Philadelphia Streets: Feeling the Love

Valentine's Gift

Valentine's Day Gift

Valentine's Day Gift

Valentine's Day Gift

Valentine's Day Gift

Valentine's Day Gift

Valentine's Day Gift

Valentine's Day Gift

Valentine's Day Gift

Today the temperatures dropped to single digits and snow dotted the streets of downtown Philadelphia. Gray and bitter cold. Yet, it was one of the most invigorating and enlivening Valentine’s Day I have ever had. “Love”, “Connections”, “Heart to Heart”, “Meaning in Life”… all words on thousands of Hallmark cards but this past month, they were reality.

Students, staff, parents and grandparents at Sandy Run Middle School all came together to knit almost 200 scarves for the homeless. Bright colors, dark colors, multi-colored…all so very warm with a heart shaped message attached to each one. People were knitting during every free moment so that these harbingers of caring warmth could be delivered today, Valentine’s Day.

Sean, sitting on the street, was so grateful and asked for one for his girlfriend. One woman began to cry saying that it was so very cold today and the colors made her feel better. As the scarves were passed out, people who never met were now connected. Good wishes exchanged. The givers received and the receivers gave.

Rosa’s Fresh Pizza, located at 25 S. 11th Street has recently received attention from the Ellen Show and NBC Nightly News. Mason, the owner, left a job on Wall Street to open a pizza shop in Philadelphia. It has become the epitome of “Pay it Forward”. Customers buy a slice and donate $1.00 for someone who is homeless. The walls are covered with messages of love and thanks. Today, those who came in were given something to eat and a hand made scarf to lessen the biting cold. In Gwanko’s words on Rosa’s wall, “I’m so happy to get to see people coming together and really making a difference in the community!” What a wonderful Valentine’s Day today has been!

New York City Street Photography

New York City SubwayNew York City

IMG_1841New York City

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Living in Philadelphia, I am just two hours (on a good day!) away from a city that truly “doesn’t sleep”!  Yesterday was a day with great friends.  Where else could we walk into a fashion store and be greeted with champagne and popcorn, walk down a street and have massive bubbles flying into our faces and see a man in his underwear strumming a guitar?  Going to NYC for a day can never disappoint.  Our first stop was an off Broadway show entitled, “How 2 B A New Yorker” .  A very funny play that in one hour will give the ENTIRE 🙂 history of NY along with  a play book for developing those instincts honed to street smarts,  a “love/hate relationship” according to the actors.  Then just walking those streets provides entertainment all on its own and for a photographer, I am in heaven!  After the meandering, we ended up at Fig $ Olive restaurant, (highly recommend and highly recommended!).  On each table were olive oils from around the world beginning a unique dining experience. We decided to go with their three course fixed menu: The  truffle mushroom croquette, pumpkin ravioli and the chocolate pot de creme won high praises from us all (cost $45.)

Thank you NYC for a day to remember with great friends!

Fuji X-Pro 1

I admit it, after traveling with cameras, flashes, tripods etc. hanging from my waist and neck, I was so anxious to get this new small wonder into my hands. Would the images live up to all the hype? Would this be my new travel everywhere camera? Would this be blessedly lightweight but dependable? I am so glad to say that the answer to all of the above questions so far has been yes! I have been taking it with me and putting it to the test in a variety of situations. The first was an event being held on the top floor of a high rise in Philadelphia. I was thrilled with the clarity of all the buildings below. The statues in the fountains could even be made out. Then onto a night out at an Irish pub and an experiment with depth of field in low light. I was with a great friend who is a photographer too and we spent the night passing it back and forth, trying different shots and settings. My kind of learning! Onto Ellis Island with a dust covered piano and a statue in the hospital ward…both with little contrast and it performed well focusing on the entire scene and picking up the subtle differences in hue. This past weekend, I attended a wedding and a First Holy Communion. I have to say that the only time I was disappointed was at the wedding reception with low lighting. I wasn’t able to get any clear shots during the father/daughter dance no matter how I changed the settings. Lastly, I was very happy with the photographs of the sweetest little one on her very special day.

All the shots were taken with the 35mm f/1.4 lens which was not at all intrusive, making it perfect for street photography. It was not my intent to repeat the technical advances this camera encompasses, that is all over the web. I just wanted to share some of the photographs I was able to take over the past two weeks and my excitement with being able to stand up straight! Now to save up for the 18mm lens!

Copyright 2012 Frances Schwabenland. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission of Frances Schwabenland.