Monday, July 30, 2012

Adirondack Chairs

Adirondack Chairs 1

Adirondack Chairs 2

Adirondack Chairs 3

Adirondack Chairs 4

A revisiting of last summer's assignment to pick one mundane subject and take 20 pictures. I picked these 4 to post.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Inwood Park & Salt Marsh

Inwood Park 1

Inwood Park 8

Inwood Park 2

Inwood Park 3

Inwood Park 4

Inwood Park 5

Low tide created some interesting patterns with the water and the mud. Also revealed a child's scooter. I imagine a certain degree of sadness over that one.

The tennis and basketball courts are being renovated. Not yet open or complete, the colors are about as deep as they will ever be. I had to shoot through the chain-link fence, so my ability to get a good angle was limited.

Inwood Park 6

Inwood Park 7



Really just an exercise in composition, perspective, and light. Sometimes (often, actually) when I can't see anything new or unusual to shoot, I take pictures of familiar things with an eye toward just getting it right, hoping that when I do see something new or unusual, I'll be prepared to take the picture. Critiques welcome, did I get these right?

A different look in B&W, horizontal:

Utility 2

Friday, July 27, 2012



Symmetry again. I thought this one was going to be black & white, but the tones didn't work out.

Thursday, July 26, 2012



Just got back from a short trip upstate.There's a symmetry here I could only get by focusing on the center branch of this mountain laurel grown over with lichen. No tripod, otherwise I might have gone for more depth of field.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Hostas 2

So we finally got a break here in NY from the heat wave, a dramatic one at that. We had a high temperature today of 73F (23C) after a week in the 90's (on Wednesday it was 98F (37C).

Anyway, a stroll through a rather wet Ft. Tryon Park this morning yielded this shot of the water beading on the leaves of a hosta. Best observed on flickr full-screen mode.

UPDATE: By the morning light I see that s.c.'s comment was well taken, and revised the contrast & exposure.  The original is still posted on flickr for comparison.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

IS 143

IS 143

In memory of Ronnie Pappas, my assistant principal for a number of years (and principal after I left), who tragically and suddenly passed away this week, much too soon.

515 West 182nd Street is a rather unattractive building. I've walked by here several times looking for an angle, a beneficial light, anything to get an image of the school that was my second home for so many years, but nothing I've produced struck me as worth posting.

Fortunately, a school is not a building but a community of people, and in that sense IS 143 was a beautiful place that I worked in for about 15 years, give or take. I was this week reminded of the true spirit of a school as the community came together to remember, mourn, celebrate, and honor Ms. Pappas, who dedicated so much of her life to this school.

And so even though this shot is a pretty predictable and even clichéd composition, it captures the defining characteristics of the building, and in the parallel lines converging toward the heavens, I see a certain symbolism that works for me on this day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012



Another one from the freezer, end of June. Hope to get out tomorrow and take some pics.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012



No time to shoot today, so this is another one from yesterday. Had to work a bit to bring out the SUV that was in the shadows, but I don't think it's too noisy. This is a parking lot that has elevated slots so they can park them two deep. Overlooking one of the many buildings that are part of the NY Presbyterian Hospital Complex.

Monday, July 16, 2012

PS 8

PS 8

A public school ("PS") in upper Manhattan. PS also designates that it is an elementary school (usually K-5 or K-6) as opposed to an "IS" (intermediate school, usually grades 6-8) or an "HS" (high school, grades 9-12). Of course the grade ranges are somewhat variable.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Reasons to Love Digital

This is a partial collection of prints from developed film dated approximately 1998-2002. I bought a serious camera (Canon Elan II) and started taking pictures again around the time my kids were born in 98. I had the photography bug in high school, did the usual yearbook stint, then became too distracted in college to continue much, completely dropped out of it by about 1985. Most of my early efforts were lost in a fire at my parents' home while I was away (it was actually a little storage shed outside the main house so no big tragedy other than the film/prints, in other words pretty trivial in the scheme of things).

This is approximately 100 rolls when the shelf is filled (I shot this incomplete shelf to show the depth, then filled in the rest). I have probably 20 more sets of prints that I unwisely took out of their packets in a failed attempt to organize them in a different way - long story.

