Saturday, December 29, 2012

For Squatters

For about a week after Hurricane Sandy hit, I was without power and work had been cancelled.  My mother got power back within a few days so I went and stayed at her house. There was not much to do so I walked around for miles and miles and took photographs of post-Sandy Yonkers. 

During my wanderings I happened upon this broken toilet under a bridge (which looked as if someone lived there) and framed it with some graffiti in the background. 

For Squatters:

For Squatters

Rolleiflex Automat
Zeiss Tessar f/3.5
Kodak Tri-X

flickr photos

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dress Like You Are Going To Work

Tomorrow is my Christmas gift from my best bud and I do not know what it is exactly. I have a feeling it is a play or classical music concert because he said I should dress like I go to work (shirt, tie, etc.). 


 Anton and Invention
Anton and Invention

A little backstory on the photo (pulled from my Flickr stream):

I knocked over my entire basket of paperclips in the crevice between the desk and wall in my office at work. There was no possibility of my arm being long enough to reach the multitude of strewn about metallic paperclips. I thought for a moment and devised a tool to help me retrieve all of the precious supplies which was made of many extra large rubber bands, two ovoid promotional magnets, and a stick of hard candy. It worked like a charm.

I asked my coworker, Jessica, to take a picture of me with my invention in a victorious pose.

Yes, the patent is pending.

So now I am visualizing an outfit for tomorrow.

Photography has really helped me figure out how to dress.  I have found that understanding colors, textures, patterns, which is essential in photography, is also essential if you want to look your best. 

Not everything carries over repetition of patterns.  In photography you might want to look for a pattern that repeats itself three or more times, but that does not really work on a person.  I recommend you not be the guy who wears a striped shirt, striped pants, and striped tie.  I would typically say similar patterns should not be used more than twice, which often does not work in photography.  Notice how I weaseled out of making these statements absolute; really, they are guidelines.  The world is not so black and white :-)

Holga 120N
Kodak Tri-X
Bentley W-14 flash unit

Saturday, September 15, 2012



Plain and simple, Bermuda is beautiful.

I was there for part of my vacation a couple of weeks ago and I still look back on the time spent.

This picture was taken near Tobacco Bay in St. Georges - a spot that a local had tipped me off.  Every place I went to I chatted with some of the people from the area because, of course, if they think something is worth checking out, then surely it is worth checking out.

Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda, is nice, but is just a city, so I recommend St. Georges.  St. Georges has more breathing space and is less off the beaten path, so that is the place to go if you want to get away from other vacationers.

One thing that bugs me about this picture is that there has to be a tiny light leak in the bellows which caused that magenta shift in the upper right hand corner.  Despite the leak, the Perkeo I is still one of my favorite cameras.  Great lens.  Light weight.  Small.  Medium format.  Pair it up with some Portra 400 or Tri-X and you are good to go.

Voigtlander Perkeo I
Color-Skopar 80mm f/3.5
Kodak Portra 400

flickr photos

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Instead of Drinking


I was out and about on a Saturday and happened upon a street fair - not an uncommon occurrence here in NYC - where I caught this guy doing some break-dancing, not particularly great break-dancing either.  I did, however, think he was most awesome for doing it because he wanted to do it and had to capture the image.  I busted out the Polaroid Land 100 loaded up with some awesome Fuji FP-3000B, focused, and took the shot.

+1 for street photography with large cumbersome cameras!

It is most unfortunate that the negative was damaged over the course of the day and use it for the scan.  The scan of the positive print is not bad, but I definitely prefer the look of grindy borders and the greater latitude of the original negative.

So, the title of the post really does not have anything to do with photography, it has more to do with a question I just asked a very good friend of mine concerning Friday night:

"Instead of drinking, would you be interested in a puppet show?"

I picked the image above because the man reminds me of a marionette.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Practice in the Park


I am not sure if this man was practicing Buddhism meditation or some form of Yoga, but he was doing it in Union Square Park.  Whatever he is doing there definitely seems to be a sense of order to the entire scene - everything is set up precisely and he seems to be unaffected by his surroundings. 

