I found the shot I had taken of the NYC subway train oncoming. Again a bit impressionistic, but you can still feel the difference between it and the other city’s subways that I’ve photographed, even though the car isn’t at all visible in the exposure. I THINK this is the N/Q/R platform at 5th avenue and 59th street- it’s been a while since I took the shot.
Here are a couple more of my subway shots as a comparison. Please pardon the repetition of the recent post:
All shots taken with my Rolleiflex 2.8E. Film used was either Ilford FP4+ for the b/w shots or either Kodak Portra 160 or Ektar 100 for the color.
These are some from my vaults. I was doing some clean-up in my library and went through my catalog of negatives, and came across these. I shot these on the old Kodak HIE infrared film. Alas, not only is HIE no more, but virtually all IR-sensitive films are gone now too, other than Ilford’s SFX and Rollei IR. Kodak HIE was the king of the crop, having far greater infrared sensitivity than the others (it topped out over 900nm, whereas most of the other films were 820nm, or even 750 with the Konica). It produces a beautiful pictorial effect, and made for some very interesting figure studies. I only ever got to shoot a few rolls of it before it was gone, and the few I had stashed didn’t keep well, even in cold storage. Lots of people have asked about bringing Kodak HIE back as a product – I would love to see it happen, but it isn’t going to. Here’s why – the infrared sensitivity is effected by a specialized dye. The dye requires chemicals that are A: rare, B: very expensive, and C: don’t age well. To meet the minimum manufacturing requirements, very large quantities of the dye would have to be made. At the end of the products’ commercial life, Kodak was not selling enough of the film to cover the cost of the dye, and it was generating tremendous waste as the dye was going bad before the current stock would be sold, so they were not only throwing away dye, they were throwing away finished product.
This is part of a series I’ve been working on – photographing ordinary objects we pass by on the street every day but take for granted. They are things we see but don’t see, and they may well vanish, like pay phones, mailboxes, and newspaper vending machines, before we realize they’re gone. Pay phones are all but replaced by the cellphone. Newspapers as a physical object may cease to exist thanks to the internet, and along with them the newspaper box. Email has just about killed the personal letter – the only thing keeping the postal services alive these days are mass marketers with their junk mail, Ebay and Amazon with package deliveries. Not everything in the series is vanishing in a literal sense like pay phones, but some of them do vanish from our perception like the fire hydrant, the lamp post, and the traffic cone. We know they’re there because we don’t trip over them when walking on the streets, but they exist at the periphery. They each have their own beauty and form, however, and within their function there are a remarkable variety of forms – the hydrant in Chalon-sur-Saone, while as recognizable as a fire hydrant as the hydrant from Washington DC, has a very different form, as does the Siamese spigot.
For rather obvious reasons, most of these are of the bikeshare here in Washington DC. I will be shooting more in other cities where I find them – I’m going to try New York the next time I’m up there, as the CitiBikes are everywhere in Manhattan. I do have token representation from Paris, though. I shot these with a range of cameras, from my Rollei to a loaner Fuji GSW 690 II, to my RB-67. Each has their merits and the different formats I think actually work together to convey the varied moods and perspectives of the bikeshare experience.
I mentioned in my post about Toronto how the different transit systems look and feel, even when capturing them in a similar way. Here are four shots of the Toronto, Paris and Washington DC subways. All four are behaving similarly – long handheld exposures as the trains pull in to the station, yet all four look and feel quite different.
Every year at the end of June/beginning of July the Smithsonian Institute puts on the Folklife Festival down on the National Mall. They bring in craftspeople from various cultures around the globe to demonstrate ways of life in those cultures, from farming and fishing to music and dance. This year China and Kenya were the countries represented. I went down on the 4th of July this year to take a look and see what was on display.
You could see this pavilion on the mall from 14th Street every day driving by. I wondered what it was all about and had to stop and see it close up. The building is built like a traditional Chinese city gate, but made of a bamboo frame and covered in paper. I never did see what the Zuni Icosahedron thing on the front of the gate meant.
Sometimes it’s just the simple things that attract your attention. This banner flapping in the wind made such a bold graphic statement with its geometry contrasting with the organic cloud forms.
Here are the bamboo wind chimes that filled the structure of the paper gate. One thing that amazed me was how fast they were able to disassemble the gate structure – it was literally up one day, gone the next. You can take that as a commentary on the ephemeral nature of existence if you like.
In the Kenyan area of the festival, they had this traditional fishing boat on display, and Kenyan craftsmen were working on rebuilding it. Not visible here but in the stern were areas that had obviously seen significant wear and tear.
And finally, as part of the Chinese installation, was this figure. I’m calling him Bao’s Big Boy as he looks like a Chinese Bob’s, or perhaps the love child of Bob’s Big Boy and Astroboy if they were to have a relationship. Toss in a dose of Young Pioneer and you’ve nailed it.
On the way up to Toronto, we stopped off at Niagara Falls to take in the view.
This is the Rainbow Bridge over the Niagara River, as seen from the observation deck on the American side.
The “we” is my best friend Steve, his wife Missy, and her sister Marybeth.
Missy had never been to Niagara before so it was a must-stop. I think Steve and Missy are going to come back for a long weekend when they’re by themselves and not rushed to just enjoy the place.
The shots are a little gray looking because we were severely backlit – we were at the falls around 2:30 PM and the sun was still very high in the sky, and the falls were west/southwest of where we were standing. Can’t change geography, so we just had to compensate for what we had to work with. Next time if we want photos with the falls as a backdrop, either I’ll bring a flash for fill or we’ll just take them in the morning when the sun is coming from the east.
All images once again care of my trusty Rolleiflex 2.8E on Ilford FP4+.