Point of view: What I saw; what I couldn't see

After finishing a shoot in New Hampshire and with several hours to spare between commitments, I headed to nearby Laconia to take in Motorcycle Week. The closer I got to the town, the more bikers I saw: on the roads, at gas stations, in restaurants, at hotels, and at scenic overlooks.

I knew that it was the 80th incarnation of the gathering, and that attendees might number in the hundreds of thousands. The visual possibilities promised to be rich. Walking toward the center of the action in the town, the air vibrated with the rumbling of gleaming machines.

Two things frustrated me, however. First, it was midday, a sunny day, so the light was neither engaging nor mysterious. Second, I did not know what the story was. I found myself awkwardly trying to fit the scene into my preconceived notions of bikers.

Wandering aimlessly for a couple of hours, unable to make any inside contacts, proved fruitless. I felt I'd learned more about myself than about the bikers: When I'm on unfamiliar ground, my preconceptions can blind me to what's actually happening.

The only image I liked is this one of reflections captured in the double-paned window of a storefront.

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