Thursday, October 25, 2018

Old Mailbox at Laurel and Bayard

Photo:Engage   a photography blog you want to follow

“In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” - Alfred Stieglitz

  Right from the start, allow me to apologize for the delay in posting to my blog. I salute those bloggers who are able to consistently create content, write, and post. Time slipped by quickly and there were times I knew I should write but just didn't. There are many good reasons (excuses?), all involving life and being busy. I plan to get back on track so stay with me, please.

  So... as you know, I enjoyed taking early morning walks with my wife this summer and discovering many interesting features of Rehoboth Beach. The light afforded by the rising sun often cast a wonderful warm glow on the subject in my viewfinder. But sometimes, I would discover a hidden treasure that required different conditions to capture the mood I wanted. I knew that for the old postal box at the northeast corner of Bayard Avenue and Laurel Street, I wanted some soft light directly after a cooling rain, so I had to be patient.

Old Mailbox at Laurel and Bayard

  Mail is delivered by carriers to nearly every address in town by foot as residential curbside mailboxes are rare. Postal relay boxes like these were once very common, especially in cities, as central storage containers for mail carriers as they delivered the daily mail. Intended as drop boxes for the mail sorted for a specific neighborhood, these boxes allowed mail carriers to replenish their load periodically instead of having to carry it all at one time. Relay boxes were located at strategic intersections so that either the mail carrier or other postal workers operating from truck could easily stock it before rounds.

Old Mailbox Patina

  This relay box has likely stood on this corner in the heart of the residential area for decades and has developed a glorious patina of greens and grays and oranges. One of its legs is slightly bent, perhaps from a possible past collision with a reversing truck. Yet it still stands ready for duty. And I found it ready to photograph one early evening a week or so after that walk. A gentle rain had just ended and the sunlight was filtering through some remaining clouds. To ensure the mailbox was the focus of the photograph, I sought compositions from multiple angles looking for the softest light and the least distracting background. The first photograph anchors the relay box in space, showing the viewer (you!) its immediate environment. Photograph number two isolates a portion, revealing the impressive details.

  I think you'll agree that small bits of history like this, intimate and often overlooked, are worth saving. If you look around your town, you'll probably find them too. Fortunately, Rehoboth Beach has this old, weathered but still sturdy relay box standing in the shadows but ready to serve. And hopefully, historical bits like this will be here for many more years. But when the day comes for it to be removed, photographs like these will help us remember.

Friday, August 10, 2018

To the Beat of His Own Penny-farthing

Photo:Engage   a photography blog you want to follow

    “Photography is a love affair with life.” - Burt Uzzle

  My wife and I have been taking morning walks this summer, stepping off from our house early to beat the heat. Leaving kids and dog behind has been liberating as we're free to roam where we wish at whatever pace we choose. Our pace was admittedly quite slow at first as we both needed many days to build up our endurance but we're now covering at least five miles a day as measured by our trusty Fitbits and actually passing other pedestrians occasionally. She often carries her water bottle on our walks. And of course, I take my camera.

  Many days, we choose to walk through the neighborhoods as we stroll towards the beachfront boardwalk. But on this particular morning, we instead headed towards the avenue and walked through the heart of town. Sunrise was well underway but the yellow sun was still low and shone in our faces as we slowly made our way to the boards. The great tourist crowds on the sidewalk were still many hours away but we had the company of several other early risers and the local shopkeepers were busy getting ready for the new day. Smells of dark roast and sugar wafted in the air as we passed by already lively coffee shops. Cars jockeyed for parking near the shore and families unloaded their brightly colored beach gear onto the sidewalk for the happy trudge to their claim in the sand. I thought I might be able to take a photo or two in the golden light at the beach.

  And then I saw him. The happiest and most carefree fellow I've ever seen rolled slowly by. And he wasn't in a rusty old VW van or flower power Beetle as you might expect. Instead, what made this aging hippy happy and quite delightful to me was his Penny-farthing.

To the Beat of His Own Penny-farthing

  Plus the fact that he was shirtless, wore a headband, had bare feet, and held his whiskered face up towards the light.

  Originally called a high-wheeler bicycle, and later an ordinary bicycle, these strange looking machines were ingenious devices that allowed for high speed travel on rough terrain with relatively slow pedaling. Looking from the side like an English penny coin followed by a farthing, they were all the rage until the lower seat height of the safety bicycle and the introduction of pneumatic tires superseded it in design and technology.

  I will admit I tried to capture this photograph a few moments earlier when he was more alongside me. But my camera wasn't on and I was slow to get it up to my eye. I'm always relearning the basic lessons of keeping the camera ready at all times. You just never know when an interesting subject happens by and if your lens cap is still on or your camera is off, you're going to miss the shot.

  What I really like about the image, apart from the man himself, is the sharp contrast between the bicycle and the road, the long shadow from his figure, and the highlights on his face and beard. This meant I had to process in monochrome. I also added a bit of grain to give a little artistic flair to the final photograph.

  I've been keeping an eye out for Penny-farthing man but I haven't seen him again. But you can be sure my camera will be ready if I do.

  You can see more of my work at,, and

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What's this blog about?

Photo:Engage   a photography blog you want to follow

    “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” - Ansel Adams

  Every photo has a story, a why the photographer took the photo and how they came to be there. Here, I'll get the chance to share the story of my photographs and to have a conversation if an image resonates with you in some way.

  Too often, the photographer and the viewer never meet. Even in the age of Facebook and Instagram, the comment section is rarely used to share the complete story of a photograph and it almost never involves an exchange of ideas between viewer and photographer.

Indian River Inlet Bridge from Conquest Beach

So my aim here is to showcase one of my photographs every month (or so) and tell you all about it.

  Most of you were introduced to my images by Facebook. And many of you took a look at my website where I try to showcase my finest photographs. And I really hope you've enjoyed them.

  What you might not know is that I also post photographs on Twitter and Instagram each day. And I never duplicate! I share different photographs on each social network so you'll get a unique viewing experience on each one. 

  Twitter and Facebook get high quality photographs, usually captured with my Canon DSLR, that might not make it to the website but that I'm still proud to share. And Instagram gets my more whimsical and personal images, often shot with my iPhone.

I can collect all my photographs and stories in one place. And then share them with you.

  I realize that not everyone has a Twitter account. Judging by the number of followers I have on Twitter, no one does! And despite Instagram's popularity, there are many of you who will never see my photographs there either.

  But all of you can subscribe to my blog and get a notification when I post a new photo story. And every story will feature a photograph you probably haven't seen before.

  And you'll get to find out more about the photograph like where I was, why I was there, what conditions were like, and why I chose to capture the image and process it the way I did.

Will you find this interesting?

  That's the big question for me, of course. I certainly hope you will but even if you aren't interested in the backstory, I do hope you'll enjoy seeing the photographs you're missing if you don't follow me on Instagram and Twitter (although I hope you do that too).

  And let's remember that we, photographer and viewer, can engage in conversation here.

  Like or dislike a photo or story? Tell me why. And let me know how to make this blog as good as it can be. Want more of something or a little less of something else? Or maybe have a question about photography? Leave me a note in the comments and I promise to answer.

  And a photography blog as good as this one over-delivers today with one more image, so I leave you with a photograph of some stunning flowers I encountered on a recent morning walk.

Tiger Lilies