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.
“Location, location, location” and “Just look at that view.” are perhaps two of the most repeated terms in real estate history. As someone who often chose location over the view. I’ve had the somewhat common experience to have faced alleyways, brick walls and even have an eye shot of a great big Burger King sign. However, moving to our current home we’ve often turned our attention from the television to either go out on the balcony, up to the roof deck or just saddle up to the windows. It’s true that time often allows us to take even the most beautiful things for granted. However, I can’t recall a day when I didn’t race to the window or balcony to watch the sun go down. The reason for composing this shot was the positioning of the boats and the dramatic manner in which the sun was protruding through the clouds.
Back when I was giving my studio photography an overhaul. A mentor and close friend who was going over some of my old sessions. Adding, “What did a shadow ever do to you?” It was something I had heard at an International Center of Photography workshop but wasn’t sure how to correct it. However, once I learned, it was as if an entirely new world of depth and creativity opened up. Just aa I began adding what I learned to my studio photography, I found myself adding shadow to my landscape photos. To add definition to my landscapes and interiors, partly and considerately more to put shade and add anonymity to the people, often strangers in my photos. It’s helped me in a lot of ways, including sales.
It’s also made me think of myself growing increasingly introverted and wary of close contact with others. Below are a couple of images I took before exiting Gas Works Park this afternoon.
I was only seven years old when I wandered onto my first construction site in Jackson Heights, Queens and just weeks after that I watched a close friend fall to his death at the same site. Though tragic in every way, it never deterred me from hopping a fence or overlooking any signs that bore the words “NO TRESPASSING!” As an adult, I discovered a passion for photography and though that passion consumed me. My love and appreciation for things like construction sites, junk yards, factories and the numerous locations that are often deemed “Off Limits.” Having a camera and a desire to document my surroundings led me to many destinations. A few years ago, I attended a Q&A in downtown NYC where the author of a book whose title escapes me would speak about his experiences shooting his factory themed images for his book. Imagine how disappointed I was when he talked about getting permission and a time frame to capture the images for his project. “What a jip!” I thought. This guy got an all access pass and chose to shoot from the cushy balcony. Where was the rush of adrenaline coming from? Where was the risk? Undaunted, I returned to my passion and that rush that comes from not knowing what will happen next. That feeling you get when the hairs on your neck stand on end and tingle. While I’m too old and too sick to climb fences, outrun police or feel the breath of an angry guard dog on the chase,. I’m still holding out that there’s a gallery exhibit or even a book in the future. And while I’ve begun to gather and post pictures on my social media page, I know I still have a long way to go. Here’s a link to some of the images I’ve come across. Left Behind
Following a hearty breakfast that included Johnny Cakes, bacon, eggs and bottomless cups of freshly brewed coffee. We decided to stay close to home to explore nearby Washington Lake. With most of our recent weekends being rain soaked affairs that allow us the excuse to take a good book and the computer to the local coffee house. The sun drenched ones are rare in these parts and therefore wasteful to take for granted. So with our late start and lack of serious plans accepted. We decided to stay close, take it easy and take advantage of what our immediate area had to offer. It goes without saying that some of life’s greatest pleasures can be found right under our noses. Whether it be short walk to your backyard. The hammock on your porch or the lake that lies just five minutes from the place you call home. Sometimes, small steps and short trips can be as and even more rewarding than the bigger ones. As my Dad would say, “Take it Ease.”
As a kid, many of the sleepovers I attended at my friends home had nothing to do with sleep of any kind. If I remember correctly, and I think I do. The goal was to stay up all night in order to get a head start of the next day’s badly mapped out journey into areas and neighborhoods that often resided outside of the borders or imaginary lines our parents often forbid us from wandering past.
Years later I still have a love and admiration for those pre-dawn hours and minutes where much of the world still sleeps. The streets and adjacent pavement have yet to feel the impact of rush hour cars and hustling feet. Aside from the fact that I have to actually go to bed earlier and be aided by the sound of my alarm. Not much has changed. Upon learning that Thanksgiving morning would allow the sun to rise and proudly show itself. I once again set my alarm early enough to join in and watch as the sun peaked over the horizon.
As early as it might have been and as much as I may have waited to enjoy watching the night become day. I was not the first one on the beach. Waiting for me were two separate groups of fishermen, a loving couple, a surfer and someone who found the perfect time and place to reflect and/or mediate. While returning to my everyday responsibilities on the West Coast may not present the same opportunities to watch the sun rise. I’m sure I’ll find similar joys within time.
Today marks two months since we first moved to Seattle and as the days pass, we find ourselves adding things to our checklist faster than we’re able to cross them off. As we’ve gone from changing our address to getting our Washington state drivers licenses and plates, registered to vote and picked up our library cards. We’ve taken time to explore Seattle and take road trips throughout Washington. We’ve found a couple of spots for Vietnamese food and even Pizza. Explored different neighborhoods and brunch spots while attending open houses to look at real estate. In all honestly, the transition has felt effortless.
This past weekend, we skipped the open house schedule to visit a couple of beaches and parks. Being that we currently live a short walking distance from one of the many lakes and waterways. We never find ourselves feeling any sense of being land locked. Still, being at the beach had a good effect on booth my wife and my always unsettled self. Below I posted one image from Alki Beach (I was sure that at least one of those kids was going to fall in.) and Brackett’s Landing. (There was a car ferry just off to the left.)
After Sunday’s nude session I was both eager and anxious about sharing the results with my friend and mentor down the hall. He’s been a great teacher who has made it a habit to share his positive thoughts before sprinkling in any much appreciated criticism. I say “appreciated” because if it were not for those much feared critiques. I would have never grown or learned to improve on the things that have been holding me back. Imagine the combination of relief and glee I felt when he remarked how good the pictures from that session were and why. Going as far as saying that this was the best work I’ve done to date. Declaring that, as I move forward. This should be my portfolio. That school was out and I had graduated. The End.
Less than midway through our first session. Angel leaned in and asked “Do you like working with me?” “Of course I do” I quickly replied. Truth be told. Working with her had been the most stress free session I had worked on in recent memory. Secretly, I was glowing inside. Knowing we had laid the foundation for future collaborations. So when the need to work on something new presented itself just months later. I knew I had an ace in my deck with Angel. It’s quite rare when I am so eager to work with someone again so quickly. However, the chemistry and the results of our first session created the desire to work on new ideas and themes together. We’ve already set up a third and final shoot that I’m hoping will give us something useful for both of our portfolios.
It’s not often when I ask a friend to model for me. Let alone, strip down to her bare essentials to help me tests ideas, such as boudoir set ups I’d like to do in the future. So when it came to asking one particular girl to help me out. At the very least, I was fully expecting a flat out rejection. When she surprisingly agreed. I did everything I could to make her and myself feel as comfortable and pressure free as possible. My goal for this particular session was to project a sense of warmth and intimacy. A mix of subtle lighting, varied backgrounds and a great rapport with my model friend. I think we did a great job. And while my setup will need some adjusting. I’m grateful for getting the opportunity to work with someone I enjoy spending time with.