Category Archives: Photography

My first ever Lego set: the Guggenheim Museum

When I was young, Legos came in the form of boxes of random, mixed-up blocks: cast-offs from more well-to-do kids who got tired of them. I never had enough parts to complete whatever the pictures showed, so I took liberties with them and just made up whatever I thought I could. Tonight, a friend bought me my first ever Lego set, one from the Architecture series: the Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Some photos:

The project, new in box Partially complete Done, and on the box My very own miniature Lego version of the Guggenheim!

I took my time working on this. It’s been a while since I’ve approached something with such childlike wonder. Tonight I had fun.

Apparently I’m participating in NaBloPoMo

Expanded, it means “National Blog Posting Month,” and the only ticket to entry is to post something every day of the month. I came across a few difficulties with my thrice-a-week posting schedule. Work commitments got in the way. However, with the power of post scheduling, a massive library of photos that I have yet to share, and a few more curmudgeonly comments about all matters design and politics, I might just be able to pull it off. In my usual practice of Photography Sundays, here’s two from my jaunt in Camp Merrylande:

Beer pongs cups Pingpong ball

Dixie cups and a pingpong ball. Imagine what shenanigans went on that night.

Trekking Annapolis: a photo recap one year overdue

A view of main street A shop off the beaten path Skaters at the Smart dealership Angel at the cemetery A few sailboats The shores of the Severn river

Last year around this date my friend and I spent a Saturday walking around Annapolis. We did street photography, toured the Hammond-Harwood House, the cemetery, Main Street, and ended the day on the shores of the Severn River on Seabee Beach across from the Naval Academy. Even the most developed areas of Annapolis do not hold very tall buildings. They’re not too far removed from the beautiful natural surroundings of the area.

Brunch done right: photos from Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs

Coffee mug The breakfast plate The lunch plate An unoccupied table

I don’t remember when I first stepped into Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs on Main Street, Annapolis, but I remember going to brunch there today. I like Sunday brunch, and I’ve gone different places in the past trying to find great food, but ever since I went to Buddy’s, I’ve stopped looking. It’s the go-to place for brunch for tourists and locals alike. Many a midshipman goes there to eat with friends, family or significant others. It delivers the biggest bang for the $12.95 that you pay. The delivery isn’t just in the quality, quantity and diversity of the food—including an omelette bar, carving station, fresh oysters, heck, they have lox ferchrissakes—but the friendly service, warm ambiance and sheer energy of the place make for a great experience to start a day of hitting the town.

Buddy’s can be habit-forming, or, to use a less loaded turn of phrase, it has the makings for a regular Sunday tradition. It’s become one of mine.

(Disclaimer: I have received no free meals nor financial compensation towards this rave review. This is not a sponsored post.)

Photos from Independence Day, 2009

Fireworks 1 Fireworks 2 Fireworks 3 Fireworks 4

Maryland has a funny history of having rainy Independence Day anniversaries (we celebrate the anniversary of something on July 4th and not the date itself: a distinction sadly lost to so many), which make for terrible fireworks photography. This year, the day was clear but not too hot, and a friend and I went over to the foot of the Naval Academy Bridge for a less crowded fireworks show than what could be seen in Baltimore or Washington. Out of around fifty long exposures I took during the show, those above are my favorite.

Photos from Camp Merryelande, 2009: Part 2

More photos from my trip to Camp Merryelande in Piney Point, MD two weeks ago:

Grass, a post, and water Tall grass in the late afternoon sunlight A chair blocks the view of the pier outside. Sailboats on the beach The fisherman: king of all he surveys Bait and tackle

As a getaway spot, Camp MD is as much or as little fun as its visitors would make it. Since it’s private property, one can take a few liberties that are forbidden in the vacation cities like Ocean City, MD or Rehoboth Beach, DE. Visitors can walk around the beach with alcoholic drink in hand, or have open campfires on the beach. A few friends and I were even able to bring a cooler full of cold beer into the water and drink while bobbing up and down in the water, under the rain.

It’s a place that doesn’t carry much risk, but still reminds visitors to fun at their own little peril. It’s a small hidden gem, a hideaway well worth the visit.

Memorial Day is not for shopping

A view of the Maryland WWII Memorial In Annapolis, MD
A view of the Maryland WWII Memorial In Annapolis, MD

I’m an avid reader of military history. The books I enjoy stretch as far back as the Peloponnesian War. Being that today’s holiday is specific to the war fallen, I personally think that going nuts on the shopping is in bad taste. It’s a large commercial tradition, but if that’s the only thing folks care about with this day, they’re missing the point. I guess that’s why I cringe whenever some dolt says “happy Memorial Day.” I understand: many “celebrate” this day, and many take the opportunity to get together with their families. In their own ways, they do appreciate the sacrifice of those who have fallen in war. In living free, they do honor to those who have lost their lives defending our freedoms. However, something has to be said about giving a few moments of reverence and solemnity for those who have died defending our country. I’m not asking for a whole day’s worth of mourning, but a little respect is definitely in order.

Rusty

Much of my photography of the past two years involves my exploration of local destinations. The time spent alone can be quite therapeutic, and I get the opportunity to explore and appreciate in silence. That said, there also is virtue in a joint exploration, the results of which I’ll share soon enough.

