Saturday, November 2, 2013

NYC Halloween Parade II

In spite of the lack of costumes that were political and/or topical statements, there were many that were just plain fun to photograph. That, coupled with the opportunity to try out the new Analog Efex Pro plugin which was recently released as a free upgrade to the Nik suite of plugins, offered me the opportunity to break out of my usual b/w comfort zone and play a bit. Maybe a little too much .....

NYC Halloween Parade I (More to come)

For the next few entries I'll be posting pictures I shot at the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village. Given the surreal nature of the whole experience I'm tempted to play a bit with a new software plugin recently released by Google to complement the Nik suite of plugin filters, Analog Efex Pro. I've only had a chance to glance at it, but it appears to offer some very interesting possibilities. I am very pleased to see Google make the investment of resources to enhance the Nik plugins.

I feel compelled to editorialize a bit about the event. I first attended the Halloween Parade, which is contained entirely by the bounds of Greenwich Village - starting on Sixth Avenue and Spring Street, and proceeding up Sixth Avenue to 14th Street - in the late 1980's when I was first learning my craft as a photographer. I was then, as I am now, deeply invested in studying the techniques of, and producing b/w images. At that time, the event promised such wonderful opportunities to shoot color that I loaded Kodachrome in my camera, used a flash, and had a ball. Besides being creative, the costumes were outrageous. The event was more than just a parade of weird characters and cross dressers. It was a chance for very bright and insightful people to make topical and political statements, often acerbic and sarcastic, definitely funny. Frequently poking the proverbial finger in the eye of the very people in authority who were responsible for the oversight of the event and the city in general. Parties abounded at all the bars and eateries in the entire neighborhood of the Village, especially the gay bars on Christopher Street and in the streets around Sheridan Square. The entire evening was mostly self-regulated and everyone had a blast.

By comparison, this year's event was much more sedate. The energy flowed and the costumes were very creative and fun to see, but there was a much greater police presence than I ever remembered. There were, as before, the usual crowd control barricades along Sixth Avenue. But the parade staging area, in the few blocks south of Houston Street, which in the earlier times was pretty much open to anyone who wanted to take photos, was saturated with police and barricaded to corral the marchers and press people into very restricted areas, which made taking photos much more difficult. Barricades and heavy police presence and barricades were also apparent throughout the west village. It's a sad commentary on the state of our social environment. I'm sure the police presence was well meant to allow for a safe and enjoyable experience for the spectators. But it was also a sad commentary on our troubled society that such a presence for what in the past has always been a trouble-free event was necessary.

I'm done.

This image was processed in Lightroom and Color Efex Pro (no Analog Efex Pro processing yet):

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fright Night is Coming!

And this guy is ready!

I'm hoping to get to the parade this year, rain or shine (well ...... dark, since it's at night). I've been given a challenge my a photographer friend to shoot only with available light, no flash. Luckily, I'm getting delivery of my new Fujinon 23mm f1.4 lens tomorrow. That, along with the 35mm f1.4, the 18mm f2, and the 14mm f2.8 (which, although it's my favorite lens for the camera, will probably get the least use, being so slow!) should cover my butt pretty well.

There's been some rumors flying around about what's in the works for new Fuji releases. Lots of people in the discussion forums have been yammering about the possibility of cameras with full frame sensors. I've been there, done that with the Nikon D700. At the time I started with that camera there was a distinct advantage in image quality between full frame and APS-C sensors. With the advent of the Fuji X-trans sensor the playing field was leveled (at least for me, there are quite a few trolls on the forums who have nothing better to do with their time but bad mouth Fuji about their inferior technology).

I embraced the X-Pro1 totally when it came out. For me the image quality leaves nothing to be desired, and the ergonomics of the camera and lenses is ideal for my hand size and the type of shooting I do. I'm a happy camper. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Shopping

It's coming on Thursday evening, and spooky stuff abounds at street stalls in Lower Manhattan. How about a spider hat ....

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Private Moment .... Public Space

Walking on Houston Street ..... Where is that guy's hand?