Written by Kerry Pratzon
I am lucky enough to have a family member with a house right on the Boston Marathon route, so this April Eric and I packed some warm sweaters and were New England bound for the weekend.
Our trip started out Saturday morning with the long drive up MA. We broke up the trip with a stop off of 95N in Hartford, CT to take some shots of the “flag man”. The truck has caught my eye several times before on the way up 95, but this is the first time I had a camera with me.
Having a camera with you on a car trip can lend itself to some great unplanned shots, so keep an eye out and you never know what you might find!
9AM Sunday found us taking the “T” (Boston’s above-ground subway) into the city. Boston is a great city to photograph as it is so pedestrian friendly. This seems like a good time to note that Boston is not driver friendly, so my suggestion is not to try and drive around the city. Even the locals have trouble with the constant construction and road changes. So bring a good foot map or you could find yourself going in some circles (we used ‘Not For Tourists – Boston’, which provides detailed maps of each section of Boston – including transportation, restaurants, shopping and attractions).
My grandmother and aunt used to take me into Boston every summer, so it was a real treat for me to take Eric around to all the places I had loved as a child (and adult!). You can’t ask for a city with greater ties to the beginning of our county than Boston, so maybe it’s no wonder I chose history as a major in school.
Some of the city’s architecture is quite modern – there are a number of glass buildings and elegant modern architecture to photograph.
So much of the city is on the water, so it can be very breezy! Bring an extra layer (I could have used a hat) or you may find yourself going home in a Boston sweatshirt.
A main attraction in Boston is the Quincy Market, where you could spend most of a day just photographing people in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, grabbing a latte, shopping in the stores and dining with friends.
With its important harbors, Boston remains a strong naval and shipping city, as well as home to some very fresh seafood. Head over to the ship yards to see the USS Constitution. “Old Ironsides” may be over 200 years old, but she’s still a looker.
After your visit to the USS Constitution, you can take a water taxi from the naval shipyard back to the wharf closest to Quincy Market, getting a nice view of the city skyline while on the water. I’m sure this would be nicest toward sundown with bright and vibrant colors behind the city’s buildings. There are several beautiful harbor cruises for anyone who would enjoy more time out on the water.
Eric and I avoided some of the more crowded tourist restaurants and ate at the Neptune Oyster (63 Salem Street) We split several appetizers accompanied by a great bottle of 2005 Pinot Grigio (Movia) from Slovenia. The ambience of the restaurant is quite nice while the fresh seafood sitting on ice at the bar makes for good photo ops along with their quite extensive wine library which covers the walls.
After eating we walked to the Boston Commons to catch the glowing light as the sun began to decend. Inside the Commons there are numerous willow trees arching over ponds which make for some dreamy landscape images. One of the oldest parks in Maerica, the Commons extends almost 50 acres. The park is full of children, adults, college students…everyone comes to the Commons to relax and play. It is also home to the famous swan boats, as well as the “Make Way for Duckling” statues. Real ducks are scattered about, sailing through the water as birds sing in the trees. There are so many fountains and statues in the park which can make great silhouette subjects against the settings sun, or side-light profile shots if you find the correct angle to shoot from.
From the Commons we took to wandering the streets. You never know what kind of shot you’ll find.
All told, we spent about 12 hours in Boston, and on the way back were already planning out next trip. Next time we hope to set up some shots of the beautiful pedestrian bridges that spread across the Charles, and perhaps catch a boat race.
Monday brought Marathon fever to the Boston area. We had prime real estate to watch the competitors go by from the lawn of my aunt’s home, which sits right on one of the mile markers. If you are out in the ‘burbs and you ask nicely, many people will let you sit on their lawns. But be polite and take your trash with you when you go, some people left a terrible mess!
The marathon starts with the wheelchair racers, and Eric was able to grab a number of nice action-packed photos as they blew by. To give you a speed comparison, the men’s winner completed 26 miles in about 1.5 hourse…they really fly!
We could hear the cheers long before the first of the mens’ runners came by. Everyone from the people in front to the people at the end received cheers and words of encouragement. What a wonderful experience!
I had a personal investment with this marathons, as two of my cousin were running the race…not to mention my Lance Armstrong search. Unfortunately by the time I spotted him he was already gone. I’ll have to work on my speed!
In an upcoming article, Eric will be giving a few tips about photographing sports and action, which can be applied to photographing anything from marathon runners to your children as the fall sports season rolls around again.
Until next week when we take you on another photo adventure – keep shooting! – Kerry