Rich, rust color and texture at an abandoned facility in Patapsco Valley State Park
Rich, rust color and texture at an abandoned facility in Patapsco Valley State Park

RAW Clutter

I have been going through my photo collection on my hard drive today. I set my camera to shoot in RAW + SHQ (1/4 compression), and I just realized how much space Raw files can take. Each photo is 13.5 megabytes in Raw, and that space can stack up very quickly. Since it has been months since I have actually needed to “refine” a photo from the Raw file for any reason, I’ve decided to clean some house.

The actual cleanup process is far more arduous than I imagined.  I asked two questions of every picture: first, do I keep it? Second, do I keep its Raw file handy? Deleting crappy pictures from the Windows thumbnail view is no joke, too. I had, at first, plenty of pictures that I needed viewing full-screen in order to make a good decision.

The really nice thing about this process is that I get to look at the photos I have taken over the past year and a half. It’s like going through a shoebox of memories; it is quite refreshing.  At the same time I’ve also accepted that shooting in Raw isn’t for everyone. Not every time a photo is taken requires the five minutes or more required for post-production work. I would leave the Raw editing for, as they say, the pros. Or those who have more time on their hands than imaginable.

Maybe I’m just seasonally affective

Apropos of yesterday’s post, I decided to go back to the same state park that I went to yesterday in a state of melancholy. It must be the sun, or the lovely weather. They could be factors, but I’m definitely less glum despite my going out alone for picture taking today.

Sandy Point State Park is basically at the foot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and the beach there provides an enthralling view. It’s also one of the few places from which you can take a photo of the bridge and not be questioned on the basis of national security. However, I am to tease, and would rather post this introspective photo that I took, at least for tonight:

A lonely beach toy set on the banks of the Chesapeake bay.

A lonely beach toy set on the banks of the Chesapeake bay.

Jonas Green State Park, Annapolis, MD

Sunset at Jonas Green State Park, Dec 25

Maryland, like all of the states, has its share of state parks. Many of them are well known and tend to occupy a vast area. Not so with this little cove on the Severn River. There’s a little area for walking along the water, and the rest is occupied by the remnants of a bridge that is now used as a fishing pier.

What this park lacks in size, it makes up for in terms of the view. In the winter the sun sets almost directly behind the new bridge, and the above photo is one of many I have taken there.

I have stood in the cold and the wind with my camera and some hot tea.

I have waited for the right moment day, after day, after day, to capture moments like these.

I am most at peace during these times. And now, I’d like to share.

An uncommon sight

Sunset from Preston, MD

The sunset as seen from Preston, MD

Around the end of July my friend and I went to visit yet another friend who lives in Preston, MD. If there were any mountains in the area one could accurately call the area “the boonies,” but in a less literal sense, sure: it was the boonies over there. The beautful thing about a region like the Eastern Shore of Maryland is that it’s far detached from both suburban and urban sprawl: there my Verizon cellular service didn’t amount to shit, we’re talking miles to the next convenience store and while the homes from a front view were still close by—this isn’t Smallville, Kansas—there was plenty of land from behind to appreciate.

The best part about the Eastern Shore’s topography is its flatness. I was blessed with one of the best sunsets I have ever witnessed in years, which I share with you today. I don’t get sunsets like this where I live: too many gentle hills that put trees far above the horizon. This sight is uncommon for me; one day I would like to live where I can enjoy a view like this almost everyday.

(Give this photo some flickr love by visiting its flickr page. Yes. Pad my pageviews on flickr. I’m bad like that.)

The song of the sea

Lifeguard's station. Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida.

Lifeguard’s station. Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida.

I’ve always looked forward to being in the water, and as summer draws to a close I feel a pang of regret in that I haven’t hit the beach as much as I should have. I don’t even have the pittance of a consolation that comes from swimming in a pool; my transition into the new job and my subsequently busy work schedule have prevented me from a typically carefree summer.

In a way the many icons of the season—from the oppressive but relievable heat to locally grown peaches—do not have as much an effect on my psyche more than my need to be near a body of water. Sitting here on my desk I remember a few bits and pieces from my youth. I’ve always wanted to be in water, for some reason. While a swimming pool works fine, nothing beats being in an open body of water. I’m twenty-six and I still can’t describe the great feeling I have whenever I swim. Is it the soothing feeling of being afloat? Or is it the acceptance that a moderate amount of control needs to be relinquished in order to enjoy the ocean? Is it the feeling of the breeze or the sound of the waves? Is it any combination, or is it all of these? Again, I am unable to exactly verbalize the “feeling of right” that I get when I bring together everything around me.

I just know, for sure, that whenever I do go to the beach, I leave with a profound sadness that I rarely feel in other possibly sad situations. I suppose, that with the fast way with which we live our lives these days, there is an allure to just leaving it all behind: the cell phones and broadband internet and forty-hour workweeks (hah!) and just relax and take it all in. With a digital camera and an offline computer I would be happy for a little while in the compromise between tech and tranquility. There is an almost juvenile quality to this desire for just “leaving it behind,” which, I suppose is the rationale behind taking periodic vacations, though for a few of us the return to “reality” can be far more difficult.

I hope that next summer I would be able to spend more time at the beach. Until then I’ll have to hold on to the pictures I have taken: a promise of vacations to come.