First think of the cost. Including the film itself we are looking at a minimum of about $10-12 per roll, depending on where I had them processed. That's over $1200 over a 4-5 year period of time. It's OK, most are snapshots of the kids as they grew and changed and experienced so many things for the first time, I'm glad I have it all. Still, point number 2...

The quality of the prints leaves a lot to be desired. I know now from  working with RAW files that a lot of these pictures could easily be printed better - blown highlights are the biggest culprit especially where the pale skin of the kids is set against an otherwise dark background - I'm sure the information is there on the negative, but the printers set to automatic can't handle it.

Thirdly, the lag time between shooting and seeing the results made learning difficult, on top of not knowing if the results were from poor technique or poor processing. I suppose shooting slides would have partially solved that problem, but viewing slides is also a pain in the neck and having prints made from slides - no thanks.

Lastly, what a tremendous supply of chemicals and paper this represents, and if you think that 80% of it is junk (I'm probably being generous), pictures I never should have taken, out of focus, badly exposed, poorly framed, etc...then that's a lot of waste.

With digital I can save money, save space, save environmental waste, and even get better results. My experience with Adorama and MPIX prints has been mostly very positive, better than any of the prints I ever got from film.

On the other hand, I looked through a couple of these packets as I was arranging them, and although the pictures may be crap from  photographic point of view, as historical record they are priceless. And the fact that they are prints is part of their charm, I'm not sure I would be flipping through digital albums with the same feeling. So although theoretically I should be able to get lots of good prints made more cheaply now than the old system, the fact is that I seldom make prints, in part because I think of them as "just snapshots" and not worthy of the effort and cost. Only in hindsight do they seem to take on significance that makes them worthy of printing - but then I never get around to it :-)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bus Terminal

Bus Terminal

I've shot this structure a couple of times before, but I liked the light and clouds here this afternoon so another view then.

Friday, July 13, 2012

River Wall

River Wall

OK, there's got to be a better name for this. I want to call it a "fence," but that's too flimsy a term. A wall seems too big. What is this thing that serves as a barrier along the river front? And what are the openings called?

Anyway, this is another from a few days ago, between the work I am doing around the house and this summer cold I've contracted, no energy/time to go out and shoot. Tomorrow will be new stuff.

UPDATE: Of course, it's a balustrade! Or a modern concrete version thereof...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wet Beetle

Wet Beetle

Another one from the archives, still buried in work. This one is from a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012



Another one from the "freezer," shot a few days ago. Buried in a project today...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Boat House at Swindler Cove

Boat House at Swindler Cove

Feeling a little under the weather today, so this one from a couple of days ago. This is on the East River, low tide as you can see...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Red Ducati

Red Ducati

A different aesthetic from the Skullcap bike, which I believe was a Harley-Davidson, but I forgot to check! Anyway, with its attitude, it should have been a Harley. Also saw someone today on a sweet BMW bike that had a bit of the Harley aesthetic, a lower & longer frame than I remember from the more classical BMW style. I haven't really looked at bikes in a long time, so maybe that's old news...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Be where of Dog

Be where of Dog

...along with the inconsistent capitalization throughout the sign, I found this rather amusing. Then look closely at the dog on the left, which has a (detached) human hand and forearm in its mouth.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Park Lamp

Parl Lamp

I am approaching photography like a hunter/fisher. My goal is to go out every day and catch something. Some days are good, some are not so good. I even have a little surplus in the freezer for rainy days, so to speak. Today I went out a little late but this contrast between the park light and the blue sky caught my eye and that's about it. I would have liked a little more dramatic cloud play, but that's what was there at the time...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012



NYPD prepares for 4th of July fireworks displays, setting up barricades all around Manhattan from about 42nd street south. These have been unloaded and await placement sometime Wednesday morning or early afternoon

Monday, July 2, 2012

Don't Sit on Me

Don't Sit on Me

Common on the borders around stoops and other architectural elements (I'm sure there's a name for these things) outside of buildings to discourage loitering.