The Red Door on State Street

Consider this a preview of a series I’ll be embarking on in the next week or so…in which I’ll detail the nearly completed State Street improvement project.  This instantly recognizable door some (or remarkably unrecognizable for others) is located on State Street towards the Memorial Bridge and Prescott Park.  I’ve always enjoyed this nondescript yet withered door, and loved the play of light/shadow on it in the early afternoon sunlight.

The Chef's Table | State Street Update

State Street’s facelift continues.  While I was driving home and treating my car to the luxurious new pavement on State Street, I realized that the new street lights were actually lit!  Along with the new pavement and brick sidewalks (that are well on their way to being done), the city had turned on the street lamps on Thursday night.  After realizing the street had a whole new look (finally), I decided to stop and snap a couple photos to prove it.

It was after I stopped that I met Eddie Sargent, the Chef/Owner of The Chef’s Table.  Eddie was kind enough to get out of the way of what he thought was my shot (even though he wasn’t in it)…so I went over to say hello.  Turns out he had just installed the new sign, which looks great.  I loved the clean look of the new sidewalks and the granite stairs welcoming guests into the building, and the new sign was the icing on the cake.  Hopefully – in a few more weeks, we’ll get State Street back to enjoy for ourselves, free of delays, construction cones and dust clouds.  Below – see what a difference a day makes.  Both shots were taken around 1pm at lunchtime…

Chronicles of the Martingale Wharf

In today’s post we’ll feature two recent shots of the Martingale Wharf, the long awaited construction project currently underway on Bow Street on Portsmouth’s waterfront.  The building is finally getting its skin, with bricks being installed on the Bow Street facade…along with new windows and more inside that I can’t really see.  The good news is that we might actually have a streetscape on Bow St. like we used to in days gone by….a win for both locals and tourists.  I really dig the shot above – it feels very natural and realistic all at the same time.  Taken with the Zeiss Hasselblad 100mm….it seems to call out textures and lighting on objects that just seem to fall flat with other lenses (or maybe I’m just a bit crazy).  Below, the front of the building gets its new brick skin…

Poco's | Now & Then

The season for The Decks is drawing to a close.  The Old Ferry Landing has closed for the year…I haven’t seen many folks down at the River House lately, I’ve seen a few folks at Poco’s in their new covered deck and a few die hards at Harpoon Willy’s still venture out (and rumor has it they’re hoping to stay open through Halloween).

I wanted to take a minute to reflect at the past spring/summer/fall season that saw a lot of changes to the Decks.  The new pavers were put in throughout the alleyway, and looked pristine for a while (now you wouldn’t guess they’re only a year old with all of the grease and traffic they’ve seen), The River House constructed a second story deck and saw another successful year…and probably the most noteworthy change was the shift of Poco’s deck from on the water to against the building.  I’ll always miss the old configuration, but there’s something to be said for eating/drinking in a warmer spot against the building.  It’s opened the area up significantly….check out the shots below, which was taken last September just before the old structure came down. Quite an evolution for this little part of town.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Prison

I thought it might be time to revisit the old and decrepit, yet still frightening, Naval Shipyard Prison.  The sky was about as crystal clear as you could ask for – which isn’t a good thing for my intentions here…but it highlighted the contrast of the structure against the moving Piscataqua River and the sky above.  I imagine this was a pretty horrific place to be holed up as either a guard or a prisoner, and as I learn each time I take a harbor cruise – there were reportedly commands to shoot any escapees on sight as they fled the prison.  (Sounds like a pretty rugged place to me).

I love the textures and the atmosphere that this lens is giving to each shot….it’s been a challenge and a pleasure to try and find appropriate subjects to shoot with it, and good conditions that either make for good drama or just something to make your eyes happy.  I’m sad to see the days shortening – but it should make for some good night photography as I’m forced once again out of my comfort zone while out shooting.

The Post Office | Rebuilding Portsmouth

As you may or may not know, the giant hulking structure in this shot to the left (very clearly a federal building), is the Post Office of Portsmouth.  The Post Office and the other federal tenants inside the building are slated for relocation to a new space in the Pease Tradeport in 2014.  Normally, this really wouldn’t be very interesting except for some commercial real estate being vacant….HOWEVER, because the building will be conveyed to the city of Portsmouth – this means that a world of opportunity awaits and the city could get a drastic facelift.

