Winter Walk

A pedestrian walking along a snow covered path in Boston Common during a winter storm.

Winter in Boston is a love/hate relationship for most folks, but it’s a photogenic happening that I really enjoy. There are so many nuances to the weather when storms arise and different locations really shine at different times, but this little nook within Boston Common is surely one of the good spots.

Sunset over Jost Van Dyke

Within my photographic adventuring, I photograph a lot of sunsets. They are the time of the day where the world is typically most vibrant, and I particularly love how their intensity grows rather than retracts as it does during sunrise.

Its a time of day that I try to stay keenly aware of, as they are something that take form with changing conditions and when the atmosphere aligns just right, they cast our landscapes in profoundly beautiful lighting conditions. The sunsets in the British Virgin Islands like this scene below rarely disappoint. They are a landscape that is particularly perfect for sunset conditions, as the remote islands and vast oceans add a lot of character to the stunning scenery. Jost Van Dyke, the little island off in the distance within this scene, was nested perfectly within this scene as a vibrant sunset cast its painterly warmth upon the island setting on this Caribbean evening.

A vibrant sunset over Jost Van Dyke seen from Cane Garden Bay on Tortola. (Michael J. Clarke)
A vibrant sunset over Jost Van Dyke seen from Cane Garden Bay on Tortola. (Michael J. Clarke)

Sunset Lines

They say that straight lines are hard to find in nature, and as a general concept it is certainly true. However, one of my favorite linear formations is the resoundingly beautiful straight line of the horizon. No matter where we stand, the horizon represents a perfect separation between the ground we walk upon and the endless sky that we look up and glance towards. This division is profound, and came together in a beautiful fashion during this sunset that I photographed from New Silver Beach in North Falmouth, MA.

Sunset at New Silver Beach in North Falmouth, MA. (Michael J. Clarke)
Sunset at New Silver Beach in North Falmouth, MA. (Michael J. Clarke)

Moments of Beauty

Within most of my picture work I try to find beauty within either a moment or within a scene itself, and its often the best when the two concepts fuse together into one image. This was the 2013 Boston Red Sox World Series Parade. The picture itself is a mix of scale and perspective on the crowd below, the celebratory moment of the Boston style parade, and the beauty of autumn in New England. I’m always hoping for more of these moments to happen.

2013 Red Sox Championship parade on Tremont Street. (Michael J. Clarke)
2013 Red Sox Championship parade on Tremont Street. (Michael J. Clarke)

Great Thatch Island

I recently spent a week sailing down in the British Virgin Islands which is basically paradise on earth, just a remarkably scenic and relaxing place that is enjoyed by some of the friendliest people on the planet. There is a lot to say about the culture and the landscape down there, but while making pictures its often the remote seclusion that strikes me most profoundly, and the spots like Great Thatch Island find those adjectives as well as anywhere on the planet.

Great Thatch Island in the BVI's. (Michael J. Clarke)
Great Thatch Island in the BVI’s. (Michael J. Clarke)

The Red Line Walk

Sometimes powerful pictures end up being the ones that we see every day but recognize in a new light. This simple image of commuters making their way to the platform at Charles/MGH is a good example of that, as its something that people are always doing that takes on an etherial feel when seen in the powerful backlight of a glowing afternoon.

MBTA Red Line commuters walking to the outbound platform of the Charles Street/MBTA station. (Michael J. Clarke)
MBTA Red Line commuters walking to the outbound platform of the Charles Street/MBTA station. (Michael J. Clarke)

When pondered about, our daily motions are one of that most powerful things that we can all relate to as humans. These actions and reactions, like the commute on the Red Line become such a usual happening within the daily grind that we often don’t think of them much, but when seen in the right light, they can be beautiful moments.

Cutting Steel

One thing I want to do here is share a more in-depth look at specific pictures, because there is often a good story behind a good picture. My picture work varies a lot in terms of planning and preparation, meaning that some things are painstakingly planned, and others are a lot more spur of the moment – in this business, its really the only way to be. Planning is great, but so is being ready when a moment strikes.

I was out on an evening walk around the esplanade this past spring when I made this frame of an ironworker cutting through steel beams on Boston’s Longfellow Bridge construction project, and it was quite a strong moment for making a construction photograph.

An ironworker cutting steel beams on Boston's Longfellow Bridge. (Michael J. Clarke)
An ironworker cutting steel beams on Boston’s Longfellow Bridge. (Michael J. Clarke)

This was definitely an instance of being in the right place, with the right gear, at the right time. Building construction happens to be something that Boston is seeing a lot of lately, but it’s when sparks fly during the deconstruction of buildings that brings out this type of situation, and it was a really good one. I was able to anticipate what was about to happen as the workers prepped this beam for the chopping block, and was able to work with the long throw of my trusty 100-400 with a long exposure to visualize the motion and flow of the sparks being thrown from the torch. It’s fairly rare to get things to line up this well, and to have the cutting work be done in a relatively slow motion to allow for a tack sharp frame. In the case of this frame it all came together just right, and made for a moment that I was glad to witness and be ready for.

Another Year in the Books

As 2015 winds towards an end there is a lot to think back on and a lot to look forward to as well. I spent much of this year on pursuits within the city of Boston and the landscape of New England, and it’s been an excellent adventure. I’ll be gathering a year end gallery shortly, but check out this evening frame looking over the city as the lights shine brightly.

Aerial view of Boston at night. (Michael J. Clarke)