Coincidental Tourist Found!

Side by side comparison
A photo of me on the left, I took the photo on the right.

The amazing conclusion to an unlikely story. I snapped the picture of the random tourist on the right. Using the power of Reddit, we found out who she was and that she did indeed get video of me. Read the full story below.

Video courtesy Ivona Bezáková

I was in San Francisco two weekends ago for a wedding. My wife and I visited Alcatraz (pics), had cocktails at the Top of the Mark, and rode a cable car; all the typical touristy things. As I was hanging off the edge of the cable car, taking pics of the scenery, I happened to catch a photo of a rider coming in the opposite direction who had the same idea as me.

Snapped - January 14th, 2012

I thought it was kind of funny that I happened to catch a snapping tourist, so I included it with my touristy photos (see below). But then I got to thinking, I wonder if it would be possible to see that person’s video of me? Often times as I’m driving down the highway, or riding on the commuter train in to work I make accidental eye contact with a stranger. I wonder what the rest of their story is. I wonder what was their impression of me in that brief second, and if they happen to wonder about what the rest of my day will be like. But here was an opportunity to really find out. To get solid proof that the world really does exists before you enter it. I had the exact date, time, and location, so I decided to turn to the internet.

Sunset from the topShutter: 1/50, Aperture: f/4.5, ISO: 320

When you “turn to the internet” that usually means visiting Reddit. If you’re unfamiliar, Reddit can be commonly explained as an aggregate. Users submit links, other users either up- or down-vote each link. So in theory, the links at the top of the heap are the hottest things on the internet right now. But there is also an amazing community of people behind all the voting and snarky comments, and I knew that if there was the slightest chance I could find this random stranger, this would be the way to do it.

I posted a link to my photo in the /r/pics subreddit, a haven for mostly pictures of cats and unfortunate hipsters. I asked the community at large if they recognized this person and if they could help me get in touch with them. You can see the original thread here, Comments page. Several people thought she looked like someone they knew, and the one that claimed it looked like his professor from the Computer Science dept at RIT turned out to actually be right (thanks Furtwangler). This was the only email address I had to try, so I sent an email asking a perfect stranger if I took their picture, and I just heard back. It was indeed Dr. Ivona Bezáková, shooting video on that other cable car, and she sent it to me.

Right back at yacourtesy Ivona Bezáková

In the end, it’s pretty cool having those two shots available side by side. A single second in time captured twice. But I can’t get over the sheer luck that I was able to contact the other individual and see how small our planet truly is. So thanks Reddit. Thanks power of the internet, and thank you Ivona for capturing me in a good light.

I’m a photographer currently transitioning from enthusiast to professional, so I’d love for you to see more of my work than just this casual snapshot. I love shooting live concerts, and here are my top posts from this blog, from all the adventures I happen to get myself into.

Never stop shooting, never cap your lens.

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