Shadows

Shadows can add a lot to a photograph. They can emphasize emotions, create surreal images, and be used in a variety of ways. – Smashing Magazine

So, what happened to shadows in photography? Digital, Photoshop, highlight adjustments, Advanced D Lighting.  People bringing up details in the shadows, simply because they can do so. Look at images taken on film, from way back, and you can see dark, moody, beautiful photographs, decades before photographers were trying to punish every last pixel. Some things are best left alone.

Here are some more shots from a recent college reunion. I love the shadows and dark levels. Once again, Nikon F3, Tri-X.

View From The Bar

View From The Bar

Guessing A Shutter Speed Of 1/15th Sec. Was Used Here.

Guessing A Shutter Speed Of 1/15th Sec. Was Used Here.

Window Light- Maybe The Lightest Interior Scene From The Afternoon.

Window Light- Maybe The Lightest Interior Scene From The Afternoon.

A Mix Of Light And Dark Made For A Pretty Cool Shot.

A Mix Of Light And Dark Made For A Pretty Cool Shot.

Guessing That The F3's Heavily Center-Weighted Metering Really Helped Get This Backlit Shot.

Guessing That The F3’s Heavily Center-Weighted Metering Really Helped Get This Backlit Shot.

Return To The Symphony – Strings

Last month’s performance by The Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra at Worcester’s Institute Park, at WPI, continues to be the favorite photographic event of the year. Little question that Kodak Tri-X was the right choice here, for many reasons. Mainly, the contrast, and the timeless look of the film. The first shot here is one of my personal favorites.  A few more scans from July 21st-

The Nikon FE-2's Light Meter Nailed The Exposure Here.

The Nikon FE-2’s Light Meter Nailed The Exposure Here.

Many Newbie Photographers Obsess Over Bokeh, After "Tack Sharp". Shots Like This May Turn Me Into Such A Junkie. Creamy Smooth Bokeh.

Many Newbie Photographers Obsess Over Bokeh, After “Tack Sharp”. Shots Like This May Turn Me Into Such A Junkie. Creamy Smooth Bokeh.

High Contrast Scenes With Bright Highlights And Dark Shadows Were Everywhere This Evening.

High Contrast Scenes With Bright Highlights And Dark Shadows Were Everywhere This Evening.

These Syphony Members, I Think, Were In Roughly The Same Spot At Last Year's Performance.

These Symphony Members, I Think, Were In Roughly The Same Spot At Last Year’s Performance.

College Reunion- F3 Returns From Second Trip To Nikon USA

My communications/media department had a wonderful reunion this past Sunday in Cambridge, MA. It was held at The Porter Square Tavern, in historic Porter Square. About 50 fellow alum came to this event, to catch up, socialize, talk about that they are doing now, and to discuss funding of a scholarship in the name of a beloved professor, who is not in the best of health right now. I am keeping some of the details here a secret, because said professor has no idea about this. Google is a powerful tool. Word spreads fast. It was a spectacular event, and it should prove very successful, to eventually benefit internship students. As a former one myself, great to see that future generations will receive the assistance and jump-start that a scholarship provides. It was wonderful to see professors and fellow alum that I had not chatted with in years. It was like not skipping a beat. And to see what “newer” generations are now up to.

My Nikon F3 has been to Nikon USA in Melville, NY now, twice. The first time for replacement of the LCD light meter display (yes, Nikonians, you can still get parts for the camera). Upon receipt of the camera, on the very first roll, I noticed a case of shutter bounce or capping. A few images on an earlier entry here (Summer Stroll) showed this dark vertical band of underexposure on the right hand side of the frame. As I had also paid Nikon for a CLA (Clean, Lubricate, and Adjust), back the F3 went. This time, for shutter curtain adjustment, and speed verification. After shooting this roll of TriX indoors, and out, as well as a roll of Portra 400, the problem, thankfully, is now gone. After researching online, seems as though it is more noticeable at 1/250th a sec and faster. So far, so good!

The images poster here do have some development issues. The bottom of the old bottle of HC-110 was used for my typical 49-1 one shot formula. I should have shaken the bottle well. Also, the fixer may indeed be exhausted. Back to the chemical mixing tonight.

A side note- bring a film camera like the beautiful F3 to an event like this. Not only will you stand out from the others (AKA digital point and shooters), but you and your camera will be the hit of the party. A great conversation starter and ice breaker, for sure.

The Tavern At Porter Square, Cambridge, MA

The Tavern At Porter Square, Cambridge, MA

Next To University Hall- Lesley University

Next To University Hall- Lesley University

Another Beloved Professor Makes The Case For Scholarship In His Friend's Name

Another Beloved Professor Makes The Case For Scholarship In His Friend’s Name

Catching Up With Old Friends, Making New Ones

Catching Up With Old Friends, Making New Ones

Asst. Dir Of Alumni Relations, Summa Cum Laude

Asst. Dir Of Alumni Relations, Summa Cum Laude

Walking Up Elm Street

I took a few random shots on the 21st, before the concert, while walking up Elm Street here in Worcester. I challenged myself to keep one lens on the camera, that being the 135mm f/2.8. I know that a lot of “newbie” photographers with slow zooms on the dSLR’s, once they discover the joys if a sharp, fast prime, make similar challenges. In this case, knowing that the 135 would be the glass of choice for the concert, well, with Tri-X loaded up, it seemed like the way to go for fast shutter speeds for hand holding. No “VR”, no “IS”, just old school hand holding, and breathing technique. I didn’t have the motor drive mounted on the FE-2, but it might have helped here to keep the body more stable.

