“Red Line train to Glenmont.” Even with all the troubles that Metro has given us in recent history, the system is quite pretty. From the Brutalist architecture, to vistas on some of the fly over tracks, Metro can still provide beauty in our daily lives. And that’s before you take the time to do a long exposure of a train coming into a station.
Pablo certainly captured that beauty with this Red Line train entering Union Station. He caught it just right so that the individual cars run together at one end, making it look like a single car. And at the other end, there are the light lines streaming along. And if you look closely at those light lines, you’ll see the wonderful movement made in the long exposure; solid lights and letters moving together forming a unique pattern. And you can clearly read the station sign and the warning on the tracks through the train’s arriving movement. Quite the sight and always a pretty one to see.
By the way, if you’re interested in great photography, our friends over at Exposed DC are getting ready to kick-off their 2014 Exposed Photography Show. They’re having a launch party at Bluejacket tonight and it will be well worth going to. This juried photography show is going into their seventh year and it is always worth seeing (both Kerrin and myself, as well as many of our regular contributors, have had photos in previous years of the show). Hope to see many people at the party!
So, this photo. Parents need to take a lesson from this photo by Jennifer (and the other similar shots in her stream). Do you see what this baby has that yours does not? That’s right, a mustache. He’s got the baby chub, the adorable striped socks, and the very dapper tuxedo onesie but, let’s be honest, that mustache really takes it to a whole other level. Jennifer did an excellent job of capturing it as well through this wonderful high contrast black and white image with its yin and yang composition.
I know he only grew it in honor of Movember but I think we can all agree that the world would be a much better place if this little cutie kept it year round. Congratulations on your adorable baby Jennifer and maybe try and convince him to keep the ‘stache just a little longer?
Let’s take a short trip back in time. Not a long trip, just to April of 2012; the 17th day of the month, to be exact. On that day, NASA did the really awesome thing of buzzing DC with the Space Shuttle Discovery on top of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. It was a great sight and one not likely to happen again. A whole slew of photographers got shots of the flyover; be sure to check out some of their work.
Chris was able to get a shot of the event that was both unique and yet iconic of that morning. Using a very old film camera, specifically a Kodak Ektra from the 1940s, and some grainy black and white film, Chris is able to treat us to a sight that looks more UFO-ish and less Post-Modern. It’s a shot that makes me imagine a bunch of well dress Feds, in a 1950s smoke filled room, looking over this shot with a magnifying glass trying to figure out what flew by the Washington Monument. And yet, we know what actually happened and when the shot was taken. Truly fascinating and well done!
I spend a lot of time on Flickr wandering aimlessly around looking here and there, seeing what new and interesting work people have come up with. A few weeks ago, while looking through photos with Washington, DC tags I came across some shots by Ernest Baroni. The photos were very distinctive in their appearance. In fact I thought they were film. But they’re not, they were actually taken with the Leica M Monochrom digital camera. You can see in this wonderful shot what I mean. The lights and darks, the grays in between, and the grain. Let’s not forget the grain. It doesn’t hurt that he managed to capture such a great moment. Awkward on land, sea lions are amazingly agile underwater. They can glide without effort, averaging 11 mph with a top speed of 25 mph, and are able to hold their breath for 8 to 20 minutes, looking almost like dogs with flippers. They certainly sound like them.
I’m not a gear head, and I don’t own any Leicas, but the Monochrom makes some great pictures especially when in the hands of someone with a good eye like Ernest. Well done sir.
Cute, cute, cute! John submitted this excellent, and unorthodox, animal shot of a clouded leopard at the National Zoo. Typically when shooting animals or wildlife I advise that the photographer should aim for the eyes. However, John made the smart choice of focusing on the leopard’s paw and pelt, completely avoiding the face, and forcing the viewer to look at this feline in a different way. Notice the large size of the paw, relative to the rest of the body. Also, look at the ear; even though the cat is sleeping or lounging, it still has one ear up for alerting it to danger. Of course, there is the fine detail of the cat’s fur and markings, as well as the very fine detail of the pads on the bottom of its feet. It’s a great shot all around!
Hulkamania is running wild, Brother! I never realized it until I saw this photo by R Lopez but what this world needs is more Hulk Hogans. Not the current soft-spoken Hulk Hogan doing his reality tv thing but the 1980s Hulk Hogan, leader of the Hulkamaniacs, overly tanned, overly blond, overly oiled, and with a voice so strained that you’re waiting for the moment when all the muscles in his neck pop. Though most likely dressed up for a Halloween party I’m going to hold out hope that we’ll see more of these guys around town on a regular basis. Maybe some Macho Man Randy Savages too. OOOOH YEEEEAH!
We have a fascinating a scene from Mount Pleasant today, captured by Gerda. There is a fascinating complexity to the shot, with the foreground texture of the door, the faint reflection in the glass, and the main scene of the laundromat. As well, looking onto the people in the shot, you start wondering what is happening. Are the two female laundromat patrons looking at the photographer or at something out on the street? And Gerda was able to frame this shot with two people going about simple, every day actions (the man folding laundry and the woman checking her cell). Gerda wisely has this shot in black and white, which removes the potential distraction of color, allowing us to focus only on composition. An excellent shot, to be sure.
