Tag Archives: Nikon FM2n
I think I’m officially the last person to visit the newish Faile mural on Houston and Bowery. It’s been up for a few weeks, but since moving to Brooklyn I don’t get out to the East Village as much. I’m a huge Faile fan already, but this mural is just stunning. Kate and I were visiting a new pizza place on the Bowery and I just happened to have my old Nikon FM2n and a wide angle lens.
Since the Os Gemeos mural disappeared in the Spring of 2010 this wall has pretty much been dead to me. There was a yawn-inducing Shepard Fairey piece for awhile and then a tag-riddled Kenny Sharf piece; neither added much to the city.
This one is a thing of beauty. As always, you can click on the picture for a larger version.
Yesterday Jess and Garrett posted some great pictures of the mural as well.
If you like Faile, here’s an old post from the pop up arcade they did in the Lower East Side.
It’s been some time, since I’ve turned my lens to capturing signs as we walk around the city. Old signs always grab my attention, but I realized a lot of them popped up in my last roll* of film. It’s probably because we are exploring new neighborhoods so much.
These were all taken with the Nikon FM2n and shot on the new Kodak Portra 160.
This is a VERY common sign in the city; yet, it’s a beauty. I love the red and green, the “everything you need” in one place aspect of it, and the two glasses on the left. This one is on our block at Flatbush Avenue and St. Marks. I like how it’s right next door to the overpriced joke of a store – Brooklyn Larder.
This simple, but effective sign over a real estate office in Ditmas Park was calling to me as we were eating in the window of Mimi’s Hummus across the street. After our meal, I zipped over to pay it a visit.
I think I rmember this exact sign from when I was a kid. Composition Notebooks, check. Crayola, check. Krazy Glue, check… Wait a minute, Krazy glue for back to school? Elmer’s Glue, of course, but Krazy Glue? I wold have been so busted taking Krazy Glue to school.
*which I realized is my 180th roll of film shot this year.
My last post of Paris pictures were of mundane, everyday details of a city. Those are the kind of shots that I take wherever I go. I can’t not snap away at those little details that probably mean something only to me. But I did take several photos of the big sights of Paris. Even though we had been before, we still took the time to gape at Notre Dame, the Seine, and of course the Eiffel Tower.
We actually were in the vicinity of the Eiffel tower two times. The first day it was cloudy and the second it was less so with bright blue skies. I much prefer the photographs from the cloudy day. The clouds themselves are so full and swollen looking. I think the dim light from the cloudy day also gives those pictures a vintage feel. All these pictures were taken on Kodak Portra 400 film.
Kate woke us up early on Saturday to visit the Sacre Coeur (her account is pretty damn funny). Unfortunately, the sky was a flat, steel grey. We took some pictures of Sacre Coeur and marveled at the Paris skyline from that vantage point. By the time we left Montmarte and got to the 16th Arrondissement just across the river from the Eiffel Tower, the clouds had formed an impressive backdrop.
These two square pictures were obviously taken with the Hasselblad, which was also loaded with Portra 400 film.
We went back to the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower on Sunday, this time in the 7th Arrondissement for the open air market between Dupleix and Motte Picquet metro stops. The sky was a perfect blue just barely dotted with wispy cirrus clouds. We walked right by the tower from other angles to get to the market. While I think the first set of pictures are more arresting, the blue sky does make a good backdrop.
For a while it seemed like it was following us around. It peeked out between buildings at multiple intersections. And like an obedient tourist, I stopped to take more pictures…
I feel like you can tell more about a city by capturing the small things, the mundane details that we pass by every day. While in Paris I took dozens of touristy things photos, but the majority of photographs, the ones that will mean the most to me, are of ordinary things. It’s similar to my view of New York. New York is much more than its monuments and buildings. It’s only when you look at cities at the street level that you really start to understand and appreciate them. We only had a few days to wander the streets of Paris, but I saw and appreciated much more this time than our earlier trip.
I’ll post touristy pics later this week, but I’ve selected roughly a dozen photographs of what I classify as mundane details for this post. All pictures were taken with the Nikon FM2n and on Kodak Portra film.
This courtyard at the end of a short alley caught my eye as I walked past it. This was one of the many times I almost passed by something but instead stopped to drag out one of my cameras. We were in no hurry.
This magazine cover, more than any other, was the one that screamed “Paris” to me every time I walked by a news stand. I wanted to buy it at the airport on the way home, but sadly I couldn’t find it.
We never ate inside a restaurant on this trip. The weather was beautiful and the sidewalk cafes provided all the food and (usually) drink we needed. We didn’t stop at this one, but I was still struck by the simplicity of its two tables and five chairs.
