Two men sitting atop a public monument in Trafalgar Square, London
The main appeal of Trafalgar Square for me, I think, was the people. The variety of visitors was surprising, including locals, international tourists, people just passing through, folks staking out a space in order to spend some time, and so forth. In many places the square contains crowds of people.
It seemed that these two fellows had discovered a way to find a small measure of solitude in this busy urban scene, namely to climb up on the monument and sit about the crowd.
This is a late photograph post today. It was a busy weekend followed by a busy Monday, and I had no time to post this until evening. The photograph comes from our visit to London a couple of years ago. I’m intrigued by the ever-changing patterns formed by people moving through public spaces like this one. The photograph was made late on a haze afternoon, so the soft light mutes the shadows of the people engaged in activities including walking through the square, watching other people, making photographs, sitting, and more.
A group of people sit on a concrete bench as a red bus stops behind them.
I think there might be a bit more to this photograph than meets the eye — at least I like to think so. The scene is a concrete bench along the edge of Trafalgar Square late in the day, as the low angle sun hits the bench and its occupants straight on. I’ll leave it at that…
Worn and frequently painted front walls of urban San Francisco buildings
I have a few more in this urban/street photography set from a recent day spent photographing in San Francisco. I took the train to The City, headed north along the waterfront, then cut inland at Market Street before wandering up past Chinatown (avoiding Grant) and through North Beach before heading back to where I started. There is a lot to see on such a walk on a weekday in San Francisco!
Usually when I pass through the Chinatown area I forego the walk up touristy Grant Street, and instead cut across (and uphill!) to take smaller streets and to miss a lot of the usual stuff. There are lots of little nooks and crannies here, and the buildings offer diverse and sometimes wild visual treats. These buildings, which certainly look run down from the outside, present an incredible surface of textures and colors, much of which probably evolved by accident as people painted out the ubiquitous graffiti.
An electric wire and a rusty lamp attached to a weathered wall
Here is another “poking around in alleys” photograph from San Francisco. I have been walking along this section of the Embarcadero with a camera for a number of years now. The San Francisco waterfront has always been a place of change, but these days things seem to be accelerating. Real estate in The City is becoming increasingly precious and increasingly costly, and there is a continuous transition from inexpensive work, living, and warehouse space to much more expensive and trendy uses, especially in waterfront and other special locations. The changes are closing in on the Embarcadero from both ends and even the middle — from the tourist areas of Pier 39 through the Ferry Building to the bustling area around AT&T Park and on into China Basin.
More and more of the oddball little forgotten places are discovered and eventually transformed. This little alley leads to a set of abandoned railroad tracks leading out onto one of the old piers. Some kind of business seems to have moved in, but the rough walls, worn paint, and functional construction remain. This bit of wood siding, with a rusty lamp and a funky bit of exterior wiring is subtly colored with fading paint, rust and wear from the foggy environment, and bit of blue coloration from being in shade.
A wooden later climbs a concrete wall in a San Francisco alley
This is a photograph from one of my early morning forays into downtown San Francisco, trips that tend to become a bit more common this time of year. The first of “the season” was near the end of May. I started at the Caltrain Station, worked my way mostly along the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building area, and then took a winding route off into the City.
I tend to walk slowly while working on these projects — stopping to look, to wait, and to poke my camera into odd little corners. Here I found the gate to a small alley open, and after watching a couple of people walk through on their way to a business in the back I followed. Just inside the gate was an old textured concrete wall with this wooden ladder leading up along its face, and the combination of the textured concrete, the form of the ladder, and the perspective convergence created an interesting abstraction.
Walking up Market Street in San Francisco I was watching out for anything that could be photographically interesting — architecture, people, vehicles, light — when I looked down and saw this little vignette of… not much at all really. Perhaps someone had been cleaning the street earlier, and now a puddle of water covered some sidewalk bricks and flowed over the gaps between others.
I stopped, more or less in the middle of the sidewalk, likely forcing a few people to take a path around me or perhaps just wonder what I was photographing with my camera pointed straight down. What I saw was, first, the water itself. Then I saw the narrow vertical band of lighter tones, where there was a break between reflected buildings. I only paused for a moment to make a couple of exposures, and then I continued on.