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Year End Review – Night Photography

I did a year end review of my favorite and least favorite still life images. As promises here are my favorite and least favorite night images. 

Favorite Night Photography

Night photography is my current obsession. As I mentioned in my America After Dark gallery. This image is from the Dragon Lights Festival. There is a color version of this and it’s nice. But I love the way the black and white makes it about the light and dark and highlights the shapes of the flowers and people. 

Dragon Lights Festival flower tunnel
A tunnel of light with people walking through. 

A favorite of not just my night photography, but also my photos from Knoxville. The Tennessee Theatre marquee is lit up and people are walking through town. In the lower right corner is a young girl with a pink jacket, she makes this photo for me. I love subtle touches in photos.

Downtown Knoxville, TN after dark
Gay Street in Knoxville, TN after dark.

The Chrysler Building takes center stage in this New York skyline photo. I took this from the observation deck on the Empire State Building. I had to squeeze myself in between people taking selfies and some lovers making out. But totally worth it!

New York City after dark. The view from the Empire State Building.
New York City skyline after dark. Taken from the Empire State Building, with the Chrysler Building as the central part of this image.

The Daylight Building in downtown Knoxville, TN. I took this while wondering around downtown. I couldn’t find anything that caught my eye. So, I was headed back to the car. And there it was. The single person, the lone bicycle, and the shops all lit up for the night.

The Daylight Building in downtown Knoxville, TN.
The Daylight Building in Knoxville, TN. 

Least Favorite Night Photography

It’s not that I don’t like these images but I feel like they could be better.

I don’t like the stop sign or the car in this image. As we were leaving, I noticed a better angle and it’s been bugging me ever since. I think I will have to go back and get a better pic. Also, eat pizza!

Big Ed's Pizza in Oak Ridge, TN.
Big Ed’s Pizza in Oak Ridge, TN. Big Ed’s has been at its current location since 1970. It’s a local staple and always busy. 

I think I might like this better if shot a little closer to sunset, so the 1907 and the outline of the clock could be more pronounced. Yes, I could lighten it but that would produce an unnatural grainy look. 

Lenoir City street clock
Street Clock in Lenoir City, TN. 

Thank you for visiting my most and least favorite list of night photography from this year. Feel free to share your own end of year blogs in the comments below! 

Prints are available of all images in my Pixels store. Click here. You can also click on the image and it will take you directly to the store.

America After Dark

My current obsession is night photography. I love to see city lights after dark or small town lights. I never carry a tripod with me, so I shoot with a super high ISO or try to rest the camera on something. I use a Sony A7rII and it is great for shooting in low light with a minimum of grain. Although, I have night photos from around the world, this gallery is dedicated to America after dark. 

Knoxville, TN

Knoxville is my home town, so I have lots of images from here. Here are a few.

Downtown Knoxville, TN, featuring the Tennessee Theatre marquee after dark.
After dark on Gay Street, featuring the Tennessee Theatre marquee. This is one of my favorites from Knoxville. 
The Daylight Building on Union Avenue.
The Daylight Building after dark. This is a definite favorite. All of the elements are there, the lights, the single person, and a bicycle. 
The Bijou Theatre Marquee in Knoxville, Tn.
The Bijou Theatre Marquee in downtown Knoxville, TN. 

New York City

When I visited New York, I went alone. At first, I thought I might be too afraid to spend a lot of time out after dark, especially taking photos. But I got comfortable with it fairly quickly. 

Skylight Diner in Midtown.
The Skylight was my go to breakfast place, since it was just around the corner from my Airbnb. The food was excellent and ambiance was everything a diner in NYC should be.
A street scene in New York City, NY.
Street scene in New York City, NY in front of the Heartland Brewery and Rotisserie. 
Looking up at the Empire State Building in NYC.
Looking up at the Empire State Building in New York City. After going up and taking skyline photos and took this as I was leaving. 

Want to see more photos from after dark, click here.

Feel free to comment and share your own images of America After Dark. 

New York City Day 2

See Rhode Island or Bust and New York City Day 1 for the beginning of the trip.

I got online and bought a ticket to the Statue of Liberty / Ellis Island tour for early Monday morning. I had read that mornings were the best time to go. I checked the subway map to plan my route. So, on Day 2 in New York City, I headed out bright and early, looking for breakfast.

Bumps in the Road

Did I mention that it was Labor Day? Holidays change everything. The streets were virtually empty and everything was closed. So, breakfast was a coffee and muffin from the only small market open.

At Penn Station, I discovered that there was construction on the line I needed to take to Battery Park. Battery Park is where Statue Cruises is located. So, the line that goes straight there, was closed. So, some helpful metro workers told me to take Line 2 to a different stop and get on the free shuttle that would go to Battery Park. At the stop, there was no shuttle and the sign said it would not arrive for another 30 minutes.  According to my phone, I could walk there in 20. So, off I went. I took lots of photos on the way. Here are a few. It took me a little longer than 20 minutes. There was construction, thus closing the sidewalk and I had to take a detour.

