Walk on Alberta

A Local Travelogue

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Category: Winter (page 1 of 2)

Oh Sunshiney Day

We wound up spending much more time in Cincinnati than originally planned, thanks United Airlines! After a day of recovery, we stumbled out into a beautiful sunny day complete with blue sky. Although we did take a trip to the “bad” section of Cincinnati this trip (given all the extra time) I really missed Alberta Street.  The mural on the corner has not gotten any better, but hey it makes a good selfie backdrop (above.)

Everyone was out and about on Alberta Street, eating ice cream and this guy in lovely cobalt jeans with many pocket-books strapped on his body:

Pocket Books

So many pocket purse things and a rolling bag. I’m pretty envious of all the pockets in that coat since women’s clothes are generally pocketless which is a pain in the ass when traveling because who wants to swing a large purse through the streets of Mumbai?

This is one of my favorite spots to make photos. I’m trying to get closer to the people occasionally at the risk of being flattened by a vehicle:

Man Walking Dog

It was a good day to be home and walking the street.



Twigs, Lines and Spikes

The Portland grey has come home to roost and the temperatures are flapping around cold enough to wish for snow to lighten up the freezing December drizzle. I was happy to discover that both my camera, and my favorite 35mm lens are weather-sealed so they can take a little wet without resorting to protective plastic wrap. On these cold slatish days, the shape-shifting on Alberta Street is so novel that I’m not noticing my cold nose and finger tips until I stomp back inside after a photo-walk.

During this seasonally high-contrast time, my instinct is to start playing with black and white processing, but then I see small vibrant color blasts against the grey and I think maybe not. I also don’t really have a good handle on what makes a black and white photo beautiful. I’ve been snapping photos since I was eight or so with various film and then digital cameras, I never learned how to develop film in a darkroom and I feel a tiny bit less-serious because I’ve never turned film into prints with chemicals in the dark. I’m working on abandoning my need to do everything “right” with regards to my photographic habit, because it’s daunting to think that I need to learn everything that every working fine art photographer learned in art school and 20 years of street photography experience to make beautiful images.

I started to love color when I left Michigan. Or rather, I started to notice eco-color once I was out of my home-environment. School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and time spent in New Orleans introduced me to an entirely different eco-color palette – coppery-orange, reds and fiery pinks in the South West, and the cobalt, corals, and lime-greens of the Deep South. When you start really traveling you realize the world is filled with colors in combinations you’ve never seen before shimmering in impossible ways.

This photo was first processed in black and white.

Twigs and Spikes B&W

The spikes, spirals and lines are so different than the summer time wisteria that is supported by those twigs, that it seemed like black and white was a perfect option. Then I took a look at the color version, and the deep royal hues seeping through those spikes, spirals and lines, and loved that version more.

Twigs and Spikes




Murals in Progress

The panels on the front of the Black United Fund’s office building are slowing gaining scenes depicting our neighborhood’s history. Around the corner is graffiti which could be counted as temporal based modern art. We were walking back from afternoon coffee, there was a cloud break and that corner turned a rosy pink. Only had my iPhone camera and didn’t completely capture the rosy moment, but you get a same-same-but-different effect in black and white.

Doughnuts on the Corner

Two blocks away from us is Tonalli’s Doughnut and Ice Cream shop. We can almost smell the fresh-baked doughnuts at our house (you actually have to round the corner and walk half a block, which is a good thing or all we’d eat are doughnuts.) There is never a block-long line for ice cream in flavors like Rocky Road, Birthday Cake, Chocolate Chip, and Pistachio made by Oregon-local ice cream makers Umpqua Dairy and Cascade Glacier. The counter staff is lovely, and not barista too-cool-to-scoop hipster. Visually, the outside of Tonalli’s is bright and comfortable, and it’s a great place to make photographs. As served up by Tonalli’s, the doughnut is a unifying pastry — the shop has the most diverse clientele I’ve seen in Portland. Maybe not as tourist-trendy as Voodoo, or gourmet as Blue Star, but sometimes you just want a regular doughnut that doesn’t come with artisanal bacon bits, and sprinkles of gentrification.

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