Posted by: 6x6pix | August 23, 2009

Cool Shooting: Landlubber Edition

So far in our impromptu mini-series for heat-weary Boston photographers, we’ve sent you to an island and to the far tip of the outer Cape, by boat. By now you’re probably asking, “isn’t there anywhere I can go to take pictures that’s cooler, but  doesn’t involve the possibility of needing a life jacket?” And our answer is: yes there is!

Ordinarily on summer’s dog days, going to the movies is the best bet for some quality time in air-conditioned comfort. But the studios and the RIAA frown upon people taking pictures at the movies, so we’re not encouraging that. We like the people-shooting opportunities at the mall, too, but since malls are private property, BPC would never suggest that you go hone your street shooting skills at the Cambridgeside Galleria. Well, almost never… :-)

Here, then, are a few legal ideas:

Voyage to the bottom of the sea…

…without getting on a boat: visit the New England Aquarium. Inside it’s cool and dimly-lit, and just being surrounded by glass-walled tanks of graceful swimming fish and other aquatic creatures does wonders to lower one’s psychological temperature, not to mention one’s stress level. And you can make some incredibly cool photos at the aquarium. So have a look at the aquatic images in Henry Horenstein’s Animalia for inspiration, grab your monopod (tripods are not allowed), and hop on the Blue Line to the Aquarium stop.

Put yourself on ice

We’re not talking skates here (although that’s a possibility too) — we’re talking the “Pure Yankee Cold” of an icehouse tour at Cape Pond Ice in Gloucester. This historic company has been supplying ice to commercial fishermen for 161 years — these guys know how to keep things cool. After your tour you can skulk around Gloucester’s working waterfront for some great gritty, industrial-grade scenes to shoot.

Look at the Earth from the inside out

The Mapparium inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library at the Christian Science Mother Church is one of Boston’s hidden treasures. While small (the publicly-accessible area consists of nothing more than a 30-foot long, roughly three-foot wide footbridge), the three-story, backlit stained glass globe of the Earth packs a big visual punch, and offers a few indirect history lessons as well (the map hasn’t been updated since 1935). Despite being off the radar of most tourists and locals alike, the space tends to fill up, but crowds often come in cycles, so the patient photographer can get some very cool shots inside this awesome space.

Play in a fountain. You know you want to

While you’re on the Church grounds, you may as well check out the big fountain that sits at the Belvidere St. end of their beautiful reflecting pool. Everyone else will be there playing in the cool water. Just bring a Ziplock bag for your camera (even if you don’t intend to frolic in the fountain, take a few shots through the plastic bag anyway — you just might love the results)!

Commune with the dead… in the shade

Ok, it’s true — it’s the same temperature in Watertown as everywhere else around here. But strolling among the 5,500 trees on the 175-acre Mount Auburn Cemetery grounds will at least keep the blazing-hot sun off your back, and the meticulously maintained landscaping of America’s first “garden cemetery” will delight your eyes and do wonders to keep your mind off the heat. If you’d rather not leave the city at all, you can have a similarly idyllic — and equally well-shaded — experience at Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain; or if you prefer to photograph your flora and landscapes away from the prying spirits of the dead, hit up another of our local horticultural treasures, Arnold Arboretum in Cambridge, the oldest public arboretum in North America.

The best part about most of these locatons is that they’re easily reached by public transportation — and if you lucky, your rides there and back will be air-conditioned!

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