Looking back, I’d say my journey as a photographer began during my early days in Hell’s Kitchen. Though I had been fascinated with taking pictures since my teens. It wasn’t until I was occupying a one-bedroom in the heart of the west midtown area of Manhattan that my then boss gave me his old Nikon EM SLR along with some film and a couple of photo books that my hobby turned into an obsession. I quickly began documenting my surroundings while graduating from one-hour photo chains to professional printing services such as Duggal and B&H. Within a short time, the towels and sheets that fit neatly in my apartment linen closet were displaced by boxes of photos and trays of slides. My trips to places like Duggal and B&H quickly quadrupled. From my eight years in Hell’s Kitchen to my married life in New Jersey and Washington state. My passion and obsession for photography never waned. My need for living space grew, and the number of photo boxes, enlargements, and ane studio gear morphed. Quickly realizing less is more, I used the premise of moving to digitize all those negatives, slides, photo boxes, and albums before tossing them in the garbage.
As I begin to get the digitized photos back, I can see the vast progress I’ve made over the years. Kicking myself, in a sense, for holding on to the past for so long. Undoubtedly, many photos accurately documented the time and people. Most of it, unfortunately, was junk. Luckily though, there were a few that jogged some serious memories. Photo’s that still show a measure of intent and purpose.
Taken on 48th street and 10th avenue shortly after a snow storm. You can hopefully see the emphasis on the reflections the puddles give. You should also get a rare view of a traffic-free New York City street. Not bad for a photo I took more than twenty-five years ago.
Earlier this afternoon we closed the doors to our apartment at Angeline by dropping off the keys. Angeline was, without a doubt, the best rental experience I can remember. Everything from our apartment, the staff, our neighbors, and our neighborhood was fantastic. We enjoyed having a library next door to us during the almost three years we were there, a city park behind us, a historic movie theatre across the street, and a healthy grocery store just under us. After our dropoff, we picked up some fresh cookies at Colombia City Bakery, did some food shopping at QFC, and even got to say goodbye to the panhandler who stands at the end of the grocery store parking lot. As good as our time there was. We had to decide to either go back East or stay and buy a home in Seattle. Choosing the latter took a lot of thought, but in the end, I think we’ve been happy here.
Headed downstairs tonight to take care of some unfinished business. During the day this parking lot is filled with a combination of parked vehicles and ones coming off Rainier Ave. South in search of a good parking spot and some groceries. As I continue to shoot in manual mode, I’ve gotten back to explore my cameras many features to get as creative as possible.
If it were up to me, I’d be out there taking most of my images after or around dusk or just before dawn. They are, for me and I’m sure many others, the best times of the day. And while, through practice and understanding, I came to love long exposures and shooting in manual mode. While for may, the times of day mentioned are usually set aside for family or getting ready for a days work. It only makes those moments more special when you can slip away or coax a loved one away from their own down time to join you. On my second night I trade the balcony for the parking lot of our local bank. With my wife insisting on tagging along and knowing he lack of patience when it comes to certain things. I made and checked all my camera setting before we left. The images below were shot at 100 ISO F22 at ’30 second intervals.
As a attempt to maintain some or my remaining sanity and quell some of the boredom that has me counting the same commercials that air several times nightly within one half hour cycle of television. I find myself spending less and less time wondering why I own a TV and searching and finding more creative ways to spend my free time. Aside from keeping a chart to keep track of my activities, or lack there of. I’ve been doing a lot of writing, listening to music and delving into the growing list books I have yet to finish. Mosat importantly, I’ve decided to dust of my camera and return to my love of night scapes and long exposures. I took these two from my balcony Monday, just after midnight. (Oh, isn’t that officially Tuesday?) Regardless, I’ll most likely continue stepping out at night to take a few long exposures. Only time will tell.
