After an already full day in Baltimore. We made a final stop at Graffiti Alley, which is located in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District directly behind the Motor House. It somehow reminded us of a miniature version of Long Island City, NY’s “Five Points.” (R.I.P.) Awash with colors and ripe with the smell of newly created art. We made sure to taking our time to soak it all in. As someone who grew up in graffiti culture and always admired what kind of messages would come from a can of Krylon. It energized me. Seeing that someone was using the name that I once tagged up with was just candles on my cake.
Earlier this weekend, we took a short drive to a fairly local Virginia market where we enjoyed the food, cool weather, and even got to talking to some of the locals. I took this image while waiting in an alley while my wife visited a nearby bakery. With the mid day sky at it’s brightest, I made sure to lower my iso and kick up my aperture. When I got home I played around with the contrast, amongst other tools, to get what I wanted. Below are the results.
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.
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.
While our original plans to ferry to one of the many Washington state islands in search of oysters was sabotaged by the threat of two and half hour traffic and the long lines that usually manifests in the search of good food. We altered our plans in order to add a chilled out vibe to our holiday. So, after a home made breakfast and a stop at Third Place Books, we headed to Warren G. Magnuson Park to get some sun and warm beach vibes. Despite the holiday, the park wasn’t overpopulated. Which made for a relaxing day that featured the smell of nearby cookouts and the sound of children enjoying their time together on the beach. Aside from taking a few images, I read a few chapters from the Johnny Cash autobiography I picked up. As I get older, I find myself adjusting to a more laid back, relaxed lifestyle. While I’d say it hasn’t been easy. I like where it’s taking me.
Aside from music, photography has been the longest and most constant passion in my life. Over more than thirty years, countless rolls of film, and thousand and thousands of digital images, I’ve learned and decided that in the end, less is more. Instead of taking and keeping a million images I might like or look back on with lessened enthusiasm. I’d instead take, save and share the ones I carefully composed and maybe planned. Learning to shoot on manual and TV modes while arranging and carefully composing my shots has given me the knowledge and the ability to take the kind of pictures I want. Proving that you’re never too old to learn new things, and there’s always plenty of room for improvement. Therefore, keep shooting, keep learning, and aspire to shoot the pictures you always wanted to.
After a short stay at Gasworks Park, we began to head home with the mindset of picking up a late lunch or early dinner. In a very short span of time, we must have come up with a half dozen different ideas without one really standing out from the other. Upon passing Ivar’s we finally made a concrete decision and made a U-turn.
The warmth of the setting sun and the sudden sense of relaxation brought on by the lake and passing kayakers was just what the doctor ordered. Though a city boy through and through. One who spent many years living within earshot of Times Square and the once feared forty deuce. I have become more appreciative of a laid back and less congested lifestyle. As I grow older, I often find myself craving solitude and escaping to less traveled places. Below is a slide show featuring some of the images I captured while enjoy fish & chips and clam chowder with my wife.