Mural Detail, Mount Vernon Avenue

Mural Detail, Mount Vernon Avenue
Mural Detail, Mount Vernon Avenue. Nikon D200, 105mm f/2.5 AI, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/320 sec.

Living in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria has given me some new scenery on my walks with the kids, and the bold mural painted on the side of Cheesetique’s building is just one of the many sights.

I knew I wanted to photograph the mural ever since I first saw it, but it seems that to reveal the whole thing would make me some sort of photographic copy machine. So I’ve let the thought percolate for a while. Do I look for some interesting light? Light it myself? Use it as a portrait backdrop (keeping that thought in mind for the future)? What?

Then the other day it dawned on me, clear as day. Shoot some abstract details. Duh.

I took many shots of difference parts of the mural, which includes the Washington DC skyline, a train, and a derby horse with jockey. I figured the DC skyline made sense, and I knew that Potomac Yard used to be a huge railroad yard, but the racehorse?

I did a little digging into the history of Del Ray, and discovered that the St. Asaph Racetrack (closed since 1905) used to be quite the scandalous affair. The track no longer exists, but you can tell where it used to be from the diagonal streets that enclosed it (E. Mt Ida & E. Randolph Avenues).

 

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Old Town Shoe & Luggage Repair, King Street

Old Town Shoe & Luggage Repair, King Street
Old Town Shoe & Luggage Repair, King Street. Nikon D200, 18-70mm 3.5-4.5 @ 50mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/125 sec.

I’ve been on this architectural kick lately, photographing all sorts of buildings that I find interesting. I’ve always liked the curved element of the sign on this store, and just had to wait a bit to get the right amount of action in front of the store to make things a little more interesting.

Summer Window Planters, Cameron Street

Summer Window Planters, Cameron Street
Summer Window Planters, Cameron Street. Nikon D200, 18-70mm 3.5-4.5 @ 70mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/125 sec.

I’m not around Old Town as much anymore since I moved to Del Ray, but when I do go I end up seeing different things. I feel like when you pass the same things everyday, you tend to become blind to them. That’s definitely a major factor, but in this case it was as simple as having to park on a street that I didn’t used to walk quite as much.

I love the patina of the brick juxtaposed with the bright colors in the planters. Texture, color, line, form. A few of my favorite things.

Catherine & Margaret Portner, Portner Brewhouse (Before)

Margaret and Catherine Portner
Margaret and Catherine Portner pose in the unfinished space that is to become Portner Brewhouse. Nikon D200, 105mm 2.5 AI, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/250 sec.

One of my goals when starting this blog a little over a year ago was to eventually highlight local business owners and their businesses. It’s been a busy year, but I’m finally getting around to making this happen.

I reached out to Catherine and Margaret Portner after discovering their business through social media. The sisters are the great-great-granddaughters of Robert Portner, who owned the largest pre-Prohibition brewery in America. His brewery was located in what is now known as Old Town Alexandria, and the sisters have decided to launch Portner Brewhouse in Alexandria, 100 years after the original brewery closed its doors.

Portner Brewhouse Exterior
The empty corner unit which will become Portner Brewhouse. Nikon D200, 18-70mm 3.5-4.5 AF-S DX, ISO 100, f/8, 1/400 sec.

Portner Brewhouse will include an onsite brewery as well as a full-service restaurant specializing in German fare. Catherine is the beer guru and Margaret is the mastermind behind the food. The sisters have a lot of awesome ideas for the business including a craft beer test kitchen and mug club membership; in addition, they will be resurrecting some of Robert Portner’s recipes and plan to decorate the brewhouse with original Portner artifacts.

Portner drinkware
New and old Portner beer steins, along with some other artifacts from the family’s past. Nikon D200, 105mm 2.5 AI, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/60 sec.

The idea I pitched to them was to do a shoot in the space that would become Portner Brewhouse, and then another shoot once construction is completed. A “Before & After,” if you will. The brewery and restaurant is set to open for business by the end of summer, so you all can expect the “After” post to appear this fall. That is, if I can avoid spending too much time hanging out at Portner Brewhouse!

For more information, visit their website.

 

Sunset Over 495, Jefferson Davis Hwy

Sunset over 495, Jefferson Davis Hwy
Sunset over 495, Jefferson Davis Hwy. Nikon D200, 18-70 3.5-4.5 AF-S DX @ 70mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1/160 sec.

Having driven Route 1 north into Old Town many times, I have always admired the view at sunset. Unfortunately, there’s really no good place to pull over and take a photo and I don’t usually have my camera with me in the car.

I decided to change that for good a few weeks ago and made it a point to have my camera with me. There’s a short stretch of shoulder between two exit/entrance ramps that allows for a really nice composition. So I pulled over, leaned out the window, prayed that no one would rear-end me, and made a few pictures.

Repeating, South Washington Street

Repeating, South Washington Street
Repeating, South Washington Street. Nikon D200, 60mm 2.8 AF Micro, ISO 100, f/8, 1/200 sec.
When I started thinking about the premise of this blog, I told myself that I was going to be looking for images that conveyed great color, light, or texture. All three would be nice, and in this case I got it. This was shot mid-morning outside of a retail establishment on Washington Street. The sun was at the perfect angle to create this interesting array of shadows. I love the way they seem to interlock with the actual pattern.

It’s easy to pass these things every day and not notice. Keep an eye out no matter where you are—there are always great pictures to be made, even if only in your mind.

Stormy Dock, Old Town Waterfront

Stormy Dock, Old Town Waterfront
Stormy Dock, Old Town Waterfront. Nikon D200, 18-70 3.5-4.5 AF-S DX @ 31mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/50 sec.

A storm was on its way out several days ago and, seeing as I hadn’t been out shooting as much recently, I decided it was the perfect time to get out and try to make some pictures. It turned out that the light was absolutely gorgeous everywhere I looked, so I was really glad I made the effort to leave the house!

The shot above was made shortly before sunset, so the low setting sun was reflecting off all of the clouds to the east. As a result, everything beneath was bathed in a golden glow from above. I took a shot very similar to this one over the winter and it’s interesting to compare the two. See below:

Wintry Dock, Old Town Waterfront
Wintry Dock, Old Town Waterfront. Nikon D200, 35mm 1.8 AF-S DX, ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/100 sec.

Fractured Reflections, South Lee Street

Fractured Reflections, South Lee Street
Fractured Reflections, South Lee Street. Nikon D200, 180 2.8 AI-S ED, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/200 sec.

As you know by now, I’m always on the lookout for patterns, colors, and textures. Lee Street is lined with homes that have interesting architectural features. The sun was hitting the house behind me, allowing it to be reflected back clearly.

Ice House Door & Latch, South Lee Street

Ice House Door & Latch, South Lee Street
Ice House Door & Latch, South Lee Street. Nikon D200, 60mm 2.8 Micro AF, ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/125 sec.

There’s an old ice house that has been repurposed as an office for an architectural firm in town. It’s a fascinating building (one that I’d love to see the inside of some day), and the door latch isn’t something you see every day. The late afternoon light was hitting it just right when I snapped this photo.