Friday, May 11, 2012


As I was walking back to Penn Station yesterday, I turned the corner onto 57th Street and saw a woman facing away from me. Leopard skin hat, paisley jacket, striped pats suit - I had no idea what was in store for me when she turned around, but I knew it had to be interesting. I picked up the camera to compose the shot of her back, and just as I was ready to push the shutter she turned and looked right into the lens. I knew there's be no chance for a second shot so I pressed the shutter and prayed that the autofocus would click in. After I walked past her I was tempted to 'chimp' the shot (look at it on the LCD) but I knew if I'd missed it I'd feel terrible, and if I got it, I probably wouldn't pay attention for the rest of the walk back.  Her hands came up when she saw me with the camera almost in her face, as if to say 'What ......?'

Just another typical New Yorker.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Back At It

Finally, I'm getting back into my New York street peregrinations. I'm still not at 100%, but I was out this afternoon and it felt really good. I didn't see much, but that's not because it wasn't there to see. I'm still fuzzy headed. What I could shoot had some substance to it, but could have been done better technically. But still, it was fun.

I've pretty much got the hand grip and position of the X-Pro1 worked out. I'll be getting at thumb grip that fits into the hot shoe, and that should go a long way to getting my fat thumb out of the way of some buttons and controls. My focus timing still needs some work - I miss quite a few shots still - but it's coming along. 

What I really need most of all is a heavy dose of patience. That's the biggest hurdle for me to overcome with the XP1. Shooting with it is so different compared to the DSLR experience. Working with the XP1 is much like handling my Leica M6. That's a good thing for me. I fell into a trap with my D700, using it's technical speed and accuracy to replace my intention. The XP1 really forces me to think ahead and prepare the moment better. And that can only help to make me a better photographer.

As I was walking across West 57th street this afternoon, I passed these two girls. Something clicked in my head when I saw them, but I was thinking about a shot I'd just taken a few moments before and I was past them when it finally registered. Luckily I was still close enough to turn and catch up to them. I actually like this shot better than if I'd gotten their faces - which would have distracted from what originally caught my attention.

Say hello to the polka-dot sisters.

Monday, May 7, 2012

On The High Line

I went out for a walk on New York's High Line yesterday to get my walking legs back into shape after a layoff of two weeks. The High Line is an elevated rail line that was built after World War I so as to move freight between the New York Hudson River docks and manufacturing sites. The original tracks were at ground level, but there were so many accidents with pedestrians and other vehicles that the elevated tracks became a necessity. The elevated line runs between very narrow gaps of buildings. It's been made into a city park with interesting views of the city skyline and the Hudson River, and in the couple of years since it's beginning the trees and other horticulture has really begun to develop and grow. It's also an ideal spot for people watching and candid street shooting.

I continue to be surprised by the quality of the images the Fuji X-Pro1 is capable of producing. The camera's color renditions are strong and its ability to handle a wide exposure range makes it a match for any pro level dslr. Here's a color shot with very little processing to it, mostly white and black point adjustment. The camera registered the bright highlights of the clouds and the white building in the background, as well as the subtle differences in the white and yellow stripes of the girl's shirt, and still held detail in the shadows of the dark girl's shaded face. The details in the black hair and the knitted pattern of the girl's blue blouse give the image a real feeling of texture.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Back At It

After two weeks of no shooting I was back at it again today. During the two week layoff I acquired some rust. I think that no matter where I decided to go today, it would have been an uninspired walk. I was just too preoccupied with monitoring how I felt to be able to really see what was going on around me.

The walk, however, gave me a chance to experiment with a different camera strap. Up till now I'd been using the standard neck strap on my X-Pro1 which I liked because it was very lightweight and thin. I could hang the camera around my neck, over my shoulder, or wrap the strap around my wrist and carry the camera in my hand at my hip. But that presented some difficulty in taking vertical shots from chest level - that was my favorite position for the D700 while walking. I transferred the R-Strap, which I'd been using for three years, from the Nikon to the Fuji camera. At first it felt a little strange, because the XP1 is so light I felt as though there was nothing on the end of the strap. But it did the job. I could hold the camera in vertical orientation much more comfortably in the middle of my chest. I wish I had gotten some good shots to show you today, but I'm sure there will be another opportunity this week. For now, here's two horizontal shots from last month.