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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I love photographing at Riverside Park, which is down on the southern part of the George Washington Parkway. There’s something exhilarating about scrambling down to the rocks and setting up while trying not to fall in the Potomac River. What follows is the serenity of listening to the waves while waiting for the light to change.
Long exposures are typically my favorites down there, showing motion in the water and, in this case, the subtle motion of leaves and flowers.
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: