Roll #3: Charm(ish) City

Updated: Feb 20, 2020

“Baltimore sucks. If you haven’t been there, it’s a fairly quaint excuse for a city. There’s an element of the South, an almost rural quality to Baltimore, an Ozark fatalism that’s amusing in films but not so much fun to live with. Worst of all, I had no idea where to score drugs.” -Anthony Bourdain

In 2017 I left Fort Worth, Texas for Ellicott City, Maryland. I left the warm, rarely cold, no income tax, delicious Tex-Mex powerhouse known as the Lone Star State for the often rainy, snow-havin’, crab eatin’ Old Line State. Old. Line. State. How…intriguing? Terrible weather and nickname aside, one thing I can’t complain about is the relative abundance of outdoor activities (limited to summer/fall) and inexhaustible amount of history.

Regardless of the aforementioned positives, people often say: You left Texas for Maryland?

Things only worsen when they hear I’m originally from California: What made you want to come out here? Why did you leave? Are you crazy? After the 100th time receiving the same question repackaged with different words, I eventually gave up the, “I came out here for a great job opportunity,” excuse. It’s much simpler to chuckle and say, “I really don’t know what I was thinking.” People find it amusing (myself included).

The abundance of nature and history in and around Maryland make for great photography subjects as both nature and history are relatively slow moving and look excellent on film. As such, they will likely be recurring themes on this site. In this edition of poorly written prose, the focus will be on the City of Baltimore (AKA Mobtown, Charm City, The Greatest City in America).

On the banks of the Patapsco River lies a monument to our hydrophilic friends: The National Aquarium. Unlike almost every other National “museum” in the capital region, this experience will set you back $40 + tax. While this may seem like a hefty fee to most, let me lay on an important fact: they have an EXTREMELY IMMERSIVE 4D theater…which costs an additional $5. Now before you pull your hair out and scream "TELL ME HOW TO GET THERE," let me paint a picture of this 4D experience:

From total darkness appears light. The slow ripple of the water above casts shadows which dance around you. A sense of peace settles upon you. You're drawn upwards. Bubbles escape your mouth, racing you towards the mirror-like surface. As you break the surface, sunlight delicately reflects off the crests of smooth, incoming waves. While entranced with nature's beauty, dolphins begin to appear. They surround you...embrace you with their blubbery goodness.

Fun right? Until now, sure. Unfortunately, this is where things take an unexpected turn for the worse:

With each friendly appearance, a blast of water hits you in the face. Did your retina just detach? One can only assume, this is what it feels like to be waterboarded. As you’re about to lose consciousness, the dolphins disappear. After this horrific experience, you abandon all logic and decide you MUST follow them as they dive into the abyss. You keep diving until you reach an orchard of magical underwater lemon groves. A toxic mist of what smells like Lemon Pledge® slaps you in the face. Your eyes burn. You cough. Mucus slowly trickles out your nose. Are your lips starting to swell? Is this an allergic reaction? Just as you realize you’d never make it as a dolphin, everything goes silent. You look around. Your friends have disappeared. They've abandoned you. But wait...something lurks in the distance. As the mass approaches, to your horror, you realize it's Bubble, the playful great white that doesn't recognize his own strength. He comes at you full speed, but you turn evade last minute…or did you? *pow* A metal rod slams into your back, between your T11 and T12. The numbness in your left leg indicates you’ve just herniated a disk. Through winced eyes you see a velvety red cloud the water. Darkness.

All that for only $5.

Now that I’ve said my piece, we can move to photography. This collection of images, like the last, were taken on a roll of Fujifilm Fuijicolor 200. Unlike the last set however, the contraption used to “make” the images was a Canon Sure Shot Tele 80. For those of you unfamiliar with the camera, it is a cheap, unassuming, black plastic brick. As such, I had low expectations. Wandering around Baltimore, I snapped images of Lexington Market, Bromo-Seltzer Tower, Inner Harbor, The George Peabody Library, graves in the cemetery which once housed the body of Edgar Allen Poe. The outcome was a mixed bag. While most images were poorly exposed (not my fault) or blurry (my fault), there were a few which indicated this camera can punch above its weight, if certain conditions are met. What those conditions are, I have yet to discover, but the potential is there, nonetheless. Enjoy, hon.

Camera:Canon Sure Shot Tele 80

Film: Fujifilm Fujicolor 200

When: November/December 2018

Where: Baltimore, Maryland

Seafood vendor at Lexington Market in Baltimore, Maryland

Looking Up. Stairwell at the Peabody Library. Baltimore, Maryland

Looking Down. Stairwell at the Peabody Library. Baltimore, Maryland

Neon Lights at the National Aquarium. Baltimore, Maryland

Night lights at Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland.

Old headstone in Baltimore, Maryland

Lights inside the Peabody Library.  Baltimore, Maryland

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