Dusk

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.

Alternative Plans

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.

Counting the Days

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.

Good News

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.

But Still…

As exhausted as I might be from our move back to the east coast, my mind can’t help but think of photographing and documenting my new surroundings. A new town or city will do that, and both Washington DC and Virginia offer many visual opportunities. And as we move from two nights of hotels in both Seattle and DC to our temporary Amazon apartments, I couldn’t help but grab my camera and 50mm lens to experiment with some of the light and shadows in our apartment and spooky hallway.

Rack ’em Up; One Last Trip Up to the Roof Deck

As I gazed upon the pool table located within the spacious rooftop sky retreat, I was taken aback by my childhood. Thinking back to a time when going to bars and pool halls with my Father was a constant. Watching my Dad win game after game while I reveled in my cheeseburger and fries. Going over every title on the jukebox. The many nights when he’d leave the bar with me in one hand and a fist full of cash in the other. Often leaving with a fist full of cash from his night of sharking. Much like the poker games and betting halls, I became familiar with a young, wide-eyed shorty.
There was always a game, and always players lined up to get a taste.

While some have found it shocking that a kid not old enough to see over the bar was exposed to an adult world. I look back on those days fondly. Intended or not, they provided education as to what I wanted to be and what I certainly didn’t want to be. Though I was taught to keep a tight lip at the time. Over the decades that have passed, much of what we experienced has become conversation and reason for laughter at family get-togethers. Over the years, I’ve learned that the perfect childhood, often detailed in movies and sitcoms, is a rare beast. Though I can admit to being one of mankind’s worst pool players and has rarely ever placed a bet or even played the lottery. I can’t help but think of and admire my Dad for his skill with the pool cue.

Nothing Compares

No matter where I travel. No matter where I live. Nothing comes close or compares to watching to sun come up or go down over the horizon, as one that often fantasizes but rarely gets out of bed early enough to enjoy the sunrise. I am more than willing to chase a sunset as it disappears over the horizon., often doing a google search to find the exact time the sun is scheduled to set in my area. Since moving to Belltown in Seattle, I’ve been spoiled with a view of Puget Sound to the west and South Lake Union to the east. In the months that have past I’ve seen myself taking the picture I first stumbled over my thoughts to describe. I still find myself racing to the balcony to admire. The one and probably most admirable factor are that no sunset looks precisely the same. Whether the sun is peeking through the clouds or shining bright, it continuously proves to be one of nature’s most beautiful aspects.

Getting Older

As a teen and even through my early thirties, I always looked very young for my age. I questioned police throughout my twenties, thinking I was skipping school or being carded at bars well into my thirties. That baby face and look of innocence has been a curse as much as it’s been anything.
As my dad began sprouting gray hairs and even thinning at the top in his thirties, I’ve entered my fifties with no greys of bald spots to cover. And while I took on some weight during my drinking phase and a strict diet of fast food and red meat, I’d say the subtle changes I may have made more than a difference in preserving my fountain of youth. Yet, here I am celebrating another birthday, wondering if I’ll ever sprout greys in anything besides my beard or learn the art of the comb-over. Lucky for me, I have my sarcasm, smirk, and cynicism to guide me through my journey. Allowing me to look good while shaking my fist at the clouds and screaming, “Get off my imaginary lawn.” to anyone who chooses to trespass upon it.

Our Time in Seattle is Coming to an End.

After four years in Seattle, we’ve decided to head back east. Despite the adventure and the fact that we bought a home here. We decided to move to Washington, DC. The draw of going back east to be close, but not that close, to family and friends, is undeniable. As someone inspired by the music from the area at a young age, music also influenced my sociopolitical views. The opportunity to live in a culture that had and still has such a profound effect on me is exciting and compelling. Since our decision, we’ve made a point of visiting the areas, restaurants, record and book stores we’ve enjoyed the most during our time here. One of the spots I’ll miss most is Belltown Barbers. Dave and CoCo have provided me with the best cuts and the best gab sessions anyone could ever ask for during my four years here. I hope and plan to keep in touch with them. Only time will tell. Regardless, by Saturday, I’ll be having breakfast at DC’s Waffle House and exploring the area’s record stores.st.

Left to Right; Dave, Me, CoCo.

Using Manual Focus

As time goes by, I find myself trying to wane off all automatic features offered on my camera. Shooting on Manual, AV, or TV has been the most rewarding educational experience I’ve had as a photographer. It’s helped me improve my composition skills while giving me complete control of my creativity. Manual focus, however, seems to have become my Achilles heel, especially, and almost exclusively, when it comes to night and low light settings. My focus here was the far-off Queen Anne Cell Towers, which have been an image I’ve attempted to take for some time now. At the same time, my attempts have rendered results both good and bad. It’s the sharpness of my manual focus that always seems to be the judge.
Looking at the shot below and being reminded that it was taken without the balance of my tripod makes me appreciate my growing sense of patience. I wholeheartedly recommend learning all the options your camera offers. Using those tools and getting off manual modes with not only help you grow as a photographer. It will also help you create your unique vision.