It's a funny thing. People like having their picture taken, in general. I like it so much that I'll go to great lengths to "poach" a photo. My kids used to be embarrassed by it, but now they are poachers too.

Some great places to poach are vacation spots, graduations, weddings, birthdays, (family holidays, as seen in the photo here with Tynan), tour stops (especially those frequented by Japanese tourists who like to pose in front of stuff for a photo.)

Thanksgiving 2008.
Tynan thinks he's all
alone at the table. I got
into a string of about
5 shots in a row here.

We went to Disneyland in October. What a great place to poach. I'm in the background of probably 50 photos that went home to wherever and are now on social network profiles around the world. The ultimate poach is where you can sneak a goofy face into the image at just the right moment.

The idea is simple really. When you see a person or a group forming up for a photo op, you merely saunter over behind them as though you're looking at the sights from an angle just behind them. Act as though they aren't even there. You are, after all in the usual poach, in public. You'll see the photographer lining up the shot. The psychology here is that you are for all intents and purposes, invisible. The subjects are preening and the photographer is looking to see if everyone is smiling. Make sure you can see the lens from where you stand. Often you'll hear, "Ok, everybody Onnnnneeeee Twoooooo Threeeee SMILE!" That's when you turn quickly toward the lens, make your wildest face ever (maybe even step up to the back row so it's like you're one of the family) and as quickly as you can after the "click" return to sauntering.

Now you will appear in the photo. When they get home and upload the family picture to Facebook, everyone goes, "who's that???"

There's also the direct photopoach. Someone asks you to take a picture of their group. Hold the camera up ... backwards ... and act like you're looking for the viewfinder, then...... "CLICK" you're on their camera, full face. As seen here:

The poach during Dusty's
Birthday party. The group
shot was next. Lou: "OK,
so I just push this button?"

Or, of course a great photopoacher is promoted to black belt if you can pull off the ultimate. A lone camera, left trustingly on the campground table. Pick it up, snap off a few and set it back down as though nothing happened. You'll be congratulated (or chastised) later for your brilliance. Observe:

My Black Belt photo.
Camping at Lake Tahoe,
This camera was left
on the picnic table.

What I don't have an example of just yet, is a picture some stranger took where I'm just there in the background. I haven't even mentioned the kind of poach that is the "forced friend" poach. I'm sure somewhere out there on the net, I appear in one of those images that the Japanese tourist didn't delete. I see a person posing, and run up to their side to pose along with them as though we've been hanging out all day. After the "click" I just walk away as though nothing ever happened. If you're cruising along the internet and you see me in some inexplanable image, dear reader, please shoot me the link. It's the one thing that would move me from Black Belt to "Exalted Master".

There is great fun to be had in the grocery store, and one of these days I'll write up the game my roommates and I invented in Spokane (Whitworth College!) for getting through the long, cold, dull winters...