I walked around from the northern end of the Princeton University campus to the southern end. I parked on Moore Street, crossed Nassau Street, and headed south toward Thomas Sweets.

I intended to do some street photography, but I lost my confidence. I walked through the parking lot toward Williams Street. I crossed Williams Street and walked the footpath back toward Scudder Plaza.

I saw the bike in one of the Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building entrances. I liked the look of the bike sitting in the dark with a bit of light coming through the pillars.

The Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building and the Louis A. Simpson International Building (formally 20 Washington Road) renovation project will repurpose the former Frick Chemistry Laboratory and combine academic and administrative areas dispersed across the University campus.

Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

I continued across Scudder Plaza, stopping for fifteen minutes to talk to and photograph some skateboarders.

While I waited at the cross-walk, some visitors from the UAE asked me to take a photo of their family. I happily obliged. I continued across Washington Road with no particular goal in mind.

I saw this bicycle outside of what I think is 1879 Hall or Marx Hall. Many of the buildings on campus are joined by hallways, and it can be challenging to tell which is which.

Outside 1879 Hall | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

It was not until halfway through my walk that I realised I was taking photos of lonely bicycles. At this point, I decided I would continue my walk while keeping an eye out for bikes.

I continued across campus toward Nassau Hall. I crossed the diag and came upon Stanhope Hall. In all the years that I have walked across campus, this was my first time noticing this building.

Stanhope Hall
Stanhope Hall | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Stanhope Hall, the University’s third oldest building, was erected in 1803. It originally housed the college library, study halls, and the two literary societies, Whig and Clio, and was called the Library. Later it contained ~the geological cabinet and lecture rooms and was known as Geological Hall. Still, later it held the offices of the treasurer and the superintendent of Grounds and Buildings and, for a time, the meeting room of the Faculty and was called the College Offices and then the University Offices. In 1915 the trustees gave it its present name in honour of Samuel Stanhope Smith, president when it was built. In recent years Stanhope has housed the University’s communications and security offices.

Campbell Hall and Hobler Hall
The archway between Campbell Hall and Hobler Hall | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

I walked around toward Blair Hall and found my way of walking through the arched corridors between the buildings of Rockefeller College.

The buildings of Rockefeller College include some of Princeton’s most beautiful landmarks. The dormitories are Holder Hall (completed in 1910), Witherspoon Hall (completed in 1877), a portion of Blair Hall (completed in 1897), and a portion of Campbell Hall (completed in 1909).

Holder Hall
Holder Hall | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

My fingers were almost frostbitten by this time. It was time to go home. I’ll give my thoughts on the street photography I captured that afternoon in a follow-up post.

For this month's Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge I wanted to try something different. In the last two posts for the challenge, I did not set a focus. I would take photos during the month, of various random subjects and usually on the weekend. The result was that at the end of the month, I did not have a coherent set of images to represent the month. I want to try something different. Starting with March, I intend to add a weekly entry of events that transpired over the week. I may or may not have a photograph to include for that week. However, I hope that I can capture my feelings about the month as it unfolds. I don't want to get to the end of the month and try to recall what my thoughts and feeling were weeks prior. I also intend to focus on a specific subject.

I think for a challenge entitled, Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge, I really should be shooting a series of images. I want to show a change. There is a stream nearby, the Rock Brook, which I have photographed a few times in the past during different times of the year. I think it will be interesting to observe how the Rock Brook and the surrounding landscape, changes throughout the year. However, I also started a personal photography project for 2017. I am photographing some of the lighthouses of New Jersey. I may use imaged from that project for the Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge.

March 4th

brook, water, trees, winter, rocks

I have lived in Skillman, Montgomery Township for almost sixteen years. That's the longest I have lived in any one place and almost as long as the amount of time I lived in the British West Indies. I love my township. There are many parks and streams and the rolling hills remind of the rolling hills of St. Vincent1. One of my favourite spots in the section of the Rock Brook, along Hollow Road, just north of Camp Meeting. There is a small patch of dirt on the northbound side of the road just large enough to park a vehicle.

