The Shapes and Spaces of Belmont

Belmont just may be the artsiest district of Charlottesville. It has a rich old history. Businesses have come and gone over the years. Walking around the community, maybe you can spot some of the original buildings that were up before the neighborhood filled in with homes. Several houses are brightly colored with blues, greens, oranges, or yellows. Other houses are a mixture of century old architecture and more modern renovations. Many of the houses feature clapboard and brick, front porches, and little tucked away gardens. The roads are a bit rough and behind on repair with fading crosswalks and cracks in the asphalt. One feature that separates this community from other areas of town are the old unnamed one lane alleyways that dissect the blocks and allow access to parking areas hidden behind the homes. Other old towns in Virginia also share this feature; I explored such alleyways in Harrisonburg when I lived there.

I met members of the Charlottesville Photography Initiative (CPI) the morning of February 16th in Belmont for a group PhotoWalk. Here is a block quote from my photo journal entry that describes the morning:

Met about 7-8 individuals, including Peter Krebs*, at La Taza in Belmont at 10am. We walked west and then south to the park. Belmont has colorful houses and interesting modern architecture mixed in with the old. It was in the upper 30s, overcast, and we had the occasional snow flurry.

I shot mostly in digital even though I had my 35mm film camera with me. It has been a while since I’ve used my digital camera – about a month and a half. I focused on the concept of “Shapes and Spaces.” [I chose the self assignment of “Shapes and Spaces” in order to give myself some direction. And hopefully, in the process, I have derived a more cohesive grouping of images.]

Peter Krebs made a comment in reference to photographers trespassing and the like – that the same angel that looks after drunks at night must look after photographers during the day.

* I have met Peter Krebs previously through a mutual friend. I briefly helped Mr. Krebs with his Belmont photo project two autumns ago.

As my entry points out – it was a very gray cold morning. As we met in La Taza, I was mildly warm so I left my scarf in my car. I regretted that decision later on when my extremities started feeling the cold. (I mean, we did see some snowflakes!) Our group consisted of photographers of varying degrees of expertise. Some brought point-and-shoots and others had DSLRs. I shot the following photos using my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and its 50mm f/1.2 lens. (All images in this post link to my SmugMug account.)

I really like this black and white image. It combines the idea of spaces and shapes. It also has a nice dynamic between rigid perpendicular lines and the organic vine lines. What do you think?

This plant image is currently my desktop background. Neat plant.

I stopped in La Taza at the end of the walk to grab a coffee and a bite to eat – a taquito. I assume that taquito translate to little taco, because it was a smaller snack than I expected. I think the coffee shop’s chalkboard sign is great.

Looking through the master images from the PhotoWalk and previous event master images, I am starting to think I need to reset my camera settings. Something is off in the settings and starting from scratch just may be the best way to get the images I envision. I try to get great SOOC images and so I know something is up when I am spending extra time post-processing.

For those you have come to my blog via my “Street Photography || Film” business cards, I have several recent posts featuring my black and white Kodak film photographs. I hope you will be able to check them out sometime! The idea is to document every day life using black and white film and maybe in the process help others see the world from a different perspective. Thank you for stopping by!


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