As seen in this shot from Bow Street, the property goes from the front entrance of the building on Daniel Street (across from the Press Room), all the way to the street side on Bow St.  The parking area is massive, and as seen from above (google map below)…the parcel is huge and basically represents the largest redevelopment in Portsmouth since the redevelopment of Market Square.  Pretty exciting stuff on the horizon – let’s hope the process goes smoothly and the city gets a great upgrade.

Thanks to my good friend Brian Matiash for helping select a shot for today’s post…I’ve got a few in the queue and within an instant of seeing this one, it caught his eye (which says a lot since he’s got a ridiculously keen eye). Head over to his page to check him out.
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Moran Towing | Tugboats of Portsmouth

I think that everyone deserves a regular taste of the Portsmouth Tugboats (especially those of you great folks from far away that don’t get to drive past them each day).  I typically shoot the scene in a landscape frame….but I wanted to feature a vertical shot of everyone’s favorite tugs.  Thanks to Moran Towing for keeping the towing business alive and well in our tricky Piscataqua River…I’ve noticed a huge uptick in the frequency of freighters coming into town over the past few weeks.  This is a sure sign that fall is upon us….the sand & salt piles will continue to grow…and that the snow will fly again (despite our best efforts to forget winter each year).

Also, below is a shot of the Martingale Wharf project as seen from the waterfront.  It’s not until you get out on the water side of Bow Street and view the building head on, that you can fully appreciate how much the waterfront is changing.

Balcony & Founder's Lobby | The Music Hall

In another visit to The Music Hall, I wanted to be sure to capture the pure grandeur of the historic theatre.  Inside the theatre itself – there is rich color and eye candy to be seen everywhere.  From the reds and natural wood color of the seats and the stairwells to the soft pastels of the wonderfully restored turn of the century painted ceiling, to the gilding and the gorgeous proscenium.  It’s a perfect setting for entertainment of all kinds, from live music to high quality films (or film festivals including the upcoming Telluride By The Sea or the 10th Annual New Hampshire Film Festival), to internationally recognized speakers and writers.

The Founder’s Lobby (as seen below) is a very cool place as well, very avant garde and very rich in color and unlike any other room you’ll come across in Portsmouth.  I’ll let the room speak for itself….and share more details in the future.  The room definitely commands a presence…and the minute details at every corner add to the interestingness of the place. 

Construction in the City

For those of you who drive downtown on a regular basis – you know that it has been a trying summer.  State Street has been loudly under construction as its wastewater system gets an upgrade, with a new stormwater runoff separation system being implemented, along with new brick sidewalks and street lighting.  While it’s going to be gorgeous when it’s all done – the road has definitely done a number on the suspension of my car from driving home each night.  I thought I’d bring the camera along to lunch at Googie’s this week to snap a few shots of the progress being made.  It’s actually quite fascinating to peer down into the holes that are being dug in the pavement….a few of the guys told me they’d found the old wooden sewers from a couple hundred years back – and I’ve seen some brick sewer piping in one of the trenches too.

The next shot features one of the storm drains that will be a central part of the State Street system.  I can’t wait til I can feature the newly paved State Street with all of its new street lamps – and motion blur from all of the swiftly moving traffic that will return.

This shot features the Martingale Wharf building as it gets another layer to its skin…as seen from Bow Street.

Martingale Wharf | Reflections of a Changing Waterfront

This shot was taken setting out on the sunset harbor cruise on the Heritage.  I snapped this single exposure with the incredibly sharp and vibrant Carl Zeiss lens that I’ve rented on a couple of occasions – and I just loved the rich blues of the water and the sky.  I’ve always thought that the Martingale Wharf building was pretty massive when seen from Bow Street…as it takes up so much of the street front – but it wasn’t until we were heading back in from the cruise that I realized just how massive the structure is.

Seen here the water side of the building is partially covered in tarps – as construction has progressed through the summer.  If you are walking up Bow Street, you might notice the fire sealing/insulation on the interior of the structure – so I imagine it’s only a matter of time until the skeleton of the building gets its skin.  I can’t wait to see what the structure looks like when its brick facade is installed….and it will be a welcome change to this seemingly stagnating waterfront visage.