Eastern State Penitentiary

On December 29 I visited Eastern State Penitentiary with my husband for our 13th wedding anniversary. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and we thought this seemed as good a time as any to go. I took advantage of their equipment fee {$10 good for a year} and brought along the tripod. It was a cold day, but not unbearable. See, there isn’t heat or air conditioning so what you experience outside the stone walls is what you get inside the stone walls.

I have to say the place is incredible! It is also huge. For reference, Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world’s first true “penitentiary,” a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of convicts. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone {Eastern State Penitentiary}. We were there five hours and still did not see everything. A return trip is definitely in the cards!

So, to let you feel like you’ve been there yourself or to give you a feel for what to expect if you go, here are some of my favorite images from that day.

OutsideOutside of Eastern State Penitentiary. A bit intimidating.

Outside Guard TowerOne of the corner outside guard towers from the inside.

Hallway The fact that the cabinets are still on the walls is incredible. And the patina on them now is beautiful.

Central guard tower You can see the central guard tower almost everywhere…even through doorways in hallways.

Corridor entrance gatesEntrance to corridor two. I admired the use of the Pennsylvania keystone symbol over the door.

Cross in the skylightThe detail in the skylight was unexpected.

Door outside the chaplain area.I am a sucker for doors and these doors are beautiful. Maybe I just have a thing for wooden double doors.

Plants growing through a windowThe greenery growing on the outside of this window has grown tall.

Barber shop chairA barber shop chair in a cell block.

Metal bed frame in cell A lone metal bed frame in a prisoner cell.

Central guard tower from the outsideA view of the central guard tower. The day was cold, but the sky was the perfect backdrop.

Murals in the Chaplain's areaThese murals were painted by a prisoner in the Chaplain’s rooms. Gorgeous!

Entrance to hospital wingMany photographers have taken this image. To me it’s iconic to ESP. I had to have one as well.

Surgery roomThe surgical room. The hanging light was installed much later. Early surgeries were done under the skylight.

Central guard tower More of that beautiful blue sky behind the central guard tower.

Prisoner cellA prisoner’s cell illuminated by late afternoon sunlight.

Have you been to Eastern State Penitentiary? I thoroughtly enjoyed the visit and look forward to going back!

All photographs taken are from Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA.

PIFA Street Fair

This past Saturday, I headed off to Philadelphia to check out the PIFA (Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts) Street Fair. For 2011, PIFA’s theme was Paris and since I have now been to Paris, I determined I must attend.  Throughout the month of April, PIFA sponsored boatloads of artistic activities all throughout the city, capping off the month with a day-long, free street fair.

The street fair blocked off Broad Street from Chestnut Street through Lombard Street, hosting multiple activities down the street.  A Ferris Wheel was set up, a children’s garden, a stage for live music, vendors, wine tastings (Blue Mountain Vineyards) and gelato (Capogiro).  I will say, it was packed that day (I’ve heard estimates of 150,000 people) and really hard to move around or access some of the activities.

That didn’t stop me from grabbing some photos of the day.  Here are some highlights from the PIFA Street Fair 2011!

I admit, this isn't part of the Street Fair, but how could I not capture this image? Philadelphia's City Hall built in 1901 reflected in one of the city's sky scrapers.

A street fair isn't complete without a Ferris Wheel!

Inside the Kimmel Center (a performing arts venue along Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts) hosted an Eiffel Tower inside the lobby. I've heard it will stay up a few more months!

The Kimmel Center has lovely natural lighting as the roof is made of glass. Along the ceiling were various trains, cars, and airplanes flying around. I personally liked the shadows they cast.

I believe the street fair really shone at night when the lights came on. Strung across the road were white lights and the buildings lit themselves up in color.

Love the color in this one! I think Ferris Wheels come alive at night.

Around Philly

Hello All!  I trust you all had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday and have finished all your Christmas shopping.  😉  Our Thanksgiving was  nice and no, I’m not done with my Christmas shopping either.  Plenty of time…plenty of time…

I’m throwing up a few photos from last weekend, finishing off images taken in Philadelphia.  I love going into Philadelphia, honestly.  It’s such a great city!  Lots of things to do, easy to walk around, great food.  It really is one of my favorite cities (I have to admit, London is my favorite.  Shhh…don’t tell Philly!).  So much to photograph in Philadelphia, but I limited myself to just a few fun photos for today.

