Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bleecker Street in July

July 30, 1986

Here's another example of Kodak's Recording Film, on a hot Wednesday afternoon in July.  For this one I was standing on the west side of Sixth Avenue at Bleecker Street, between Churchill Square (the Downing Street Playground) and Father Demo Square.  The pigeon was probably flying towards Carmine Street, a block to the north, and the Empire State building is, of course, about thirty-one blocks further north (and an avenue east) at 34th and Fifth.  

This was shot with my first 35mm camera, a Pentax ME Super.  I think I had a 70-200mm zoom lens on the camera, and although I don't know for sure what the focal length was that I was using; I don't think it was racked out to the full 200mm, more likely it was at around 150mm, but after 25 years, my memory of these things is about as hazy as the sky was on this day.

The above image is also cropped from the full scene, and when I first printed this negative I made two versions: one was cropped as you see here, and the other horizontally, with none of the trees showing.  I liked the way that one looked, almost like a bas-relief of the pebbly building emerging from the grainy sky.  Below is the full image from the original negative.   

Looking at the contact sheet, this was the first of only three frames that I shot of this scene.  The other two were verticals, the second at about the same focal length as this one, and the last a longer shot (i.e., a shorter focal length, probably at 70mm) to show more of the street.  I can't remember if I even saw the bird in the viewfinder when I took the picture; I may have, and then made the second to insure that I'd have what I was initially after, since I had no idea it would be positioned so perfectly, and I certainly wasn't trying to compose anything like what I wound up with.  
But serendipity has been a wonderful collaborator. 

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