Category Archives: Washington DC

DC Street Nocturne in the key of Panoramic, part 1.

Some of my prints from the shoot on Saturday night. These are all palladium prints. The images were shot with my Canham 5×12. All images were taken around Dupont Circle. You can see from the bus photo that these were obviously long time exposures (the bus was somewhere north of 2 minutes, in multiple snaps of 30+ seconds each). The bus was an experiment that didn’t produce the expected result, but in a bout of serendipity turned out something just as cool as my original concept. I was hoping the bus sitting still as passengers boarded would record as a solid object. Instead, it became something far more abstract in the final image – you can recognize the bus, in pieces. It became an essay on motion, transportation and “transit/ion” by virtue of its self-deconstruction.

A night at the circle…

Well, I finally got off my keyster and went out shooting tonight. I loaded up ten sheets of 5×12 in the Canham and went over to Dupont Circle to burn some long exposures onto film. This process always takes a lot longer than you think it should because inevitably setting up with a 5×12 (or any view camera for that matter) invites dozens of total strangers to approach you and ask questions. I always view it as an opportunity to educate people about the ongoing viability of film photography, and so I’m always happy to chat, even if the light is changing (fortunately after dark there’s no worry about the light changing – you only need to take one meter reading and stick with it for the rest of the shoot).

I’ve had this idea for a shot for a long time, and never quite got around to trying it until tonight. I did two versions of it – here’s hoping at least one works. The idea was a shot of a city bus pulling up to the bus stop, and loading/unloading passengers. Ideally it would be a 30-second or so exposure. I played a bit fast and loose with this one because the traffic pattern at the bus stop I was using resulted in a lot of stop-and-go and made it hard to get the shot in just 30 seconds. I’m going to develop the film tomorrow and we’ll see what came of it. If it worked as planned, I’ll have light trails leading up to the bus at the curb, and a fairly clear bus at the stop, along with the passengers and the interior. I did one version with my 240mm Apo-Germinar, which wasn’t wide enough to get the whole bus in at the bus stop. I switched to the 159 Wollensak Extreme Wide-Angle for the second shot, and stopped the lens down further to allow for the longer exposure time needed. I’m pretty sure I’ll get most if not all the bus in at the bus stop (I don’t mind if the roof gets a little cut off), but it’s hard to tell without watching the scene through the lens, and at that hour of the night it would mean waiting another half hour for the next bus to come around, and maybe nobody would be waiting to get on or wanting to get off at that stop, and I’d miss the shot. If this first try doesn’t work out, I’ve got other locations I can give a whirl that might work better.

Three new Victorian photo parlors to add…

I’ve found two more Washington DC parlors and one New York Daguerrian studio:

J. Golden – 819 Pennsylvania Avenue
Henry Ulke & Bro. – 278 Pennsylvania Avenue

The New York Daguerrian parlor is:

A.J. Beals – 156 Broadway

The address for Henry Ulke’s studio would put him today squarely on the grounds of the US Capitol, not far from the Spring Grotto, if the address is correct. Either they had a different street numbering scheme, the address is in Southeast DC instead of Northwest DC (which would put him at an even more unlikely location, a tiny triangle park just beside the Library of Congress building), or the Capitol grounds were greatly enlarged sometime between the 1870s and 1900. Given how so far so many of these studios’ locations can be accurately pinpointed today, even though the streetscape has changed a lot, I’m liking the probability that the address is correct, and that the streetscape has changed, rather than the location being inaccurate.

Food glorious food…

I know I’ve mentioned this once before, but I have to again sing the praises of the DC food truck scene. Today’s lunch was a Wonky Dog from the Eat Wonky truck – a gigantic hotdog topped with home-cut fries (skin on), squeaky cheese (yes, it really does kinda squeak when you chew on it), and gravy. It has been forever since I had gravy on fries, and I had forgotten how good that tastes! It’s amazing how a little lunch can bring back happy childhood memories. It’s comfort food of the best (and worst from a healthy-diet perspective) variety. Wonky also makes a kick-ass whoopie pie. I had one the other day with a nutella-hazelnut filling… heaven.

Something having next to nothing to do with photography…

… other than that I like to take pictures of it with my iPhone.

There’s this awesome and growing DC food truck scene. I had seen and heard a little about it, then when my office location made it possible to find them, I decided I’d give it a try. One bite and I was hooked! I track most of them on Twitter to know when and where they’ll be on any given day. There’s everything from barbecue to savory pies, Latin American to Laotian, pizza to pastries (mostly cupcakes). This has been the first useful thing I’ve found to do with Twitter – now I can plan my lunch outings and find way better food than the skanky Chinese buffet and the food-by-the-pound place within walking distance of the office. I’ve got some definite favorites –

  • Sabor’a Street – Latin American arepas with a gourmet twist. My favorite so far, the shredded barbecue pork arepa on corn cakes.
  • La Gloria Mexicana – cheap, good Mexican food
  • PORC – Purveyors Of Rolling Cuisine – a barbecue sandwich place, with homemade chocolate truffles for dessert.
  • Eat Wonky – hotdogs, sandwiches and mind-blowing homemade whoopie pies.
  • CapMacDC – to die for gourmet macaroni and cheese. I had a goat cheese macaroni with broccoli pesto and breadcrumbs I would expect to pay $15 for in a sit-down restaurant. Theirs? $7.
  • SweetBites – a rolling dessert truck with cupcakes to rival those storefront cupcakes for 25% less.

Did I mention that one of the bennies of the food truck scene is the terrific prices? Most mains are $6-7, and it takes work to spend more than $9 for lunch. There’s some interesting things going on – a significant number of Mexican/Latin food trucks, some rather exotic trucks (the Lobster Truck – home of the $13 lobster sandwich and the 1 1/2 hour line), and some experiments in fusion cuisine that don’t always fire on all cylinders. No matter, it beats the stuffing out of McDonalds!