I find it a little odd that he would choose to do this in the middle of a very public park, but perhaps he is making a statement, or a demonstration to onlookers.

He definitely exuded a sense of peace.  It was pretty easy to take a picture of him.

I took the image with an Ansco Memar (from the 50s), one on which I performed a minor diy restoration by bringing the shutter and focus back to life from being stuck.  The lens is all hazy which gives the images an really flarey look.
Ansco Memar
45mm Apotar f/3.5
Kodak Tri-X

flickr photos

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Jazz in Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park is one of my favorite places.  So many artists gather to play all this great music that has really helped me expand my musical horizons beyond hard rock and heavy metal.

I seem to be leaning particularly towards the jazz.  Just five years ago I would say something like "jazz ain't my bag, man", but tastes change over time and here I am.

There is one jazz band (who is quite excellent) that regularly plays the park, but this saxophonist:


Only occasionally plays with the group, but when he does, he breathes a new sense of excitement and life into the music.

To say the least, this sax player really cooks.

I took the image with an Ansco Memar (from the 50s), one on which I performed a minor diy restoration by bringing the shutter and focus back to life from being stuck.  The lens is all hazy which gives the images an really flarey look.

Ansco Memar
45mm Apotar f/3.5
Kodak Tri-X

flickr photos

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What the Eff?!

Michael Raso

Michael Raso from the Film Photography Project giving his "what the eff'?!" pose.

Also, Edwin Land is photobombing. 

Mike really makes this image sing with personality and humor, which is one of the reasons I love it so much.

Same technical jazz as the posting a couple of days ago:

I used the Polaroid Land 100 with the Portrait Lens Kit and Fuji FP-3000B film.  The grindy borders are the result of the negative being scanned.

flickr photos

Monday, September 3, 2012

For Whatever Reason

This is one of the most viewed images on my flickr stream:


Do you get it?  Please explain to me if so.

It is a street shot from the NYC FPP meetup 2012 taken with the MIGHTY Bronica.

Bronica SQ-A
80mm Zenzanon PS f/2.8
Expired Kodak E100SW

flickr photos

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Let's Get the Camera Rolling

Has it really been three (3) months since I last made a post?   A lot has been happening in my personal life, but not so much in my photographic; I have not been making as many images as I should and perhaps my eye has dulled as a result.

I have taken a few photos this summer so I will try to start posting more regularly again.

So let's get the posts rolling with this portrait:


This photo features Dane of The Smoove Sailors and was taken at the Impossible Project during the NYC Film Photography Project meetup 2012.

Later, Dane smooved it up with an awesome mini set with the rest of the band.

I used the Polaroid Land 100 with the Portrait Lens Kit and Fuji FP-3000B film.  The grindy borders are the result of the negative being scanned.

Yes, you can scan the negative image!  I think the effect rocks and looks much better than a scan of the positive print.  You will definitely have to tweak the contrast levels, but that is about the only adjustment you will have to make.  Just make sure the negative is dry before you scan. 

I also highly recommend the portrait kit because you get get much tighter shots of folks with this accessory instead of being limited to a close focus range of a seemingly infinite 5 feet.  Be mindful of the adjustment you will have to make to your composition due to getting closer to your subject.  Parallax is a mother...

flickr photos

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Avengers Dress-Up


For those of you who have not seen The Avengers (are there any people left who have not seen it?) you are missing a great popcorn flick. While not a great movie, it certainly is a fun film and therein lies its merit. 

I was surprised by how much I liked it - my fear of an unfocused vision was unrealized by the director in a deft display of...direction. 

Hulk stole the show. Captain America and Thor and Loki were really good. Hawkeye was meh. Iron Man felt forced. Black Widow was wooden. 

Anyway, the above shot was taken at Sakura Matsuri 2012 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden before The Avengers was released. Amazing costume. The unfortunate thing is that the chrome film shifted and thus the yellowish hue of the image. Maybe I will cross process my other roll since they should have expired around the same time. 