Gargoyle At Gate For 34 Elm Street

Gargoyle At Gate For 34 Elm Street

Side View

Side View

View Of New T&G Offices At City Place

View Of New T&G Offices At City Place

Scaffolding

Scaffolding

More From The Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra At Institute Park

Here are a few more shots from this wonderful performance. I wish I could see them Sunday evening, in Auburn. Tri-X was made for events like this.

Warming Up

Warming Up

Ms. Shivick And Mr. Calmes Can Flat Out Belt.

Ms. Shivick And Mr. Calmes Can Flat Out Belt.

The Sheet Music Is Practically Legible Here.

The Sheet Music Is Practically Legible Here.

Sometimes, Rehersal Before The Actual Performance Provides Great Candids.

Sometimes, Rehersal Before The Actual Performance Provides Great Candids.

Thrilled With The Shadow Detail Of Tri-X And HC-110.

Thrilled With The Shadow Detail Of Tri-X And HC-110.

Sound Checks

Sound Checks

If you have the opportunity to photograph an event like this one with film. You won’t be disappointed. And get close. You’ll be happy that you did.

Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra – Summer, 2012

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”- The Great Robert Capa

Last year, it was my pleasure to attend a summer concert at Institute Park, put on by the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra. I posted some photographs that were amongst the very favorite I took that year. This year, I had to return, this time with some different gear. And taken almost a year to the date – 7/9 last year, 7/21 this year. While last year I opted for the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VR on the N80, this year I went more old school, with the FE-2, and 135mm f/2.8. This called for getting up a little closer to the stage, and losing the flexibility and convenience that a zoom provides. The 135, though, is such a fine, sharp, contrasty lens. A joy to use, I mounted a Hoya orange filter. I read that this is a great filter to use for skin tones and nice facial exposure.

Here are just a few shots from the second roll. The film here was Tri-X, and the developer HC-110. Maybe some of my favorite shots of this year as well. Many more to come.

Conductor Myron Romanul

Conductor Myron Romanul

Vocalists Jane Shivick And Michael Calmes

Vocalists Jane Shivick And Michael Calmes

The Sunset Lighting Made For Some Great Light And Shadows

The Sunset Lighting Made For Some Great Light And Shadows

A Difference Of A Few Minutes Made For Rapidly Changing Lighting Conditions The FE-2's Light Meter Really Kept Up With The Conditions Nicely

A Difference Of A Few Minutes Made For Rapidly Changing Lighting Conditions The FE-2’s Light Meter Really Kept Up With The Conditions Nicely

Sunglasses Were Needed Here, Even After 7PM

Sunglasses Were Needed Here, Even After 7PM

Amazing, Talented Pipes, Singing From "The Sound Of Music"

Amazing, Talented Pipes, Singing From “The Sound Of Music”

Slower Shutter Speeds Made For Some Great Baton Action

Slower Shutter Speeds Made For Some Great Baton Action

I cannot wait to scan more of these. This was a wonderful event, which really did produce some spectacular images. I am sure this blog will feature many more in the weeks to come, as I shot almost two complete rolls this night.

Geometry And Texture- Blackstone Canal

“To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It’s a way of life. To take a photograph is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeting reality.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

I love the geometry of Cartier-Bresson’s work. While many identify him with photojournalism, and being the master of “the decisive moment”, what often goes forgotten is how brilliant his composition was. And the lines that his subjects naturally created. And yes, Cartier-Bresson did, on occasion, shoot landscapes- sometimes including people, sometimes not. It is easy to “pigeon hole’ Cartier-Bresson as simply a street photographer or photojournalist. But, he really did try new things visually. And took full advantage of lines, curves, shadows, shapes. Mostly within the physical size limitations the 35mm format.

Last November, in a rare creative frenzy, I decided to challenge my eye, and incorporate some textures, shadows, and geometry. The Blackstone Canal, which links Worcester, MA to Providence, RI, was a great spot for this exercise. While the canal technically is closed today, it is listed in The National Register Of Historic Places. And is loaded with, you guessed it, geometry.

I shot these at sunset, with my Nikon N80, and 50mm f/1.8 D. May need to get back there with the wide-angle sometime soon. Kodak Tri-X, shot at box speed, contrast to the max.

Favorite Shot From The Day- This Bridge Spans Overhead

Favorite shot from the day- this bridge spans overhead

That's a minivan racing underneath

That’s a minivan racing underneath

Inside the overpass

Inside the overpass

Abandoned tracks, and branches- love the track's symmetry, and asymetric branches, and how they contrast

Abandoned tracks, and branches- love the track’s symmetry, and asymetric branches, and how they contrast

Purposeful underexposure can be a good thing. Actually glad I underexposed here, as it contrasts with the water movement.

Purposeful underexposure can be a good thing. Actually glad I underexposed here, as it contrasts with the water movement.

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!

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.