Rainy days tend to keep most people from carrying around their cameras which is understandable. Who wants to risk damaging such an expensive piece of equipment? But how many of you have seen something on your trip to work or walk to lunch and thought “if only I had my camera with me?” Sometimes it pays to bring it along for the ride as købiā found out one rainy day last week.
Instead of focusing on the person, the rain itself is the subject and the low angle gives a different perspective all together. Was this taken from the ground? Looking up onto a walkway? And the photo has a nice dreamy quality to it – one that makes you want to go home, sit on the couch, and listen to the rain fall against the window. Maybe take a nap. Yeah, definitely take a nap.
If you’ve missed it, the last few days have produced some amazing sunsets. I believe (and if someone with a atmospheric science background could confirm this) that it has to do with the angle the sun is setting at this time of year and the heavy clouds/atmosphere with the storms moving through the area. Whatever the how is, the end product is great to look at, and Erin came away with an amazing shot. Those deep oranges are hard to catch, and she was able to do it while not completely blacking out the foreground. The subtle orange reflections along the ground accent the silhouetted cityscape perfectly. She even was able to capture some reds, pinks, and blues a few minutes later. Simply mesmerizing.
A number of other contributors got shots of the sunset over the last two evenings. Those too are well worth a few minutes to check out.
The government may be closed for business, and you may be forced to sit home and wait for Congress to come to it’s senses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look at cute stuff while you do it. Daniel Reidel took this squee-worthy photo of spectacled bears Billie Jean, Curt, and Nicole on Saturday. Let’s hope that the government shutdown gets figured out before these guys are also forced to stay home from work. Make sure you browse through his other amazing animal shots from the National Zoo, it will help the time pass if not quickly at least cutely.
Well positioned sunrise photos are always good, but when you can get that big ball of orange light in your shot it takes on a whole new life. In addition, you’ll get super-bonus points for getting a building, any building, in the shot. But when you can do it with the buildings being the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument, you deserve special recognition, like Kevin’s photo above. It has it all: the sun directly behind the dome; a uniform orange dawn sky; the sun as a perfect circle; and even a perfect silhouette, with no atmosphere distortion, of the Statue of Freedom. Pretty amazing.
As I mentioned in last week’s Week In Review, the Fall Equinox was on Sunday. That meant that the full moon last week rose almost perfectly from the east. What I didn’t mention is that the sun rises perfectly from the east on both Equinoxes (Spring and Fall). Since the timings and placements of these celestial bodies have been known for centuries, with the right tools it’s very easy to plan out a photo shoot to get your own well placed shots. I use the Photographer’s Ephemeris which provides a map and lines showing the movement of the sun and the moon for a given location; it’s very intuitive to use (plus the desktop version is free). So get planing, as the Spring Equinox is March 20th and I hope to see people out taking some sunrise shots.
“Objects in mirror are closer than they appear” or something like that. I am a fan of photographing reflections. I especially like that kind that give you a hint about what’s not included in the photo as in this wonderful shot by Raymond Bryson. At first glance you notice the striking white lines of the crosswalk and when you follow those back you notice the mirror (two actually, with one turned at a 90 degree angle) and the corner of something. It isn’t until you take a closer look at what’s reflecting in the mirror that you start to make out a headlight and front grille. Of course it’s at this point that you start wondering what kind of vehicle it could be. A delivery van of some kind? Maybe an ice cream or food truck. Luckily Raymond is nice enough to tell us it’s a USPS mail truck but it’s still fun to imagine the possibilities.
Double exposure photographs can produce some fascinating and unpredictable results. But Erin’s shot above is aligned so well I’m suspicious that she planned this shot (which is possible, though quite difficult). In her shot, the viewer’s eye is drown to the statue centered in the picture, nicely framed in the black strip. Then the graffiti on both sides of the statue gives the photo a level of texture as well as more material for the viewer to explore. These two exposures, though very different, were well chosen to complement each other. It’s also a very complicated shot, with a great deal of material for the viewer to take in. Great work!
There are really only two carnival rides that I enjoy riding: the Scrambler and the Swings. I know, I’m lame. But that’s not the point. The point is that carnivals and fairs are some of the best places to take photos as Kim has so excellently demonstrated in this wonderful shot from the Maryland State Fair.
I am a huge fan of carnivals and fairs for the myriad opportunities they provide for practicing a variety of photography techniques. Where else will you find people from all walks of life gathered together for a day or evening of good, old-fashioned fun? Look for the most interesting characters, or private moments that otherwise go unnoticed in the crowd, and get candid shots that every street photographer will envy. Channel your inner photojournalist and document life at the fair; maybe interview a couple of the workers running the games or the members of the 4-H club showing off their prize pigs. Bring your tripod and a shutter release cable so you can capture some long exposures of the carnival rides glowing in the night. (Personally my favorite thing to do.) The possibilities are endless but if you somehow manage to run out of ideas there’s always funnel cake. And fried Oreos. And fried Snickers. And ice cream. And cotton candy. And, well, you get the point.