Bronica SQ-A 
80mm Zenzanon PS f/2.8 
Lomo X-Pro 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Turning People Down


This is one of the few pictures I was able to get where no one else is in the background, thus image is stronger because the focus is solely on her without any distracting element.

I approached this girl and asked if I could take a picture.  She and her friend started getting ready to pose, but I said in the least possible offensive way "I am sorry, but I meant her alone."  The friend understood and helped this girl prep for the picture by adjusting the bow and flower.

This girl was spectacular and considering that I only can take 12 images on a roll of film I need to be very selective.  I knew what I wanted and made it happen. 
I am really curious about her real hair.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Parasol? and Prints


Sakura Matsuri 2012
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Bronica SQ-A
80mm Zenzanon PS f/2.8
Fuji Velvia 100F

I really dig this image as radiance emanates from this girl's smile.  I am not sure if her accessory is exactly a parasol, but she was using it as a shade from the sun.  

Beautiful kimono as well.

I got great shot after great shot at this Sakura Matsuri and it must have to do with my attitude and demeanor.  A big honest smile and a little banter will go much farther with the subject than creeping about with a camera all clandestine-like.  Get close and let all of the other photographers wait a second to make that extraordinary person feel a little more special.  Sell off your zooms!

The Bronica also helps break the ice, I think - it is a funky, but toothsome camera.

In other news - I just dropped some cash on printing photos that I have always wanted to have printed.

Finally, the bare walls in my office will be spruced up with awesomeness.

flickr photos

Sunday, May 6, 2012

This is Naruto...Leave a Message [Dattebayo]


Sakura Matsuri 2012
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Bronica SQ-A
Fuji Velvia 100F

I saw this character use the phone and rushed over to take a picture because I like the idea of a person in elaborate costume doing normally mundane things, thus making the mundane extraordinary.

He got off the phone before I could make a shot and another photographer took a regular shot, but I asked if he could pretend like he was on the phone.

Though a little quizzical, he agreed, and got on the phone and gave an intense pose like he was talking about something super important.  It really added to the image and I thanked him for playing along.

The other photographer mentioned that he was specifically waiting for the guy to get off the phone.

An unrelated story to the image: there were so many photographers at the Sakura Matsuri and naturally, most shot digital.  There were a few film-o-philes on hand shooting 35mm.  One other guy had a medium format camera - perhaps a Mamiya RZ or RB 67 - so I tipped my Bronica to him and the amazing thing is that his face expressed that he completely understood everything I said without saying a word.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Free Fix to a $100+ Problem and Ancestors

Before Saturday (Sakura Matsuri) I had not used my Bronica SQ-A in months and months because there was a wretched light leak that was for the longest of times unidentifiable.

I took the camera to my hook ups at Lens and Repro to see if they could figure out where it was coming from and come up with a solution for me.  The resident repairman looked and identified the source most likely, but  told me he did not have the necessary parts to fix the camera and it might be best if I were to just buy a new back. 

Surprisingly the 120 back on this model is hard to come by.  And when found the price is moderately staggering: $120-$150.  Disgusting.

A 220 back can be had for $25 cuz 220 is hardly made any mo'. 

So instead of shelling out a fat wad I took matters into my own hands in the truest of true DYI methods: electric tape the bastard.

Taking a page from my Holga modification, all I did was tape over the possible light leaks and voila - problem solved.

Today I present an image that most reminds me of images that might go on the mantle or family shrine in a Japanese home:

Bronica SQ-A
80mm Zenzanon PS f/2.8
Fuji Velvia 100F
From the Sakura Matsuri festival in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

What I like about this image is the somber, serious, and happy mood it invokes, at least in me.

I know this one picture is bit more serious than the one in my last post, and people will generally not like it as much, but I really enjoy it.

So Many Photos!

I have so many photos to upload onto flickr from the 2012 Sakura Matsuri festival that went on at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden that there will be no dearth in upcoming entries.

For now, enjoy a small taste of what is to come:


Bronica SQ-A
80mm Zenzanon PS
Fuji Velvia 100F

flickr photos

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Freedom and Lies


This is a fish.  On the sidewalk.  In NYC.

