Jan 152016

The Brave and the Beautiful – Our Very First Meetup at 11am

Cityscape Photo Tours Philadephia at Grumman Greenhouse

The Second Shift – There’s somethin’ happenin’ here …what it is ain’t exactly clear…

Thanks to all who showed up today for our inaugural set of twin meetups despite the foreboding forecast! Each one of you helped to make our first meetup day a great success. I was delighted to meet each of you, and I hope you had as good a time as I did.

Six intrepid Cityscapers laughed in the face of the weather prognosticators and joined me for our 11am photo meetup. As we finished our introductions and started to walk within the portals of City Hall, the gentle sprinkle that first greeted us ceased, and for the most part of the next two hours, we strolled outside with our heads dry. Afterwards, five of us walked to Reading Terminal Market for some rest, some schmoozing, and some cheesesteak.

As I walked back to City Hall for our 2pm meetup, the sun actually was out, and I found ten more Cityscapers assembled; within a few more minutes, we numbered sixteen – an excellent turnout! As in the morning, we photographed around the south and west sides of City Hall, in Love Park (JFK Plaza,) Suburban Station, the Grumman Greenhouse at PAFA, and finally in the amazing north portal of City Hall.

Jan 092016

Cityscape Photo Tours Philadelphia on Meetup.com!

North Portal of Philadelphia City Hall

North Portal of Philadelphia City Hall

Do you have an interest, or even a passion for photography? Would you enjoy photographing in a vibrant, urban environment, along with other friendly and engaging people who share your interest? Are you a beginner, intermediate, or expert/pro photographer?

Then you belong with us.. Cityscape Photo Tours Philadelphia on Meetup.com

Our mission is to photographically explore Philadelphia and its environs. Our vision for our Members is to learn from someone who know more than you and teach someone who know less than you.

It’s free to join, and my goal is to have at least one free event per month, with some reasonably-priced for-pay events mixed in. In fact, our first two free events are this Sunday, January 10, 2016, one at 11am, and a repeat at 2pm.  Each one begins at the central courtyard at City Hall.

There are so many extraordinary places to photograph in Philadelphia… can’t wait to shoot them with you!

Photo: A stroller walks through the N. Broad Street Arcade of Philadelphia City Hall.  Philadelphia City Hall is an amazingly decorated and huge building, constructed between 1871 and 1901 in the Second Empire style. With it’s tower reaching 548 ft (167 m), it is the tallest masonry building in the world.

Feb 222014

Kubelwagon VW Thing Volkswagen Type 181

Yes, it’s a Volkwagen Thing, formally known as a VW Type 181. This thing, sitting at B&B Auto Salvage, has seen better days.

The Type 181, modeled along the lines of the World War II-era Type 82 Kübelwagen, came to the U.S. market as “The Thing” in 1972, just in time for us Baby Boomers to snatch them up in our late high school, college, and early post-college years.

Under the skin, it was basically a Type 1 Beatle, with a Karmann Ghia floor pan and rear suspension from VW Transporter (microbus.)

If you’ve never seen one, here’s what The Thing would typically look like when new.

Feb 192014
Central Park NYC New York North Woods Manhattan

The people in the background are standing at the point where The Pool leads to the Glenspan Cascade.

Like pretty much everything else in Central Park, the very natural look of The Pool was carefully crafted by the Park’s designers, Frederick Law Olmsted and Cavlert Vaux.

Olmsted and Vaux created The Pool by damming up a natural spring just inside the west wall of the Park at about 102nd Street.  Nowadays, it’s fed by a pipe coming from the Reservoir to the south. The Pool itself is  several times longer than it is wide, with its long axis running from southwest to northeast. From the northeast end of The Pool, the flow of water continues via Glenspan Cascade to The Loch. Despite its name, The Loch is a stream that continues the flow northeastward, finally feeding Harlem Meer, a large lake that fills the northeast corner of the Park.

The Pool is arguably the most tranquil and charming feature of the Park. Especially since its complete restoration by the Central Park Conservancy in 2003, The Pool is a beautiful refuge for birds, fish, and amphibians, as well as the two-legged denizens of Manhattan.

Feb 182014
vintage Dodge Maryland auto salvage

1948 Dodge Custom Coupe at B&B Auto Salvage in Upper Marlboro, MD

Photo meetups are great – just being with other photography enthusiasts make me more excited and motivated to be creative.

This image is from a meetup last summer  at an auto salvage yard with Naptown Photo. Founded barely 18 months ago by Jennifer Casey, it’s become the most active Meetup.com photo group in the Annapolis area, thanks to Jen’s boundless energy and creativity.

I made this exposure by getting all up in the Dodge’s grill and using the wide-angle end (21mm) of my 18-270mm zoom.

Thanks to Google image search, I was able to determine, within about 3 minutes, that this beauty is a 1948 Dodge Custom Coupe.


Feb 122014


Winterdale Arch Central Park NYC New York City Manhattan

Winterdale Arch carries West Drive over the Bridal Path

Carrying the West Drive at 81st Street, this arch made of Maine granite, sandstone and brick was part of what was then the Winter Drive – hence, its name.

Completed by 1862, the arch’s wide elliptical arch spans more than 45 feet – the largest span of all the Park’s stone-and-brick bridges. The arch had significantly deteriorated over time, with its ornamental cast-iron railings destroyed by multiple taffic accidents. In 1993, the Central Park Conservancy restored Winterdale and reconstructed the railings, which had been missing for 50 years.

This photo nicely shows how Frederick Law Olmsted, the grand architect of Central Park and Cavlert Vaux,  the designer of the arches and other features in the park, carried out separation of different kinds of traffic.

“…all parts of the lower Park may be traversed on foot
without encountering a single carriage or horseman.” 

Frederick Law Olmsted, 1859

Here’s a nice find: a photo of Winterdale Arch and its immediate surroundings, taken not long after it was completed. At the time of this photo, the trees were just saplings, and you can see Vaux’ decorative treatment of the abutments.

Jan 232014
Against the law, but what the heck...

Against the law, but what the heck…

Over the last several years, a trend that started in Europe has sailed across the Atlantic, up New York Harbor, and landed at the Brooklyn Bridge.Lovers declare their everlasting love to the world by writing on or engraving a padlock, attaching it to the Bridge, and then throwing away the key.All this started across the Pond from a movie, Tre Metri Sopra il Cielo (based on a 1992 novel by Federico Moccia,) that was released in 2004.

I started to notice a few in 2008, and there have been more each visit back to the Bridge. In New York City, this practice is prohibited by ordinances, but the Transportation Department tend to let it go.

This particular bunch, with the lovely engraving for Jeanine & Michael, attracted both me and my shooting partner David Blecman as we were scouting the route for my Big Apple Bridgewalk last September.


Jan 212014
Chinatown Rooftops

Chinatown Rooftops

With the cooperation of the residents or not, the roofs and upper walls of these Lower East Side tenement buildings are decorated with all sorts of “artwork.”

To get a good view of these, you need to onto the Manhattan Bridge pedestrian walkway. The best way, in my opinion, is to join me on our Big Apple Bridgewalk!