Throughout all the traveling I’ve done, Philadelphia remains one of my favorite cities; probably number one overall. I assume that comes from all of the time I’ve spent with it. So many shows, meals, beers, walks, drives, bike rides, and jobs. It feels like home when nothing else does. As much as I do enjoy the city, there’s not a lot surrounding it that fulfills my appetite for adventure quite the way I want it to. It’s time to leave my favorite city in the rearview mirror and head into the sunset.
Due to my being very sick over the past weekend and having to travel for work, I haven’t been able to post any new photos and I’ve been slow getting this one posted. I actually haven’t had any desire to take new photos with how I’ve felt, so I went back into the archives and pulled out this one from the roof of the Divine Lorraine in Philadelphia. This was one of the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen, partially because of the colors and clouds but also because I was sitting on top of this gorgeous old relic of a building in center city Philly looking west over the whole town along with a handful of other adventurers who found their way up there on a warm autumn night. Perfection.
While trying to find the “perfect” shot of these smoke stacks, we took a wide route around the nearby blocks looking for any clearings to see them as the sun was rapidly setting behind. This is one of several shots I snapped from across Naval Square. It isn’t precisely what I was looking for, but some of the unintended elements in the foreground ended up working for me. The problem with having a specific idea of what you want a photo to look like is that it almost never turns out that way. You just have to make the best out of what you can get.
From atop the Divine Lorraine hotel north of the city you are afforded a fantastic view of the skyline, and when the clouds reflect the sunset perfectly it is an amazing experience to sit there and watch the city light up. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there is renovation underway at the urban exploring goldmine that is the Divine Lorraine, so it can no longer be accessed easily. But getting to see this sunset from the roof once was good enough for me.
Just north of center city Philadelphia there is an abandoned hotel called the Divine Lorraine. While almost unassuming when you drive up Broad Street, avoiding pedestrians and careless Philly drivers, when you get a chance to stop and look at it you’ll wonder how you missed it in the first place. The building itself is magnificent, though the inside has been gutted and is covered in broken glass and graffiti from years of neglect and homeless inhabitation. From the roof, the views are incredible. At sunset the old sign looks over the new city like an elder over her village.
Being one of my favorite cities, Philadelphia has one of my favorite skylines. It’s just comforting to me. It looks different from every direction, and my favorite is probably the view from New Jersey (maybe I’m biased..) This particular image is from the footpath on the Ben Franklin Bridge. It’s a great path to run or bike during the day. They are pretty vigilant about kicking you off before dark though, so getting shots of the beautiful sunset behind the city can be tricky. This is one of my favorites I’ve ever taken there.
Sometimes it’s nice to just sit and watch a sunset over the water. The way the light changes so quickly and the ripples constantly shift is hypnotic. The birds seem to notice this as well, as they gather in flight over the water in the evening. The softness of the image contrasted by the jagged feathers seems like it’s saying something definite. The bird has a purpose, but, much like ourselves, we can’t really know what that purpose is.
One reason to brave the cold for a few more miles is the view at the end. Biking 20 miles from Philly had our fingers and toes cold, but the scene at Valley Forge National Park was serene and pure autumn. I wish we had time to explore more of the park, but the rain was starting and we had the same distance to cover to get back before dark. I’m glad we chose to keep pedaling when we felt like stopping. It felt good to get where we had planned to and with such a nice view for our rest, we almost didn’t notice the temperature.
While biking on the Schuylkill River Trail from Philadelphia to Valley Forge, there were a lot of beautiful areas. The trail begins near downtown Philadelphia, passing by the amazing Philadelphia Museum of Art before heading into quirky Manayunk. Once you get off the part of the trail that is shared by Main Street you are treated to a boardwalk along the canal that leads to a surprisingly quiet wooded area. This mix of city and nature is abundant along this trail as it weaves in and out of populated areas. I really enjoyed the dichotomy of the trail and in this image.
The beauty of exploring places unknown is that you stumble upon things you may have never expected. Looking for the positive in everything really helps open up possibilities and saying yes can bring so many new experiences into your life. In this case, a bicycle ride on a very cold day took us 40 miles round trip between downtown Philadelphia and Valley Forge National Park on the Schuylkill River Trail. I couldn’t help but want to stop and do an impromptu photo shoot when I saw these hearts painted on the ground. It was just my luck that I had a beautiful model in tow who doesn’t mind lying on the cold ground and taking her hair down!