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The Buildings of Manhattan with a Hasselblad and Kodak Tri-X 400 Film

Lately, using a dark orange filter on the front of my Hasselblad 501cm's lens, I've been fixated on photographing NYC buildings set against a deep blue sky. Using black and white film without a filter gives you an almost white or pale grey sky. However, I prefer a dark, grainy backdrop. These photographs capture the way I often see the buildings of Manhattan - dramatic, hulking, almost menacing (Gotham-like if you will). I've spent plenty of time shooting perfectly lined up landscape-type shots of NYC buildings and landmarks, but this series shows the city as a walker, looking up, experiences it. The skyscrapers aren't postcard-placed and level. They surprise you. Turn a corner and one is waiting - jagged and looming. Walk block to block and your view of them shifts. At first, they tower over you, tons of steel, stone, and glass, and it's hard to tell one from the next. Then, distance changes your perspective. From further away, you can see the tops of the buildings start to emerge; their familiar character fully exposed.

The Chrysler Building, NYC, Kodak Tri-X 400 Film Chrysler Building, NYC, Kodak Tri-X 400 Film

375 Lexington Avenue and The Chrysler Building, NYC, Kodak Tri-X 400 Film 375 Lexington Avenue, NYC, Kodak Tri-X 400 Film.

One Madison Park, NYC, Kodak Tri-X 400 Film One Madison Park, NYC, Kodak Tri-X 400 Film

Park Avenue Apartments, NYC, Kodak Tri-X 400 Film Park Avenue Apartments, NYC, Kodak Tri-X 400 Film

One Bryant Park, NYC, Kodak Tri-X 400 Film One Bryant Park, NYC, Kodak Tri-X 400 Film

New York by Gehry Building, NYC, Kodak Tri-X 400 Film New York by Gehry Building, NYC, Kodak Tri-X 400 Film

All shots taken with my Hasselblad 501cm camera and Zeiss lens (fitted with a dark orange filter) on Kodak Tri-X 400 film. Film home developed in Kodak Xtol 1:1 developer at 20C for 11.25 minutes.

A Favorite NYC Building, Two Formats, and Kodak Tri-X 400

As much as I love the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, there are many other great NYC architectural icons. 70 Pine Street, a 60-story skyscraper completed in 1932, is one of my favorites. There are taller buildings sure, but when this Art Deco beauty was completed it was the third tallest in the world. Standing *only* 952 feet, it now seems almost quaint compared to the current crop of buildings outstretching each other every year. When we lived in the Financial District, I always loved to see it peeking out at me between the other buildings. Up close, it features sleek details, including a miniature model of the building itself above the entrance. Another thing I like is the pedestrian bridge linking it with the Deutsche Bank building across the street. Right before we moved to Brooklyn, I dropped by with a camera to take a couple photographs of the building using the bridge as a way to frame the building and lead the eye. I've always liked this photograph, but I have also felt that the lens used at the time (a 28mm Nikkor f2.8) was a bit wide for me to really love this photograph. It was shot with a favorite combo - my Nikon FM2n and Kodak Tri-X 400, but I've often meant to reshoot the building from the same spot with a 25mm or 50mm lens.

70 Pine Street, Shot on Kodak Tri-X 400 with a 35mm Nikon FM2n Camera 70 Pine Street, Kodak Tri-X 400, Nikon FM2n

I don't have my Nikon anymore and use my Hasselblad as an everyday camera. It has an 80mm lens on it, which is equivalent to a roughly 40mm lens in the 35mm format, and it obviously has the square format. This photograph was taken this week in almost the same spot on the sidewalk, but I like it much better. The lines that form the shape (or frame) of the photo are much shorter and bolder. The detail in the building, thanks to the larger negative and Zeiss lens, is much better in this version. The sky is almost the same, but the sun was not shining on the building as much as it was in the Nikon shot. This version also omits the very modern building to the right on Pearl Street that distracts in the Nikon version.

70 Pine Street, Shot on Kodak Tri-X 400 with a Hasselblad 501cm Camera 70 Pine Street, Kodak Tri-X 400, Hasselblad 501cm

There's no real point I'm trying to make here other than sometimes the camera does make a difference. The only constant here, besides the scene, is the always reliable and consistently fantastic Kodak Tri-X 400 film. One of the most annoying phrases I hear people repeat in photography (next to the "The best camera is the one you have on you.") is "The camera doesn't matter." Well, yes sometimes it does matter. As does the lens. As does the film. If it didn't matter we would all use the same camera and lens and be done with it.

