Afternoon light highlighted this window display on the corner of South Royal & Prince Streets in Old Town. I love the play of light and color in this scene.
Here in Alexandria, we’ve had a number of pretty snowfalls so far this winter. Driving back from Old Town one morning, I was struck by the beauty of this red door in the falling snow. It was one of those things I noticed in passing and began to think, wow, that might make a nice photo. Luckily I had my camera in the back so I drove around the block, pulled over, and took the shot.
I used a high ISO to obtain a faster shutter speed, thus better freezing the motion of the falling snowflakes. By the way, this was shot with a vintage Nikon lens that I acquired on eBay for $40. This is by far one of my favorite things about shooting Nikon digital cameras: the ability to use vintage lenses dating back to the late 1970s and even prior, if you know how to alter them.
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.
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.
Lights from the dock, restaurants, and boats shimmer in the waters of the Potomac River. An exposure time of six seconds allows them to blur and become colorful patterns against the deep blue of the twilight sky reflected in the water.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Looks like a nice place to relax, but for the 97º weather. Maybe another day!
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.