Imagine yourself sitting at a bar with nothing to drink, no bartender to serve you, and no alcohol to serve. That was me today at Baltimore’s Cross Street Market. Kind of cool. Don’t you think?
Heading out, I reminded myself that I din’t want to set up in the same spot or take the same photographs I did the day before. Although I was happy with the results. I had no intention of repeating my actions, whether it be by documenting the same subject matter or staying safe by depending on the same settings. With little or no traffic passing. I looked toward the street lights and that coming from the buildings lobby to capture this image. By day two of my little experiment, I can’t help but be happy with the results of getting up early, experimenting with long exposures and enjoying the little moments of solitude.
Below is an image I took outside our condo. As a born and bred New Yorker, I immediately thought of the cities countless bike racks. Having never seen a bike locked to it. I’ll assume it’s a sculpture. With some serious down time, I feel my immediate surroundings are providing little inspiration. With time on my hands and an itch to get out there and shoot. I’ve decided to take some steps to get back to the basics of focusing and composing. Here’s to the weekend.
My journey as a photographer has endured its share of bumps and bruises along the way. Though I had had a few images published and had my first paid gigs a few years before. I had very little knowledge of putting a cohesive portfolio together. I was a hobbyist and an enthusiast. One that had become passionate of the art, but had little grasp of how to get from A to B. Somewhere in my twenties, I picked up a second job working nights at an East Village record store. The owner, himself a published stock photographer became somewhat of a mentor, giving me the green light to build a portfolio from the continuous flow of interesting characters who came in the place. Good, bad or ugly, I was photographing and documenting much of my city life. Many, if not most of the people who took me up on my offer to use them as my instruments of creativity would meet me at a certain time and near place. I was more than happy to share prints with those who agreed to meet up. At the time, I was working with a very basic Nikon film SLR film camera that another boss gave me a few years before. While revisiting some old image files. I found a folder marked “slides”. I recall shooting almost exclusively with slide film at the time. While I don’t remember this particular woman’s name. I recall the session taking place within the lower east side’s Tompkins Square Park. In indulging myself in looking through old files. I’m surprised to find so many keepers.
Going through old slides, I found this image of a Tupac Shakur memorial mural that appeared shorty after his still unsolved murder in Los Angeles. Over the years I’ve come to love, and respect Tupac’s legacy to hip hop and life in general. Looking back, I’m grateful for making an effort to protect my slides and negatives.
In my last post ‘Sunrise’, I briefly spoke of waking before dawn to have a chance to watch and capture the sunrise. Well it turns out that on that particular day, there wasn’t much sun to speak of. What eventually came over the horizon was a bit anti climactic. So, as the following day approached and I suddenly began to overthink that the studio end of my photography and how much I miss photographing people. I decided to clear my head and indulge myself in some night photography. I love the soft light at dusk and the feeling of solitude that comes over me. I took this shot before 7:00 pm as my wife was making tacos.
Before returning home the other night, we stopped about a block from Dolly Madison Blvd. to capture the light coming off the buildings across the way. Throughout the freezing winter, I’ve collected countless ideas and places where I’d like to experiment with night photography and long exposures. With the warmth of Spring upon us and my wife’s willingness to stand idle, I was left to my own devices.
Now that the temperature is rising. I’m looking forward to visiting the many places I’ve mapped out to take pictures. For now, though. I’m staying close and shooting what I can. In my prior post, I went out a bit too late to catch the rush hour traffic that passes our building each night. It’s been a while since I’ve delved into long exposures and night scapes. I’m looking forward to the days, weeks, and months to put those ideas to work.
Last night was the first in recent memory when snow didn’t blanket the earth and, the temperatures raised above freezing. Not that I don’t care for an arctic climate. It’s just that long exposures require a bit of waiting. Something I find difficult when every inch of my body is trembling and my fingertips are giving the rest of me dirty looks. Though I might have picked a bad time and place to capture the lights of passing vehicles, it felt good to step out and capture some long exposures.
Before heading out into the 28 degree night. I put on enough layers to keep me from freezing to death. Here’s a shot I took before wising up and thinking that, in a few months, I’ll be wearings shorts and a short sleeve t-shirt. Until then.