NEW YORK, NEW YORK – I had breakfast at Kitchenette in Harlem this morning with Francesca, our daughter. It’s a sure sign that the transformation of Harlem is complete when a restaurant from Tribeca opens a branch there. I had a Rodchenko moment on the elevated subway platform on the way back downtown. I’ve also included an image from Kitchenette. Both taken with my Leica M9 and a 35mm Summilux II lens. In daylight I’m shooting with a .9 neutral density filter (three f-stops) with this lens so I can shoot f/1.4 with narrow depth of field. I’m not certain that this works on the faux Rodchenko – I like it better at the Kitchenette.
WARREN CONNECITCUT – I’ve been experimenting with tilts and shifts on my Hasselblad with an HTS 1.5 tilt/shift adapter. One of the traditional reasons to tilt the lens on a view camera is to extend depth of field by tilting the focus plane; the technique is known as the Scheimpflug principle. I’ve been struggling with getting accurate focus with the HTS 1.5 so I’ve gone back to an alternative digital solution to the problem of extending depth of field, focus stacking. The idea is to take multiple images with the focus point shifted slightly from image and stack the images in specialized software to achieve an image that in focus throughout. See my post for January 4, 2011.
Here’s an image taken with my Hasselblad H4D and an HC 300 mm lens. I used the long lens to obtain compression in the image and to compose it to my taste. The 300 mm lens has shallow depth of field, even when stopped down, and there are image quality issues with stopping down to extreme levels. So I took 9 frames moving the focus plane through the image, and stacked them in Helicon Focus. The process is relatively painless as long as you have a lot of computing power. As I’ve noted previously black and white conversions from the Hasselblad are more like large format film than any other camera that I’ve used since I started with digital.
On this day one year ago: Snow drifts! How about that. Also taken with my Hasselblad. I guess this demonstrates that there are only so many landscape subject to photograph when the landscape is covered by snow. I prefer this year’s effort.
WARREN CONNECTICUT – We had a heavy snowfall Friday night so we stayed in Manhattan and drove up to Warren on Saturday morning. There had been very little wind so the snow stayed where it fell on tree limbs etching them against a darker background. I stopped at a rest stop on I 684 North of Goldens Bridge New York. Ok but not splendid photographs. When we arrived in Warren I captured this with my Hasselblad H4D-60 and a 300 mm lens.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – I left the apartment early this morning to run some errands, camera in hand. There was a light snowfall that progressed to a full fledged storm. As I left our building’s courtyard I noticed that the view back through the entrance might be of interest. Odd. I’ve lived here for a long time and this hadn’t occurred to me. On the way back I stopped on the Park Avenue island, and took this with my Leica M9 and a 90mm Elmarit lens:
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – I had lunch with a friend, Bill Hoar, at Blue Smoke, Danny Meyer’s BBQ joint. We had very good burgers but the service was poor, uncharacteristic for a Danny Meyer restaurant. After lunch I stepped out onto Lexington Avenue and was amazed: the light was spectacular. Golden, slightly filtered sunlight from the southwest, just illuminating the west side of the avenue, with a very dark sky to the north as a backdrop. The key feature in this urban landscape was the Chrysler Building, a long-time favorite subject of mine. I hadn’t planned on walking, but I ended up walking from 27th Street to Grand Central, dodging traffic and snapping all the way. I’ve been dreading this post for several days now – I can’t possibly edit the images down to one for today without a bit more perspective so I’ve included four images of the Chrysler Building.
No fewer than three passers by commented to me about the light (this is New York – people don’t talk to strangers on the street); one commented that I was lucky to have a camera to be able to shoot this. I’ve thought a lot about this. It wasn’t luck that I had a camera with me – I actually carry a camera everywhere. But I’m lucky to live where I do at this time; I’m lucky to be able to make the time to pursue photography and this daily photo blog; and I’m lucky to be able to shoot with brilliant and exotic equipment.
Anyway, here are the images, all shot with my Leica M9 and a 90mm Elmarit lens.
On this day last year: Empire State Building. An odd coincidence; stalking the Chrysler Building this year and the Empire State Building on this day last year.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – More mementos – these from our living room in New York. I really am in a sentimental place. There is a digital technique called focus bracketing that lets you extend depth of field. It turns out that this is actually easier that messing with tilts (the classical view camera technique for achieving a similar result) as long as nothing moves between exposures. This was taken with my Hasselblad H4D-60 and a 150 mm lens. It’s 7 exposures focusing from near (the front of the tea chest) to far (the speaker grill in the lower left). The frames were stacked in Helicon Focus, specialized software that combines focus bracketed images to produce one in focus composite. The moire on the lampshade is actually not an digital artifact – it results from the interaction of screens in front of the window that illuminates the scene.
NEW YORK NEW YORK – This is a slightly melancholy week for me – it’s my first week serving as of counsel in my law firm – I’m officially no longer a partner. I photographed the “work wall” in my office, a design feature common in offices that includes file drawers and bookshelves. A lot of effort went into its design. (Gensler was the architect, the wood is anigre – ours is a light wood office.) Everything about it is obsolete. The file drawers are empty; their contents have been supplanted by on-line resources. There are almost no books on the bookshelves; books have been supplanted by on-line resources. What you see on the bookshelves are mostly “deal toys”, mementos of completed transactions past, but for the present and future a luxury that most clients are not willing to pay for. Pictures of my family at younger ages. Anyway . . . . Here’s the work wall shot with a Leica M9 and 35mm Summilux II lens.
On this day last year: Balloons!! This is really as good as it gets. On reflection one of my favorites from last year. Taken with my Leica M9 and a 35mm Summicron version iv lens.