This past weekend I participated in my 4th Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk. I first started doing the World Wide Photowalk in 2011 just for fun. It's a tribal event and even though every member of the tribe has a unique perspective on photography, I enjoy hanging out and talking about the craft. I get a chance to learn something new and explore a new location or further explore a place I have already visited. Seeing through another person's perspective can bring renewed interested.
Photographer, Mark Krajnak, chose his hometown of Allentown, New Jersey to host the photo walk. We had about 23 participants. I car-pooled with a friend, Prasanna, who has accompanied me on other photo walks. My friend, Ed, met us at the rendezvous point, the Moth Coffee House. We took a group shot and spread out to hunt for images. Ed has some experience with Allentown so Prasanna and I followed him around. The weather was warm and the sun was high in the sky. The three of us agreed that perhaps early morning would have been best for the walk and the light. After Mark took the group shot, the twenty-three camera-equipped pedestrians expanded onto the streets of Allentown.
For the photo walk used an Olympus E-M10 that I borrowed from my friend Chris. Chris has been shooting with micro 4⁄3 for a few years and is a proponent of the standard. We exchanged a number of text messages about lens choices but since I intended to shoot mostly street photography I ended up using his Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8 lens. This diminutive lens has an angle of view roughly equivalent to a 35mm lens on a full-frame camera. Some of the people we met during the walk asked if I was shooting with a film camera.
Ed led us along the nearby lake toward the Allentown Presbyterian Church. We explored the cemetery which appeared to have many gravestones from early post-colonial times.
After walking around for a couple of hours we broke for lunch. Ed suggested a few places for lunch but we decided on pizza at the La Piazza.
After lunch, we returned to the starting point for the walk. But first, we stopped at Heavenly Havens Creamery. I had had low blood glucose on the walk to La Piazza. I wanted to be sure that my BG would be safe for me to drive. I had my first soft serve vanilla ice cream in quite a few years. Delicious.
We finished up our ice cream and wandered back to the Moth Coffee House. The parked cars had vacated the parking lot and I could get an unobstructed view of the customers were entering and leaving the restaurant.
I was attracted to the rustic and historic look of the Old Mill which, according to the History Girl, was renamed the Allentown Feed Company in 1977 but is now a mini indoor mall with craft shops and a coffee house. The Old Mill evokes a feeling of the countryside a simpler way of life in Monmouth County, NJ; something that is increasingly being lost in New Jersey. Currently, the building is host to an eclectic mix of speciality craft shops, studios, and farm to table vegan cuisine at our event meeting place, the Moth Coffee House. The building also houses The Old Mill Crafters' Guild. There is a small dirt patch parking area around the outside of the shops and Main Street runs between the southern wall of the Old Mill and Conines Millpond. We didn’t dine in the restaurant but I can imagine there is quite a view in the early morning and perhaps just before sunset.
Perhaps I’ll return in a few weeks when the fall colours are at their peak and explore more details of the Old Mill and more of the Main Street of Allentown.
Each Wednesday, The Daily Prompt Photo Challenge provides a theme for creative inspiration. Participants take photographs based on their interpretation of the theme, and post them on their blog anytime before the following Wednesday.
Photowalks are my main method for connecting to world-wide photography community. I started participating a few years ago. At first I was a bit nervous. I was concerned that my low-budget Nikon D40 and my rudimentary knowledge would make me seem like a n00b1. But I soon found photowalks were typically organized by someone with a passion for photography. Like me, these people -- amateurs and professionals alike -- loved photography and didn't care much gear. The people I met on these photo-walks were there to learn and to share. Not to glare.
This image of dicentra spectabilis, commonly known as Bleeding Hearts, was taken at the Sayen Gardens in Hamilton, New Jersey during a photowalk with the Mercer County Photography Club. I was the organizer for this walk. We had a small turnout but everyone was enthusiastic.
So what is the Sayen Garden?
Situated in historic Hamilton Square, Sayen House and Gardens provide a welcome sanctuary for nature lovers, garden enthusiasts and history buffs alike.Sayen Gardens
The air was cool and moist. Someone remembered seeing a pond on the last trip to the gardens so we walked around trying to find it. It was like a treasure hunt but we made sure to stop and enjoy the journey. I found these Bleeding Hearts while walking along one of the paths. It was early spring and I found the foliage with arching stems of delicate, heart-shaped flowers, attractive.
In some ways, the walk through Sayen Gardens reminded me of the many childhood walks through the Kingstown botanical Gardens with my mother and brothers. During the rainy season in St. Vincent the air is always moist and "sweet". A mixture of the rainwater from the mountains and the salt water from the Atlantic Ocean.
- Quite frankly I was. ↩