I had an “assignment” from a group of photographers I meet with to take three street portraits. I went to a couple of locations in the past few weeks, but didn’t come away with any portraits I liked. In one case, I didn’t get any at all.

So I went to the Embarcadero in San Francisco on a Friday night and spent a couple of hours walking up and down the waterfront. I talked to people whose photo I wanted to take, and that was the key to getting better photos.

This is Edson, a pedicab operator. He was interested in my camera, which made for an easy conversation. He turned out to be a good subject.

I found a wall outside the Exploratorium that I thought would make a good background. I just had to wait for the right person to come along. This photographer walked by and I asked him to stand in front of the wall. I didn’t give him any direction on pose or expression, and because of his experience as a photographer himself, he did a very good job.

I saw a young man skateboarding on a secluded ramp near the water and struck up a conversation. He said he works at a nearby Starbucks. He was very friendly and posed for several shots. This is the best of them.

Getting good street portraits takes patience and perseverance. That’s why it was only on my third try that I got something worth posting.