Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Manhattan Bridge


There is something about this photo - and other photos I have that are similar - that I really love. Part of it is the texture of it. Blogger is going to compress this a bit, but open up the full size version (and make it big if your browser resizes automatically) and you will see that lovely grain, the heavy vignetting and the almost worn-out quality that makes it look like this photo is a lot older than it is. The truth is I probably took it sometime in 1997. The film I used when I shot black and white was always Kodak Tri-X, and it was capable of tighter grain than this. But I shot this with my Pentax K-1000 with a 400mm Tokina lens that always did this to all of my photos - it was a terrible lens, but it gave me this almost newspaper-like look that I loved. It fit the look of New York so well, and it made it seem even more industrial of a city than it is.

I no longer have that camera or lens and it's difficult to duplicate this look digitally. It can be done, but it takes a long time to really make it convincing.

Monday, March 13, 2006

My new toy!

No "real" photo to show you today (check back tomorrow!) but I just had to show off my new toy:



You know I'm on the mend and about to start shooting again (soon) when I go out and blow a chunk of cash on a major piece of machinery like this.

It's the Sigma 135-400 APO DG. Honestly, this is the first "serious" lens I've ever owned. I'm not really a big believer in glass quality making all that much difference in the quality of photos any given photographer turns out. A great photographer with a $50 lens will take a better photo than a bad photographer with a $4,000 lens, given the same subject. Too many people use their lens as an excuse for taking bad pictures, when the fact of the matter is they're just a bad photographer. So I've always just made do with the cheap stuff and tried to focus on finding better subjects, and I've never really wanted anything more.

But we're about to move to the suburbs, and our new house is almost directly under one of JFK airport's takeoff patterns. Luckily they don't use this pattern all that often, and I'm not a huge fan of being right under low-flying airplanes under that kind of stress (especially given JFK's checkered past), but I figured I'd make the most of the situation. I've lived near airports before - San Francisco in the early 1980's, La Guardia just a few years ago - and I've never taken any photos even when all I had to do was step out into my back yard and look up. I've always regretted that.

The upshot is if I wanted to finally use my local airport to its fullest, I needed the longest lens I could afford. And as badass as this lens looks, it was the cheapest 400mm lens available to me. It is definitely a quality piece of glass, but it was not all that expensive (relative to other lenses - it was about half the cost of Canon's 100-400L, although that lens does have image stabilization and that's what you're paying extra for.) It is built like a tank, though, and it is huge - it feels like a wild boar when attached to the camera, and I only hope I can tame it!

I'm not sure when I'll have photos taken with this lens to post, but you can bet I will sometime. But check back tomorrow for yet another new photo from the archives!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I'm still basically laid up, though I'm back at work and at least walking around a bit... not enough to take new photos yet, though. So I'm still picking through the archives... trying not to use them all up too quickly! Thanks for all the emails wishing me well; I do appreciate it.

Anyway, this photo is pretty self-explanatory. It didn't turn out exactly as I wanted (I couldn't get the exact right angle, and cars kept driving me off the street), but it's still not bad and it's a good New York shot.

About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.

About Me

My photo

I'm married. I like to travel. I have no kids. I have a house... that I'm bad at maintaining. I used to collect classic video games. I own a lot of musical equipment that far outstrips my ability to use it. When I was younger, I was in a band. I like gadgets, and I'm an Android guy. Someday, I would like to live on a different planet.

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