Rock Brook,brook, water, trees, winter, rocks[exif id="25391"]

The Rock Brook is just below, after walking a short distance through the trees. As the name suggests, this brook is mostly filled with rock. This section of Montgomery Township, a small area at the foot of the Sourland Mountain Range, is unique in geology, history. The Rock Brook is prone to flooding and heavy stormwater flow and is part of lands preserved by the Montgomery Friends of Open Space.

brook, water, trees, winter, rocks

I visited the Rock Brook today. It was cold outside, about -4ºC (~ 25ºF), and windy. I wore several layers and my photography gloves, but I still felt cold.

March 11th

It snowed yesterday. I am not sure for how long or how much snow. The office building where I work had very few windows and my office is located near an interior wall. I didn't see the effect of the snowstorm until the end of the day. I would guess that the area had about three inches of snow on the ground. The parking lot had no snow, but the cars were all covered with powder.

brook, water, trees, winter, rocks

Saturday morning, after breakfast, I decided to revisit Rock Brook. Looking outside my window, I could see that the grass was still covered with snow and I hoped that I might get some unique images of the brook. I drove over to the spot on Hollow Road and parked just above the Rock Brook.

As I grabbed my camera, I looked down through the leafless trees to the water. There was just enough snow on the rocks, and some parts of the brook were frozen over. The sun poked through the tree line providing both shadow and light across the water. I walked through the trees, mentally planning my shots. The frozen snow crunched under my boots. It was cold, and there was a slight breeze.

brook, water, trees, winter, rocks

I did my best to capture and frame the images from the same spot as the previous week. However, it was hard for me to remember the exact places and the snow cover made it even more challenging. You can see that the framing was not quite the same.

I tried to move quickly; setting up my tripod, getting the exposure readings from the camera, calculating the shutter speed for the ND filter, attaching the ND filter, and shooting three images.

It was about -6ºC outside. I wore three layers of clothing, and although my feet were comfortable, operating the camera meant exposing the area of the glove covering my thumb and pointer finger. I tried to minimise the exposure to the cold and stayed out as long as my fingers could handle things. That was about thirty minutes.

brook, water, snow, ice, trees, winter, rocks

I liked all the images I captured, so here's the gallery.

Rock Brook, brook, water, snow, ice, trees, winter, rocks[exif id="25405"]

Rock Brook, brook, water, snow, ice, trees, winter, rocks[exif id="25407"]

March 19th

I didn't go to the Rock Brook today. This weekend I completed a group photography workshop where I was challenged by being forced into a photographic box -- time limits and focal length limits. By the end of the workshop, my approach to photography was transformed. While walking around completing the challenges that our instructor had assigned the group, I started thinking about my approach to the Changing Seasons Challenge.

Firestone Library, Princeton University
[exif id="26283"]

What if I didn’t return to the Rock Brook? What if I slowed down, spent some time thinking about I wanted to say with my images, and focused on the story I wanted to tell about March?

Besides the Tuesday Photo Challenge, I am participating in a monthly photo challenge called Changing Seasons. It was almost the end of March, and I wanted to capture some photos that portrayed Princeton University in March. There are a few iconic — aka, heavily photographed — images of the university. The Firestone Library is one of them. So is East Pyne, Nassau Hall, and the Princeton University Chapel.

Why black and white? It was a sunny day, but I wanted to convey a sense of "historic". Honestly, I don’t think I accomplished telling the story about Princeton University. Something is lacking. What do you think?

Holder Hall, Princeton University. I posted a dramatic version of this image in an earlier post.
[exif id="26281"]

  1. There are significant differences. St. Vincent's mountainous area is the ridge of a dormant volcano, La Soufriere, and the vegetation is tropical. ?

The Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge is a blogging challenge by Cardinal Guzman. Each month I will post at least one photography that I think represents the month. Sometimes I’ll post a set of images.

The Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography. This week's theme is curve.

Yesterday I attended a photography workshop called Expanding Your Vision Photography Workshop. It was a cold, damp, and overcast — not a hint of sun in the sky — but I learned a lot.

