On October 6th, 2004, I had a newspaper assignment to photograph Caroll Spinney in Hastings, Nebraska. When I got there I took a chance and began wandering the halls outside of the auditorium he was speaking in. And low and behold I found him, waiting patiently to go on. I probably spoke no more than 3 words to him, something like, “Do you mind?” as I gestured with my camera. He graciously smiled and nodded. I was struck at how small he seemed. I expected someone taller, bigger. Because Big Bird was, you know, big! When I lifted my camera to compose my shot I felt like I wanted to capture my initial reaction to seeing him. He wasn’t big, he wasn’t in costume, he wasn’t in a brightly lit and colored TV set on Sesame Street. He was just himself standing in a sparse concrete hallway. And that still made me happy. I fired off a couple of frames and left him to take my shooting position out in the venue. Thanks Mr. Spinney for bringing Big Bird to life for the past 50 years and being a far-away companion to so many children like myself.