P.S. If someone brings me a funnel cake I’ll share it with them. And by share I mean they can have a bite. What?
A simple and elegant photo today; one which combines a delicate use of color and shadow, light and dark, to please the eye. Paul’s framing of the silhouetted man descending the escalator is positioned just right for the viewer’s eye to catch the flowing lines in the concrete wall. In turn, all of the shapes and designs in the wall are illuminated nicely with pleasing colored lights, balancing out the black of the shadows. Simple and elegant; well done!
Space; the Final Frontier. No, I’m not going start talking about this ship’s continuing voyages but I am going to talk a little about astrophotography. That really big word (which I do enjoy saying) just means taking pictures of stars, planets, and the moon. While it can cover such things as the pictures the Hubble Space Telescope took, in this instances I’m thinking more amateur and terra firma based.
Marc’s photo above is a great star trail photo. If you didn’t know, the night sky is in constant motion because the Earth is rotating. If you’re skilled enough, you can capture this motion in photo form in two ways. The easier (and that does not mean easy) way is to use film; using a low ISO, or low-light sensitive, film, a photographer can keep the camera’s shutter open for very long periods of time (as in hours) to capture the celestial movement.
The other way, which is what Marc did, is to take multiple shorter exposures (say 30 to 60 seconds each) and then layer them in a photo editing programming, like Photoshop, to combine them into a single shot. You might think this is cheating, but it’s the only way to do it with digital photography; since digital cameras are sensor based, not a physical medium like film, keeping a digital camera running long enough to capture star trails would overheat the sensor and ruin the shot. So layering multiple shots is the only way to achieve it. Also, combining dozens of shots is not a simple task. This is something I hope to try someday and I’m always thrilled to see photographers nail. Great work Marc!
Typically a photographer doesn’t take a long exposure during the day; this makes sense. A long exposure, which is when the shutter is left open for an extended period of time, rather than a fraction of a second, will let in more light. The day time being when the sun is out, that means you would typically have a worthless, blown out exposure. That is, unless you had a little piece of equipment called a neutral density (or ND) filter, which reduces the intensity of the light entering the camera. These little pieces of glass can open a whole new world of photography to those who want to try it.
And if you do try it, you can get stunning pictures like Kevin got above. This thirty second exposure of the Air Force Memorial, during the middle of the day, while using an ND filter, looks like something from a dream. There are multiple features of this photo worth pointing out: the motion blur of the clouds; the fascinating play of light on the metal arms of the sculpture; and, of course, the color of the sky. Kevin says that the color is not from post processing and is simply how the light interacted with the filter glass. Truly an excellent photo; makes me want to go buy one of those filters and start playing!
I’ve talked about the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens before; as a reminder, the gardens are best known for their lotus blossoms. They are so well known, that they attract amateur and professional photos every year. It’s very hard to get a unique shot at such a well documented location (just look through our Flickr group and you’ll see what I’m talking about). So when I saw A. Drauglis’ photo above, it just called out for special attention.
Most people when they photograph lotus blossoms focus on the petals; or, at the very least, include them in the shot. A. Drauglis’ photo completely eliminates them from the shot, deciding to only focus on the stamen. Not only does he focus on only a small part of the flower, he gets a macro shot which gives the feeling of looking inside the body of a living creature, not the outside of a flowering plant. The warm, pleasing pinks and oranges just draw the eye in; while the soft focus on the stems makes the viewer think it’s part of a dream. Truly a unique shot and well worth pouring over.
Shadows and silhouettes can do so much for a photograph. They can provide depth; they can help to focus the attention of the viewer; they can provide dramatic subject matters. They can also make for complex photos; ones that force the viewer to take a little extra time to process what they’re seeing.
Stephen’s photo above is such a complex shot. With the predominant color of the photo being this featureless black, it forces the viewer to seek out clear details in order to understand what they are looking at. And once the viewer sees the corner of the sign on the left side of the image, the photo unfolds in the mind’s eye: an underground Metro platform; the black blobs take shape as people; and the blurred gray becomes an incoming train. The central focus of the photo, the sharply defined silhouetted commuter, suddenly stands out and you wonder how you didn’t see it immediately. This is excellent work!
The Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens is an excellent oasis along the Anacostia River. Known for the beautiful lotus flowers that grow there, the gardens also offer an abundance of wildlife. From multiple types of heron and other birds, to frogs and turtles, even to woodchucks; it’s hard to find anywhere else inside DC that has such a diversity of life…besides the zoo. And if you ever go to the Aquatic Gardens, one of the first things you’ll see are the dragonflies.
Elyse got a great close up, where we can make out the face of the insect. A true macro photograph, all of the fine details of the bug pop out: the transparent wings, the elongated body, and large eyes. In fact, those eyes, which seem to be looking right into the camera, are what make this photo so powerful. And the background is blurred perfectly, which helps to focus our attention right where it should be, on the dragonfly. Truly, excellent work.