Tag Archives: Midtown
It’s rare for Kate and I venture up to Midtown. The combination of the crowds, nondescript buildings, traffic, and chain restaurants makes for my least favorite NYC experience. If I only knew Midtown and Times Square, I would never choose to visit or live here. There are exceptions though. Maybe two or three times a year, something will push us north of 23rd Street. Probably my favorite exception is the Bergorf Goodman holiday windows. Sure, you will find gorgeous, imaginative windows at Bloomingdales or Saks, but for an absolute knock-your- socks-off, gasp-inducing session of window gazing, park yourself in front of Bergdorf’s. I know their team must work year-round on these windows and I can’t even imagine the budget. I don’t even want to know.
On Wednesday night, Kate and I met in Midtown, she with her Nikon D90 and me with my Hasselblad and two rolls of Kodak Tri-X 400. For stunning, full-color pictures visit her blog Embarrassment of Riches. Her pictures truly do the displays justice. Mine, however… Let’s just say that a hulking medium format, manual-focus, non-metered camera with B&W 400 speed film is not the proper tool for shooting windows in Midtown during an evening rush hour. But I made the best of it.
Since it was dark, I set my handy pocket light meter to 1600 ISO and decided to push both rolls of Kodak Tri-X to 1600. This allowed me to shoot at a reasonable aperture of f5.6 or f8 with a decent speed of 1/125th a second or 1/60th of a second. Not ideal settings, but not horrible either. The challenge came when I had to stop an average of 23.5 times an exposure while someone popped up in front of me with an iPhone to take their own pictures. I say pictures, not picture, because each person took approximately 47 photos as I waited to take my one shot.
I consider the evening a success, though, because I didn’t yell at, shove, or punch anyone. I did gently nudge one particularly prolific iPhone shooter out of my way once.
These pictures are okay. If I cared to go back, I would go later in the evening with a tripod and a few rolls of Fuji Neopan Acros 100. The shots would be well-framed, longer exposures, of course – a huge improvement over these. But did I mention that it’s in midtown? I’m not going back until next year.
All pictures were taken with Hasselblad 501cm, a Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 lens, on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 1600 and developed in a stock solution of Kodak Xtol developer for 8.75 minutes.
Nothing special here, except a handful of Fuji Astia 100 shots from last weekend. I’ve been consistently exposing this film at 80 ISO instead of 100 and this setting is giving me much brighter slides. And I’m trying to be more careful about what I shoot. If it’s something that too much contrast from light to dark, I just walk away. I know I won’t be happy with range that the slide film gives me. These were taken with the Hasselblad 501cm last weekend. I’ve also switched over to Vista Imaging Group on 22nd Street for my color development. The negatives were coming back so dusty from Luster that it was taking me ages to get rid of all the dust spots. Vista Imaging has done a great job so far and they have a four hour turnaround, even with slide film.
As always, you can click on the images for a larger version.
Between periodic bouts of sunshine, NYC has been enshrouded in fog most days the last two weeks. This set, shot with the Nikon FM2n and a 28mm lens on Kodak Tri-X 400 film, is from a recent trip to Central Park. The film was pushed to 1200 and developed for 9 minutes in Kodak Xtol Developer.
Building disappearing into fog, Midtown Manhattan
Gnarled Tree in Central Park
Essex House and Trees from Central Park, Midtown Manhattan
Reflections of trees on water in Central Park
Reflections and Fog in Central Park
Buildings in Fog from Central Park
Buildings and Ice Rink in Fog from Central Park
Columbus Circle in Fog from Central Park South
Even though we don’t own a TV and never plan to, we do watch a few TV shows online or on Netflix. One of my favorites, mockery be damned, is “Project Runway” on Bravo. I like watching Tim Gunn and Heidi. I like the reactions of Michael Kors and Nina Garcia when something particularly tacky comes flouncing down the runway. I like the concept of the show and, despite my protests, I even enjoy the catty back and forth created by the producers.
That’s why I can’t believe we waited this long to visit Mood Fabrics in Midtown. Everyone who watches the show can hear it in their head when I type, “Thank you, Mood!”
We went there over the weekend and I wasn’t sure if they allowed pictures. So, I shoved my tiny Olympus XA loaded with Ilford Pan 400 B&W film into my jacket pocket and took some pictures on the sly. I used B&W film, because I wanted to focus on textures and patterns, not colors. This roll was developed in Kodak Xtol developer for 8.75 minutes.
The rolls of fabrics were mesmerizing…
Mood Fabrics Stock, Midtown Manhattan
Mood Fabrics Stock, Midtown Manhattan
Mood Fabrics Stock, Midtown Manhattan
Kate Overwhelmed by Choices at Mood Fabrics
Mood Fabrics Stock, Midtown Manhattan (Pucci, gah! Wanted to grab a roll and run away with it.)
Mood Fabrics Cutting Area
Mood Fabrics Stock, Midtown Manhattan
Kate Zeroing in on a Choice at Mood Fabrics
Mood Fabrics Upholstery, Midtown Manhattan
For the photography geeks, the indoor photos were all taken on f2.8 or f4 since the artificial light in the store was so bad. The sharpness wide open and almost wide open of the tiny XA lens is pretty good.
