Downtown in the Cold

When I work making pictures of the Boston skyline, there are often two different thoughts I bring into visualizing and executing the work. One is to photograph the recognizable scenes that people know and relate two, and the second is to tackle uniqueness and making a picture that provokes consideration and thought.

To bring some unique artistry into my skyline photography, something I often do is isolate sections of the city while glowing with pristine light. This print of the downtown skyline seen from south of the city does that well, and is a view of the city that many people don’t often think of or recognize.

A cold weather view of the downtown Boston skyline. (Michael J. Clarke)
A cold weather view of the downtown Boston skyline. (Michael J. Clarke)

These are the skyscrapers of Downtown Boston and the Financial District on a cold and clear winter night. While Boston is often not recognized for its size in comparison with New York, the city does have quite a bit of vertical strength that can be seen and shown from the right views. In addition to being a different spot than most people view the skyline from, the crisp winter air and last bits of evening sunset that illuminate this frame provide a magical glow to the towers as they rest above the brownstones of the South End.

Sometimes within the realm of cityscape artwork its the unique and lesser known spots that can provoke the most thought and wonder when displaying an urban environment as a piece of artwork, and its for that reason that I work on all different view of the urban landscape throughout many different times of the year as well as weather conditions.

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.

Sunset Season in Boston

One of the most magical times in both cityscape and landscape photography is the golden window of moments at the end of day when the sun tucks below the horizon and basks our turf with magical colors and hues that strike our imaginations with wonder and awe.

Boston is a city that is particularly well suited for different angles of the setting sun, and its one of the elements of the local area that keeps me from ever tiring while photographing its changing conditions. While they are neat throughout the year, the short window of time in the winter months where the shifted angle of the sun combines with the shortest days of the year creates the month-long display of color from certain angles that I refer to as Sunset Season.

A glowing autumn sunset over Boston's Back Bay. (Michael J. Clarke)
A glowing autumn sunset over Boston’s Back Bay. (Michael J. Clarke)

It is more than just strong color that makes this time of year the best for sunset work – the early sunset times mean that people are still working inside the buildings and skyscrapers, and that means that the lights stay on as daytime turns to darkness, and for a photographer like me, that is a much welcomed change when compared to the rest of the year.

Layers of offices inside Boston's Hancock Tower. (Michael J. Clarke)
Layers of offices inside Boston’s Hancock Tower. (Michael J. Clarke)

These past few weeks have already brought some dazzling displays of evening light as the making of city artwork heads towards 2016. There will be a few more weeks where the short days mix with the glorious light from these angles, and I will surely be ready as the visual fireworks cast their light over the city.

A late-autumn sunset over Boston's Back Bay. (Michael J. Clarke)
A late-autumn sunset over Boston’s Back Bay. (Michael J. Clarke)