Glen Echo Carousel, Twilight, Fall

Here are a few loose odds-n-ends I shot back at the end of September, but kept on the shelf until I was all done with the Paris photos. I like playing around as light levels fall – it’s a challenge to balance foreground and sky, but when it works, it’s beautiful. I also like the colors you get when you mix different kinds of lighting.

I was walking around Glen Echo Park in the evening after visiting for (I think) an exhibit opening. I had the Rollei with me, and a roll of Kodak Portra 800 loaded. Portra 800 is another one of those “miracle” emulsions, in my estimation. It is expensive (almost $10/roll), but when you need it, it’s there and it works so well at what it does. Yes, it does have more grain and less contrast than Portra 400, not to mention Portra 160, but the difference compared to what you would have seen in older 800 speed films is almost not worth mentioning. It’s a specialty film, and because of the price, not something I’d shoot every day in lieu of a slower film. But using it is not a sacrifice, like other films used to be.

Here is one of the street lights in the park, glowing in the pre-dusk.

Lantern, Crystal Pool, Twilight
Lantern, Crystal Pool, Twilight

The Dentzel carousel is endlessly fascinating. The bright colors, the lights, the music, the motion – it’s a nostalgic combination that provokes a range of emotions from childish joy to melancholy. Here the lights of the carousel are glowing inside the carousel house, and the neon of the old Midway perks up the background through the trees.

Carousel Lights, Fall
Carousel Lights, Fall

Another view of the carousel house, framed with ornamental grasses. The glow of the lights is particularly inviting – I’d love to go for a ride.

Carousel, Grasses, Twilight
Carousel, Grasses, Twilight

One of the circus masks on the crown of the carousel peers out at you through the reflections on the carousel house window. The lighting and the stillness gives it a slightly sinister air.

Carousel Lights
Carousel Lights

The neon of the arcade reflects in the windows of the carousel house, and I’ve caught myself taking the photo in the reflection as well. The reflected neon gives it a true carnival atmosphere – it almost feels like a real live amusement park, instead of the culture and arts center it has become. Which is not to say that the park lacks vibrancy and vitality, but it has a new character now, a lovable low-key quality that reflects and honors its past while preserving the facility for the future.

Glen Echo Carousel, Neon, Reflections
Glen Echo Carousel, Neon, Reflections

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