Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #216 – Urban Environments

Baltimore Maryland’s Inner Harbor

This week, it’s Sofia’s turn to challenge us. Her theme, “Urban Environments” got me looking for examples of places to feature. Sofia notes, “For many of us, cities are part of our daily lives. For others, it’s a place to be visited now and then. One thing is certain, urban environments are as varied as it gets and offer plenty of wonderful sights. This week’s challenge is about how you view any urban environments you came across, either by visiting as a tourist or the place you live in or commute to every day. What makes that city or town special and how do you capture it.” You can read her entire challenge post here.

A few years ago, I spent a few days in Baltimore Maryland for a conference and stayed at a hotel in the Inner Harbor area. I came away with a few images to share that reflect the urban area around the harbor. My opening image might have been shot from my drone, but it’s a cellpic I captured at blue hour from my high-rise hotel room.

Scarlett Place Condos-1
Scarlett Place Condominiums

Cityscapes can house some unique architecture. Near the inner harbor area, I saw this interesting condominium building. At one point, I looked up the average cost of one of the units in the building. Let’s just say, they cost something north of my budget.

Blue Hour-1
Inner Harbor in the blue hour just before sunrise.

Another image from the highrise hotel where the conference was held. This shot was from a colleague’s hotel room and features the entrance to the harbor.

Inner Harbor-6
Music Appreciation

Urban environments aren’t just about the buildings, though. Cities attract people and in this case, a music festival across the river was in full force. Of course, the people sitting along the water’s edge here couldn’t see the musicians, but sound travels easily so many gathered to enjoy the sounds if not the sights of the festival. The advantage, of course, listening was free of charge.

Inner Harbor-5
Getting around in the city

I was intrigued by the many electric scooters available for rent and just laying around on the sidewalks. As a young couple stopped by to pick up a couple of scooters, I inquired as to how the process worked. After a quick explanation, they posed for a photo and were on their way. They will leave the scooters at their next stop to await someone else to pick one up and head wherever.

Inner Harbor-3

You will seldom find buskers in smaller cities unless there is a special occasion. The Inner Harbor area draws a lot of tourists so there is plenty of opportunity for someone with talent to play and earn some tips for their day’s work. With different size buckets and traffic cone stands, this gentleman was very talented and drew a small crowd whenever he was playing.

Thanks to Sofia for this week’s challenge theme. I am writing this a couple of days in advance of the theme release as we are getting ready to head for the Big Apple and a Carnival cruise ship. We’ve passed our Covid test and finished all the online requirements for entering Canada and we are hoping to see some fall colors in the northern provinces. I will have little to no Internet on the ship, so if I don’t get back to you right away to respond to comments, I’ll be online again either Saturday or Sunday (9/17 or 18).

Click on any of the images above to view it in HD, or you can view the entire Flickr gallery here.

John Steiner


  1. You know I love your landscapes and what I love about them you managed to translate into your urban photos, how you do it is a mystery to me! The sharpness, the colour and composition are always there, John. This is a great post.

  2. Nicely done on capturing elements of the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore, John. I attended a work conference there in 2006. I didn’t have time to explore more but I did spend a day in DC just 45 minutes away by train. While in Baltimore, I was struck by the excellent service from various folks, like taxicab drivers. Such a great experience enhanced by sincere people. Hope your Canada trip is fab and Autumn cooperates.

  3. I’ve been to Baltimore many, many times John and always visit the Inner Harbor when I can. It’s really a wonderful area showcasing what cities can become if they try hard enough! Loved your blue hour shots and assume since you live in a different time zone you were getting up earlier than usual. I did wonder what you were doing at that hour in someone else’s room but perhaps this is not the place to discuss it LOLOL. Terrific post from both the macro and the micro perspective of urban life.

    • Oops, I got the two blue hours confused. The first shot was from the colleague’s room at night. The second was a morning shot. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. >grin<

  4. One of my former classmates was an exchange student in Baltimore, so I googled the city before out of curiosity and I like the harbor area. However, you showed me here many cool scenes that I never saw during my Google search. Beautiful urban pictures. I love the busker’s “drums”!

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