NEW YORK NEW YORK – A lot of pictures today. If you scroll down to May 17, 2013 you will see that Francesca, our daughter, graduated from law school one year ago. Well today, 368 days later, she was sworn into the New York bar. So the bar cram course, the bar exam, waiting for the results, gathering up details about her background, submitting a bunch of stuff to the character and fitness committee and getting a date to be sworn in take a year more or less. Congratulations Francesca.
After lunch I had the first session in a class at the ICP – we’ll be rephotographing iconic New York images. This is familiar territory for me starting with Mark Klett’s rephotographic survey and Douglas Levere’s rephotography of Berenice Abbott’s 1939 book, Changing New York. Abbott’s photographs are meticulously documented – many of her most famous works were done while she was employed by the Museum of the City of New York to document the City. After an hour of getting to know each other at the ICP and a half hour discussion of where to start we went down to the Flatiron Building to re-shoot Berenice Abbott’s famous 1938 image. This worked well for me because I own a print of this image – it’s in our front hall in New York.
I didn’t realize that we would be shooting so I was packing only my walk-around camera, my Leica Monochrom and a 1959 Dual-Range 50mm Summicron lens (the perfect kit to photograph Francesca earlier in the day). I needed a much wider lens for the Flatiron shot so I ended up stitching four frames. After fussing around a bit we figured out where Abbott was shooting from – it’s a traffic island now as I’m certain it was then. I’ve included a poor jpeg of Abbott’s original for comparison.
Anyway, Francesca outside of the First Department Courthouse.
Francesca and her “Don’t mess with me, I’m a lawyer” expression.
My rephotographic effort of the Flatiron Building:
NEW YORK NEW YORK – I’ve just come through a couple of poor days from a photo point of view. A major mistake and a major blah. I resolved to get serious today so I bolted the Nocti on to my M9, screwed on the .9 neutral density filter (so I can shoot wide open at f.95 in daylight) and went out into the world (actually to 22nd Street to put some film in for processing). Not bad. A day of looking up. It looks like my mojo just went into hiding for the last couple of days.
NEW YORK NEW YORK – I found myself in the Flatiron District stocking up at Paragon and Photo Care for our forthcoming trip to Switzerland, and stopped for lunch in the lovely public space next to the Flatiron Building. Taken with my Alpa TC, 80 meg Phase Once back and 48mm Schneider lens.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – This morning I worked out a trade, exchanging my 35mm Schneider XL lens for a Rodenstock 32mm at Fotocare. The Schneider has some technical issues with the IQ 180 back that I’ve been fight for some time. The light was slightly hazy with nice transparent shadows. Fotocare is in the flatiron district so I did some shooting on my way there and then test drove the new lens to make sure that I was comfortable shooting it hand held (its a pound and a half heavier than the Schneider).
Heres the Flatiron building (actually its shadow) shot with the Schneider. The issues are fairly subtle and don’t show up in a black and white image at web resolution.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – I spent the day with my Leica with my 12mm Voigtlander lens attached. That’s right, 12mm on a full frame camera. This lens is really, really wide. Int’s a miracle that it even forms an image. You don’t need a viewfinder – just assume that it gets everything. What’s in focus? Everything, because of the extreme depth of field. I put a small level on the camera when I use this lens – if it’s only slightly off level vertical lines converge wildly because of the extreme wide angle perspective. This lens has a serious issue on a digital camera: there are wild color casts across the frame, and there are two plus stops of “cosine vignetting”, light fall off toward the edge of the frame. I’ve learned how to solve this problem with my Alpa – that’w why I reached for this lens.