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Biking through the Burg

fine art street photography - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

I rolled out of bed and left my house earlyish in the morning to meet my friend, and cohort in photography, Chuck.  You can check out his Instagram here.  We planned to bike around Harrisburg and photograph whatever caught our respective eyes.  Admittedly I don’t normally bike around during my days of photographic inquiry.  I like to walk slow with wide eyes and allow the surroundings to speak to me.  Maybe it’s because I’m such a fan boy for animism, but I feel I can hear the environment whisper to my intuition and guide me to the moments and places worth capturing.  Heady.  I know.  Regardless, the plan was to bike, so bike we did.

fine art street photography - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

I arrived to Chuck’s house around 9am… or was it 10am?  I’m not entirely sure, as I’m writing this months after the day in frame.  I’ve been kicking around the idea of creating a blog for sometime that would be an exercise in photojournalism and force me to leave my comfort zone more often that I currently tend to do.  Knowing myself, I decided it was better to pick a day in the recent past that I photographed to some degree of acceptableness and write some words to get this ball rolling.

After catching up with Chuck over some fresh veggies for breakfast, we put rubber to pavement and headed off towards the Midtown Neighborhood, specifically near the Broad Street Market.  I am familiar with the city, but didn’t have any prior locations picked out as Chuck did so I followed his lead.  We arrived at a small grassy area not far from the market that was littered with trash while subpar graffiti clung to the brick walls of the surrounding houses and structures.  I figured this would be a good time to start taking photos.

fine art street photography - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
fine art street photography - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

I recently picked up a Sony a6000 and was eager to test out its general capabilities and some of its more specific features, namely the ‘focus peaking’.  If you’re unfamiliar with ‘focus peaking’, it is a feature that is found on predominantly mirrorless cameras and it helps with focusing your shots.  It does so by providing a colored overlay that visually represents what is in focus.  Until the a6000, I had only used the feature on my Canon 7D via the installation of Magic Lantern.  I was  shooting with the included 16mm – 50mm kit lens, and to be honest I’m quite happy with the image quality it produces.  I could definitely do without the motorized zoom though.  I am assuming it was included in the kit lens because of the excellent video quality of the a6000, but honestly I don’t know why you’d want a sluggish zoom.

I suppose this is the time when I address the burgeoning new scene in the neighborhood. If you haven’t been to Midtown Harrisburg in a while, or ever, it is experiencing, what real estate development firms like to call, a “renaissance” and everyone else calls gentrification.  Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to see life being breathed back into the city, although I would much prefer that the inhabitants of the city were more included instead of the obligatory white-washing that is occurring.  Although it should come as no surprise that this particular part of the city is experiencing it more than others; the mayor of the city does own multiple properties on the surrounding blocks, one of which is the Midtown Scholar, a bookstore that is almost dope.

Susquehanna River - fine art street photography - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
fine art street photography - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Admittedly I have what some may call an eclectic or esoteric taste in books.  If I’m in a bookstore I am pulled without wavering towards the sections of philosophy and eastern thought.  And as of late I’ve been spending more and more time reading books on paranormal subjects and the western magical tradition.

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Anthony Beaston is a film editor, photographer, designer and writer living just outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.