Thursday, March 27, 2008

Subway Shooting

June 1986

It's nice to see that the subways are less depressing and threatening than they were twenty-two years ago, though if you're not of that opinion, then consider at least that the lighting is better, although the only reading material these days is found on the advertising posters. Which, with the advent of a single advertiser buying an entire car, have gotten to be exceedingly dull. I much prefer the smaller, single, local advertisements: they're easier to mock. It's far too expensive for the smaller businesses to buy an entire car, but just imagine if Doctor Zizmor had the cash....

Back in the 1980's there was plenty to read aside from the ads, in fact, it seems that half the ad card holders on the trains were empty in those days. The real messages were painted inside and out of the cars; David Gunn's eradication program had yet to take effect, and anyone who enjoyed visual puzzles could conceivably ride the length of the A line and never read more than half the car.

March 2008

And as the atmosphere and ambiance of the train has improved, so too has the technology of camera equipment. The first picture was made on Tri-X film with a Pentax ME Super, through a 50mm f1.7 lens. I held the camera in my lap, I focused with the distance scale on the lens (guessing the distance by counting the floor tiles). I pointed the lens in the general direction of my subject, and pretended to be futzing with the camera while shooting, advancing, and shooting again.

Last week I was still assuming the persona of the engrossed technogeek, and with good reason: These cameras have more electronics than the subway trains of the 80's. But thanks to image stabilization, ISO 3200, nine-point autofocus, adjustable white balance and instant feedback, the results are worth showing right away, rather than waiting twenty-two years to resurface.

Of course, since I was still holding the camera in my lap, what's really apparent is my deficiency in the horizon department.


Anonymous said...

Don't be too sure. I seem to recall that the E train rode uphill a great deal of the way to Fifth Avenue. Looks normal to me. The chick futzing with her camera across the way may be related to you. You even look a bit alike.

Steve Rogg said...

So did Sharon take your photo? Looks a little like Dueling Cameras. Wasn't that Ned Beatty I saw in the next car listening to banjo music?