Though I’ve missed my photo gear, I can honestly say that the last months I’ve spent living out of a suitcase have been educational. This time has reminded me how happy my trips abroad have been, mainly since I was traveling with the bare essentials. With the weeks closing on our condo in the rear mirror, the impending move is just days away. I find myself feeling grateful for getting to know my 50mm better lens and capture the many things that catch my eye and capture my imagination. As one who’s long been intrigued with light and shadow, there have been countless opportunities to be creative and work towards bringing my vision to life. From the day we arrived at our hotel, I became fixated on the lights above the bar on the hotel’s ground floor. Something about it reminded me of the Death Star depicted throughout the Star Wars saga. Just like the movies. I needed to find the right angle or spot to fire. Once I did that, I was able to go into manual and take my shot. Though I’ll be going back to work on my manual focus. I thought the images below were pretty cool, with only a short time left before moving day. I’ll be sure to be roaming the halls, looking for light and looming in the shadows.
Coming back to Jersey before the closing on our Virginia condo has allowed us to indulge in some of our favorite things we missed while living in Seattle. Though far from our years in Hoboken and Jersey City. Asbury Park was a beloved and often weekend destination. Whether it was on the beach or the boardwalk. Our experience was always a good one. After a nourishing breakfast at Frank’s Diner where we we wisely decided to sit at the counter. We headed to the boardwalk where we spent a fun day relaxing and enjoying the sights, which included but were hardly limited to weddings, an official zombie walk and enough sun and cool breeze to carry away whatever might worry the mind.
I can’t begin to tell you how often I’ve wanted to pull the over to spend an hour or two taking pictures. Knowing what my wife’s reaction will be, I keep my mouth shut and my enthusiasm in check. That said, there are moments and opportunities that I can’t pass on. Knowing how protective my wife has become and my not wanting to be made fun of, due to my obsession. I’ve been forced to try new things.
The other night was a perfect example as we were on the final leg of our trip back to the hotel. The colors and shapes in the sky caused by the setting sun were off the charts. (My favorite time of the day to photograph landscapes.) With no filters or flash and no intention of asking her to pull over. I adjusted my camera settings, leaned forward and took a few images to take home with me. I was somewhat surprised how well the images came out. With no reflection from our dirty windshield. I guess I found a temporary filter without actually looking of paying for one. Not bad. Not bad at all.
When thinking of photography and whatever approach I might decide to take in the near future. Much like life itself, I can’t help but think of minimalism. What that actually means? I’m not sure, but living out of a suitcase over the past months with a single camera body and a 50 millimeter lens has been difficult yet educating. Moving to Arlington, I’ve found a renewed interest in photography and documenting my new surroundings. With my newfound interest has come a desire to approach each picture with a new sense of purpose and focus. Asking myself, what attracted me to this image and what message, if any, do I wish to convey? As much as I’ve alway been to telephone lines and cell phone towers. I can’t help but think, with all these connections and gigabytes, we seem to be communicating less. Sure, we talk a lot. But, are we listening?
Every weekend my wife and me try to get out of the everyday stress of the work environment and whatever stress the work week and it’s related trappings. No matter the city we called home, there was always an outlet or a route worth taking. One that would allow us to expand our minds and realign our focus. Having grown up and lived in the boroughs of New York City and lived much of my married life in New Jersey, there was always somewhere to go and something to do. Moving to, and living in Seattle for four years provided more than its share of exploration and mind expanding experiences. With only a few months back east in Virginia. There’s still so much to do. Lucky for us, that desire to explore and experience new things still burns. As many days of exploring Virginia and Washington, DC lie ahead. The several trips to Maryland have been rewarding. I took this image of the Patapasco River in the midday sun with the only equipment I have with me now, my Canon body and 50 mm lens. While I’m looking forward to being reunited with all my lenses, filters and flash, shooting with the bare minimum has been a fulfilling challenge. Here’s to more weekend challenges, exploration and of course, documentation.