I imagine it is tried to reach the gutter to achieve liberation, but sadly passed before accomplishing the mission.

Out of context this is very, very unusual, but I intentionally framed the image so that none of the garbage from a tipped over garbage bag outside of the restaurant showed up. 

I manipulated the facts to tell a different story.

Photography is a lie!

Olympus OM-1
Zuiko 35mm f/2.8
Lomo X-Pro film (in E6)

flickr photos

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Random Photography Tips and Thoughts

If you have an old leather case for one of your cameras (like a Roleiflex, Zeiss, Agfa, etc.) and it is bone dry, DO NOT use shoe polish.  That stuff will rub off on your clothes and make you look unpresentable.  If you want to go the thrifty route, use a fresh banana peel.  Just rub the moist insides over the leather and buff the case with a soft cloth to remove the residue.  It breathes life back into leather...and makes it smell slightly like beef jerky. 

If you have a film reminder on your camera - use it.  I have over/under exposed film and shot with color/black and white in mind because I forgot what I had loaded.

If you have mechanical shutters on your cameras remember to give them a work out at least once a month.  They must be used to stay healthy.

Learn the rules of photography, but do not let them dictate your images.  That leads to boring pictures.

Ronsonol is a great cleaner for metal cameras, but avoid getting it on plastic and rubber.

Super Lube oil and grease are amazing lubricants that can bring life to ceased parts (caused from grease that turned into glue) on old cameras.  Do not let the lubricants get onto your shutter or aperture blades.

After winning/buying old cameras, take them to repair shops for a check-up.  This will extend their life and give you the best results possible.  Also - make friends with the people and give them repeat business if you are pleased with the outcomes.  That last one is really applicable to any business you frequent.

Patch a bellows with liquid electric tape.

Buy new film.  Companies will keep producing film if we continue to buy from them.

Take apart a camera you do not have too much attachment to and try to put it back together (operative word is try) - you start to appreciate all of the engineering that went into the device.

Use a Holga.  Knowledge obtained from fancier cameras is still applicable and knowledge obtained from using a Holga is applicable on the fancier camera.

Take a class where you learn to print optically.  The exposure on your negatives will be way more accurate afterwards.

Try different formats and different cameras.  See the world through more lenses than those of just Nikon and Canon.

Explore shooting different subjects, different styles, and experiment with techniques.  Continue learning and discovering - there is always something to pick-up and apply it to your work.

If you are shooting 35mm use a light camera - you will want to shoot more.  Reserve lugging around more weight when using medium format or greater.

If you use film, buy a scanner.

Do not be shy.  Ask that person if you could take their picture or just take it.  It depends on the situation, but let intuition be your guide.

Take pictures of your family and friends.  No explanation required (I hope).

Practice, practice, practice.
flickr photos

Monday, February 13, 2012



Another image from my Adirondacks trip.

I really would have loved to open the lens up to f/2.8, but it was so damn bright out and my shutter speeds only go up to 1/1000s on the Nikon FE.  Still, not too bad shallow depth of field.

Nikon FE
Access 28mm f/2.8
Kodak Tri-X

flickr photos

Friday, February 10, 2012

Serenity in NY


I went up to the Adirondacks one day a couple months ago with an old friend of mine to do some shooting and I am not quite sure how we came upon this tranquil spot, but I am glad we did.

I am not much a fan of landscape photography, but it was more than a perfect opportunity to practice some.

While I think the image above is okay - nothing is incredible or groundbreaking about it.  For me, 35mm is a bit flat and I would much prefer using medium format and upwards for this subject matter, but I had the Nikon FE on me, so I used it.  Better than nothing.

The coolest thing that day were the snails that were frozen to the wooden walkways.  I only had the 28mm, so no macro photography for me.

What I enjoyed most about the day was not the photo taking aspect, it was the overwhelming peace of the location. 

Nikon FE
Access 28mm f/2.8
Kodak Tri-X

flickr photos

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Wasabi Peas

Peas, please.

