In the Normandy Village, even the back door to the fire escape and laundry room is weird and wonderfully overdesigned.
The archway in the center of Trinity College’s Northam Hall is a welcoming place with the warm glow of dusk passing through.
Capturing pictures of the everyday and mundane details of living in a place as odd as Berkeley’s Normandy Village means that I can look back to the little details. This maroon fire escape served as the back door to our apartment, but also easy access to the shared laundry room—and thus a route I frequently traversed, trying to find a time when the machines were free.
The key to getting the most incredible image of a view is to take “luck”/chance out of the equation. I’ve been watching this same view (from the balcony of my research facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) almost every night for just the right kind of sunset to appear. After a hazy, cloudy day, I hadn’t expected last night’s sunset to have much character—until I was texted by a friend at the lab: “Sunset. Stat”
The reds were worth it.
Equally astonishing to me is that this image wasn’t taken with my DSLR, bur rather was assembled from multiple exposures taken with my iPhone 7 Plus. Though I doubt a compromised phone camera can ever replace my handy/chunky main camera, it makes an incredible back-up option.
As with my photograph of the Seattle Public Library, I’m exposing my inner hipster with these images. Double exposures had an element of serendipity and excitement when they originated from film cameras. I guess I’d call these more studies or experiments in how to bring together the landscape images I’ve enjoyed creating with the portraits I find myself taking for practical purposes: LinkedIn, passports, school webpages, etc.
With these imagines, in particular, I’ve played with the idea of “stacking” the face and the main subject of the other image (be it lighthouse or galaxy NGC1275 overlay data from the Hubble Telescope).
In this particular corner of Connecticut in early spring, the rain and snow combined to make the perfect storybook fog. This image is so quaint and charming, I could swear I’d seen it somewhere before.
But this brings me to another idea: those particular locations in landscape photography so scenic that they are literally ubiquitous. Take the tunnel view in Yosemite, or shots of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands, or downtown Manhattan as seen from the top of Rockafeller Center as examples: is it even possible to make an original composition from such a photographically saturated place? But these places are also photographically saturated for a reason: they’re really, really pretty. Where does that trade-off between originality and beauty fall?