We were in Montmarte very early on Saturday morning to visit the Sacre Couer and I noticed this tiny place with an Agfa Film sign out front.
Walking back to our hotel on the Boulevard Saint Germaine I noticed this statue that had served as a prop in the previous night’s partying.
Since we don’t own a car or hardly ever travel in one, I look at cars as stationary things of interest. This one, paired with an identical white Vespa, caught my eye. I wondered if they belonged to the same person.
Signs, corners, and intersections are always fascinating to me.
I took several photos of and around Notre Dame, but this one of flowers in its garden is my favorite.
I couldn’t not take a picture of this art on a sidewalk condom machine.
And of course I’m always on the lookout for street art (whole separate post upcoming).
And lastly, the flowers on the windows of our hotel…
When I started thinking about what film to take for our trip, I immediately thought about my standard B&W film – Kodak Tri-X 400. I knew exactly what it would look like at night and I wanted those strong, ink-black images. Maybe I was looking at too much Brassai or something.
The weird thing is that I shot mostly color on this trip. We were blessed with perfect weather all four days and Paris really seemed better in color. I used Portra 160 NC or Portra 400 depending on the brightness and time of day. On two nights though, I loaded B&W film into the Nikon FM2n and took several pictures. Then I’d wake up the next morning with a bright sky and a yearning to shoot color. And of course there was still B&W Tri-X 400 rated at 1600 ISO in my camera. I probably should have taken a second Nikon body, but I didn’t want to drag around three cameras. What I ended up doing was quickly firing off some random shots on the way to our destination to use up the rest of the B&W and then popped in a color roll. I don’t normally do this, but we only had a long weekend.
That’s one of the limitations of film, you’re stuck with shooting what you have in your camera at the time. Digital does makes it so much easier, but then again digital will never look like this.
A Dark Corner, Paris
Series of Arched Doorways, Paris
A Waiter Smoking on Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres
I was really more interested in the corner of the building in the light than the waiter, but he wouldn’t leave.
Saint-Germain-des-Pres Metro Sign at Night, Paris
The Seine River at Night, Paris
Paris Street at Dusk
Busy Sidewalk and Paris Metro Sign at Night
I took a lot of pictures of Metro signs. I mean a lot. What the hell was I thinking?
All images were developed at home in Kodak Xtol Developer for 9.5 minutes.
Growing up and shooting film, I was always frustrated by taking pictures at night. At the time I was stuck with consumer level point and shoot film cameras with maybe an 800 ISO color film. I didn’t know about pushing film or developing. Now as an adult with real equipment and pushable B&W film that I develop myself, shooting at night is a breeze.
To begin with, I rarely worry about my light meter readings at night, since the meter will usually try to compensate for the low light, always aiming (as it should) for a well exposed scene. There is one exception: if you are using a tripod, then the light meter will be your friend. You can trust that it will give you a nicely exposed scene and you won’t have to worry about a shutter speed that’s too low for a handheld shot.
If you are shooting handheld then the meter at night will usually suggest a shutter speed that you can’t physically hold still enough to avoid blur or shake. I do try to stick with the rule of keep your shutter speed equal to or greater than the focal length of the lens you are using. For example, don’t try to use a shutter speed of 1/30 for a 50mm lens. If you are using a 28mm lens though, you can get away with a 1/30 of a second exposure.
Couple at Night Walking Down Freeman’s Alley, Lower East Side
This was one of those instances where a light meter would be pretty useless. It would try to give you a fairly well lit scene and ask you to use a ridiculously low (for handheld anyway) shutter speed of like 1/8 of a second. I set the FM2n at 1/125 to account for the movement of the couple (1/60 would have been better, but they were walking) and used the fastest lens aperture of f1.4. I also wanted an inky black mass on the right hand side, rather than a weakly lit wall. If I would have used 1/60 or pushed it and tried to use 1/30 then that inky black would have been lighter and wouldn’t provide such a contrast to the couple walking towards the light.
Schillers Bar Sign, Lower East Side
There were people milling about in front of Schillers and I didn’t want to highlight them. I deliberately underexposed this shot, knowing it would cast the people in dark shadow while giving the neon sign more contrast and definition.
Kate Waiting to Cross Second Avenue, East Village
I used the widest aperture of the 50mm f1.4 Ai lens here to get nice bokeh from the traffic lights in the background. The shutter speed was 1/60 since Kate was standing still.
Kate Easting Chikalicious, East Village
Same settings here as the previous picture.
Alias Restaurant Facade, Lower East Side
In this one, I had to use a slower aperture of f2.8 to retain some detail at a distance. In order to compensate for the low light, I used a (probably too slow) slow shutter speed of 1/30, which breaks the shutter speed/focal length rule. It’s not tack sharp, but then again tack sharp is sometimes boring.
