Saturday, February 23, 2008

Single Snowfall

This winter has been relatively mild in the Philly area. Temperatures have dipped below freezing a few times, and we have gotten some rain, but the combination of cold weather and precipitation has been few and far between. So I could not pass up the opportunity to try and capture some compelling winter shots. Since we're almost into March I don't know if we'll get another significant snowfall this winter.

The "ideal" winter conditions are often hard to come across, especially for part-time photographers with day-jobs. If it's a weekday then after shoveling the driveway I'm off to work. By the time I get the chance to grab the camera and get out and shoot more often than not the snow has blown off the trees and/or rooftops, or the sun is out causing super-high contrasty conditions.

The other problem is simply one of mobility. I like to capture the scenes when they are mostly un-touched by man, wind, whatever. But that means getting out soon after the storm ends, but the road conditions are usually less than ideal and the plows are still roaming, causing additional headaches.

Yesterday there were only a few inches of snow so the road conditions were not that bad. The sky was still overcast, creating even light, but there was a light rain most of the day. That did not affect the snow too much in the scenes, but it made my job harder by trying to keep the camera and lens dry.

I did manage to capture a few nice shots, like the one below. Before long it will be spring and the snow will be a distant memory, unless you have a nice snow scene hanging on your wall.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Philly Oasis

On a short photo trip in Philly last weekend my first task was to find parking. I always avoid the parking garages because I know there are a lot of parking meters in the center city area. But in the area I was interested in, the historic "Old City" area north of Market Street and east of 8th Street (I don't really know the boundaries but this is a good approximation), I was having a hard time that day. But after driving in circles for a few minutes, and accidentally taking a short round-trip to New Jersey across the Ben Franklin Bridge, I found parking in what I call a little "oasis" in this area.

Now for people who live in that area I'm sure this is no surprise, but it was for me. This area is clean, not very busy with traffic, and with a bunch of free parking. The oasis lies between the Vine Street Expressway and the Ben Franklin Bridge, between 6th and 2nd Streets. Check out the Google Maps view of the area.

This beautiful historic church, the St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church, is the main icon in this area, although there are a number of other churches in this small area. There are lots of cobblestone streets as well.

It's a little tricky navigating this oasis because of the surrounding major roads and the one-way streets, but once you get familiar you can get through with few problems.