These photos represent what I feel is my best work from the last year or so. This page contains thumbnails and my notes on each picture. The notes are probably way too much information, so, if you want to skip the long-winded annotations, you can jump right to the "gallery" view. One picture = 1,000 words. Approximately.


Anne (thumbnail)

This is my wife, Anne. It remains one of my favorite pictures, and what's more, I doubt I could improve on it. Yet its creation was in a way accidental.

By January, 2001, I had been taking pictures with my Nikon FM2n for almost a year and had acquired a few prime lenses along the way to augment my 35-105 zoom. I wasn't really happy with the results I was getting, and I didn't know what to do about it. So I decided to take a course at the Abington Arts Center ("Color Photography" taught by Bill Kelly). Incidentally, my FM2n had been out for repair for almost three months, so I used Anne's Pentax K1000 for the first week's assignment. I finally got my FM2n back in time for the second week's assignment, which was to produce a "window-lit portrait."

Anne sat in an arm chair facing the camera, and we tried various poses--looking at the camera, looking out the window, etc. at different exposures. I also tried using an 81B warming filter on some shots and tried some tricks I had read about, including stretching a piece of tulle over the lens for a "soft focus" effect and making a double exposure with one exposure out of focus for a "glowing" effect. But this straight shot is my favorite. The light was from a nearby window; I didn't use a reflector on the shadow side. I hung a dark bed sheet behind her to get a black background.

All of the photos from the session surpassed anything I had done before in trying to get a good picture of Anne (or a good picture of anything for that matter!). The reason was simply the lighting. I had just never realized how important lighting could be.

February 4, 2001

Nikon FM2n on tripod

Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AIS

f stop f/2.8 or f/4; shutter speed unknown. Metered off a gray card, I think.

Fuji NPH 400 developed at Walgreens 1-hour; printed by Larmon Photo.

Two Benches, Jenkintown

This photo was the product of some random, senseless shooting I did near my fiancée's apartment. I was taking my first darkroom class at the Abington Arts Center and was wandering around aimlessly looking for subjects. I happened upon these two benches tucked into a corner near some restaurants and shops. For some reason, they caught my eye. I moved an empty Snapple bottle out of the way and grabbed a quick shot.

Of the "art" photography I've attempted, this is my favorite shot. I'm not sure why, exactly, but I have a few thoughts. I like the symmetry of the composition--it's at rest. It's so static that it seems to represent "sitting" very effectively. I also like the position of the benches in the frame. I have a tendency to "bullseye" my subjects smack dab in the middle of the frame. By putting the benches at the bottom of the frame, the eye has someplace to land. What this photo lacks, however, is contrast. There's no white and no black in the print, just gray. Perhaps that makes it even more restful.

June 30, 2001

Nikon F3HP handheld

50mm f/1.4 AIS

f/4 1/125

Kodak Tri-X developed in whatever we used in class. Printed on Ilford Multigrade IV Deluxe RC Pearl, but no filter was used. Scanned from the print.

Bells Mill Road Bridge, Fairmount Park

This photo was from the same roll as "Two Benches" above and was taken only a few days later. More random, senseless shooting, this time in Fairmount Park. I was initially drawn to the tree with its massive network of exposed roots. I took a picture of just the roots, but I think this one incorporating the bridge is more successful.

I didn't usually labor over any of my prints, but this was an exception. I used a contrast filter, but can't remember which one, whichever my teacher recommended. Basically the tree is dodged and the bridge is burned in.

July 4, 2001

Nikon F3HP on tripod

35mm f/1.4 AIS

f/16; shutter speed unknown

Kodak Tri-X developed in whatever we used in class. Printed on Ilford Multigrade IV Deluxe RC Pearl, with a filter. Scanned from the print.

The 5:47

The 5:47 Train (thumbnail)

This is the train I take every night coming home from work, the 5:47 on Septa's R5 line as seen from Radnor Station. I always thought the train looked mysterious and romantic rounding the corner as the headlight gleamed off the curving track. So I decided to try and take a picture of it.

This was my first roll of Neopan 1600. I guessed at the exposure, since there was nothing to meter. I figured a one-second exposure would be about right, so I braced the camera on a railing. It's not sharp, but it's sharp enough. It even adds to the mystery.

The print was manipulated slightly simply to get the shadow areas even in tone. I also cropped out a bit of the bottom for the same reason--the station's lights spilled onto the tracks.

November, 2001

Nikon FM2n handheld

50mm f/1.4 AIS

f/5.6 1 second

Fuji Neopan 1600 developed T-MAX. Printed on Ilford Multigrade IV Deluxe RC Pearl, but no filter was used.

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