It's hard to get a natural photo of people on the street - you have to look for your shots without being obvious about it. If I think someone will notice I’m aiming the camera at them I always ask before shooting. But I know when I do I've pretty much lost a chance at a natural photo.
It's especially hard to get casual shots in small towns. Let's face it, small town residents are more likely to notice any stranger - but especially a stranger with a camera pointed at them. I'd like to do a photography project on the streets of small towns in the Midwest that focuses on everyday life. So many small towns in the US are dying a slow death, but I know there are plenty of interesting people left in them. I haven't figured out the right way to go about this project yet, but I've made a few small stabs at it. I took the shot above in Weston, Missouri, a town near the Missouri/Kansas border. The two men seemed to be good friends, and they looked like interesting people. I wish I had taken the time to go talk with them. Getting the project defined so that I can explain it to people will help with that. Next time.
Weston is a small town with a touristy twist - its claim to fame is that it was the westernmost settlement in the U.S. until 1845. A primary jumping off place from the Missouri River to the Santa Fe Trail, in 1850 approximately 250 steamboats docked in the town. But in 1881 a large flood shifted the Missouri River two miles away from the town and the population began to decline until around 1970. It's a credit to Weston that it found ways to buck the trend and actually grew in more recent years.