Long Exposure Photography at Lincoln Center Plaza Fountain, NYC

Saturday night, while Kate was hosting a Beyoncé concert pre-party, I took the opportunity to shoot a roll of long exposures at and around Lincoln Center. The Lincoln Center Fountain on the Josie Robertson Plaza is gorgeous at night and I had hoped to catch some people hanging out in front of it. They didn't let me down, but a security guard did ask me to move my tripod off of the plaza proper. I should thank him, because I was able to get more of the backdrop in the frame when I moved away from the fountain. Lincoln Center Plaza Fountain Long Exposures, Fuji Neopan Acros 100 Film Lincoln Center Plaza Fountain Long Exposure, Fuji Neopan Acros 100 Film LARGER version is on my Flickr account. You can see a lot of the detail in the building behind the fountain in the bigger photograph.

Lincoln Center Plaza Fountain Long Exposure Number Two, Fuji Neopan Acros Film

Lincoln Center Plaza Fountain Long Exposure with Guest, Fuji Neopan Acros 100 Film These were minute long exposures and just after I tripped the shutter, this woman stepped into the shot to take a pic of her friends. She realized after about ten seconds and started apologizing. Her friends were moving around a lot (you can barely see them), but she was standing almost perfectly still. I asked her to stand there as still as she could for the rest of the shot and she obliged. Her movements in the photo are from when she turned to apologize. I think her figure adds a sense of scale to the photo when combined with the smaller figures by the fountain. Lincoln Center Plaza Fountain Long Exposure with Guest, Fuji Neopan Acros 100 Film

NYC Ballet Sign at Lincoln Center, Fuji Neopan Acros 100 Film This sign by Wendy Whelan of the photograph by Henry Leutwyler really caught my attention. My favorite long exposure shots capture the movement of people. These people are usually random figures with actions and movements out of my control, but you can tell this is a very staged exposure. It's a huge sign and I couldn't resist making a photograph of it. NYC Ballet Sign at Lincoln Center, Fuji Neopan Acros 100 Film

Lincoln Center Exit Long Exposure, Fuji Neopan Acros 100 Film Lincoln Center Exit Long Exposure, Fuji Neopan Acros 100 Film

These photographs were made with my favorite night-shooting combination - the Hasselblad 501cm medium format camera and Fuji Neopan Acros 100 film. I developed the roll in Kodak Xtol developer at a 1:1 solution at 20C for 10 minutes.

Sing for Hope Pianos at Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza

Today was the last day of the Sing for Hope Pianos in NYC and they went out in style. When you think about performing arts in the city, Lincoln Center immediately comes to mind. So, trucks picked up all 88 pianos and delivered them to the Josie Robertson Plaza of Lincoln Center and waited for the city to come and visit. And visit they did. I was there for several hours today and have just started uploading my pictures. Here are a few favorites, starting with an aerial view from the 20th floor across from Lincoln Center. I'll have more shots tomorrow to share. If you are new to the project, this post will give you all the details, including behind-the-scenes shots of the artists in the studio while they painted the pianos.

Sing for Hope Pianos from Above at Lincoln Center Click on this image for a larger version.

Sing for Hope Trio at Lincoln Center Sing for Hope Trio at Lincoln Center

Dog Playing Piano at Sing for Hope Piano in Lincoln Center Dog Playing Piano at Sing for Hope Piano in Lincoln Center

Woman Jamming at Sing for Hope Piano in Lincoln Center Woman Jamming at Sing for Hope Piano in Lincoln Center

Boy at Sing for Hope Piano in Lincoln Center Boy at Sing for Hope Piano in Lincoln Center

Sing for Hope Crowd at Lincoln Center Sing for Hope Crowd at Lincoln Center

The Sing for Hope Pianos - Week Two On the Streets of NYC

Last week, I shared photos from the first week of the Sing for Hope pianos on the streets and in the parks of NYC. I started with Manhattan and the pianos near our Park Slope neighborhood. Since then, I've explored places further afield. When I started this process, it was all about the pianos themselves. I had spent so much time in the studio shooting the artists working, that my focus was on the pianos. Then, the more time I spent traveling around photographing, it became increasingly about the new neighborhoods I discovered. Several times I gushed to Kate, "We've got to check out this park I saw today!" Finally, after spending time talking to the people I met at the pianos, I realized it was all about the people. Sure the pianos are awesome, but it's the reactions that people have to them that I've enjoyed the most. It's the conversations I've had. It's the things I've learned about the neighborhoods and the city from talking to people who may have lived her all their lives.