Truth be told, I was never close with my Mom’s Mom. Though she lived just a few blocks away from us, a few steps from where some good friends of mine. Not a thought would occur as I walked past her residence almost daily. The only time I had been in her building or apartment was when I was 7 years old and a night long altercation between my Mom and my future Schlep Dad got loud and violent enough to summon the police. That morning would be the first and one of two times I ever stepped over that threshold. And though we would see one another on holidays (One of my favorite memories being her giving my Schlep Dad two cartons of cigarettes for Christmas. As if to say, “Here, this and the drugs your on, should speed up your death, you piece of shit.” There were attempts later in life to get closer, which included two trips to her new home in New Mexico. But, aside from that, nothing. Still, there was always something badass about her. She drank, smoked, cursed and played guitar. (pictured here.) Basically, she did whatever the fuck she wanted to. And for that, I admire her.
By all means, the day should have and was a very rewarding day. One that started with a good breakfast and the assurance that I would have enough toilet paper to carry me through my final days rewards here in Arlington. The inspection of our new condo furthered our day of rewards and promise that we were one step closer to fulfilling another dream of ours. It wasn’t until arriving home and chatting with my Mom, that the feel good day took a hit. “Your grandmother is dying.” While this came as no shock (She was in her mid nineties and had been in declining physical and mental health for years.) there’s always a sadness that comes with the passing of a family member. Again, there was no shock when, on the next day, my Mother informed me that she passed away in her sleep the night before.
I’ll be honest. I hadn’t spent much time taking pictures since arriving in Virginia. It’s not that I’m at all dissatisfied with what the area offers. Let’s just say, I’ve been kept busy with other things. Wheres keeping busy is always good. Keeping ones sanity is even more important. As things such as tai chi. meditation and the gym have become integral parts of my daily routines. That extra moment of fresh air and solitude with my camera are just as, if not more important to the balance needed in life.This shot was taken the other night after a trip downstairs to the gym. At the time, the air was cool, as the sun was just beginning to descend. I had my camera set to manual mode and set to the slowest speed I could use without a tripod. As recent weeks and months have proven, as my health and balance continue to worsen, my passion for things that were always important to me, haven’t wained.
Upon hearing that, due to her heart problem, my step mother had not been vaccinated. We wisely decided to change our plans to sit in labor day weekend traffic and head south to Baltimore for some crate digging at Celebrated Summer Records and enjoy violently attacking crabs in order to rob them of their juicy insides. (Poor undeserving things.) All jokes aside, L.P. Steamers is out of this world. Before arriving, we passed a number of places I wanted to stop and take pictures. This river and the Domino Sugar factory just across the way, were just one of the stops we made. The bench image was taken in Baltimore’s Little Italy.
In a recent post ‘Good News’, I mentioned that our Seattle condo had gone up for sale and that there were already some offers on the table. Well within a week, the condo sold and the day we received payment, we made an offer on a condo. Things have moved quickly and next week we’ll have it inspected. While it feels good to be back east. Adding a sense of permanence in a home ads a sense of comfort that living out of suit case doesn’t. I’m really looking forward to the move and the cool layout.
On Wednesday, the 21st, we received the final draft for our condo listing. As we went through the images and the description (much of which came from us.), we both felt overcome by what a fantastic piece of real estate we occupied. The following morning, the listing became active, and my wife seemed overwhelmed by the number of views and favorites on the website. It wasn’t until later that afternoon that we received an email from our realtor informing us that we received an offer for its asking price. No initial offer. No nickel and dime low ball bullshit like we got from the eventual buyer of our condo in Jersey City.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday came, and there were two more offers.no weeks, months of waiting, wondering if we overpriced it. BAM! First day on the market. Asking price offer and no bat shit crazy requests from the potential buyer. As I sit and wait for the realtor to call, I can’t help but feel optimistic and downright giddy about life in general. We’re expecting possible buyers coming in from California later this week. After which, we will make our decisions on how to proceed. Regardless, we feel like we’re in a great position to move forward. While seeing those pictures and reading the description helped remind me of how lucky I’ve been. I still feel that our decision to head back east was the right one.