Man Reading Newspaper, Chinatown
The light here was very gentle and I intentionally underexposed the negative to give it a soft, diffused quality.
Kate in the Glow of Coke Machine, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Didn’t even pay attention to my light meter here. It would have given me a negative with a much too bright light from the coke machine. I just set the aperture to f1.8 and the shutter speed to 1/60 of a second, which is perfect for a 50mm lens.
All images were taken with a Nikon FM2n and a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 Ai lens on Kodak Tri-X 400 film exposed and developed at 1250 ISO in Xtol Developer for 8.5 minutes.
Today at lunch I meandered the few blocks to the Ground Zero/WTC site to see what the mood was like. I didn’t really plan on taking a lot of pictures, but grabbed my camera bag anyway. I had nine exposures left on a color roll in my Nikon F3 and four left on a black and white roll in my Nikon FM2n.
As a contrast to the party atmosphere last night, the mood was subdued. WTC workers still competed with tourists for lunchtime real estate. Sellers were hawking WTC wares. There were a lot of photographers and news crews. I took out my camera and shot the rest of my color roll first, then my black and white roll. This was what I ended up with. I offer these pictures without excess comment or judgement. It was a weird day.
Color film is the new Kodak Portra 400 in Nikon F3 with a 50mm f1.4 Ai lens
Family Holding Newspaper with Bin Laden Death Headline Across from WTC Site
WTC Construction Worker Resting by Statue
Man Selling WTC Programs
NYFD Leather Vest
Men holding up Papers with Bin Laden Headlines
Photographer Chimping Instead of Paying Attention
Business as Usual for these WTC Workers
Freedom Tower Rising
NYPD Hat and Flag
Black and white pictures are Nikon Fm2n and Nikkor 28mm f2.8 Ai-S lens on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 1250 and developed in Xtol developer for 8.5 minutes
Young Guys Celebrating Across from WTC Site
Man with Bible and a Warning Across from WTC Site
Man Waving Flag from Mercedes Moon Roof
Men Exchanging Information Across from WTC Site
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
On Sunday, Brooklyn photography pal Joel Zimmer and I met up in Dumbo to spend a couple of hours walking around taking pictures. Joel has a much better feel for Brooklyn than this Manhattanite, so when he mentioned a side trip just outside of Dumbo to see some abandoned Navy Officer housing I was all over it. Little did I know that it would be *this* abandoned and over grown.
Abandoned Navy Officer Housing in Brooklyn
Color shot are from Nikon FM2n and Nikkor 28mm f2.8 Ai-S lens on Kodak Ektar 100 film developed at Duane Reade and then rescanned by me on an Epson V500 flatbed scanner.
Black and White shots are with Nikon F3 and Nikkor 50mm f1.4 Ai lens on Kodak Tri-X 400 film exposed and developed at box speed in Kodak Xtol developer for 6.75 minutes
After growing tired of Kodak D-76 developer, which gives you consistent if not stellar results regardless of the film you use, I started using TMax developer. TMax developer costs more than powdered “mix it yourself” developers, but it’s convenient. Unfortunately, the TMax developer does not handle pushed films well, unless you want big, chunky grain. Rodinal is another favorite developer, but again, pushed films will come out ultra grainy. So, I grabbed a bag of Kodak Xtol developer. It’s cheap and you can mix it with room temperature water, unlike D-76 that has to be mixed with hot water that requires cooling. Xtol comes in two different bags glued together. You mix bag A in 4 liters of water. Then after the solution A powder is fully dissolved, you add bag B and another liter of water. In the end, you get 5 liters of working solution that can be used full strength or diluted.
I like the look that Xtol gives. These shots are on Kodak Tri_X 400 pushed an extra stop to 800 ISO.
A gorgeous vintage Schwinn Racer in the rain on First Street in the East Village
Another view of the classic Schwinn Racer in the rain, East Village
There was this beautiful old Cadillac on the same block, East Village
The New York City Marble Cemetery, one of the beautiful old graveyards in Manhattan. This is on First Street in the East Village.
Prune is one of our favorite go to spots for food in the East Village. It’s busy a lot of the time, and will probably get busier now that the chef’s book is getting so much attention, but we usually find a spot at the tiny bar and just relax. The food is fantastic and the staff treat you like family.
A bonus image from later in Nolita. The Xtol handles the wet pavement on this basketball court. It’s not too shiny, but it does capture the sheen of water and the texture of the surfaces.
All images shot with Nikon FM2n and Nikkor 50mm f1.4 Ai lens on Kodak Tri-X 400 film pushed to 800 ISO and developed in Kodak Xtol (stock solution) for 7.75 minutes.