With a population of just over 2 million, Paris is a pretty large city. Like most cities though, there are places of quiet, where one can feel and be physically alone in the midst the city. That dynamic has always fascinated me. I am often on the lookout for those moments of ‘big city solitude’ to go along with the hustle and bustle most often associated with cities. Sometimes they even happen among the crowded sidewalks, cafes and traffic.
This collection of photographs is a small sample of some of the ‘alone’ moments I have captured on recent trips to Paris.
White’s Ferry has stood the test of time. According to officials in Poolesville, the ferry, which began operation in 1817, is the last of 100 ferries that operated on the Potomac River. It sits six miles west of town and connects Montgomery County, Maryland with Leesburg, Virginia. The actual ferry, named after Confederate General Jubal A. Early, uses a cable to make the five-minute crossing across the calm river. The ferry was given that name by Confederate officer Elijah V. White bought the ferry and named it after his commanding officer.
Historically the ferry provided an important point for farmers to transport their goods between the two states and into Washington. This was especially true when the C & O Canal was in operation. Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his forces crossed the Potomac River close to here at White’s Ford as they began their invasion of the north in September of 1862.
When you approach from Poolesville, it feels like you’re stepping back in time as you come upon the old general store there and patiently wait your turn to make the crossing. As development has taken over much of the DC metro area, White’s Ferry is a welcome respite from the hectic nature of everyday life.
In my mind, Paris is a city that looks just as spectacular in color as in black and white. The light, people and buildings all have their own feel in both color mediums. I’ve always looked up to the classic (and amazing) black and white street photography of French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. I find it a constant process to capture as he called it “The Decisive Moment” where light, mood and composition all come together for one split second. I look forward to my next trip back to the city to explore it as well as my own photography in more depth.
Though I’ve taken a few weeks off from posting Maryland photos, I’ve done it for a good reason. I recently spent a week in Paris and am currently working in East Africa.
Despite all the clichés about Paris and France, there’s got to be some truth to them. The city is at once both magical, beautiful and frustrating and incomprehensible. I can’t deny those observations but am always impressed by the exquisite architecture and delicious food that each new visit brings.
As the My Maryland project has focused on stripping away the complexity of my photography and just going for it, I tried to apply some of that same spirit to these photographs of Paris. Many of them were made with the help of the awesome Vélib’ bike sharing program which allowed me to explore many new areas of the city I had never been to before. If anyone is making a trip there I recommend getting a one or seven day pass, you won’t regret it.
When driving across Interstate 68 in Washington County, the Sideling Hill Road Cut is a landmark that’s hard to miss. Interstate 68 spans over 112 miles through West Virginia and Maryland, terminating at Hancock, six miles to the east of Sideling Hill. The deep cut into the Sideling Hill Ridge where many layers of rock or strata that are visible can be seen for miles as you approach from both the west and east. Construction for Interstate 68 began in 1965 and was fully completed on August 2, 1991. Excavation for the Sideling Hill cut began in 1983 and was finished in August of 1985 after more than 2,600 tons of explosives were used to break up the rock. In total, roughly 10 million tons of rock were removed to create the road cut.
According to the Maryland Geological Survey, the road cut is one of the best rock exposures in the state of Maryland, if not the entire northeast because of the thickness and condition of each individual strata layer. the 810 feet of strata expose layers of sandstone, siltstone, shale and coal.
Portions of what is now Interstate 68 were built as part of the Appalachian Development Highway System to connect areas in the Appalachian Mountains which were not served by a major throughway. Corridor E of the project connected Morgantown, West Virginia with Hancock.
Even though the visitors center at Sideling Hill has been moved to the Town of Hancock Visitors Center, you’ll still get a lot out of stopping to see the scale and intricacy of the layers of rock as well as a pretty nice view.
Nothing says summer like baseball. The sounds of vendors selling beer and pretzels, the smell of barbecue filling the air and families enjoying America’s pastime together as the sun sets over a beautiful sky. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which was a true original in that it was the first modern ballpark that was made in the mold of the classic venues of old. It stuck its nose up at the monolithic bowls of the 1970s like Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati and Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.
Last Friday was Floppy Hat Night and what person in the right mind wouldn’t want to go and get their very own hat that even features the state flag on the top? Here’s hoping I can take a trip to Aberdeen, Bowie or Frederick before the summer’s out to catch some minor league baseball and soak up the atmosphere there.
