Black and White Photography Blog

Mostly black and white photography of New York by Dave Beckerman

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New Payphone

4 August, 2008 (16:43) | 2 comments

payphone-2515 New Payphone

Don’t know if you’ve seen these yet, but the phone company is introducing a new public payphone with internet connection and keypad.  There are still some bugs in the display, but I can’t wait to see how long it takes for the keys to disappear.

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Truth in Advertising

4 August, 2008 (15:44) | 2 comments

death-race-taxi-2512 Truth in Advertising

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4 August, 2008 (10:21) | No comments

bather-ir-2388 Bather

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Parking Lot II - Orchard Beach

3 August, 2008 (23:57) | 2 comments

orchard-beach-parking-2-2476 Parking Lot II - Orchard Beach

There were lots of these incredible, smooth geometric puddles in the lot this morning. While the rest of the group enjoyed the beach, I spent my time in the parking lot.  Although you can just make out co-op city in the background - in my own imagination this could be Morocco.

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Shoreline Shadow - Infrared

3 August, 2008 (20:39) | 2 comments

shoreline-shadow-2419 Shoreline Shadow - Infrared

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Orchard Beach, Parking Lot

3 August, 2008 (18:48) | No comments

orchard-beach-parking-2478 Orchard Beach, Parking Lot

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Orchard Beach (Bronx)

3 August, 2008 (18:34) | No comments

Lucky enough to get a ride to Orchard Beach in the Bronx.  Spent the morning looking at open spaces.  More to come I hope.

Emergency Lane

orchard-beach-2 Orchard Beach (Bronx)

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Skateboarder, Orchard Beach

3 August, 2008 (15:56) | 3 comments

orchard-beach-skateboard-2365 Skateboarder, Orchard Beach

True. I don’t usually ask people to pose for me, but working on a tripod with a two-second exposure, I needed to find someone to pose. Thanks to this guy for standing still and holding his breath like in the old days.

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All Souls Church - Infrared

2 August, 2008 (23:33) | 1 comment

all-souls-church-ir-2289 All Souls Church - Infrared

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Church Doors - Infrared

2 August, 2008 (12:42) | 1 comment

church-doors-ir-2305 Church Doors - Infrared

The 72 filter is pretty versatile. This was shot as a big storm was gathering. All Souls Church on Lex. The doors, at least to my naked eye, were completely white. IR seems to like to pick up the dirt and grime.

You know, although my attraction to infrared (which started last year with film) may seem out of the blue; on reflection it goes back to some of my earliest feelings about photography, namely that it had the ability, in some cases, to go beyond the visible. Very early on, I thought that good photographs could reveal something more than the visible reality, sort of as if a curtain was being raised. In fact, I was drawn to photographing shadows on curtains as a literal way of expressing this idea.

So infrared, in retrospect, goes back to this idea of there being more to this world than what we realize. Though it can also be used for what I’d call flash - big white trees, and fantastic clouds (I plead guilty to that myself) - I think it can also be used accentuate the world’s design. Sort of like seeing a painting’s underpainting. (Actually UV is often used for that). But at it’s best, it can be subtle, and let the design elements speak without drawing undue attention to itself.

This early film shot is an example of that: Central Park North.  Shot normally, the curved line of the trees, and path wouldn’t be nearly as pronounced.

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Schurz Park View - Digital Infrared

31 July, 2008 (12:41) | 10 comments

schurz-park-ir-2240 Schurz Park View - Digital Infrared

I did make a bit of a discovery this morning. I realized that I had not tested the 72 filter on the 40D with proper white balance off of grass. Voila. This was shot at ASA 400 / F2.8 and only 1 second. The results are also more pleasing to me since I’m not looking for super-infrared, if you know what I mean. Not hand-holdable but you don’t have to worry so much about all the trees swaying etc.

As Ed mentioned a while back - I need to try this with the deep red filter and the green grass as custom white balance. It’s still not an exact science sort of thing. What do you set the white balance at when you are taking the custom white balance shot - AWB, Sun, some particular temp.

And it is definitely different with different digital cameras. When I tested the R72 filter with the A640 powershot there was no difference in exposure between the 72 and the 87.

The other thing I realized was that the first time I tried the 72 on the 40D I didn’t set what I’ll call the “green grass” white balance. So that threw everything off.

* * *

The Rebel XT arrived a few minutes ago. Funny how small it feels compared to the 40D. Anyway, I’m waiting for the battery to charge; I’ll do a few tests just to make sure it’s working; and then I’m going to send it off for the infrared conversion at LifePixel. Another interesting note on their site:

“Rebel XTi, XSi & 40D require ultra thin filters and because of this the Deep BW filter for this model will still have a little visible light leackage. In order to attain a pure BW image you will need to set your camera to capture in BW mode.”

* * *

And off it goes.  LifePixel should have it by Weds.

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West Side, Central Park Lake

26 July, 2008 (12:23) | 3 comments

west-side-and-lake-21321 West Side, Central Park Lake

balloon-takeoff-2163 West Side, Central Park Lake

san-ramos-balloon-21341 West Side, Central Park Lake

This morning. They were taking three at a time. Atmosphere wasn’t great, the usual summer haze in the morning; no clouds. I was nervous stepping into the thing but once it took off I felt more relaxed. It’s tethered, so it just goes up and down. You get hooked up to the basket and it’s close quarters. If the wind hits it the balloon spins around. Click, click, click. I had to hold on with one hand so all my shots were with the other hand. The ride lasts about ten minutes. I’m sure it’ll be pretty popular. I hope to go back again and try it at night. $25 for adults. It will be around for about a month.

Now, if they’d untether it and let it float around the park. That would be something. But I’m afraid it might get shot down. Apparently there were hundreds of permits to allow this.

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Bethesda Passage - Ceiling

25 July, 2008 (13:01) | 3 comments


bethesda-ceiling-2027 Bethesda Passage - Ceiling


bethesda-ceiling-2037 Bethesda Passage - Ceiling

Dawn. Sigma 30mm @ F1.4

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Bike and Shadow

16 July, 2008 (17:03) | 3 comments

bike-and-shadow-1758 Bike and Shadow

40D with Sigma 30mm.

Sir Ansel always said to take pictures of things that you have an emotional connection to. I’ve taken hundreds of bike pictures over the years. I did a lot of riding when I was younger and bikes always gave me a sense of freedom. Anyway - I walked past this on my way to the Fedex drop off (package under my arm). Was going to get to take the shot on my way back, but just in case I stopped and took this one shot.

Sure enough, on the way back, five minutes later, I looked at the scene again and the light / shadow was gone or at least not dramatic anymore.  For some reason, the shadow seems to be floating, almost an entity on its own.

The most common sign that you’ve got something special is when you are forced to stop your daily activities and try to grab at least one shot.

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