Island in the Net

A personal blog by Khürt Williams, full of inchoate writing on photography, coffee, and geekery.

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Changing Seasons January 2017

  • Aperture—ƒ/2.8
  • Camera—NIKON D5100
  • Taken—8 January, 2017
  • Focal length—35mm
  • ISO—100
  • Shutter speed—1/800s

January was cold and damp as one might expect. We got some snow in the first week of the month, but it didn’t stay on the ground long. I took my family into town that first weekend after the snow fall hoping to do some street photography. Street photography is not something I typically engage in, but I wanted to try. I did not succeed. I don’t think it’s entirely possible in a small town like Princeton. In a large city like New York or Philadelphia where there are millions of people walking around, it’s easy to be ignored. No one cares what anyone else is doing. One can be anonymous. But in a small town like Princeton, with fewer people on the streets, I can see the discomfort when I raise the camera in the direction of people. They actively move out of the way. Perhaps they don’t want to “ruin” my photo. Or maybe they just don’t want to be photographed.

The rest of the month has been a combination of cold rains, gray skies, and blustery winds. The skies have been a dull shade of gray with no sunlight in sight. When I awake in the morning at 6 AM, the sky is a dull gray-blue. When I leave for work at 7:25 AM, the sky is brighter but still dark. When I leave work around 5 PM to come home, it’s still dark. My days feel like a permanent state of twilight. From a photographer’s perspective, one could do blue hour photography twice a day.

A few weeks ago I bought a long wool coat — one that covers my thighs. My previous winter coat is too short, allowing the wind to blow the cold right through my legs. It’s not a pleasant feeling. The short coat also had a tendency to attract schmutz. It seemed like ten minutes after putting it on I would have all manner of dust or “whatever” on the coat. I started to feel like I was looking a bit unkempt. Perhaps that’s because the coat is black. The new coat is has a gray herringbone pattern which I think hides the flotsam that seems attracted to my coat. I think the salt that is thrown around to keep the roadways from icing up is the cause of all the “dirtiness.”

I walked out of the building at the end of my work day and notice the faint pink glow in the sky. The light had already started to fade into darkness, but the pink captured my attention. I began thinking of all the coming days that would be like this. The days where I work quietly inside the windowless building under the glow of fluorescent lighting oblivious to the weather outside. Sometimes I walk outside, and I realize it has been raining all day. I can’t even hear the rain falling on the roof of the building.

This photo is from the first week of January. I convinced my family to go out to brunch at Jammin’ Crepes in Princeton. It was a cold day, and there were only a few people out on the street. The restaurant was packed with a line leading out the door. We were hungry. We walked the other direction on Nassau Street toward the Panera. I saw this couple standing on the sidewalk talking. I stopped and raised my Nikon and compact 35mm lens to frame the shot. They woman turned away from the lens. Her cold shoulder reflected the weather.

I cropped the original image and applied a Fuji Neopan 100 ACROS film simulation preset.

The Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge is a blogging challenge by Cardinal Guzman. Each month I will post a photo that I think represents the month.