Boat Rides and 195 Steps

On the boat over, I had a great view. But once we started getting close, people started crowding in front of me. I managed to snag a few shots before too many people came in.

I visited the Statue of Liberty first. I walked up 195 to the pedestal because the elevator was packed and full elevators are on my list of “probably not”. I made it up to the pedestal and got a great view of the city and the grounds below. If you go, you will have to get a locker. Be prepared for frustration and waiting in line for this. Either way, I’m glad I went. It was worth every step.

Ellis Island

I and 50,000 other people decided it was time to get back on the boat and go to Ellis Island. By the time I made it off the boat and out of the crowd, I was pretty tired. But I walked around the place and took some photos.

Back in NYC

After disembarking at Battery Park, I found a kiosk selling cold beer and could not refuse.  I bought a beer and walked around for a bit. Then I returned to the room for a long nap.

After my nap, I found an Indian place for dinner. It was delicious. The garlic naan was spot on.

After walking 11 miles and taking tons of photos, it was time to retire. The next day would be more walking, sweating, drinking, and photos.

 

 

New York City Day 1

When it was time to leave Providence (see Rhode Island or Bust), E dropped me at the station early because I did not know what to expect. Would it be like the airport? Would I have to remove my shoes and take out my electronics and shampoo? Would I get the joy of a pat down? Nope, none of that. They did have police walking around, watching for suspicious behavior, I suppose. That left me with some time to kill, so I went down and took some photos of the platforms. When it was time to board, I hopped on and grabbed a comfy seat. Coach seats on trains are nice and cushy. After everyone found a spot, no seat assignments here, we were off. I was headed to New York City, just me and my camera.

On the Train

I sat next to a very nice woman from Florida. Her daughters lived in New England and she was visiting them. She told me to visit the Public Library in New York. So, I added it to my list. There are several reasons to love the train. One of those is that you can have a conversation without everyone else in the whole place hearing what you say. It’s also easy to get up and move around.  I visited the snack bar where the cashier told me about the time he visited East Tennessee and loved it. There’s also the views.  I got to see so much of New England that I would not have seen otherwise. It made me want to visit the places I viewed from the train.

Made it NYC

The train pulled into Penn Station and I had a moment of what now? I had researched the location of my Airbnb and the exits were clearly marked, so I found my way out easily. The Airbnb was only 3 blocks from the station. I made my way there and there was a nice guy waiting to give me a key card and show me to my room. It was a private room with a shared bath and kitchen area. I had reservations about the shared bath, but it ended up not being an issue for me. I only ran into the other tenants once in the 4 days I was there.

Skyscrapers ©Sharon Popek
Right outside of my Airbnb

What Now

The biggest problem with visiting a place like New York City without specific plans is there are so many options, it’s hard to decide what to do. I took a shower and relaxed for a bit before deciding to hit the streets in search of food and drink. It was Sunday and quite a few of the nearby places were already closed or closing soon. But I found Jack Doyle’s Irish Pub and Grill and planted myself at the bar. After a couple of perfectly poured Guinnesses and a delicious Caprese Salad, I was ready to go to bed and start again the next day.

Stay Tuned

Watch for Day 2! The next installment includes a trip to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, more beer, and lots of walking.

 

 

 

Johnson City Tennessee

We recently took a quick trip to Johnson City, TN. It has been on our list for awhile because we love Yee-Haw beer.  But we finally had a good reason to go. It was work related, so at least the gas was paid for!

Dinner and a Beer (or two)

The first place we went was, of course, Yee-Haw Brewing Company. They have a great in house bar and they share space with White Duck Taco Shop.  Yay! Beer and food all in one handy place.

Downtown

After eating, we decided to walk around downtown a bit and see what else is happening in Johnson City. As it turns out, not much. But it was a Sunday evening. We will try to go back on a Saturday and catch a show or something. Prints are available of the images below – here.

Dessert

I had a hankering for ice cream but there did not seem to be any ice cream shops. I admit, we didn’t look really hard. We headed back to the White Duck to see what they had for dessert. They had two desserts and both were yummy!

We will definitely go back to Johnson City, Tennessee!

 

 

Saturday Signs

I don’t know why people are so fascinated by signs. But most people I know seem drawn to them. Especially if they are old or vintage. When I travel, I find myself drawn to them. Whether it’s a shop sign, a large sign, a small sign, or a road sign. I will take a photo of it. Some signs tell a story, a history of its location. Even if its just a one word sign, the color and shape can say a great deal about the shop or restaurant or even the area in general.

Maybe people are drawn to a certain sign because it’s got a place in their memory. Maybe they drove by that sign on the way to school every day. Or maybe it represents a happy memory of weekend trips to town.

Americana Signs

Signs from Around the World

Danville Kentucky Courthouse

Some images of the courthouse in downtown Danville, KY. I grew up in this small town in central Kentucky. It’s easy to overlook places in your home town. I don’t remember the courthouse looking quite so impressive when I live there.