Honestly, this whole project has a richness to it that I didn't fully expect or consider. These pianos have touched lives and filled the city streets with music. And the people of NYC can play, man can they play... The project wraps up this weekend on June 16th. Sunday all 88 pianos will be reunited on the huge plaza of Lincoln Center. There will be performances and concerts each hour and food provided by our pals, Chobani. And at 7:08 all the pianos will be played in unison for a grand finale.

Lunch Break at Scott's McCarren Park Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn Lunch Break at Scott's McCarren Park Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn

Girl Playing Scott's McCarren Park Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn Girl Playing Scott's McCarren Park Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn

Lessons at Jennie's Sing for Hope Piano at Jackson Heights Post Office, Queens Lessons at Jennie's Sing for Hope Piano at Jackson Heights Post Office, Queens

Girls Discovering Misha's Piano at Owl's Head Park, Brooklyn Girls Discovering Misha's Piano at Owl's Head Park, Brooklyn

Man Checking out the Vivaldi Partners' Piano at Carmine Carro Community Center, Brooklyn Man Checking out the Vivaldi Partners Piano at Carmine Carro Community Center, Brooklyn

Man Playing Brad's Sing for Hope Piano in Astoria Park, Queens Man Playing Brad's Sing for Hope Piano in Astoria Park

Dog Waiting Patiently While Hugo Plays in Astoria Park, Queens Dog Waiting Patiently While Hugo Plays in Astoria Park, Queens

Informal Jam at the Astoria Park Sing for Hope Piano, Queens Informal Jam at the Astoria Park Sing for Hope Piano, Queens

Playing Manoela and Gray's Sing for Hope Piano at Shore Road Park, Brooklyn Manoela and Gray's Sing for Hope Piano at Shore Road Park, Brooklyn

Margo Playing Violin at the Brooklyn Bridge Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn Margo Playing at the Brooklyn Bridge Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn

Boy at Stefan's Sing for Hope Piano with Lower Manhattan in the Background, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Boy at Stefan's Sing for Hope Piano with Lower Manhattan in the Background, Brooklyn Bridge Park

Angela and Kate at Stefan's Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Angela and Kate at Stefan's Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn Bridge Park

Boy Stopping to Watch the Action at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Boy Stopping to Watch the Action at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn

Monica at the Flushing Town Hall Sing for Hope Piano, Queens Monica at the Flushing Town Hall Sing for Hope Piano, Queens

Sing for Hope Photobomb at Flushing Town Hall, Queens Sing for Hope Photobomb at Flushing Town Hall, Queens

Royce's Sing for Hope Piano Tucked Under the BQE in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn Royce's Sing for Hope Piano Tucked Under the BQE in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

Lennie Playing Sing for Hope Piano at Coney Island, Brooklyn Lennie Playing Sing for Hope Piano at Coney Island, Brooklyn

PS 34 Kids at Their Sing for Hope Piano in Tompkins Square Park, Manhattan PS 34 Kids at Their Sing for Hope Piano in Tompkins Square Park, Manhattan

Girl Playing Claudia's Sing for Hope Piano in Juniper Valley Park While Men Play Dominos, Queens Girl Playing Claudia's Sing for Hope Piano in Juniper Valley Park While Men Play Dominos, Queens

Girl Playing Claudia's Sing for Hope Piano in Juniper Valley Park, Queens Girl Playing Claudia's Sing for Hope Piano in Juniper Valley Park, Queens

Girl Unable to Resist Sing for Hope Piano at Maria Hernandez Park, Brooklyn Girl Unable to Resist Sing for Hope Piano at Maria Hernandez Park, Brooklyn

Family at Borough Hall Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn Family at Borough Hall Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn

Allen at the Columbus Park Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn Allen at the Columbus Park Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn

Boy at Bourough Hall Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn Boy at Bourough Hall Sing for Hope Piano, Brooklyn

Dogwalker at Marc's Sing for Hope Piano on Roosevelt Island, Manhattan Dogwalker at Marc's Sing for Hope Piano on Roosevelt Island, Manhattan

Rob's Sing for Hope Piano in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn Rob's Sing for Hope Piano in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn

Danesh Playing Rob's Sing for Hope Piano in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn Danesh Playing Rob's Sing for Hope Piano in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn

Bushwick School for Social Justice Piano at Irving Square Park, Brooklyn

The students of the Bushwick School for Social Justice dedicated this piano to their teacher who was killed during Hurricane Sandy. Bushwick School for Social Justice Piano at Irving Square Park, Brooklyn

Ben Playing the Chobani Piano under the DUMBO Archway, Brooklyn Ben Playing the Chobani Piano under the DUMBO Archway, Brooklyn