Stories to Tell - Philadelphia

An atypical view of Philadelphia and Valley Forge

Sometimes the last thing I want to do when I travel is lug camera gear around. I haven't gone the mirrorless route (like the Fuji XT1 -- here's a page from Digital Photography Review about some recent popular mirrorless cameras), which are smaller and lighter than DSLRs, but just as much of an investment. I did buy the original Fuji x10, basically a fancy point and shoot, for those times I think I'll miss something if I don't bring something. My little X10 is what I brought along on this short visit to Philadelphia.

But I'm kind of digressing into photography talk that might be making your eyes glaze over, so I'll get back to Philadelphia. :)

A college friend and I went to visit another college friend who now lives in, you guessed it, Philadelphia, for a long weekend early this past fall. (I think technically it was still summer, but fall seems to be anything after Labor Day to me.) I've been there before and saw a lot of the "must see" sites when you go there, so I was just happy to go along for a nice adventure and change of scenery, and a great chance to hang out with old friends. I didn't feel like I "had" to photograph things, so I rarely had my camera with me. (Is that like Sin #1 for a photographer, or what?) But it's nice to just experience a place with your senses, instead of just your eyes behind a camera. Gives me a chance to be more present in the moment, or some sort of Zen-like experience.

constitution hall

We went to a Phillies baseball game, explored around the museum where Rocky famously ran up the front steps, and also to the area where Constitution Hall and the Liberty Bell are. Don't laugh, but I have no photos of those places, except for one shot of Constitution Hall. These all were busy with people, oh how we tourists stand out like a sore thumb. And of course we ate lots of good food, too. You know what food looks like, so no pictures of that either. ;)

Do you have any size 12 shoes?

A rather goofy story to share is when we were walking through an alley to get back to our car. It was already an alley where I would not have wanted to walk alone (and this is in broad daylight). I see this big guy walking towards us, and as we get to the security door of the parking garage, he asks "do you have any size 12 shoes?" Now the guy already had shoes! And looking at us, none of us could possibly have size 12 shoes. I don't know if that was code for something or what, but we got into the parking garage quickly and made damn sure the door locked behind us. I think I had commented when we first left the parking garage that this wasn't a place I'd like to walk alone. I'm glad there were three of us!

Valley Forge National Historic Park

The new place for me to see was Valley Forge National Historic Park. And I did take photos there.  We chatted with a couple of nice volunteers who were HUGE history buffs. They were the neatest part of the visit there. Especially when I was unaware that I was leaning too far over the rope to see a painting better. Oops. I just wanted to see the brush strokes from a different angle. We had a good laugh about it, and learned more about the area from the volunteer.

What I'm sharing with you are mostly detail type images. For example, with the flag, instead photographing the entire flag, only focus on the bits that matter. I thought the fringe was the interesting part, and the red and white stripes give it some context. I love finding old doors and knobs to photograph and other details that are sometimes missed by people as they move quickly through a place.

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Valley Forge

I used a variety of processing techniques, so that's why they don't all look the same. My creative prerogative. It's part of what I enjoy about photography and being able to express visually about how I feel about something personally.

I hope you can make it out to the Philadelphia area some time. There is a lot to see (definitely a lot more than I've shown you here!) and experience. If you don't like big cities, there are many historical areas, like Valley Forge, that are out of the zaniness of a big city.

~Barb Kellogg, photographer, tea drinker, and dark chocolate lover hello@barbkelloggphotography.com