Steve the Musician, King Street

Steve the Musician, King Street. Nikon D200, 50mm 1.8 AF, ISO 100, f/4, 1/125 sec
Steve the Musician, King Street. Nikon D200, 50mm 1.8 AF, ISO 100, f/4, 1/125 sec

As I’ve mentioned before, weekends are a great time to see a lot of sights in Old Town. In particular, the waterfront and King Street are bustling with tourists and street performers.

I’ve seen Steve playing around town for a while now and I’ve always wanted to photograph him. I’m actually terrible at going up to strangers and asking if I can take their photograph, but I’ve been working on it and getting a lot better. What is there to lose, really? Maybe they say, “no”—worst case, they throw a banjo at you.

Actually, Steve was very gracious when I asked to take his picture and for that I was thankful. I had been standing around with the kids listening to a few songs anyway, and I was delighted when he launched into a rendition of Hero of Canton, The Ballad of Jayne Cobb. I may have been the only passerby to recognize its origin.

This photo was taken with a Nikon SB-26 speedlight mounted to a monopod, optically slaved and fired with my camera’s built-in speedlight. I’ve been working with this technique a little bit and I have yet to feel totally comfortable with it. It can be a challenge to get the aiming just right, especially with people walking by on the street. I’d like to get the light a little more off-axis, which I can certainly work on. Hopefully Steve won’t mind me taking a few more photos in the near future!

Man with Suspenders, Cameron Street

Man with Suspenders, Cameron Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 400, f/4, 1/200 sec
Man with Suspenders, Cameron Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 400, f/4, 1/200 sec

I’ve been pretty good about carrying my camera with me more often. On my way home from work the other day, I met up with my wife and kids for some coffee. Then we walked around town as my wife worked on completing more of this scavenger hunt, where she has to seek out all of these stores to get a card stamped (and hopefully win some prizes).

One of the stores was tucked away into this alley that I had never noticed before—the kind of serene little nook I love discovering. As I was waiting outside the store, this gentleman walked out and stood right where you see him. Thankfully my camera was in my backpack and I got it as fast as I could, before the man could move.

Most of the time I lug the camera around all day and end up not even taking it out of the bag, but moments like these make it worth the effort. As the great photographer Jay Maisel said, “Always carry a camera, it’s tough to shoot a picture without one.”

Lightpost and Window, South Royal Street

Lightpost and Window, South Royal Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/11, 1/200 sec
Lightpost and Window, South Royal Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/11, 1/200 sec

This scene caught my eye while out on a walk a few weeks ago: color, light, and texture. Going on walks with just a prime telephoto lens has really helped me to work on distilling a photograph to its simplest elements.

Al Fresco Tables, South Washington Street

Al Fresco Tables, South Washington Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 200, f/4, 1/160 sec
Al Fresco Tables, South Washington Street.
Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 200, f/4, 1/160 sec
One of my favorite places to sit with the kids during afternoon snack is Society Fair. It’s shaded during the afternoon, seems to have a nice breeze no matter the weather, and they make amazing fruit bars (they’re not as healthy as they sound). The coffee is pretty good too, which comes in handy while trying to fend off the afternoon snoozes.

The outdoor seating is divided into two sections: self-service and full-service. I always sit in the self-service area, but this shot is of the full-service section all ready to go.

Fire Hoses, King Street

Fire Hoses, King Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/4, 1/320 sec
Fire Hoses, King Street. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/4, 1/320 sec

I love fire trucks. If that makes me a kid, I guess I’m still a kid. One of these days I would love to do a Joe McNally-style photoshoot with the Alexandria Fire Department (hear that guys?).

This truck was parked at the end of King Street by the river, and I loved the symmetry of the hoses. It was because of that symmetry that I ended up choosing to process this as a black and white photo. The color of the hoses was nice, but the neon colors in the reflective tape below were distracting.

Farmers’ Market Produce, Market Square

Farmers' Market Produce, Market Square. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/160 sec
Farmers’ Market Produce, Market Square.
Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/160 sec

A trip to the Alexandria Farmers’ Market has been our family’s Saturday morning tradition ever since moving to Old Town. We love the produce, jams, and fresh pastries.

This morning my eye was caught by a fantastic display of colors at one of the several produce stands. I was tempted to buy one of the cartons of mini heirloom tomatoes, but at six bucks a pop, I decided to save my money for a chocolate chocolate chip muffin.

Priorities.

Street Magician, Old Town Waterfront

Street Magician, Old Town Waterfront. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/4, 1/400 sec
Street Magician, Old Town Waterfront.
Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/4, 1/400 sec

The Old Town Waterfront is usually bustling with activity, but no more so than on weekends and holidays. This is the time when tourists are abundant and the street performers plentiful.

This particular magician specializes in sleight of hand. As you can see, he had just found a quarter in this young girl’s ear.