Catching Up

Laurel Hill Cemetery

I’ve been trying to get caught up with everyone’s blog entries (almost half way there) and my apologies for falling behind!  It seems that February has been screaming by as snow storms and work have invaded the time I usually set aside for photography and fun.  I haven’t raised a camera to my eye since my day out in Philly with Mohamed and, believe me, I’m really beginning to miss it.  Speaking of Mohamed, he loved reading all the wonderful and thoughtful comments (as did I) about his Flickr page.  He had hoped to post some photos taken during our day out but, alas, his camera malfunctioned and a light leak destroyed most of the images.  An enormous loss, no doubt!

This is one of several images I took at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.  Except for editing to a web-friendly size and adding a signature layer, this photo is straight out of the camera.  The lion rests atop the tomb of Robert Patterson, U.S. Army General who fought during the Mexican-American War and U.S. Civil War.  Established in the 1830’s, Laurel Hill Cemetery  is the final resting place for several of Philadelphia’s most famous residents and has been designated as National Historic Landmark.  Mohamed and I spent only a few hours exploring this incredible place and I plan to return as soon as warmer weather arrives.

Photography with a Friend

Mohamed Flites

  

  

Early last week I blogged about my weekend trip to Philadelphia, closing out January with a story and photo of a wonderful philly cheese steak from Pat’s.   Philadelphia is becoming a favorite photo destination for me, in no small part due to my friend and fellow photographer, Mohamed Flites. 

Mohamed, pictured here striking a “preying mantis” pose before a video display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, was a resident of Philadelphia for several years and knows the city very well.  We’re co-workers who for months engaged in small talk and brief conversations.  It was a mutual acquaintance who pointed out our mutual interest in photography, though our subject matter and approach to taking photographs are almost completely different in every way. 

Mohamed Flites

Where I enjoy nature and travel photography, spending my days tramping along pine barrens trails, bird-watching, or searching with my wife for lighthouses or other points of interest, Mohamed enjoys taking of photos of people and scenes he encounters while roaming inner-city streets, visiting art museums, or civil war battlegrounds.  And while I tend toward digital photography, shooting my subjects almost exclusively in color, Mohamed shots film, mostly black & white.  Where my subjects are literal and straight forward, his are creative and interpretive. 

And so we have struck up a friendship that has included photo safaris to locations as diverse as the streets of south Philly to hiking nature trails along the salt marshes of south Jersey.   Along the way we’re getting to know a lot more about each other and, I think, we’re creatively pushing each other out of our comfort zones and into areas of photography that neither of us would have likely ventured alone. 

Mohamed maintains a wonderful Flickr site, under the screen name tamesguida1965, where you can see examples of his photography and learn a little more about his other main interest, the American Civil War.  Mohamed’s work was featured in a recent news article through our employer’s website and on a photo blog and news website after a chance encounter with another Philly street photographer.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

By the way, here is a photo of that Philadelphia Museum of Art video display, a cartoon image of hands re-arranging furniture in a doll house taken from the perspective of the viewer.  No…I don’t get it…but remember I tend toward literal and straight-forward subjects!

Edible – Cheese Wit

Cheese Wit

I joined a storied Philadephia tradition yesterday, enjoying a Philly Cheese Steak at Pat’s King of Steaks for the first time.  This is a “cheese wit” which, as I learned, is a cheese steak “wit” onions.  Cheese wit-out is, well, you know.  Pronunciation is important I learned, as is having your money in hand and ready to pay.  Pat’s has been featured in several travel and food-related TV shows along with cross-street rival, Geno’s Steaks.  Sitting outside (no inside seating is available at Pat’s) in 30 degree weather enhances the experience, with street traffic just inches away and a perpetual line of customers filing past my metal table.  This sandwich was as delicious as the tradition.

Meditative

The morning started like any other day. The little boy and Big Bird had breakfast of cereal, milk, and toast.  After breakfast, they were playing catch and watching TV when, suddenly, the family dog picked up Big Bird and ran across the room.  The little boy tried to save Big Bird, but not until Big Bird’s side was torn open.  Oh no!  Thank goodness Papa was able to sew Big Bird up and kept his insides in and the outsides out.  After Papa finished sewing his side, Big Bird sat in his favorite chair, thinking about his long, busy day.

Mini Assignment – Cropping

click on image

 

click on image

 I’m not sure if I did this exactly as the mini-assignment intended, but these photos demonstrate how I often obtain photos of moving objects (like birds).  I spotted the Turkey Vulture soaring above the trees at Whitesbog and tried to guess where it might glide next.  Happily, I was positioned so that the trees made a perfect frame and, luckily, the Vulture decided to glide between them. 

I didn’t have a lot of time to frame the shot, so I centered the area between the trees and took the top photo.  Back home, I cropped the photo to obtain a nicely framed Turkey Vulture positioned near a Rule of Thirds sweet spot.  This is pretty typical example of how I photograph birds, particularly those in flight.  Let me know what you think.