Next week, 15 folks from my Team Fortress 2 team will be at the Radisson-Warwick in Philadelphia and I really have no intimate knowledge of where the heck we’re going, so my camera and I made our way into Market East Station to figure out how long it’d take to get everywhere and I took pictures along the way.
After exiting Market East station, I had a person ask me for 35 cents to get a breakfast sandwich. Normally I’m willing to engage panhandlers up to about $5.00 if there’s a bit of showmanship but 35 cents proved to be an amount so small and also the exact amount of change I had on me that the asker was more rendering a service than an inconvenience. I hate having change in my pockets.
Philadelphia is a polite city in that I think it is kind to the new arrival as it has a reasonable scope. The buildings on Market at Liberty Place are the only buildings near 60 stories and they rise gently from the surrounding terrain. One can see both the base and top of the building at the same time at a reasonable distance and the towers have breathing space. There are unoccupied spaces and broad sidewalks in most places. Compare this to midtown Manhattan where one is perpetually in an urban canyon where one feels not like the buildings rise around them but that the pedestrian is somehow buried beneath the actual cityscape.
The combination of reasonable sized buildings and open spaces along with most of the building boom occurring during the heyday of glass facades results in some neat light effects. Buildings reflect off of buildings off of buildings making the streets around City Hall the only ones where I’ve ever felt the term “sun-dappled” applied like some thousand foot tall semi-invisible banyan tree towered over the skyline.
Normally, a hall of mirrors shows you nothing as meaningless reflection bounces off of meaningless reflection, I don’t believe that applies to the second photo above. The light moves back and forth enough that the repeated iterations of scattering and diffusion create a painterly effect (rendering it to a tone-mapped HDR didn’t hurt either).
I feel I’ve been remiss in not spending more time at ground-level in Philadelphia, a place where I can get a day of photography, lunch, and train fare for under $30.00. I hope to fix this.