Bonus Pictures, On Our Way to Mood:
Inside the 14th St. Subway Station on the 4/5 Line
On Our Way I Loved the Blooming Trees Everywhere
On Monday night, I met Kate at the Bryant Park Ice Rink* to soak up some holiday spirit. I took my Nikon D90 (digital) and Nikon FM2n (film) cameras. It’s a good thing I had both, because the D90 froze up and wouldn’t take pictures after about 20-30 minutes in the near freezing temps. I’ve been told since to “try to keep it warm, like in a warm bag, and that shouldn’t happen again.” Kind of a weird answer. It’s a camera. A tool. It should work when it’s 32 degrees out. Luckily, my trusty FM2n worked just fine in the cold. It’s all mechanical, so I’m not surprised. The D90 is basically a computer with a lens slapped on the front, barely a camera it seems…
The light was pretty tricky for metering. You have the bright white of the ice rink surface surrounded by the night and then up top a nice layer of lights from the looming skyscrapers ringing the park. Before it froze up, the D90 in Aperture Priority (I use this sometimes when Kate and I are together, so I don’t have to think as much and can pay more attention to her) gave me all kinds of underexposed and overexposed shots. I kept looking at the screen and thinking, “WTF?” I did switch to manual, but shortly after that the autofocus on the lens went and then the camera itself just stopped responding.
With the FM2n, I just metered for the scene and paid attention to what I wanted. Happily, none of the shots were too far off. Some of them were shaky because of the cold, but other than that I’m happy with how the film shots turned out. These are on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 1600 ISO and developed in Kodak D-76 for 9.5 minutes.
Walking up to the Bryant Park Ice Rink
The Empire State Building makes a nice backdrop for the skaters
The Bryant Park Fountain
Skater Girl Falling
Skaters and Tree, Abstract
And I had a couple of frames left on the roll, so I snapped off a close up of our tree. I probably won’t be blogging much until after Christmas. Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!
*We did not partake in the skating. After healing multiple bone injuries from overtraining in the Nyland-Hoke house, we were visibly cringing over all the skaters falling and hitting the ice.
Living in the city, you’re often so rushed to get from one place to the next that you don’t notice the people, places, and things around you. Or maybe you pretend that you don’t notice.
The front of this building on the Bowery is one of my favorites.
And this horse never fails to make me smile every time I leave the warm embrace of Freeman’s and Frank’s wonderful hospitality.
Sigh. I still miss the Os Gemeos mural on Houston at Bowery. I vowed never to look upon this one by Shepard Fairey, but I found myself in the crosswalk with a camera. AND I just happened to spot this elusive Urban Woodsman walking in front on it.
I love this tiny little stretch of Minneta Lane and Minetta Street in Greenwich Village. It almost feels like you are in a sleepy European town. Of course, if you keep walking you run into the douchebag/bro hell of MacDougal Street.
This view of Panchito’s is one of my favorites. It definitely doesn’t feel like you are in NYC. And this lovely gentleman came along at the right time to give this night shot a bit of pop.
Spooling the film in the dark bag, mixing the chemicals, and the actual developing is getting easier. Scanning is still a bit of a pain, but I’ll get a system down after a couple more rolls. Right now, I’m using an Epson V500 scanner.
It’s hugely satisfying to know that I’m in total control from loading the film, developing, and scanning.
Warren 77 Sign, Tribeca
Warren 77 Tabletop Game, Tribeca
Rainy Parking Lot, Tribeca
Walking Men by Maya Barkai’s “Walking Men 99,” Tribeca
Walking Man by Maya Barkai’s “Walking Men 99,” Tribeca
Cop and Great Dane, Midtown
Men with Ladder, Midtown
More pics from this roll on Flickr.
There is no place like New York around the holidays. Everywhere you look, you’ll find gorgeous lights, trees, and holiday displays. Some of the department stores in Midtown don’t stop at fashioning festive window displays; they transform the store facade itself into a display.
Look for more holiday displays in the next couple of weeks. We have a nice looking tree already up in South Street Seaport and they light the Wall Street tree next week. On a side note, I’ve been lured up to Midtown more times in the past two weeks than the whole time we’ve lived here. I’m like a moth to a flame with these damn lights and holiday displays…
After the Macy’s Parade balloon inflation, we zipped over to check out some store windows. Well, I checked out store windows, while Kate checked out the selection of Diane Von Furstenburg dresses at Bloomingdales.
The themes were Alice in Wonderland and Fantastic Mr. Fox interrupted by interludes of concentrated color and texture. I liked the intense detail of the window featuring paper.
This window, decked out in metal and mirror, was a real crowd pleaser.
These green horses were richly textured. Kind of reminded me of Swamp Thing.
The wooden window, with it’s dizzying level of detail, was probably my favorite. The twisting staircases leading to one absurdity after another were gorgeous.
Card party from Alice in Wonderland
I am the walrus
The Fantastic Mr. Fox windows across the street were so adorable that we rushed out to see the movie today. Highly recommended! Kate posted some pics of the Fantastic Mr. Fox windows over at Embarrassment of Riches.
Hope everyone had a good holiday!
Okay, there’s a reason I don’t go north of 14th Street – there are too many people up there. Kate and I went to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon inflation and it was like a gigantic people explosion. Miserable tourists with hungry, cranky kids were cursing the steady, but thankfully light rain. New Yorkers were cursing themselves for thinking that it wouldn’t be as crowded as it was. It was as crowded as they thought. It was more crowded than you can imagine…
After one quick lap around the north side of the balloon inflation area, I had had enough. Snoopy, Horton, and a Smurf would have to suffice. New York City’s finest were leading everyone into a cattle catcher area with blocks of people lined up to see Spongebob Squarepants and Spider-Man on the south loop. Kate could tell by the panicked look in my eyes that we were done. We passed the south staging area and after a dozen blocks finally escaped the crush of people looking for food, drink, and bathrooms.
It was only when we hit the Barnes & Noble at Columbus Square that I started loosening up a bit. I had briefly thought about attending the parade tomorrow, but we will be sticking close to home. Kate has made her killer apple pie and we’ll hit an Indian place tomorrow for dinner. Enjoy the parade, but by all means do so from the safety of your own home.