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Archive for April, 2011

Last Philadelphia post, then I’ll resume posting spring break photos as well as regular York Dispatch assignments.

After attending the Flash Bus event and eating Burmese food in Chinatown, Charles and I walked around a bit and then drove around a bit longer. His bus wouldn’t leave until 9 p.m., so we had plenty of time to see more of Philadelphia at dusk and night.

Red light!

In Chinatown, heading west on Race Street. Taken from the street curb.

Green light!

In downtown, heading south on Broad Street. Taken from inside my car (hence the light streaks - thanks, windshield!).

Needless to say, York has been growing on me, and now Philadelphia is starting to grow on me, too.

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I love being in York, Pa., but I miss a good Chinatown. York is decidedly lacking in that area.

So when I was walking to the Flash Bus event from my parking spot yesterday morning, I was delighted to notice building signs and street signs in Chinese, as well as other indications that the Pennsylvania Convention Center is right next to Philadelphia Chinatown.

Walking around in Philadelphia Chinatown during the Flash Bus event's lunch break. This is heading south on 10th Street.

This meant that Charles and I did a fair bit of exploring (and eating) in Chinatown during the Flash Bus lunch break, as well as after the event concluded.

Where else but in Chinatown can you get delicious pastries (and pork buns! and coconut bread!) for less than a dollar? (Despite these price tags, the woman at the counter charged me 80 cents for a chocolate cake.)

The Chinatown Friendship Gate at 10th and Arch Streets. This gate is the first authentic Chinese gate built in America by Chinese artisans, according to Plan Philly.

It felt so good to be in a thriving, legit Chinatown again.

(Note: By my experience at least, Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown is not thriving nor legit. I like to call it “China-street.”)

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The Flash Bus Tour came to Philadelphia yesterday, so I battled early-morning grogginess and rush-hour traffic to see and meet Joe McNally and David Hobby.

Joe McNally greets people signing in for the Philadelphia Flash Bus event in the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

Philadelphia was McNally’s and Hobby’s 19th stop (of 29) as they travel around the country in a bus tour to teach and demonstrate flash techniques. Although I’ve used flash on assignment (despite my coworkers’ teasing that I’m scared of this old technology), it was great to be in a learning environment again.

I also got to meet my friend Charles there.

Walking around in Philadelphia Chinatown after the conclusion of the Flash Bus event.

Charles is freelancing in New York City, but the NYC Flash Bus event sold out before he could get a ticket. So he took a bus to Philadelphia. It was great seeing him again, and getting to explore Philadelphia with him during the lunch break and after the event.

And — we happened to be sitting next to a Playboy photographer during the event sessions.

About 400 people attended the Philadelphia Flash Bus event. Naturally, of all those 400 people, I found myself sitting next to a Playboy photographer. In this picture, he and dozens of other Nikon photographers have synced their strobes with Joe McNally's and are holding them up for a fun photo McNally took on-stage.

Needless to say, there were many different photographers there. When David Hobby asked who in the crowd was an editorial photographer, it looked like Charles and I were among maybe five others who raised their hands. And it seemed as if we were among the two youngest photographers in attendance, as well.

But it was a good crowd, with lots of good questions. Joe and David absolutely encouraged questions during the sessions, despite the fact that they held a Q&A/giveaway session at the conclusion of the event. They were also very accessible: Instead of running away during the breaks, they stayed in the room and talked to those who crowded around them.

Guess what Jeff'll be getting in the mail.

So, was the event worth the $99 registration? I think so. I’m pretty sure everybody left the event wishing they had a dozen strobes, umbrellas, light stands, snoots and softboxes (Joe said he has at least 20 speedlights), but it was a good learning experience and refresher course.

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Finally, a beach post! But first things first: Food.

Jeff and I enjoyed a lot of great food at the beach. We took advantage of having a full kitchen, as well as having many wonderful eateries in the vicinity.

For example, Nourish. Nourish, located at the end of a small strip mall, is a cozy little market that offers everything from fresh cheeses to tubs of kitchen-made soup to Asian cooking sauces. It also has a small but delightful menu for those who enjoy artisan sandwiches and salads.

March 31. Lunch at Nourish: A balsamic grilled sandwich with a Greek salad (with quinoa) and curry chicken salad.

We also stopped by Dogfish Head. This was a completely indulgent, so-unnecessary-but-so-necessary stop, namely because a) we’d just eaten a (disappointing) meal at Grotto Pizza and b) we’d already been to Dogfish Head two years ago.

April 1. Beer sampler, crab dip and crab-and-corn chowder at Dogfish Head.

Being near the ocean, we also indulged in a lot of seafood. On our last night, we were (or, I was) determined to go to a raw bar. After a setback or two, we finally found a bar that was serving raw oysters.

April 2. Raw oysters on the half-shell at Lighthouse.

Other eateries we patronized:

  • Nage — A completely wonderful wine bar and bistro. The only reason I didn’t take photos was that the light was so poor.
  • Rusty Rudder — A restaurant and bar in Dewey Beach. We went for the restaurant and raw bar, but only the regular bar was open for the early season. So we sat at the bar, ordered some drinks and had buffalo wings before we found another place that was serving raw seafood.
  • Nick’s Philadelphia Cheesesteaks — Kind of a dive. The smell of frying oil lingers more than 50 feet outside the entrance, which is always a good sign. After eating our raw oysters, I started craving onion rings. Nick’s was on the way home, so we stopped by and ordered onion rings to go.

And as for home cookin’? No skimping there, either.

March 31. Littleneck clams steamed in beer and water.

(more…)

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I’ll post spring-break-in-Delaware photos soon, but first here are some pictures I made of the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C.

© 2011 by Chris Dunn.

Jeff and I rushed back to D.C. on Sunday morning just to see the cherry blossoms. I was adamant about seeing them, since I’d never been in the area during the blossoming period and didn’t know when I would be again.

Getting to the National Mall was a nightmare. Jeff insisted that we’d be okay with driving (I’d thought we’d park at his house and take the Metro). Then we discovered that roads were blocked for the annual 10-miler, so we had to take the long way around (and again, and again) to get back to the Mall. Finding a parking space was a struggle only to be matched by dealing with the throngs of SLR- and stroller-wielding tourists (and realizing that we were among them, albeit without a stroller).

And then we finally arrived… and the cherry blossoms were white. The few pink-blossom trees were pretty pitiful. Major letdown.

© 2011 by Chris Dunn.

But hey, now I’ve finally seen the much-beloved cherry blossoms. Next time I get to see them, though, I hope they’re pink. Because any schoolchild who knows anything about the D.C. cherry blossoms knows that they’re supposed to be pink.

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Went to the beach.

Rehoboth Beach. Photo by Jeff.

It was cold, windy and rainy, so we didn’t do typical beach-y things. Instead, we browsed outlet malls, checked out what venues were open in the off-season and cooked a lot of food. We also didn’t have wireless, and tried to minimize our use of Jeff’s iPhone, which is why I haven’t been posting photos from each day. But I’ll get around to ’em soon enough.

In the meantime, make sure you’ve already listened to what Michael S. Williamson had to say about his “Recession Road” project. Especially if you’re a journalist, and especially-especially if you’re a visual journalist.

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