A Quick Bite of Philadelphia

| August 14, 2010

A unique diner in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market

On my East Coast jaunt last week I spent Tuesday night and the following day in downtown Philadelphia. I arrived by air from Minneapolis late so I was not able to see much and I am not too keen on venturing out in a new city unless I have done my homework about potential locations and personal safety. Luckily I stayed in the center of the city, which was right next to the City Hall and the Reading Terminal Market. From what I understand, City Hall is smack dab in the middle of town and there was a ton going on. As it turned out, the Reading Terminal Market was a great experience and was rich with photographic opportunities.

Reading Terminal's sign points the way

Reading Terminal’s sign points the way

Reading Terminal Market is an enclosed market at 12th and Arch Streets in downtown Philadelphia. Over 80 merchants offer fresh produce, meats, fish, groceries, ice cream, flowers, baked goods, crafts, books, clothing, and specialty and ethnic foods. Every space in the market is rented out and three of the vendors are descendants of original market merchants.

All of the shots in this post were taken after having breakfast at one of the many diners in the Market. The one I chose was operated by a group of very nice Amish women. I had a western omelette and it was delivered Philadelphia style. My first thought was about who I was going to share it with! Another thing that was really cool was the group of Philadelphia’s finest that were eating with us. They looked great in their uniforms and you could just sense the camaraderie between them. One of the older officers exclaimed about the size of my camera. He seemed fascinated and somewhat bewildered as to why someone would need such a monstrosity to take pictures.

One of the many fresh meat vendors at Reading Terminal Market

One of the many fresh meat vendors at Reading Terminal Market

When processing these shots, I tried to use a similar style in each. I admit that the elements are exaggerated but that was my intent. In the shot at the top, I was attracted to the “diner within the market” concept. I also enjoyed the diversity of the people eating at the bar. Don’t you just love the older skinny guy sitting there patiently for his food? In the shot just above, I was taken by the immense selection and quantity of meat. I also saw the refrigerated case as a unifying element for the photograph. There was a lot going on inside the market and it was sometimes hard to find things to anchor my compositions. I also liked the neon sign above reminding us to eat fish and live longer. Too much fun!

Philadelphia's City Hall just outside Reading Terminal Market

Philadelphia’s City Hall just outside Reading Terminal Market

After shooting the market, I ventured outside for a few context shots. The City Hall building was beautiful. It instantly reminded of the Hotel de Ville in Paris, which is close to the Île Saint-Louis and Notre Dame. Check out the link and you will see that it is remarkably familiar in style, and what’s more, “de Ville” actually means City Hall! I thought the contrast of the City Hall against the modern skyscrapers was interesting and I liked how the glass on them sparkles in a unified way.

I told Donna that we need to go back for a weekend to see the rest of the sights. She actually has family in the area and visited Philadelphia as a child. I am glad I went and look forward to exploring the city on another trip.

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Category: Photography, Travel

Comments (4)

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  1. AutumnLeaves says:

    I sure enjoy these photos, Lee. The color is just fabulous. Do you use a lens filter with these when you shoot them?

  2. Lee says:

    Hi Sherry. I generally do not use filters on the camera in the field. Most of the filters I use are applied digitally during post processing. I do use a neutral density filter on the lens from time to time to slow the shutter down when desired. That will give me blurred objects like cars, water and moving people. Thanks for asking!

  3. Chad says:

    Lee,
    Great shot of the Diner. I just walked past there this morning and it’s been gutted. Looks like they are renovating. You may have to go back and take an updated shot when it finished. If you look in my gallery, you’ll see a shot I took while in the market. It’s hard not to pass up all the neon lights.

  4. Lee says:

    Thanks for the comment Chad and the heads up on the renovation. I hope they keep the old charm of the place. If it gets too commercial it will dramatically impact the character. I am heading over to your gallery now. Nice to meet you!