November 2022 was a heck of a month. Not only did we have some U.S. Elections (ending with the Democrats narrowly holding onto the Senate,) but we also got to celebrate my choice for my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. And, besides those things, I embarked on my first trip outside of the United States and Canada since the summer of 2019!
It has been a busy month, made all the more so by travel that was probably faster than it ought to be. So, some of these frames were taken on stopovers, or brief moments where I was catching my breath and had phone service. And so they are pretty interesting.
Let's get into it...
I had a redeye flight on Halloween to Miami, Florida. A couple of days later, I would fly to Suriname, a country I was excited to visit for the first time.
"Chaos" is definitely a fun theme for a photograph, but it's also one that I wanted to be cognicent about. Arguments about other countries being "chaotic" has been used to justify all sorts of henious things in history. E.g., you can imagine arguments (cause you've probably heard them repeatedly if you're from the U.S.) that the Middle East is full of "chaos" and needs an external force (and violence) to be less chaotic.
So, even if Miami is still not my home I was hoping to get a good shot there, rather than in Suriname. Not that there isn't chaos everywhere, but I want to deliberately avoid any "othering" or subordination if I can.
And I did.
I was glad when a scene of chaos presented itself as I was walking along South Beach.
For some inexplicable reason, a boy was feeding potato chips to seagulls, and became increasingly agitated when they closed in on him.
I snapped several frames, and selected this one for the boy's expression.
I like the scene, I like the way that the sharp, wide lens with its long depth of field means that the horizon seems to go on forever if you look deeper into the picture.
The picture could use some more contrast around the birds. I did my best of a quick edit in Sigma Photo Pro on my work computer, but given the limited tools involved, I wasn't able to try doing some more specialized masking or something. I still like it, but I would prefer it if they stood out from the background more.
45. Street Photography
Street photography is one of my favorite genres. I enjoy the act of trying to capture fleeting moments in the city streets around me. And I also really enjoyed the wording in the 'brief' for this week.
"Street Photography is all about shooting humans as they traverse through life in public. It can be done anywhere not just in metro cities but even in a small village. The idea here is to move away from the posed, obviously artificial and repetitive styles and use the unpredictability and randomness of life to its fullest extent."
So that was my goal. I also wanted to eschew taking photographs in Suriname's capitol city of Paramaribo. I was going to be spending several days deep in the jungle that week, and I was interested in what other opportunities I would have to see some "unpredictability and randomness."
(And again, I wanted to be sure that my submission was one that I considered 'ethical', as the act of photographing strangers is increasingly unsavory when we take into account boundaries of class, race, etc. between photographer and unwilling subject...)
In this case, the place that really captivated me was Atjoni, located at the end of the easily traversed road. It's a transit hub for boats going down the Suriname river to villages.
At the right time of day, it's a buzzing hub, because it serves many communities, which otherwise lack access to larger shops and the like. And, it also buzzes with tourists, as there are many nature lodges strewn up the Suriname River. For this reason, there were a smattering of white tourists taking cellphone snaps anyway.
So, here I was, in a picturesque little port, already subject to frequent photography by tourists. How could I resist?
So, that's my submission. I like the colors, and the framing with the boats. I also like that the faces are not particularly sharp, and that many of the subjects' faces are not shown in the image. This is part of why I felt comfortable sharing this with a wider audience.
This was a cellphone snap. One killer feature of the Google Pixel smartphones is that it is incredibly easy to open the camera, take a picture, and lock the phone again, with one hand, and without necessarily looking at the screen. Double tap on power to open the camera, hit the volume to take a pic, hit power again and it is closed.
I do believe that this is the technique I used for this image and others (forthcoming) that I took around Atjoni, while waiting for my own boat...
46. Food Photography
Here's a picture of a latte. Coffee is the only food I need!
No, in all seriousness, this is a picture of drink and not food. Don't tell anyone! 🤫
The framing is a little awkward with the crooked window view, and my phone in the frame, but I enjoy the juxtaposition between a fleeting bicycle rider going by in the background, with the latte in the foreground.
It probably wouldn't sell anyone on getting coffee at this particular shop, but it is a cool image from a cold, cold afternoon, during a long, long layover in Philadelphia. (More photos maybe forthcoming?)
47. Wabi Sabi
Last year's version of this challenge was a really fun one, so I was eager to see what I could find this year, in the narrow time window before I headed back to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving...
...but it was raining and cold and I didn't get around to it.
So instead, here's my appreciation of the overlooked and decaying, my photo of imperfections.
I took it with a cheap Fuji digital point & shoot, the less exciting of two $5 cameras that I picked up. More on those eventually...
The setting was the train platform, waiting to leave the Philadelphia Airport (again.) There were lots of details that seemed suitable: a closed train platform, peeling paint, etc.
But, when the sun came low and into the camera's view, I could see it flare dramatically.
And I wanted to capture that blotchy orange light.
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Thanks for reading!
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