Tag Archives: Columbia Heights

Ghost Man, Columbia Heights

GhostManCoHi

This is a case of where the mechanics of photographing lead to something emotionally resonant in a powerful way – the blurred moving man under other circumstances could be considered a flaw, but here becomes a metaphor.

Neighborhood Walkabout, Rainy Day

This was the result of a rainy-day walkabout in my neighborhood.

Yet another style of Siamese stand-pipe – this time beaded with rain water. It will go into my collection of ordinary objects.

Siamese Standpipe, Rain
Siamese Standpipe, Rain

The flower vendor was sheltering from the rain under the awning of a Five Guys burger joint.

Roses, 5 Dollars
Roses, 5 Dollars

A whole family, waiting for something (there’s not a bus stop where they were standing – maybe they were waiting for someone else to come along in a car). The little boy was playing with his umbrella and the mom kept telling him to put it up or put it down, but stop swinging it around or he might poke someone with it.

Umbrella Family
Umbrella Family

While the kid didn’t hit the guy with the Starbucks cup, that’s exactly what the mom was talking about with the little boy.

Starbucks Man, in the Rain
Starbucks Man, in the Rain

A mom and her daughter out running an errand in the rain.

Mother, Daughter, Cyclist
Mother, Daughter, Cyclist

I liked how the columns of the fire station were reflected faintly in the rain-slick sidewalk.

Engine Company Number 11
Engine Company Number 11

This half-gate stands in front of a house under renovation. I think one of the construction workers thought I was strange for wanting to take a picture of this.

Half Gate, Vines
Half Gate, Vines

Neighborhood Walkabout – 9/21/2014

I’ve been past the PanAm Market for years and wanted to photograph the outside, but never got around to it. Several times I’ve walked past and been on the verge of taking a photo but gotten the hairy eyeball from patrons or folks just hanging out on the sidewalk in front, so I’ve moved on and not taken the shot. This time there were not so many folks around and I was able to get a clean picture of it.

Panam Market
Panam Market

After scanning the negative I noticed that there’s a kid’s hand on the window that looks somewhat disembodied. All the security bars on the windows and doors make it look like a prison rather than a store, which was certainly NOT my intent. But it is what it is, and there’s no changing that. The kid was sitting by the door and holding it open for people with full carts trying to get out to their cars.

I’ve photographed Barbara’s Beauty Salon before, close up. This time I shot from across the street, to include the crosswalk stripes and more of the context of the neighborhood. I think you can really see the “Ajax Was Here” phenomenon in this shot. The Premium Title company to the right is brand new and spiffy looking, Gloria’s Pupusas to the left is cleaner, newer and bright and busy. Barbara’s, I still can’t tell if they’re even in business.

Barbaras Beauty
Barbaras Beauty

Here’s the older photo I posted of Barbara’s for comparison:

Barbaras Beauty Salon
Barbaras Beauty Salon

Changing Neighborhood – Chickas Jeans

A sign of the times? A year and a half ago, I ran across this display of mannequin bottoms outside Chickass Jeans. The name was highly politically incorrect, and the mannequins seemed equally so. For those not conversant in Spanish, “chica” is the word for girl (or young woman). The store is in a heavily Latino neighborhood and caters primarily to young Latina women.

Chickass Jeans
Chickass Jeans

In the intervening year, they’ve renovated the shop, and changed the name. It’s now Chickas Jeans. I have mixed feelings about the name change- there was something amusing about the blatantness of the sexual pun in the name. Amusing in the same way that Hitler jokes in “The Producers” are amusing – seeing the old sign was just so jarring to the sensibilities that you couldn’t help but chuckle at it from discomfort. Perhaps it’s a sign that Latina feminism is starting to take hold and the message is getting through that women don’t want to be objectified.

Chickas Jeans
Chickas Jeans

Playing with Panoramics – Diptychs

Ok- here are some twosies I did, still with the Rollei and the panorama adapter.

The first one is a shot of a street corner with the skeletal remains of a police call box from the first decade or so of the 20th century. The building behind it is now a charter school. I’ve often thought of how to photograph the wall around the playground fence behind the school. This is the first shot I’ve done that really does it justice.

Police Call Box
Police Call Box

I came upon this mailbox leaning at its crazy angle and decided it would make a good subject for a diptych that emphasized and even exaggerated the tilt of the mailbox. What is it with me and mailboxes?

Mailbox Diptych
Mailbox Diptych

Both of these scenes are in my neighborhood – I walk past them regularly on my way to run errands or get some dinner. I’m really starting to appreciate the advice of Edward Weston, “There’s no good photos to be made more than 50 feet from the car”, although I’m expanding the perimeter and rephrasing it a little: “There are plenty of good photos to be had within a mile of your house”.

Playing with Panoramics – Triptychs

I’ve got this really cool little toy that goes with my Rolleiflex – a panoramic head adapter. It’s basically a little plate with a disc in it divided into twelve segments, and an integrated bubble level. The plate goes between the Rolleiflex and the tripod head. The disc has a locking mechanism and click stops that allow it to be rotated a fixed number of degrees, corresponding to 1/12th of a circle (30 degrees) which is also more or less the field of view of the lens on the Rolleiflex. This would allow you to photograph a 360 degree panorama on a single roll of 120 film.

A 360 degree panorama is a bit much, and pretty tough to pull off. I’ve been playing with doing two-frame and three-frame panoramas, which seem plenty wide already. Here is one I took this afternoon at the little plaza in front of the Tivoli Theater in Columbia Heights.

Tivoli Theater
Tivoli Theater

It does a pretty good job of matching up the frames, with just a few degrees of overlap, enough to make the blending and alignment relatively easy. If you’re paying attention you can see the seams where some things just don’t match up angle-wise, and where the car gets cut off between exposures.

This one I composed a little differently – in selecting what to include, I left a little bit of film border in between each frame because I think it compliments the overall image – the black borders echo nicely the black bars of the fence in front of the bikes. Although I have two bikes in the center frame, and one each in the left and right frames, each frame does feel distinctly different.

Bikeshare Panorama
Bikeshare Panorama

I decided to get a little playful and have fun with the crazy angles you can get from a panorama when you aren’t level to the horizon. I wanted all of the conical roof of the turret on the house on the corner in the picture, so I tilted the camera up (the other option would have been to go home and bring a step-ladder, and raise the tripod to its maximum height, and even then I might not have gotten the shot I was looking for).

11th Street
11th Street

And last but not least, back to the fully merged panorama. This one I didn’t get the horizon quite as straight as I should have, and so the outside images were a little crooked, and the center one was definitely not level, so I had to play with how I aligned them and cropped them to make it look relatively normal. I like the look of this one despite its flaws.

Solar Trees, Park Street Plaza
Solar Trees, Park Street Plaza

First in a Series: People Who Ask About the Rolleiflex

Truth be told, I’m a bit of an anxious street photographer: I’m not terribly good at asking total strangers to pose for me. So I’m getting started as an exercise by setting a new rule: if you see me out and ask me about my Rollei, you have to pose for me. We’ve already broken the ice by talking about the camera, so now we’re not total strangers anymore. This is the very first in that series. These two guys saw me out with the camera, and started asking about it. They even asked me to photograph them, which made it easier. The black guy was interesting; even though he was smoking, he asked if he should get rid of his cigarette for the photo. I told him to keep it.

Smoking Buddies, El Chucho
Smoking Buddies, El Chucho