Maintain, Old Town Waterfront

Maintain, Old Town Waterfront
Maintain, Old Town Waterfront. Nikon D200, Nikon 200mm f/4 AI, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/400 sec.

El Galeon is a replica of the Spanish sailing ships used during the colonial era. Here, a crew member works on the bowsprit, high above the Potomac River.

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Downhill, S Fairfax Street

Downhill, S Fairfax Street
Downhill, S Fairfax Street. Nikon D200, Nikon 200mm f/4 AI, ISO 400, f/4, 1/500 sec.

This was another instance where I found a scene that I really liked, but it needed a human element to add interest. I camped out in this spot for a while and got several different shots of people walking by, but this guy running down the street was by far the most interesting. Not being dressed in running gear, you have to wonder why he is running. Furthermore, I was able to catch him at a moment where it almost looks like he is floating on air.

Pedestrian Study #1, South Lee Street

Pedestrian Study #1, South Lee Street
Pedestrian Study #1, South Lee Street. Nikon D200, Nikon 35mm f/1.8 AF-S DX, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/640 sec.

I’m trying some new concepts with my street photography. The idea of parking yourself on a street corner and waiting to see what happens is certainly not new to street photography (in fact it is about as old as the genre itself), but it’s not something I’ve done often. Usually I have the kids in tow and they are not all that patient (can you blame them?), so I can’t park myself for long.

The other day, I was able to stay in this spot for about 5 minutes and I would just wait for folks to walk by. I was realizing that the light worked particularly well when they would turn their head towards me, but usually they were focused in the direction they were walking. I thought it would be the same with this woman, but she happened to turn her head at almost the last possible moment before disappearing from view. In turn, I was rewarded with this photo that I feel captures the feeling of a fleeting moment, one that will soon be lost forever.

Man Feeding Birds, Old Town Waterfront

Man Feeding Birds, Old Town Waterfront
Man Feeding Birds, Old Town Waterfront. Nikon D810, 50mm f/2 K, ISO 64, f/5.6, 1/400 sec.

Initially, I was interested in capturing the movement of the man throwing bread crumbs to the gulls, who would in turn catch the crumbs in midair. Later, as I was reviewing photos from the day, I became fascinated by the interplay between the lines that could be drawn between the gulls in the air and the shadows cast on the pavement by the trees just out of the frame.

One of my favorite black and white toning tricks is to pull down the blues so that the sky and water take on a more dramatic look and bump up the overall contrast of the photograph. This really brings out the texture of the clouds in the sky, as opposed to the sky looking like a boring mass of gray paste.

Street Performer, Old Town Waterfront

Street Performer, Old Town Waterfront
Street Performer, Old Town Waterfront. Nikon D200, Nikon 60mm f/2.8 AF Micro, ISO 100, f/4, 1/250 sec.

I’ve tried making pictures of this particular performer in the past, but had never come up with something that I liked. He twirls a baton and I’ve tried to capture that action. The main problem is that he’s usually standing in front of a bunch of trash cans, so it’s not the most flattering background.

Yesterday, I realized that what interested me most about him was his face, and to a lesser degree, his hat. So I asked him if he wouldn’t mind me coming in close for a portrait. He speaks very little English (as far as I can tell) so there was a bit of pantomiming on my part to get him to understand what I wanted him to do.

I like this shot the best out of any I’ve taken of him so far, but I’d like to try more in the future. He has a great face, and is quite an interesting character.

Artist Mark Parmelee, Alexandria Waterfront

Artist Mark Parmelee, Alexandria Waterfront
Artist Mark Parmelee, Alexandria Waterfront. Nikon D810, 50mm f/2 K, ISO 64, f/4, 1/1600 sec.

The Old Town Waterfront attracts musicians, artists, and street performers of all types. That’s part of the reason why I keep going there with my camera—you never know what you’re going to get.

As a street photographer, there are times you want to remain innocuous, even invisible. When it comes to artists and performers, I often feel that is the wrong approach. If the tables were turned, I know I’d feel uncomfortable working on my craft if I could feel the presence of a photographer lurking around me. So, as is the case with a lot of my photographs of performers, I introduced myself and asked if he wouldn’t mind me taking a few pictures. Unless the person says no (which is rare), it allows me to feel comfortable to shoot many different angles and moments. It also sets the artist at ease knowing that I’m not a total creeper!

Finally, for me, it’s about creating a connection. You never know where these connections may lead, if only to a pleasant exchange between artists.

Yellow & Blue, Alexandria Waterfront

Yellow & Blue, Alexandria Waterfront
Yellow & Blue, Alexandria Waterfront. Nikon D810, 50mm f/2 K, ISO 64, f/8, 1/320 sec.

This is why I try to carry a camera with me whenever possible.

Street photography is often frustrating, but at times opportunities just fall right in your lap. I doubt this girl purposefully parked herself right in front of these umbrellas that perfectly matched her skirt, but I am glad she did it! The sky was also a lovely shade of blue, providing a nice color contrast to the scene.

Oar Sanding, Alexandria Seaport Foundation

oar-sanding-alexandria-seaport-foundation
Oar Sanding, Alexandria Seaport Foundation. Nikon D200, 35mm f/1.8 AF-S DX, ISO 100, f/2, 1/160 sec.

I met Evan Waksler while out on a stroll with my kids along the Alexandria Waterfront. He was working on sanding down the rough spots on a newly made oar, a tedious task for sure. Evan is the director of the Seaport Center, the floating workshop of the Alexandria Seaport Foundation. ASF is a wonderful non-profit organization here in town that teaches youth the art and craft of shipbuilding. Go check out their website!

Braddock Station Entry, Braddock Road

braddock-station-entry-braddock-road
Braddock Station Entry, Braddock Road. Nikon D200, 35mm f/1.8 AF-S DX, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/125 sec.

In street photography, I’m always looking for visual cues that lend interest to a scene. Beautiful light, colorful or graphic elements, intriguing characters, and decisive moments can all create that interest. I got a handful of them on this particular day. I especially love the tension created between the two figures’ footsteps moving in opposite directions.