George Washington Middle School, Mount Vernon Avenue

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George Washington Middle School, Mount Vernon Avenue. Nikon D200, 35mm f/1.8 AF-S DX, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/125 sec.

Architecture has always been a passion of mine. I am fascinated by the way lines intersect and branch off to form other shapes and patterns. The feeling that these two parts of the building converge somewhere that we can’t see is very interesting to me. Walk a little bit further to the left and it’s a completely different feeling.

I also love the way the trees filter the late afternoon sunlight, casting undulating patterns on the buildings. Once again we see the marriage of architecture and nature, if not necessarily intentional.

Oar Sanding, Alexandria Seaport Foundation

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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!

Saint Mary’s Steeple, South Fairfax Street

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Saint Mary’s Steeple, South Fairfax Street. Nikon D200, 200mm f/4 AI, ISO 100, f/4, 1/250 sec.

Here’s a slightly different look at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Old Town. The main facade of the church is on Royal Street, but this was taken from over a block away, on Fairfax. From that vantage, there is a perfect, clear view of the bell tower and it looks especially dramatic when silhouetted against a gorgeous evening sky.

Braddock Station Entry, Braddock Road

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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.

Snowy Branches, Commonwealth Avenue

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Snowy Branches, Commonwealth Avenue. Nikon D200, 50mm f/2 K, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/125 sec.

Here’s a little snow to remind you that it’s actually still winter in the northern hemisphere. Also, not a bad example of some of the beautiful architecture here in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria.

West Marine, South Patrick Street

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West Marine, South Patrick Street. Nikon D200, 35mm f/1.8 AF-S DX, ISO 250, f/4, 1/20 sec.

I love photographing architecture and this building, while not a particularly interesting specimen, took on a beautiful glow at dusk. Twilight exterior photographs can really make almost any building look glamorous.

I happened to have my camera sitting on the front seat of my car (it goes with me almost everywhere) and I snapped this photo while sitting in line at a red light.

Coffee Beans, Misha’s Coffeehouse

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Coffee Beans, Misha’s Coffeehouse. Nikon D200, Nikon 50mm f/2 K, ISO 100, f/11, 1/250 sec.

Everyone who knows me knows that I love good coffee, and there’s no shortage of it here in Alexandria. One of my go-to spots is Misha’s Coffeehouse and Roaster on Patrick Street in Old Town. I love that they are a small operation, and their coffee is excellent. If you have time to hang out, the vibe is cool and they always have great music on. I’ve posted about them before, and I’m sure this won’t be the last time either.

I don’t usually go in-depth here behind my process, but today I thought it would be fun to do that. I wanted to create an interesting product shot just for fun (I’m always working on my lighting anyway). One of the things I like to consider when shooting products is the company’s branding. Misha’s is well-known for their orange cups and orange labels, so I wanted to create a backdrop that would have an orange glow that would spill over onto the product. In order to create the glow and spill, it required an actual light source, as opposed to a simple colored backdrop.

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An orange-gelled speedlight in a stripbox served as the glowing backdrop

I used a stripbox with a speedlight gelled orange. Getting the power setting just right on the speedlight was critical in creating the right tone for the backdrop. “Right” in this instance is completely in the eye of the beholder, and I wanted deeply saturated color.

The key light was a gridded speedlight aimed right at the heart of the label. The grid was essential because it kept light from spilling onto the backdrop and washing out my saturated orange color. The subtle rim light is coming from another speedlight with a greenish-blue gel and a snoot (again to keep the light from spilling as much as to keep it from flaring into my lens). Check out the full setup shots below to get an idea as to the placement of each light.

Oyster Shucking, King Street

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Oyster Shucking, King Street. Nikon D200, Nikon 50mm f/2 K, ISO 400, f/2, 1/60 sec.

I had the opportunity to do some wandering around Old Town today, so I walked the kids down the lower (eastern) half of King Street. I have always loved the window display of seafood on ice at Fish Market, but have yet to take a photo there that I really like.

I got lucky today, and was able to capture a few frames of oyster shucking. I must have looked like a total tourist, but hey, it’s good to blend in that way sometimes!