Sunday, July 8, 2012

On 125th treet

After spending part of this afternoon visiting with an old friend, I took a short photo walk across 125th Street in Manhattan. I've wanted to do this walk for some time, but my trepidatious feelings about the neighborhood that I had carried with me from my time, forty years ago, as a student at Manhattan School of Music kept me away. This street forms the southern edge of the Manhattan neighborhood known as Harlem which is a predominantly African-American neighborhood and I was concerned that I would not be able to fade into the crowd. But it was time for me to get out of my comfort zone. As it turned out, although there was definitely a preponderance of people of color about, my fears were quickly assuaged.

The street is colorful and full of characters. Sunday afternoon is an interesting time to be there because there are quite a few churches on the street and the arterial avenues around it. Sunday finery was in abundance as well as many people who were 'dressed for the heat'.

After giving myself some learning time with the Fujinon 35mm f1.4 lens on the X Pro-1, I switched it out for my favorite, the 18mm f2 lens. I've been playing with the Auto ISO to find a comfort zone with it. Auto ISO doesn't function the same was as on my D700, but finding some way to make it work for me was important because removing that restraint on my exposures definitely allows for more flexibility in the way that I shoot. Until Fuji comes out with a firmware update that allows for the setting of a minimum shutter speed while using Auto ISO, the best work around that I've found is to set the camera on Auto ISO with a max ISO of 3200 (I so wish I could set it to 6400 but that's only available if shooting JPGs) and manually control the aperture and shutter speed. The only problem with this method is that, if the ISO maxes out at 3200 and there is still not enough light, the camera will still take the photo. Likewise on the bottom, if the camera hits the minimum ISO and the settings are not fast enough the camera will take a grossly over exposed photo.

I got this shot by holding the camera in front of me at chest level. The shutter speed was at 1/500th second, and the aperture was f8. The auto ISO nailed the exposure at 3200. The camera's noise processing is exceptional, but I still had to do some noise reduction with Nik Software's Dfine.  The title of the shot is 'Know what I'm sayin', my man?'