One thing that the instructor, photographer, Loren Fisher, said left an impression on me. He said that he sees a lot of technically excellent photographs. They have a sharp focus, have the right shutter speed and depth of field, and the exposure is "dialled in". But he thinks the photographs lack ”soul”.

He then went on to explain what he meant and what we — the group of photographs attending the class — could do to bring some soul back to our images.

He challenged us to slow down and think — think — about what we wanted our photographs to say.
I told him that sometimes I go out into the woods and return with nothing on the storage card. He said that the problem was that sometimes we might get stuck into seeing a certain way. We think there are no great photos here. We get stuck in a rut. Then he said something else that I considered profound, “Believing is seeing”.

To prove his point, he sent us outside — it was fracking cold — to shoot. For the first assignment, he gave us fifteen minutes to shoot just ONE photo. But we had to be prepared to explain to the group why and what about the photo appealed to us. There were a few more assignments throughout the day, and all the assignments required us to restrict ourselves in some way. We could only shoot at one focal length. We could not chimp. We had time limits. The goal was to force us to think and be intentional about our photography.

I choose to use my Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G lens (FOV equivalent to 52mm full-frame). It’s my favourite lens. It’s the only lens I own where the markings on the lens body have started to fade from use. It’s small. I love this lens. Tears came to my eyes as I wrote that. I love this lens. We are best friends. Soulmates.

The workshop had me thinking about my photography. For a while, I have felt that while my technical photography skills were excellent, many of my images lacked “soul”. They don’t reflect the emotions I felt when I saw the scene before me. I want to get better at that. Loren’s workshop helped me realise that “there is more than one answer”.

I had struggled all week with ideas on how to answer the “curves” challenge. While walking around Somerville, New Jersey, freezing my fingers while trying to complete each challenge, I had an idea. Why not photograph some of the archways at Princeton University?

I have photographed the campus many times before. I usually see Princeton University as a boring photographic opportunity. “Been there, done that”. But with a newfound thought process about how to approach the challenge, I drove over to the campus. I was intentional. Before I left, I thought about what I wanted to shoot. What images could I take that would convey the idea of curves? I created a detailed shot list — Holder Hall, East Pyne, Nassau Hall, Firestone Library.

I parked in the Spring Street parking deck and walked down South Tulane St. toward Princeton University. Once on campus, I walked around, looking at the Firestone Library from different viewpoints. Why the Firestone Library? There are only a few curved features on the building.

Besides the Tuesday Photo Challenge, I am participating in a monthly photo challenge called Changing Seasons. It’s almost the end of March, and I wanted to capture some photos that portrayed Princeton University in March. There are a few iconic — aka, heavily photographed — images of the university. The Firestone Library is one of them. So is East Pyne, Nassau Hall, and the Princeton University Chapel. I photographed all of those and then made my way over Holder Hall.

I added one more restriction and completed another challenge; Mark Garbowski created the ONE Everything Challenge.

... when I was out shooting I came up with the idea of the ONE EVERYTHING Photo Challenge: starting with ONE Camera, ONE lens, and ONE hour to take all your images: try to get as many as possible that you are happy with those tools and limited time.Mark Garbowski

When he returned home from his walk, Mark added one more thing to the challenge. He would limit his post-processing to one hour.

And so the ONE EVERYTHING Challenge Rules are:

ONE Camera

ONE Lens

ONE Hour to Shoot

ONE Hour to Edit.

For the curves challenge, my intention was to photograph the walkway between Holder Hall and Hamilton Hall and Madison Hall. The archway is full of curves. The hallway reminds me of something one might see in a Harry Potter movie.

I took three bracketed images and combined them in Photomatix Pro. I messed around with various options before I settled on this image. I love how the HDR brings out the texture of the stone and the light accentuates the curves of the arches. I wanted to create a sense of age and mystery. Where does that door lead to? What does it feel like walking this long hallway late at night?

What do you think? Does the image complete the challenge successfully?