Early Morning Sun

Early Sunday morning is a great time to visit small town America. The streets are virtually empty. If you time it just right, you’ll get to hear the church bells ring. But since it was in the early morning, the sun was not in an ideal place. I decided to play it up a bit as the golden light shines through the windows.

 

Prints of these images are available here. 

 

 

Courthouses of Tennessee

I have traveled around the world and seen some amazing architecture. Courthouses in particular seem to get the special treatment, no matter where you are or how large the town or city. They tend to be the largest, most ornate structure in town, outside of churches or cathedrals. I have found this to be especially true in small American towns. In these small towns, the courthouse is often in the center of town, towering over all other buildings.

Knoxville Tennessee

Knoxville has the Knox County Courthouse, erected in 1885. The historic courthouse still houses several county departments. However, the majority of the city and county services are in the City-County building, erected in 1979.

Knoxville also has the Howard J. Baker Federal Courthouse.  While originally built for Whittle Communications in the early 1990s, it has all the makings of a proper courthouse. I guess that’s why they made it into one. It has a large central courtyard with a  beautiful clock tower and cupola. It is considered a postmodern version of neo-Georgian architecture.

Other Tennessee Courthouses

The historic Loudon County Courthouse is the standard brick with arched windows and doors. Although, it does not have a clock tower or a front porch with columns, as most courthouses do. Construction on this building began in the late nineteenth century.  The Jefferson County Courthouse is located in downtown Dandridge, TN. One of the oldest courthouses in the state of TN, it was erected in 1845. It is constructed in the Greek Revival Style with a tall cupola and large square columns on the front entry. The building is on a large hill, giving it a slightly uneven look.

A Weekend in the Bluegrass

My father recently gifted my sister and I a farm in Springfield, KY. So, the mister and I decided to go up and spend the weekend checking out the area and surrounding towns.

Freewheelin’ Friday

We started out early on Friday and headed north to Kentucky. We stopped in Stanford at the Bluebird Cafe where we ate a great lunch with excellent service. I had a pear salad, ask me about romaine lettuce and hep a. Walt had a ham and cheese with sliced pair (Parisian pear sandwich). From there we made our way to Danville where we stopped at Kroger for snacks and supplies. Then the Liquor Barn next door. I want one of these in my town. Really. It’s just too cool. They have liquor and beer and snacks and liquor and beer and this one even had a bar in the middle. Have a beer while you pick out beer. Does it get better?

We finally made it to the Farm. Holy shit, one lane windy roads, dogs, and deer everywhere. It’s a quiet, dead end road with no traffic and very few neighbors.

Springfield, KY

After a nap and a very short hike, we decided it was dinner time. We debated on whether we should go to Danville or Springfield for dinner. We chose Springfield because it’s closer to our current location. We went to a place called Mordecai’s in downtown Springfield. On Friday they have seafood buffet with shrimp and crab legs and other seafood type stuff. But we aren’t really buffet people, so we ordered off the menu. We started with the Wisconsin cheese curds, fried cheese with a spicy breading. I got the blackened, grilled salmon and the mister got the Kentucky Hot Brown. What in the hell is that? I can hear you asking that right now. Well, it’s white bread (usually toasted), turkey, cheese, mornay sauce (this varies depending on location), more cheese, bacon, and tomato. There are variations with ham added. This version did not have the Mornay sauce which disappointed the mister greatly. He said it was still excellent. The beverage was Country Boy Cougar Bait, brewed in Georgetown, KY. I generally prefer darker beers, but I liked this pretty well. In fact, we bought a six pack to back to Tennessee with us.

 

Sightseeing Saturday

The next morning, we took a much longer hike. We saw a few deer in the distance, but not much else. After cleaning up, we headed to Bardstown, KY for lunch. I loved Bardstown. It reminded me of a European town or maybe something in England. It very much had the feel of a quaint historic village. We had lunch at the Old Talbott Tavern. The historic tavern contains a bed and breakfast, a restaurant, and a bourbon bar. The food was fantastic. I had the brisket sandwich. The mister had the Kentucky Hot Brown. This hot brown had the Mornay sauce, making him a happy man. We did try the Kentucky Ale beer cheese. It was good, but I have had better. I washed mine down with Guinness and the mister had the Tavern Mule – bourbon, ginger beer, and fresh ginger. It was perfect. Did I mention they have a bourbon bar? See the pics!

After lunch we went to the Bourbon Heritage Center, located at the Heavenhill Distillery. If you go to a distillery, note the trees in the area. All of the bark will be black. This is from where the liquid evaporates and coats everything in the area. The museum had a great exhibition, detailing the history of Kentucky bourbon. We did not tour the distillery or do a tasting. We were tired and had enough drink already.

Homeward Bound

Sunday morning, we headed home. On the way home we stopped in Stanford, so I could take some more photos of the courthouse. We finally made it to the interstate and a Waffle House. I got my old standard, the Cheese and Eggs plate and the mister got a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.

 

If you have seen my Tuesday Trekkin’ blogs, you’ll know that I love to visit small town America. Many of the small towns I visit are virtually empty. It was great to see active small towns worth visiting again. Americana at its best!