For the eighth straight year Civil War reenactors arrived at Rose Hill Manor Park in Frederick for the annual encampment and battle reenactment. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the 1862 Maryland campaign, which saw several of the major battles that have come to define the Civil War. The park itself also plays a role in the history of the Civil War as Confederate troops from General Stonewall Jackson’s division camped nearby during 1862 and Union troops under the command of Brigadier General Robert O. Tyler camped on the property in 1863. Interestingly, Rose Hill Manor was the home of Thomas Johnson, Maryland’s first governor.
With all that in mind, coupled by the fact that I had never seen a live military reenactment before and who in their right mind wouldn’t want to see crusty guys dress up and fire antique guns, I took the drive up to Frederick to see what it was all about. I went with a little bit of anticipation, trying to visualize what types of shots I might be able to get. Sometimes it works well, sometimes it’s folly. Well this time it didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped but nonetheless was a worthwhile trip out of town.
I am hoping to go to another Civil War reenactment at some point to do a portrait series which I hope to include with these other Maryland-themed images.
As I mentioned in the last post, I wasn’t able to spend all that much time in Cumberland during my recent stop. I only captured a small little sliver of what Cumberland is like. In that sense photographs are inadequate in giving someone a realistic look at what a place is really all about. While there is truth in a photograph it can as well be incomplete as a tool for understanding the world.
You as the viewer may then form opinions about people and places based solely what you see on a computer screen. While photographing and capturing a moment or place in time is important for me both as a tool in my own learning as it is a tool of creative expression, I am hopefully that photography and visual communication then light a spark in people where they will then go seek out more information about something that peaks their interest.
With that said, here are several more photographs from my walkabout in a small portion of downtown Cumberland. For those interested in learning more about Cumberland and Allegany County, take a peek at the Maryland Mountainside tourism website.
When deciding to make the drive home from Rockville to Pittsburgh last weekend to visit family I knew I wanted to try and stop along the way to see what I could find for the photo project. Interstate 68 crosses Western Maryland and is a great jumping off point for exploring that part of the state. I have been to Cumberland on several occasions but hadn’t really stopped to take a look around in many years. So often when traveling back and forth between the two cities I am trying to get there as quickly as possible and don’t make the time to stop. On Saturday, I stopped at the historic train station downtown that now serves as the headquarters of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.
I had planned on just wandering around downtown and seeing if anything piqued my interest. After noticing that there seemed to be a fair number of people around for early on a Saturday morning, I found out that the railroad’s excursion train would be running shortly. As you don’t see steam engines operate very many places in the Mid-Atlantic, I knew it would be a unique opportunity to capture something unique.
I take public transportation a lot since moving to Maryland. I do drive and ride my bike but taking pictures when someone else is doing the driving is a heck of a lot easier. Although all of these photographs were taken during rush hour, they still seem to be devoid of all the people who typically use transit during peak travel times. I wasn’t purposely trying to avoid taking photos of the big crowds so as this is a work in progress, I hope to take a lot more photographs aboard and around transit in the near future. I guess we’ll see what I come away with.
Patriotism in a parking Lot. Rockville, Maryland.
While doing street photography at night has its technical challenges, even with an older generation iPhone you’re able to capture some pretty interesting images. These are several photographs from Fells Point and the Inter Harbor in Baltimore. The tall ships were in town for the bicentennial of The War of 1812 so it was nice to take advantage of them being there. While I was only there for less than I day, I am sure I’ll be making a trip back up there, hopefully next month.
Moving to back to the DC area from Massachusetts last August brought about a whole host of changes in my life. On a more fundamental level, New England and the DC area are quite a bit different from each other – the landscape, the people and the weather, just to name a few. As a newspaper photographer having grown a bit frustrated with the daily routine of assignment work, I began to look for some other outlet for my passion of photography. Like many other people in my business, mobile phone cameras have allowed us (and everyone else for that matter) a more simple way of conveying our world through still images while not having to get too caught up in f-stops, lens choice, etc.
These photographs – taken in Rockville and Dickerson, respectively – are an introduction to a casual series of images of my wanderings around the Old Line State, Maryland, my somewhat new home. It is my hope that the only uniformity will be the fact that they were shot in the same state. I don’t want to put any hard or fast rules behind this and just want to have fun with it. I hope you enjoy and would of course love feedback and comments. Thanks!