Tomorrow, I’m announcing a challenge I’m undertaking.  If you’re a photographer, professional or amatuer, feel free to join in.  More details tomorrow though!  I’m really looking forward to sharing it with you.

But, for now, photos of Philadelphia!

We were up early (5:00 a.m.) for the Philadelphia Half Marathon last Sunday. When we left the hotel, it was still black out. As we waited for the race to start, the sun rose over the city. I loved how the sky looked through these trees near the Art Museum.

This gorgeous church is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. It was still too early to see people going to services, but I am sure it is as gorgeous inside as it is outside. Look at those doors! And the statues on the second level. Beautiful.

In front of the Art Museum in Philadlephia (which you can see in the background) is a Eakins Oval. In the center of Eakins Oval is a very large statue. This lady is just one of several statues surrounding the focal point statue of George Washington.

At the top of the Bejamin Franklin Parkway, across from the Art Museum (yes, THAT Art Museum, the one where Rocky climbed the famous stairs) is a beautiful fountain. Four large sculptures blow out water into the fountain while smaller animal sculptures blow water as well. I had seen this fountain from afar, but never close up before. If you look closely at the green statue on the left, you can see the Art Museum in the background.

Suburban Station is an underground rail station that is part of Philadelphia's SEPTA rail system. Opened on September 28, 1930, it was a stub-end station replacing the above ground Broad Street Line. Almost all trains make a stop at this station, which was recently renovated in 2007. The architecture of the building really drew me in, as it is so classic of art deco design.

I am addicted to beautiful doors. I really believe a gorgeous door says a lot about a building. I was addicted when we were in Europe to taking door photographs. When we walked by a church in Center City Philadelphia and saw these doors I stopped mid-step to get an image. Oh what I wouldn't give to photograph a couple in front of them!

Philadelphia City Hall at night

This past weekend, hubby and I ventured to Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon.  This is the second year the hubby has run the half marathon, which is awesome in my opinion.  I took the camera along for some photo fun and had a good time playing with locations and time of day shots.

Philadelphia City Hall to me is a beautiful old building.  It was built from 1871 to 1901, with the goal of being the tallest building in the world.  By the time it was finished, sadly it was surpassed by the Eiffel Tower (Paris) and the Washington Monument (Washington, D.C.), though it did carry the distinction of being the tallest building in Pennsylvania and the tallest inhabitable building.  Until 1987, it was the tallest building in Philadelphia, until One Liberty Center was built, breaking the “gentleman’s agreement” that no building in Philadelphia would be taller than William Penn’s hat.  Rumor has it that after One Liberty Center was built, William Penn became so angry he cursed all the Philly sports to not win a championship.   Twenty-five years later this was broken (2008) when the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series.  After they won, construction workers on a new high rise building took photographs of a small statue of William Penn they soldered to the tallest part of the building, once again allowing William Penn the tallest location in the City.

City Hall has 700 rooms and is the largest munciple building in the United States and fifth largest in the world.  It houses all three branches of government – the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.  The large statue of William Penn adorning the top of the clock tower is the largest statue atop any building in the world.  He faces Northeast, towards the section of the city where he signed a treaty with the local Native American tribe who gave him rights to the area.  The tower in which William Penn is located contains an observation deck; the only such deck in the city.  It is accessed through a glass enclosed elevator, which allows visitors to see the inner construction of City Hall.  City Hall is on the National Historic Landmark registry and in 2006, was named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Walking up to City Hall, these flags are on the right hand side. I thought it appropriate to capture City Hall and the flags.

City Hall is just a beautiful building. Loved how the moon shone over it Saturday evening.

I love this image with the tree branches. Taken from across the street, I looked up through the bare branches and just loved the look. Reminds me of Halloween and yet, here we are just days away from the American Thanksgiving holiday.

A side view of City Hall. No matter what angle you have, the building is gorgeous. I'm a sucker for good architecture.

A view of City Hall from Broad Street. This is where championship parades pass in Philadelphia, it's where the theaters are, and some really wonderful restaurants. And it's where lots of Philadelphia brides and grooms have their photo taken on their wedding day. I love seeing that shot of the bridal couple in front of City Hall.