Lords Of Dogtown- Skateboarders At stART On The Street

A few years ago, I saw the spectacular, based on reality film “Lords of Dogtown”. Based on the famous Z-Boys of Venice Beach, CA in the 1970’s, the film introduces its audience to a surf culture that had long been misrepresented in media and pop culture. It even features a few great cameos of none other than the Nikon F, as photojournalists are seen throughout the film capturing these amazing performers. Worcester, MA’s StART On The Street, once again, proving itself as a spectacular photographic mecca.

Drawing upon that inspiration, I decided to stop down for a few shots, and “drag the shutter” for some, yikes, slow shutter speeds. This went totally against my usually scientific, rule-based approach to photography. Afraid that I would have crazy looking blurs, I instead was able to capture a sense of motion. The slowest speeds here, if I remember, at 1/30th/sec. Pretty daunting with a 135mm lens, but I think it worked.

Cannot wait to photograph this type of event again. Once again, Nikon F3HP, and Plus-X.

Hitting the jump ramp at blinding speed.

Hitting the jump ramp at blinding speed.

A little faster shutter speed, yet still slow enough to bring a sense of movement.

A little faster shutter speed, yet still slow enough to bring a sense of movement.

Guessing this was indeed about a 1/30th/sec. exposure.

Guessing this was indeed about a 1/30th/sec. exposure.

StART On The Street- From Another Roll

Some more shots, featuring another performer, and others simply enjoying the day. These shots are really making me impatient for the next StART On The Street event this fall- a different street, less harsh light, a different feel. But more spectacular photo opportunities on the street. This warm June day was like a bonus. The 135mm Nikkor was never handier. September 16th is StART’s 10th anniversary Fall edition- it cannot come soon enough.

The Fender logo on the amp and guitar are sharp and detailed. The 135mm Nikkor continues to amaze and exceed expectations.

The Fender logo on the amp and guitar are sharp and detailed. The 135mm Nikkor continues to amaze and exceed expectations.

Dancing, and cooling off. That's a fan in the lower right.

Dancing, and cooling off. That’s a fan in the lower right.

The 28 mm lens might have been a better choice here, as this bubble was huge!

The 28 mm lens might have been a better choice here, as this bubble was huge!

Street Life – StART On The Street, Worcester, MA – 6/10/12

This wonderful event now takes place twice a year. This most recent one, on June 10th, in a somewhat different venue than the fall one. This one had a much grittier feel, and a lot of local commerce and business nearby. I shot with the Nikon F3HP, and Nikkor 135mm f/2.8. With Kodak Plus-X, I took what I feel are some of the best shots I’ve ever taken with this glass. The 125 ASA film seemed the perfect choice for this sunny afternoon. And it helped get close enough so as to capture a few of those “decisive moments”. It is street photography heaven. Many more to come, but here are a few favorites-

So sharp, the label inside the acoustic guitar is legible.

So sharp, the label inside the acoustic guitar is legible.

Drum solo.

Drum solo.

Spectators enjoying the afternoon.

Spectators enjoying the afternoon.

Another amazing guitar performance.

Another amazing guitar performance.

Shooting Wide

I am having a blast with my new Nikkor 28mm AiS. While it is claimed by Nikon that the lens has a closest focusing distance of one foot, I think this is one of those “your mileage may vary” cases, as I was able to achieve proper focus at a guesstimate of about 7 inches or so. It can be incredibly close to the subject.

This has been a lot of fun, as it is retraining my eye to use a wide-angle not just for sweeping panoramic shots, but for everyday, mundane objects as well. Thinking it might also be a blast of a lens to use for environmental portraiture someday. Here are some results, with the F3, and Ilford FP4 Plus. And, a “decisive moment” street shot thrown in for good measure. All taken on Memorial Day, downtown Worcester, MA-

Favorite shot of the day- parking meter from about 7 inches away.

Favorite shot of the day- parking meter from about 7 inches away.

They still make these?

They still make these things?

The 28mm has amazing detail resolution, and texture.

The Nikkor 28mm has amazing detail resolution, and texture.

Thankful I chose a slow shutter speed, as someone scrambled across the frame. Kept the background sharp, as the pedestrian moved fast enough to give a sense of motion.

Thankful I chose a slow shutter speed here, as someone scrambled across the frame. Kept the background sharp, as the pedestrian moved fast enough to give a sense of motion.

Running On Empty- Using Up The Last Few Boxes Of Plus-X

Down to a precious few boxes of Eastman Kodak Plus-X in the fridge. At last count now, there are two boxes left of “The Forgotten Film”, with two rolls still to be developed. Here are some of the more recent rolls, shot last month in Clinton, MA, at Wachusett Reservoir. The Nikon F3 has been getting quite the workout. These were taken with the 28mm AiS, and 135mm f/2.8 Ai.

Being down now to two rolls of this gorgeous material, I am likely going to be a lot more selective of subject and composition. Then again, if Hunt’s Photo has any more left, it might make a great excuse for the pilgrimage into Melrose. They had tons of it a couple of months ago. I still maintain that this was the most underrated film in the Kodak lineup, color or B&W.  Venerable, reliable, and gorgeous. Yes, there are still alternatives, including Ilford FP4 Plus. But to this untrained eye, Plus-X had a finer, more pleasing to the eye grain structure, with stronger contrast. In their marketing, Ilford will talk about the benefits of cubic grain structure. But I just loved the look of Plus-X. Nothing scientific here, it just looked nicer.

A sidenote just released this month, the last full-length motion picture film to be shot on Kodak Plus-X- Paul Bunnell’s “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X”. He beat out the producers of “The Artist” for the last batch, who had to shoot that film in color, and then convert it in post to B&W.  This new independent will be known as the last of an era.

Years from now, when the death knell for film is finally sounded, the discontinuation of Plus-X is going to be remembered as the event signalling the beginning of the end. Anyways, here are the shots-

You can see the dam in the upper left of the shot.

You can see the dam in the distance, and the waterfall.

Reflections can look awesome in B&W.

Reflections can look awesome in B&W.

Limited by the 135mm focal length on a full frame focal plane, I tried to emphasize the heron's shadow/reflection.

Limited by the 135mm focal length on a full frame focal plane, I tried to emphasize the heron’s shadow/reflection.

Union Station – On The U.S. National Register Of Historic Places

And, rightfully so- “(Union Station, Worcester, MA) was originally built in 1911 during the heyday of railroading in the United States as a replacement for the previous one of 1875. It was abandoned in 1975 and fell into disrepair. It was acquired by the Worcester Redevelopment Authority and completely renovated at a cost of $32 million under the leadership of former Mayor Raymond Mariano. The renovated station opened in July 2000.”- Wikipedia

Finding scenic spots and historical landmarks in the area can be a bit of a challenge. Especially daunting is finding a spot that I have yet to visit. Which is maybe in part why I keep coming back to this beautiful train station.  Structurally elegant, yet highly utilitarian, it serves thousands of passengers daily, while looking fresh and timeless.

Venues like this offer so much contrast, texture, and geometry to photograph. You can occasionally get lucky, as I did on another day, and get some very fast-moving trains, and try some slower shutter speeds for panning, and conveying a sense of motion. Maybe another blog entry, for another day. And yet more scanning.

A few scenes, taken with the Nikon FE-2, and TriX, which seems to lend itself so nicely to the subject-

The view from the platform.

The view from the platform.

All aboard!

All aboard!

Exquisite stained glass decorates the ceiling and interior throughout.

Exquisite stained glass decorates the ceiling and interior throughout.

Even staircases were lovingly restored, following original design.

Even staircases were lovingly restored, following original design.