Power Lines at Dusk, E Del Ray Avenue

Power Lines at Dusk, E Del Ray Avenue
Power Lines at Dusk, E Del Ray Avenue. Nikon D200, Nikon 35mm f/1.8 AF-S DX, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/80 sec.

The sky was magnificent earlier tonight and everything under it took on a golden hue. I’m always fascinated with line and pattern. You know me.

Impressions, Old Town Waterfront

Impressions, Old Town Waterfront
Impressions, Old Town Waterfront. Nikon D810, Nikon 200mm f/4 AI, ISO 64, f/8, 6 sec.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Potomac Sunset, Riverside Park

Potomac Sunset, Riverside Park
Potomac Sunset, Riverside Park. Nikon D200, Tokina 11-16mm 2.8, ISO 100, f/11, 1/3 sec.
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.