Trying out the close focus abilities and sharpness of this off-brand lens at f/2.8.  Shutter speed also at a ridiculously low 1/8th of a second.

Not a bad result for one of those shots that you want to make just to finish up the roll of film.

Nikon FE
Access 28mm f/2.8
Kodak Tri-X

flickr photos

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Religion and Politics

 Religion and Politics

I was surprised to see this bold declaration in Harlem. 

While this may be a well composed picture, the real star of the image is the content matter.  I do not often go for journalistic shots, but I had to capture this moment in history.

flickr photos

Sunday, January 22, 2012

...and justice for all

...and justice for all

I am going to keep my political opinions to myself, but I will admit that I am one of the 99%.

...And Justice For All

Holga 120N
Kodak Portra 400
fill flash w/ 1/2 CTO gel

flickr photos

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Couple More From The Anachronism IV

So there are a couple more images that I have yet to post from this great night.


How I love this most colorful of costumes on the maddest of hatters. Kodak's Portra really gives great tones throughout.

Reluctant Time Traveller

Again nice tones here, but the guy looks a little reluctant in the image, hence I dub thee "Reluctant Time Traveller."

Images taken with the Holga 120N, Kodak Portra 400, and a small flash with a 1/2 CTO gel in order to warm up skin tones and colors a bit.

flickr photos

Monday, January 9, 2012

First Time TLR-ing It

No Standing

I wanted to use the Rolleiflex that has been sitting on my shelf for a few years, but before I could go out shooting I had to invest in a CLA due to the (de)ceased shutter.

I spent the money and went out shooting.

This is my story.

I loaded the film wrong and grew increasingly frustrated not seeing the frame counter move whenever I cocked the shutter.

I figured that I was one to blame for the mishap, and indeed I was.  I did not insert the film through the rollers on the transport and that is what prevented me from doing my street shooting on the lower east side.  Oh well.

I tried to salvage the film by rerolling it in my blackened bathroom, but I did that incorrectly and ended up jamming the camera with some tape I did not secure.  Grumble.

Frustrated, I popped the camera back open ruining the roll of film.  I did not like throwing away $5, but it was necessary and I was glad the camera was fine.

I threw in some Kodak Tri-X and went out shooting again the next day, this time, to a much less interesting place, but I tried my best to make interesting photos.

Let me tell you, using this thing is completely different than the SLRs or rangefinders I am familiar with.  I was having a hell of a time with the flipped image - lining things up or framing served as a major hindrance because I had to think and make coordinated motor movements in reverse - it is not something I usually do.

In a way I suppose that is a good thing; I had a long enough time to consider if the shot was worth making.

I am very surprised with the quality of the lens.  I have always liked the Tessar formula, but this one in particular (the f/3.5) writes more beautifully than all of the other Tessars I have used before.


flickr photos

Friday, January 6, 2012

Marriage of Content and Image

I first got the idea for this post while listening to Bruce Dickinson's "Chemical Wedding" album (Bruce Dickinson is the singer for Iron Maiden).  Each of the songs on the album is inspired by the writings of William Blake, who is probably most famous for writing (and illuminating) "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell." Circuitous route for the explanation of the entry's spawning, eh?

In "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" Blake writes of the union of the body and soul; they are not separate entities and together form a whole.  One is not to be rejected for the sake of the other.

In addition to Blake's great words he created images to parallel and complement his content, intending the two to be experienced together.  The entire message would not be transmitted if the words were read alone.

Body and soul
Images and words
One work
One unified endeavor

As a photographer I constantly try to push myself to learn a new technique or become more familiar with the cameras in my arsenal.  

Through trial and error I came upon an important realization that some cameras are more suited for certain tasks than others.  Each camera has a different feel and imparts a different aesthetic thumbprint upon an image.

Consider the subject.  Consider the camera.  Consider the goal.  Consider how to achieve the goal.

Learn what works.  Learn what detracts.  Learn what adds.

Only through intimate understanding and practice with the camera can you increase the impact of the image.

These are some examples of images that I think are married well:

Fire Noir