This weekend we made a day trip up island to buy some great German style rye bread from our favourite bakery, visit the street market, hunt through thrift shops and eat at the brew pub. We did all that, and I was hoping to find a rare 1914-1920 Royal 10, which of course I did not. There seem to be many old Underwoods however, but Royals? Nope.
Along the way I took some pictures and bought some fascinating vintage stuff at various thrift shops. One was this incredibly colourful old Italian made nativity scene. One piece had an old Woolworth’s price tag on the bottom; 35 cents. I set it up at home and took some photos with various lenses to try to get all the figurines in focus, which was impossible. I resisted the urge to insert a little gnome/elf with a rake, which would fit perfectly but might be considered offensive, so I’ll merely mention the concept. The elf, in my mind, would have represented Santa Claus, who arguably, was out on his first mission. If you believe in Santa, that is.
I also had to grab this 1957-59 Kodak Brownie Model I, made in London. On the street I saw a Christmas tree and placed it there to take the picture above. That was item 2 from the 1950’s, assuming the Nativity was such. It might be!
Then there was the red caboose. Definitely 50’s, at least it was when I was there. And definitely no longer available in any store, or ebay, unlike the first 2 items.
This scene picture has a timeless feel to it, so I thought it fit well with the theme.
And finally, what is more December than frost on dead leaves?
Seen last summer
Can’t afford either one! OK, maybe the Remington, but $130? I have a Deluxe Model 5 already…I think it was $25.
Oh to be on the road in my VW with my Streamliner beside me on the seat, typing as I drive along. Ridiculous, you say? Yes, but how many people died because some idiot was typing while driving? My guess, very very few. How may have died because some idiot was talking, texting, or browsing their smartphone? My guess, thousands. Once again, the typewriter proves its worth.
One theme about art which I’ve heard all my life is that what’s left out is as important as what’s put in. In architecture school, my most influential teacher said the best buildings looked simple, a sign of great skill in their design. Many great photographs were cropped from the original shots to achieve their best impact. I was looking at a picture I shot on the street recently, of a girl dressed up in various shades of pink. She had obviously gone to great lengths to achieve her look and it certainly drew my attention. But looking at the picture I began to notice things I hadn’t seen when I took it. Two men were coming, both dressed in black, with not the slightest nod to fashion. I couldn’t figure out if the picture worked this way or that, however, despite trying various crops – until I tried a function called ‘Cinemascope’. This removed even more than I had done in all my experiments, but I found it nevertheless had more impact. I give you both shots here, the original and the ‘Cinemascope’ version, for you to judge what works best.
the original photo
Cinemascope wide screen version
8.30am at 7-11
Long ago, in the era of film, it was fun to shoot street scenes. They only thing that curtailed my shooting then was the cost of film, processing, and printing; among other things, like the need to attend school, etc. We always shot in black and white too, as colour was much too expensive, besides which black and white was the medium on the street beat, and could be developed and printed in a home darkroom without an enormous investment in equipment. Digital has changed all that, mostly for the better, with the exception of the tendency to want to buy a new camera every few years. My Minolta SRT 101 lasted 25 years, and was every bit as good as the finest cameras money could buy. Not so today.
Nevertheless, my present DLSR is certainly good enough, even if it is already technically obsolete. This morning I had an hour to kill while getting some work done on the car, so I brought the camera along and wandered around the downtown core. I converted these images to black and white, because I feel that they have more impact when you remove colour as a consideration; it’s all about subject matter. That is the point of street photography. I tried not to shoot photos of people right up front and in their faces, because I’ve never felt comfortable doing that. Today in fact I shot a picture of one fellow who passed me on the sidewalk and heard the click of the very noisy shutter of my Pentax K50. He stopped and turned to ask me if I’d taken his picture. Since I had a photograph of only his back I replied I had not, hoping he would drop the subject, but he didn’t. He told me to show him that I hadn’t taken his picture. I told him there was nothing to see, and walked away. He then called me an f-ing goof. Some street people are known to suffer from paranoia, so I guess he was one of them. I will not use the picture of his back in any case.
PS: last day for the free ebook!