You know that power plant I always seem to love photographing? You can't get this view any more. Why? It's surrounded on three sides by giant, high rise buildings. Layers and layers of them.
Time flies when you turn a city into a Boom-scape.
Ceiling Detail at the Alexander Palace in Pushkin, Russia. Just 400 meters from the Catherine Palace.
1995 was also the year I spent a couple of freezing cold weeks in St. Petersburg, Russia. I was there with a team from the World Monuments Fund documenting art and artifacts from the last palace of the Czars. While I was looking up and photographing this detail in the Palace (then the headquarters of the Russian Naval Intelligence Agency) I was escorted by my translator and a military officer who came complete with a sidearm and a list of things I could NOT photograph.
One of my "fondest" memories was standing knee deep in snow in front of the Alexander Palace shooting Polaroids to share with the two tank crews who were manning the tanks just in front of the entry way. It was a successful bribe that granted me access to photograph the exterior of the building on a chilly February afternoon.
One of my most used Hasselblads on that trip was the SWC/M. The one with the super-wide Biogon lens permanently attached to the camera body. Ah, the film days....
We were, I think, the first western survey team allowed in the Palace in about 70 years. It was an interesting time in Russia....
"...The distinguished members of the photo-press operated in the space between the barrier and the stage. As memory serves there were exactly three photographers at the concert. It was a time of film and getting fun shots actually required some.....knowledge.
All I needed was one good shot. I was shooting in black and white and I took two cameras to the event with me. One was a Leica M4 with a 50mm Summicron, loaded with Tri-X film. The other was a Leica M6 ttl .85 with a 90mm Summicron, also loaded with Tri-X. I didn't plan on shooting much with the 90 but it sure made a nice semi-spot meter with which to gauge exposure."
The keeper image for me was the one I posted here. I used up one 36 exposure roll of Tri-X film. Of course it was all stage lighting as flash in the press pit was not allowed. It was a time when you really did have to know how to measure light with a meter, how to focus on a fast moving performer and how to wait for the right moment so you didn't run out of film.
1995 is a nostalgic year for me. That's the year Ben was born. The year I went to Rome on a personal photo adventure with two medium format Mamiya 6 cameras and hundreds of rolls of Kodak's new chromagenic film, T-Max 400 CN. along with my photographer friend, Paul.
When we got back from our Rome shoots Paul and I both made big prints and had a two person show at Austin's best Italian restaurant, Madam Nadalini's. Nearly 400 people came to the opening. It was an amazing time back when photography/art still had the power to enthrall ordinary people. And back when openings were a big social draw.
And in the middle of all that year's fun I found myself sandwiched between the stage and the crowd at Liberty Lunch photographing one of the most popular musicians of the moment. It was August in Austin and we were all drenched in sweat. The crowd of young kids, mostly women, roared every time a song started. It was a bit intoxicating.
I made a print in the darkroom the next day and that was the coda. When I look back to see what we could pull off with completely manual cameras and "slow" film I am embarrassed for all the "photographers" now who can't conceive of working with anything less than complete automation and endless technical "training wheels." Or limitless ISO sensors.
But I'm sure the guys who photographed out in the wild, with glass negatives in giant bellows cameras, a hundred years ago, would feel exactly the same about my generation of photographers.
Context is helpful.
Exploring the 45mm Sigma on the Leica CL. Nice and long at a full frame equivalent of about 68mm. Always interesting to change one's point of view.
Heading quickly toward the mid-point of the year. Maybe I should do the second half in color.
I decided to skip the Jan. 6th testimony today and take a walk instead. It was rather nice. I mean, how much more evidence do we really need before we start prosecuting the treasonous, the grifters and the riff-raff? I'd rather listen to the lovely, lilting, lyrical click of the CL's shutter...
If you are out traveling right now you are braver than me. Or just heedless and not very risk averse. But more power to you. Life is short and, if not now then when?
Me? I think I'll just maximize being a tourist in my own town. At least I know some of the good places to hit for dinner...
I recently photographed 15 attorneys in a temporary studio at a hotel. I used the Panasonic GH6 and the 42.5mm f1.2 Leica lens. I was very happy with the raw files from that set-up. But I was curious by how much the overall image quality had improved since the days when I was running around shooting everything with a Panasonic G9. I went to a folder from my time in Iceland and looked carefully at a number of images. Of course it's all apples and oranges since only a direct comparison between photographs shot in identical situations by each camera and lens combination is at all meaningful but it was still a fun exercise and showed me what I wanted to know in the moment.
The two images above are of a light house or beacon in the harbor of Reykjavik. They were taken with the G9 fitted with a 15mm f1.7 Leica lens. While I am fairly certain the GH6 would have the overall edge when it comes to dynamic range I am equally certain that the G9, and the 15mm, are very good image makers even in 2022.
While I didn't have time to review again all the 5800+ images from the 2018 trip I did look through several hundred and the only ones I found wanting were flawed by operator error or just a floundering photographer pointing a very good camera at something or other that was boring before I tried to photograph it, boring as a photograph, and which will continue to be boring in the future... I certainly can't blame a camera for lack of insightful subject selection.
Working on a small project right now and I'm having fun carting around the GH6 + GH5ii system with a handful of lenses. So much smaller and lighter than my bigger Leica system. And, for final use on the web the images are far, far better than they need to be.
The heat is taking a break today. Temperatures are forecast to stay under 98°. Thanks Mother Nature. I'm sorry we pissed you off.
Don't you hate it when a company discontinues one of your favorite products? I just got up to speed on a great camera and, BAM, it's discontinued. And as far as I can tell there are no plans to replace it.... What to do?
The Strange Social Paralysis of a Heat Wave. And a few more samples from the Leica SL camera shot in monochrome.
So, the supreme court took a bite out of happiness and constitutional democracy in the USA this week.
Had me looking at property in Switzerland. Too bad I can't afford it....