When we first moved to Seattle in June, 2017, we lived about a block from the space needle near Terry Ave. in what is considered by most to be the lower Queen Anne area of Seattle. It was a time when we often found ourselves within walking distance of downtown Seattle and the more tourist friendly Pike Place Seattle Market. Since moving to nearby Columbia City and becoming actual residents of Kings County. We find fewer and fewer reasons to visit the area. On this particular night my wife and me went from trying a Vietnamese spot just off Jackson and Boren avenues to picking up something at her office to heading downtown before we drove home. We arrived at a time when most of the tourists had gone back to their hotels and the homeless had begun setting up camp on the nearby streets or getting in line to enter the local shelters. The night air felt fresh and the lack of foot and automobile traffic added a sense of calm and quiet. Though there was no place to park, we were able to pull over to the side off the road long enough for me to snap a few images. I captured these images without the help of any filters, flashes or a tripod.
As someone who grew up, lived, worked and went to school in the boroughs of New York City, I thought I’d seen it all. From the dark days of a crime-ridden city, the crack epidemic, and two terrorist attacks, one that shook the towers in 1993 and another that brought them down in 2011. However, moving to Seattle has reintroduced me to some of those somewhat dark times. On the day this picture was taken, we had witnessed much of what Seattle has succumbed to. The homeless camps and tent cities on the sides of the highway, the mentally ill clashing with random passerby’s, and people are shooting up on the sidewalks, allies, and in public bathrooms. While I can’t help but feel for these people and their suffering. I can’t help but feel the atmosphere created by the politicians and appointed authorities foster it. Ax much as I’ve loved and appreciated my almost three years here. I can’t help but wonder when the powers that be will get off their duffs and find real solutions that can be put to work to help these people while saving their own city and state. Only time will tell.
As we were approaching Everett’s home to nerdy fun, Funko, I noticed a particularly clever sign hanging from an otherwise forgettable shop. “Stop the car! Stop the car!” I urged. “Did you see that?” As if it wasn’t enough that my wife found her self driving me to an adult friendly toy store, she’s now being asked to make a U-turn so her geek of a husband can snap yet another image of a roadside oddity. Knowing that her patience was already running low, I jumped out of the car and took a few shots before moving on to our destination. I later rewarded her by agreeing to stop at a nearby outlet in order for her to torture me with clothing shopping at stores I’d never have reason to visit, otherwise. Not a bad trade when you think about it.
Everybody has a story to tell. Rich or poor. Young or old. Black or White. We all come from diverse backgrounds and have lived different lives. Yes, we’re all related to this earth and one another to a certain degree and share a common bond, but in so many other ways, we are unique. As I get older, I’ve tried to become less of a talker and more of a listener. Though it’s taken a lifetime, I’ve come to understand and embrace that the only time we learn is when we listen. So, after years of talking, I look forward to the hopes I can become a better listener.
Though we decided on a rather lengthy road trip, my wife’s oversleeping, the traffic and our appetites that seemed to grow as we sat in one car jam after another. We decided to again, stay somewhat local and save our trip plans for another weekend. After mentioning four breakfast options, we agreed on trying a place in Rat City that we had yet to dine at. Truth be told, I think my wife knows exactly what she wants. She’s just waiting for me suggest it. If after numerous tries, I don’t mention it, she will suddenly swoop in and say it. With empty stomachs we headed to 16th Ave. and had a mood altering breakfast at a place called Noble Barton. And while I usually save my reviews for Yelp, we could not have had a better experience if we tried. Everything from our super friendly waitress to the overwhelming amount of bacon made our decision to stay local one worthy of a golden award followed by a long speech and a lengthy speech. Due to the fact that it was colder than usual, we didn’t stay in the area for long. Aside from a two block walk to the Salvadorian bakery, our stay was short. Depending on how early we rise, we plan on heading to Tacoma from breakfast, record shopping and copious amounts of coffee. We’ll see if our desire to go crate digging will overcome that of sleeping in and a lazy Sunday afternoon.