Saturday, January 30, 2010

Industrial Strength Photography

The bad side of town. The oth-er side of the tracks. The place you don't want to go during the day, much less at night. The place where the tow lot always seems to be, you know, the one where they've towed your car to, and it's late and you take a cab to and you have this feeling "this is where organized crime goes to eliminate their opposition!" Every city has its industrial area.

Where else would you go to sell your scrap metal? Not far away, you can buy used car parts: doors, fenders, hoods (automotive recycling)

My personal favorite is "radiator man" -- no one has a better selection of used units!

The '50s through the early '70s saw highways cut through urban neighborhoods, often through the industrial zone. While this 50-year old elevated highway is showing some rust and exposed reinforcing bars, the properties in its shaddows often show more distress. Built to rush commuters home to the suburbs, these highways cut up urban neighborhoods and condemmed them to decades of economic and social distress.

This view, within 10 blocks of my home, could be somewhere in the 3rd world, perhaps the suburbs of Lima, Peru or Tiajuana, Mexico. How to tell it's not the 3rd world? There would be perhaps dozens of people in the photo.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Urban Wilds: The Wilderness Around A Frozen Fresh Pond

Even within the city, one can find wilderness views that evoke a more rural setting than where you are standing. Fresh Pond is in the western extent of Cambridge and part of the water supply system. A hundred years ago, ice was harvested in winter and shipped around the world. Today, the pond itself is fenced off, but its perimeter contains a fringe of urban winderness, a small wild in the midst of the city.

. Below: A gatehose on the shoreline

Below: The only open water in the otherwise frozed solid pond.

Below: Tracks run through it -- a rail line through the woods next to the pond.

Below: red berries add color to the snow covered landscape.

Below: Reeds mark the snow-covered shoreline.

Below: Sun setting peeking through the pondside woodlands.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One Building or Two

Driving around Boston recently, I saw this interest-ing view. Taken from Travelers Way in the South End, looking from Harrison Avenue towards Washington Street, one sees this slender tower in Back Bay.

On the top, the glass and steel Hancock Tower, at 60 stories, it is New England's tallest building. But, it looks as though the lower floors are of a different design consisting of a masonry facade.

But what is it? Well, it's a new building called "The Clarendon" located one block closer than the Hancock Tower. But from this angle, the width of the two buildings exactly line up, as though they were one building, the product of a somewhat scitsofrenic architect!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter Sunlight

I love working with the low angle of the winter sun as it reflects off the urban landscape. When shooting directly into the sun, I can get a deeper contrast between the lit and unlit backgrounds. With reflected sunlight, I find the glare can add a little magical twist, making building faces and columns glow.

This post contains some backlit photos I took today, allowing the glare of the sun to transform the everyday scenes around me into something more interesting.

Below: Sunlight reflected off the walls of the canyon we call Tremont Street in Boston. Note how the backlight makes the ornimental acorn-shaped street lights glow.

Below: The columns of King's Chapel in Boston are aglow in the reflected sunlight shining down Tremont Street. I like the contrast of the red fire alarm light against the neutral background.

Below: In the Granery Burying Ground, the reflected sunlight backlights a small patch of the snow-covered turf.

Below: Sunlight peaks between the branches of a tree...almost mascarading as a lit street lamp.

Below: The old and new Hancock Towers rise above theother Back Bay buildings, eclipsing the sun, only partially shining on the snows in Boston Common.

Below: A band of sun rays illiminate a narrow corridor through the Public Garden, as evening approaches.