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Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk 2019 in New Hope & Lambertville

It was a beautiful day for a photo walk and a great way to spend a day hanging out with old friends and new acquaintances, chatting and talking about gear and light and places we visited or want to visit. It was a photo geek day.

My friend Ed picked me at my home on his way to the event. I am still not able to drive, and I was very appreciative of this kind gesture from Ed. Being able to get out from the "prison" of my home and bathe in the crisp autumn air and bright blue sky was exciting.

Ed and I talked about cars and cameras on the forty-minute drive to the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad meetup point. We parked outside Triumph Brewing, where we sat and dined on a lunch of German-style beer and Wienerschnitzel and Jaegerschnitzel. Triumph Brewing was celebrating Oktoberfest with German-themed food and served nothing but German ales.

After lunch, Ed and I walked around to the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad. Vintage trains run along the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad to the nearby town of Lahaska, Pennsylvania. Many years ago when my kids were still in diapers and pull-ups, we spent a lot of time walking around New Hope and riding the train, which was especially exciting when Thomas the Tank Engine came to town.

Wienerschnitzel at Triumph Brewing — 5 October 2019 — Apple iPhone 11 Pro + iPhone 11 Pro back camera 6mm f/2
“Triumph Brewing” — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

A few photo walk participants were already waiting on the platform and taking photos of the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad train #40, as it slowly pulled into the station.

5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Our walk leader, Ken Kavanagh, introduced himself, gave the walking group and overview of the town, our walk route and passed around a signup sheet for the "after walk" dinner at The Dubliner Irish pub on the Delaware River. I this particular aspect of photo walks, especially when it involves beer. I get to spend more time chatting about gear and reviewing the days catch with fellow photo geeks.

Despite being small towns, New Hope (Pennsylvania) and Lambertville (New Jersey) can be a popular weekend destination for people from nearby towns, Philadelphia and as far away as Delaware and New York City. Both have managed to retain the early pre and post-colonial character and charm.

5 October 2019 — Apple iPhone 11 Pro + iPhone 11 Pro back triple camera 1.54mm f/2.4
5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

The streets and sidewalks can get crowded and I was concerned about how well I could navigate the photo walk with my double vision. I stuck close to Ed and the walking group.

Our first stop was an antique store on York Road. Ken had arranged with the property owner for our group to walk around. This was my least favourite of the locations we visited. Just before we started here, I switched lens from my Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR to my Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42 vintage lens. It seemed appropriate given the subject matter. Photographing with this lens is more challenging. I had to manual focus for every shot. This was easier with the focus peaking on the Fuji X-T2 but still more challenging than autofocus. I shot with this lens set at f/5.6 the rest of the photo walk.

The dirt and grime on this window is perhaps as old as the contents of the building. — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42
Skullduggey? — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42

After the antique shop - the rest of the group stayed there longer than Ed and I wanted - we walked down Bridge Street toward the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge.

Selling shit. — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42
Sidewalk — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42
Bridge Street Inn — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42

Ed and I spent some good time on the bridge. Ed was trying to photograph reflections in the water while I focused on practising my street photography on people crossing the bridge.

And every little word you say — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42
Shady Characters — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42
Your rhythm keeps my heart in time — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42

We crossed the bridge into Lambertville and slowly made our way toward Union Street walking past the Lambertville Station and Pasha Rugs.

Lamberville Station — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42
Coffee Book — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42

We turned left onto Union Street and continued toward Coryell Street. We walked past Caffe Galleria and people having coffee and tea, and a man on the street sitting with a super cute dachshund. I asked and received his permission to photograph him and his dog.

Tea Time — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42

Ed and I stopped for a bit to admire the doors on some of the homes. Yes, doors.

The Black Door — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42
The Red Door — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42

At the corner of Union and Coryell Streets, we stopped to admire the architecture of this yellow house. We turned right onto Church Street, and headed east toward North Main Street, walked down Main Street back toward Church Street and Union Street.

Coryell Street. — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42

We headed back to New Hope to meet up at the Dubliner for dinner and ale.

The Dubliner — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + Asahi SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5 M42

Reflections

"Reflections" — The train pulled into the station as we waited for our walk leader to arrive. — 5 October 2019 — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Tired of Chasing Perfection

I want each image I create to have an emotional impact.

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Perhaps it’s time to sit and reflect on why I picked up the camera so many years ago in college. Or why I stopped and then started again later in life.

In search of this perfection, we’re losing the poetic. The grit. The nuance. I see fewer and less story. Less humanity. I’m all in on beauty, but that’s not even what I’m seeing. It’s all just so damn saccharine. My god, all the shiny, happy – perfect – people. It must be exhausting trying to be all that all the time.

I worry that the desire for perfection is killing the spontaneity and the life in our photographs, never mind the honesty in them. ~ David duChemin.

I went searching through the Lightroom catalogue and found these two images from 2001. They were taken on my first digital camera—a Sony DSC-S70. I didn't know much about light and composition and framing etc. But I look at these two images, and they hold more emotional impact for me than any recent image I’ve captured. The quality of the image isn't what draws me in. It's not the contrast or the sharpness of the focus. What makes this photo precious to me is the feelings that come up each time I view them.

I want to reconnect with that feeling. I want each image I create to have an emotional impact.

To me!

child on train platform
Shaan. Waiting for the New Hope-Ivyland Train. New Hope, Pennsylvania | Tuesday 2 October, 2001 | Sony CYBERSHOT | 21 mm | 1470 sec at f/4.8 | ISO 100

Maybe chasing perfection isn't the perfect thing to do.

We want connection. We want hope. We won't wonder. We want to look at something and feel something deeper than whatever it is that moves my finger to click the Like button. ~ David duChemin