Brick buildings along narrow streets, Bear Gardens, Southwark, London
Yes, another London photograph. We had a bit of time between appointments and we ended up wandering around this area for a while in the evening. Here there are very old brick buildings along narrow streets that twist this way and that. This wall lined up almost perfectly with the setting sun, which glanced across its surface, highlighting the texture and catching an edge of the bricks straight on.
I didn’t share this photograph for a long time. I continued to go back and forth between a black and white rendition — which may allow the forms to seem a bit more abstract — and this version with its warmer colors and more subtle gradations of tones. (On an unrelated topic, why do I keep wanting to write “beer gardens” rather than “bear gardens?” ;-)
A street lamp and its shadow between two windows, Salzburg, Austria
In the summer of 2013 we spent three weeks visiting London, Heidelberg, and the Berchtesgaden area of Bavaria. Since we traveled there from Heidelberg by train, we arrived and departed at Salzburg — and since Salzburg was so close we managed to visit that city on other days during our stay. With our musical backgrounds, the first thing we think of when we think of Salzburg is Mozart, since this is his birthplace and the city is still something of a musical center. Of course, once we arrived we realized there is a lot more to the place. (Did someone say “coffee?”)
I love wandering around in virtually any city with a camera, and I did a bit of that sort of wandering here. It was only after photographing in different areas and on different days that I began to recognize these characteristic lamps showing up in many photographs of diverse subjects, at which point they became a bit of a subject for me.
Shop windows and posters along a narrow street in Heidelberg, Germany
During our 2013 visit to Germany we spent a total of about a week in Heidelberg, a city that seems to combine modernity with the old. From what we saw, the main evidence of “the old” is, literally, the old town of Heidelberg. While it is a tourist area, it is also the site of a lot of very old buildings lining narrow streets. We stayed with relatives, and were close enough that a short walk took us over a hill and across the Neckar River to the old section of the town.
I’m not sure I can explain what attracted me to this little building, crowded among other shops along a very narrow street that is mostly used as a walkway. Perhaps there is some unusual combination (as least from the perspective of my American experience) combination of orderliness and a slight edginess, but in a building that is not particularly modern. I decided to crop the image of the front of the shop closely, eliminating much of any context aside from the bit of slightly mossy sidewalk at the bottom of the frame. Everything seems very square and geometrical, though slightly aged and a bit off kilter. Although the windows are filled with posters, perhaps suggesting something of this university town, I notice that the posters are very carefully squared and centered in the windows, and even the clutter inside the building seems organized somehow.
Bridges between buildings cross about a narrow street in London
This is another photograph from nearly two years ago when we spent a week in London. We stayed a ways from the center of the city and each day traveled back and forth by way of the Underground, and then doing almost all of our wandering about on foot. We prefer this for the most part, and being on foot we can easily wander off into interesting areas or linger if we see something that deserves more time. (I often do something very similar when I head to nearby San Francisco to do street and urban photography.)
We had taken the tube in, gotten off, and walked across a bridge. Arriving on the far side of the River Thames we saw a narrow old side street and couldn’t resist wandering off that direction. The general landscape seemed to be a slightly dissonant one of what looked to be a narrow old cobblestone street, but with a number of more modern looking businesses and other structures. The street itself was quite interesting — and somewhere I have some photographs of it — but the most interesting thing to me was the dense, crisscrossing pattern of multiple levels of bridges high above the street.
Detail of the Tower Bridge, London and the River Thames
Earlier today we were talking about how it has been too long since we’ve been across the Atlantic — our last trip was back in the summer of 2013. We started in London, spending nearly a full week there, enough time to feel like we were beginning to get past the most obvious things — but not nearly enough time exhaust the possibilities of the place. Making that trip extra special, we managed to meet up with a bunch of family members there, and then continue more or less together as we continued on to Germany for about a another two weeks.
As I like to do in American cities, we wandered a fair amount while we were in London. While I know that planning is very useful when going to a new place and having limited time, I know that I also like to just follow my nose a bit and get out and walk around and see where I end up — in some ways I feel that this may eventually give me a better sense of a place. Not that this location is exactly off the beaten track! In fact, this photograph shows details of one of the best known iconic bridges, with bits of the River Thames visible in the background.
Curving window reflects the courtyard of the Getty Center
This curving wall of tinted windows is a favorite subject of mine at the Getty — I have photographed it several times, in fog and rain, with people in front of it, with people behind, and the structure alone. People often move across the courtyard area in front of it on their way to other places, so I can catch people in motion against this background. In fact, one other series from this visit includes a child jumping and hopping his way across. Frequently people will appear momentarily between the columns leading into the distance at the right, too.
This was a very clear day, so the light is crisp and the reflections are very visible in the curving glass. The color of the glass almost reminds me of the water of a swimming pool, and I wonder if the architects thought about this when they designed this aquarium-like rounded building with its many windows.
Subway tracks and a few people on the platform, Penn Station
There is not a whole lot to say about this photograph, though I might tell a technical secret about it.
The photograph is obviously from the New York Subway system, shot underground with available light at a relatively quiet time between trains while we were waiting for the next one to arrive. I shot this in street photography mode, during a week when I did not once use a tripod or a remote release, and when I shot entirely with a small handheld camera while on foot. I probably don’t have the point out that this photograph could be “about” several things: the small family group sitting on the bench and waiting for their train, the light and colors of the underground station, and the geometry of the structures and tracks.