Montgomery Township, New Jersey

Changing Seasons January 2017

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

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.

Changing Seasons January 2017 %name

Husband, father, Information security professional and avid photographer living at the junction of Princeton Township, Montgomery Township and Rocky Hill.

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16 Comments on “Changing Seasons January 2017

  1. Street photography can be difficult anywhere. Sometimes people think they are spoiling your shot and move aside for you. Sometimes they really don’t mind, and a smile and hello can make a difference. Sometimes you can tell them you are just practicing and would they like to see your shot of them? This was useful when I was taking a street photography class. I could say I was taking a class and my assignment for the week was, for example, people at work. Sometimes they will want to pose and you have to dissuade them from that. If they really don’t want their picture taken, then don’t do it. Once I was chased by a woman who accused me of taking her picture without her permission (I actually was taking a picture of a store front and she was inside the store without my knowledge). I told her I would delete the picture and did so. Who wants a reminder of a bad encounter? You have captured a great image here. Keep up the good work.

  2. Great photo. It’s full of atmosphere. I’ve never really tried street photography. I live in a town too so I think I would have similar issues.

    • I am going to keep trying. Perhaps the size of my DSLR is the issue. I don’t think too many people care when you use your smartphone. I want one of those tiny Fuji X 100F cameras or perhaps the Fuji X-T2 with a 35mm pancake lens. I think I am developing GAS (gear acquisition syndrome). 🙂

      • Yes, a big camera might be the problem. I like finding a place – e.g. an upstairs window onto a street – where I can focus unseen on one spot, and catch people as they pass through the space. Perhaps that’s a bit too sneaky though 🙂

          • Well I found mine in the local bookshop. Cafe’s can be good places too, especially if you can put the camera on the table – either facing in, or looking out on to the street. I once sat on a beach lounger in Kenya – just off the beach and ‘shot’ everyone who passed a bush a palm tree. Now that was interesting 🙂

  3. I think you captured this street scene very well- I wonder what they are talking about. Princeton is beautiful-I never thought of it as small!

    • Thank you! The word cold was certainly in my mind over the last few weeks.

      Princeton was incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 9, 1838, from portions of West Windsor Township in Mercer County and Montgomery Township in Somerset County. Princeton Township has about 20,000 residents. My township, Montgomery Township, has five thousand more residents, is bigger (square miles) and is still considered a small rural town. I live on the border between the two townships.

      There are nearby towns that share a Princeton zip code — West Windsor, Lawrenceville, Plainsboro, Hopewell, South Brunswick, Skillman, and Franklin. This makes Princeton appear bigger than it really is. Many out-of-towners confuse the zip code of Princeton — there are five of them — with the actual town. This makes Princeton sseem bigger than it actually is.

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