera.
What I failed to realize in my euphoria of Christmas Past memories, was that the county jail was right next to the court house, and as I snapped my photos, I kept panning left, getting more and more pics of all the Saint Nicks. There was one in particular who was especially authentic, and I kept trying to get a photo of him as he roamed the crowd. I finally had him in my sights as he spoke with some folks, so without taking much time, I snapped.
I really hope you can click on the accompanying photo here and see it in greater detail.
Number one: The subject has turned his head. So I didn't even get his face.
Number two: On this already dreary day, I managed to capture the really dreary jail building in the background of my Santa photo.
Number three: (And this is my favorite part) Look closely at the little circle I have made, and notice that an actual prisoner, COMPLETE WITH STRIPED PRISON PANTS is standing in the doorway with a couple of guards watching the festivities.
Possibly the worst photo I have ever taken. But I came up with a really good caption: "He knows if you've been bad or good."