A glimpse of motion and stillness on Market Street after the sun had set.
From a distance, a night on the waterfront in Portsmouth seems tranquil and inviting. This same scene from the decks themselves reveals a busy and vibrant night life, where it’s normal to have to wait for a table – but it’s usually all worth it if you can time it perfectly and enjoy a summer sunset out over the Piscataqua River on a warm night.
One of the best places to go for a walk in Portsmouth is at Prescott Park. The park provides so many opportunities to enjoy beautiful and industrial waterfront scenes all year long, and lush gardens in the warmer months. I decided to head over to Four Tree Island late one afternoon for sunset, but didn’t find much in the way of color or intrigue in the sky – so I focused instead on the beauty of this classic New England scene – complete with a commercial fishing fleet a steeple, and The Player’s Ring.
Evening comes early these days, so I’m looking forward to experimenting with night shooting all over again. The long shadows of the Middle Bridge reach towards the decks in this night shot, with the salt piles illuminated off to the left.
I have much to be thankful for this year – but I wanted to be sure to thank everyone for continuing to support The Daily Portsmouth!! It’s been an amazing year with many twists and turns, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Looking forward to the Holidays and to seeing what next year has in store!
Stay tuned for more information on the relocation of The Daily Portsmouth’s office as well as a new collaborative gallery space that I’ll be working on downtown! I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. Drop a note to let me know what you are thankful for!
My favorite part of this shot is the soft glow of the tugboats’ light on their maroon hull. The long reflections of the Middle Bridge and the silhouettes of the cranes on the waterfront make this a subtle shot, and one that I think is powerful and beautiful because it doesn’t need any adjustments to bring more to the scene.
Another freighter has arrived to unload windmill blades at the State Pier. After a delicious meal downtown, Steph and I decided to wander down to the new deck of the Martingale to enjoy an unobstructed view of the waterfront. The swift moving tide made for some interesting longer exposures alongside the orange glow of the alley on Ceres Street and the blasting light of the freighter on the horizon. I like how the cranes are nuzzled against one another from this vantage point and the cranes of the freighter are in opposite directions, and then the abutments of the Middle Bridge stand tall in the distance. Everything comes in pairs in this one – the tugboats, the cranes, the freighter cranes, the abutments, and the photographer.
One of the benefits of living in a large town with the benefits of a small city, is a nice dimly light downtown. I don’t mean dimly lit in a dangerous or scary way, there are plenty of street lamps illuminating sidewalks and streets, but I mean dimly lit as in there is no Times Square/ridiculously lit areas. Market Square, arguably the busiest intersection in all of Portsmouth, still has a cozy and intimate feeling at night. I hate the yellow street lamps, it doesn’t make for great photographs, but it definitely makes for a distinctive feel. Here the warmth of the interior of Breaking New Grounds spills out onto the brick patio of Market Square. This shot also marks the first over the next few days that will be taken on a Hasselblad that I’ll be demoing. I received the H4D-31 (a 31-megapixel medium format digital camera)….a beautifully solid piece of machinery that captures a higher dynamic range on a larger sensor than my usual Canon 5d Mark II. I can’t wait to get it out for some real hands-on shooting.
I thought it was time to mix it up and return to some working waterfront images after all the waterfront beach shots featured recently. With the onslaught of winter we’ve been having since 2011 arrived, I had been amazed that the sand/salt piles at Granite State Minerals shrunk as much as it did. That meant one thing – more freighters would be in town soon…so that local trucks could come to the rescue of Public Works departments across New England. Sure enough, upon getting back from Miami on Tuesday…I was greeted by two freighters in port.
The night shot add a dimension to the working waterfront feel for me, as we’re all used to seeing boats do their thing during the day, but it’s more rare that I stop to appreciate the fact that the cranes move through the night until all the minerals are unloaded. Here is a glimpse of the freighter along with the Heritage (the boat I take most often for some summer weather harbor cruising).
In the shortened hours of the day, winter presents a new challenge….finding scenes that are interesting and well-enough lit to capture something in a compelling way. If I had my choice of when I’d be out shooting – it would almost always be sunrise or sunset, but most of the time life has other plans. This is a great way to encourage myself to seek out new things to capture…and this particular evening I found my way to Pleasant Street and the interesting archways of Brazo with some bright red stoplights (those new tall behemoths on State Street) and the North Church.
It’s easy to miss, but the steady stream of smoke from one of the gypsum plants (drywall) along the river always makes for an interesting shot. It’s just another element of Portsmouth’s dynamic waterfront, adjoined by the Moran Towing tugboats and the Granite State Minerals terminal and the State Pier. This night scene was captured with my Zeiss 21mm lens, that seems to do an incredible job at capturing a wide range of color and light, and hit the atmosphere of this scene nearly perfectly.