Black and White Photography of New York by Dave Beckerman

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Runner - Bridle Path

3 October, 2008 (22:00) | 3 comments

runner-bridle-path-0387 Runner - Bridle Path



3 October, 2008 (20:57) | 2 comments

irrational-thoughts-a-1290 Tattoo

and having this tattooed on your back is a perfect example.


Shades of Walker Evans

1 October, 2008 (17:37) | 6 comments

triangle-2192 Shades of Walker Evans

Ben Shahn had recently learned the basics of photography from Walker Evans.

“Look, Ben, there’s nothing to it,” Evans had called to him on his way out the door to catch the boat to Havana.

“F9 on the shady side of the street, f45 on the sunny side, twentieth of a second, hold your camera steady!”

In order to catch their subjects unposed, Shahn and Evans used a periscopic lens on their Leicas (not unlike the one Strand had used on the Lower East Side almost twenty years earlier), so that they appeared to be aiming at each other rather than disturbing the natural flow of events in the street.

From Walker Evans by Belinda Rathbone

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25 September, 2008 (15:58) | 4 comments

I had an hour or two to kill after printing most of the day, and decided to head down to St. Patricks to shoot the interior with the infrared flash.  As I got off the R train, first thing I noticed was a good angle on the Central Park Lake which I hadn’t shot before.  But then headed on and there were the breakdancers that I had shot several times before - but always in the subway.  You know me - I love street performers.  Never did make it to the church.

These guys always put on a good show.  Not just in terms of the gymnastics, but how they relate to the crowd.

The lead guy, usually does his thing to Billy Jean as Jackson, and he’s very good at it.  But the acrobats, working on sidewalks without mats - the crowd loves them.

break-dance-59th-2772 Breakdance!

break-dance-59th-2780 Breakdance!

break-dance-59th-2768 Breakdance!

floating-27391 Breakdance!

Yes, this last one is some form of levitation; which reminds me of a religious painting by Dali.

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Cleaning Building

23 September, 2008 (15:30) | 1 comment

cleaning-building-2598 Cleaning Building

What a prosaic title for this one.  Sort of looks like the end of the world.

I should learn more about architectural terms.  Then I could pick one feature and and one adjective and I’d be happy.  But as my knowledge of nature is limited, so is my knowledge (non existent) of architecture.  What do I call those doodads that are glistening (right next to the hose, protruding from the building).  I don’t even know how to spell doodads.  That is how deep the problem goes.

On the other hand, I can always find safety with the “what’s in a name” motto.

Anyway - things are busy at chez Dah-veed - these days, and I don’t have the time to look into what those shiny thingamajigs are.   I rely on the vast knowledge of my readers for nomenclature and titles.


Pine Cones & Footprints

22 September, 2008 (19:11) | 2 comments

pine-cones-footprints-2394 Pine Cones & Footprints

I’m starting to think that when the 50D comes out, if I have the money, I’ll buy one and have the 40D converted for infrared.  Then I’ll sell off the modified XT if I can.  It seems that this infrared thing has me under it’s spell.  The truth is that, even when I view the little picture on the camera’s LCD, the best I can do is see (I’ll usually check the histogram) if I’m in the ballpark in terms of exposure.  A lot of the little glittery things that show up, I sort of imagine as I’m taking the shot, but I don’t know how they turned out.

I do have the process down for b&w infrared though.  I have what I call my infrared curve in LR with various settings to control the glow and highlights all together in one preset.  At this point, that usually gets me pretty close.  I’m not really doing any of that meticulous painting as I was when I was doing color.  For the most part one or two graduated filters are used (these are remarkable for controlling the highlights and basic lightness of sections) and since I’m still shooting with an 8MP camera, I try very hard to shoot it right so I won’t have to do any cropping later.

If I’m doing street stuff, I’ll use a custom white balance taken off the sidewalk.  If I’m in the park, I’ll either do it off trees or grass.  The camera display (parameters with the XT) are set to show b&w. 

I suppose that it’s that “surprise” factor that still fascinates me, plus the ability to bring out certain highlights by using the infrared flash (used in this shot).  It does feel a bit like open air painting.

Well anyway - after a drought with orders - they’ve picked up again - and several of the new infrared prints were sold.  I was thinking originally that I’d put all the IR stuff in it’s own directory, but I’ve found that the average person doesn’t know what infrared is, and so there’s no real reason to separate them out - it’s sort of like using another film stock - that’s all.

(Oh, I have the Mets game on in the background — please don’t tell me that they’re folding again — and that the curse of last year has returned.  Please say it ain’t so.)

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Bethesda Steps

21 September, 2008 (19:28) | 4 comments

bethesda-steps-ir-2440 Bethesda Steps

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Rollerblade Dancer

20 September, 2008 (16:13) | 6 comments

rollerblade-girl-2527 Rollerblade Dancer

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Night Collection

19 September, 2008 (20:45) | No comments

45-dollars-2273 Night Collection

- How long did it take you to collect all that?

- I start this morning.   It take all day.

- How much do you get for that?

- $45

I was staring at this shot for a while wondering what it reminded me of when it struck me: it looks like one of those shots where a fisherman stands next to the large hanging fish he’s just reeled in.  But because of the infrared flash - the black eye effect sort of makes the guy look more like the fish.  Who’s caught who.

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Morning Light

19 September, 2008 (12:07) | 6 comments

morning-light-2 Morning Light

“Begin today! No matter how feeble the light, let it shine as best it may. The world may need just that quality of light which you have.” Henry C. Blinn

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Horse - Infrared

17 September, 2008 (12:26) | 4 comments

horse-infrared-3082 Horse - Infrared

From my trip to Jersey a few weeks ago.  The eyes are black, which is usual for infrared - but the sparkles in the wood fence surprised me.

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Guarding Bryant Park

15 September, 2008 (15:43) | 1 comment

Where the night guard stays.  And I thought my apartment was small.

bryant-park-guard-1723-copy Guarding Bryant Park

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Bryant Park - William Earl Dodge

15 September, 2008 (14:27) | No comments

statue-bryant-park-1703 Bryant Park - William Earl Dodge

Infrared flash.  Ah, this time I was smart and jotted down who this was. It was still drizzling and the paper got sort of soggy but I’m pretty sure it says Dodge on it.

And although I thought I was slightly crazy wandering around midtown or anywhere in the middle of the night - I did end up with some good shots.

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Street Singers

15 September, 2008 (10:43) | No comments

Backlit plus infrared flash.

street-singers-1211-copy Street Singers

street-singers-1229-copy Street Singers

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San Remos and CP Lake

15 September, 2008 (09:43) | 1 comment

San Remos Buildings and Lake

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Flautist - Infrared

14 September, 2008 (15:02) | 2 comments

Times Square Shuttle platform.

My favorite use of the modified XT is with the infrared flash (modded by  This has been much easier to work with than when I was using the flash with HIE.

flautist-ir-06911 Flautist - Infrared

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