Anti-gun violence mural

I was recently approached to document the painting of a mural sponsored by Moms Demand and Students Demand Action with help from Wall\Therapy. Having worked with Wall/Therapy for six years, knowing the muralist (Brittany Williams), and having volunteer time in the time off bank at work, I quickly said yes. The painting took course over a four days, Friday through Monday.

Wall\Therapy volunteers helped paint as well as families affected by gun violence.

Below are some photos from the mural being painted. The mural is located at 810 Genesee St (Rocky’s Pizza) in Rochester, NY.

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Beginning of the end

As if it wasn’t getting weird before, it’s getting very weird now. There’s not many people left in the building. As each day and month passes, it gets quieter. Some people have less than a month left, then it will be emptier and quieter. I haven’t begun clearing out my cube but I should start doing that soon. I’ve started to take a closer look at the place I spent the last 18 years at with my camera as my final day will eventually be here.

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Nikon L35AF

A friendly recently very kindly passed on a Nikon L35AF to me. After shooting a roll, I was pleased with how it performed.

It’s an interesting camera to use. I’d best describe it as an autofocusing Olympus XA2. The focusing meter is inside the viewfinder so you can tell if the camera is properly focusing by watching the meter as you make the photo. That’s all fine, except when you want to make quicker photos. As you use the camera, you will know whether or not to trust it with focusing.

The camera meters and focuses like any other camera. The lens quality is great for a point and shoot. You could spend more money on a “fancier” point and shoot or you could get this camera and have money left over for more film. I’d even save the money on a Olympus mju and get the L35 or an Olympus Infinity. You’ll get the same results, just not the same adulation from your peers because you bought a more expensive camera.

I used Kodak Gold 200 for this test roll.

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Olympus Infinity Jr.

Going through a recent funk was only made worse by selling a bunch of cameras I loved and used religiously. As luck would have it, a friend had a few to give away so she let me have them in hopes it would help the rut I was in.

One of the cameras was an Olympus Infinity Jr. After getting the camera and finding the manual online to read, I loaded it with some Kodak UltraMax 400 and did my best to what I usually do, shoot my way out of a funk.

After a few miles around Rochester, NY and a date night with my girlfriend, I finished a roll.

Some observations:

The autofocus on the Infinity Jr is pretty fast! The lens is sharp as well, better than a normal point and shoot. Some reviews have the Mju-ii, a camera I just sold, as being the better of the two, but I disagree. The flash and autofocus on the Jr I shot was better.

Downsides to other reviewers are that the camera is that it is slightly bigger than the mju-ii and the lens “isn’t as fast” as mju-ii. If those things bother you, then maybe you shouldn’t be shooting with point and shoot cameras. Not necessarily a design flaw but I had to be careful my index finger didn’t touch part of the lens. I could be wrong but the lens seems to be too close to the finger rest on the cover.

I’ll be reviewing the other cameras my friend gave me shortly.

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10 Miles

It was a unusually nice March day yesterday so I took a personal day off from work to walk around Rochester. I intended to walk five to six miles then call it the day. Yadda, yadda, yadda, 10 miles in decided to call it quits. I had a walking partner, Jon Gary, with me most of the day. Normally, I am not fond of walking with someone while trying to get shots, but Jon doesn’t mind my pace, my yapping, me wandering away here and there and doesn’t compete for a shot.

Shooting in a smaller metro has it’s disadvantages. There’s less people out and about. I was telling a friend that when shooting street photography in a smaller city, you have to temper your expectations. You will never get what our counterparts get in NYC, San Francisco, Chicago or LA. A small city can look big and lively with a nice grouping of different photos that span a few years. Having said that, a good photo is still a good photo. And just because someone is in the photo, doesn’t make it a good candid street photograph. I’m not sure if I got any good photos. Time will tell. And subjectivity will kick in now that there are here for display.

Anyways, here’s some of the photos in the order in which they were taken. As you can see, many (or just most), can use some improving. I am rusty. I need to get that edge back, getting closer, anticipating and thinking ahead, working a scene (if it does happen) a bit more. I also tried to take some more observational photos, without people.

Overall, a day out shooting is better than a day not shooting. Hope you enjoy the photos.

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I miss live baseball

Live baseball in Rochester is not until April 11th. I know because I’ve been counting down the days. I have tickets. Good ones too. My girlfriend likes to sit close among the season ticket holders. I don’t blame her. The baseball etiquette and friendliness is different among the hardcore fans. Sit next to them enough during the season and you become extended family. The only thing left to do is wait and anxiously look at the extended forecast that will change 100 times between now and then.

When they are on, I’ve been watching Dodger spring training games on tv. When tv isn’t an option, I listen on the radio. I’m glad the Dodgers didn’t sign Bryce Harper. I like having sports villains. Harper didn’t sign with us. Good. We didn’t want him anyways.

As a street photographer, I love going where the people are. Luckily I love baseball. And Frontier Field. It’s a ten minute walk from my apartment. More if I decide to have a slice at Pizza Stop on the way. There’s lots I miss about witnessing the atmosphere of a game. One is witnessing grown men feel young again by putting a jersey and having time stand still for nine innings.

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RIP Google Plus

I’m not sure why, but at some point I uploaded some photos to google plus almost eight years ago.  Here are some of the street photography photos I was making at that time in Rochester, NY.  Then, my ability to make these photos were limited to breaks during work and group night walks with other photographers.

Sadly, many of these bus stops no longer exist.  Instead, we have a transit center where I am usually kicked out of by security.

Sadly, many of these bus stops no longer exist. Instead, we have a transit center where I am usually kicked out of by security.

Before the transit center, dramas would occasionally unfold on the sidewalks.

Before the transit center, dramas would occasionally unfold on the sidewalks.

The East End was more active back then.  Any given summer weekend had hundreds of people walking about as well as buskers.

The East End was more active back then. Any given summer weekend had hundreds of people walking about as well as buskers.

Bars were always generally packed and spilled out on the streets.

Bars were always generally packed and spilled out on the streets.

8 Miles

What do you do when it gets in the 60s in February in Rochester, NY? In my case, you use a personal day you have to spend by July 1st. With looming unemployment bearing down on me and a case of the winter blues, a good walk is what I knew I needed. I of course brought my camera. Normally I would fire whatever social media app I was using and send messages to some local people to see if they would like to join me. I’m not on social media anymore. I can’t say if it is a break or a complete farewell to Instagram or Twitter. I can say is that I do not miss either at the moment. Nothing has changed in my life other than that I do not feel the need to see what’s going on in the world. It’s not that I don’t care, I just prefer to get my news and personal relationships to be outside of an app. To me, the apps replaced making an effort and has made lazier and ignorant people even more lazier and ignorant (and amplified).

I woke up normally like any other day, had breakfast with my girlfriend and left the apartment when she left work. My first stop was to go to Java’s to get a coffee. On the way, I bumped into another local street photographer I had yet to meet (but knew on social media), Dan Witkowski. I wouldn’t bump into anyone else I know for the day. I did, though, meet a few interesting people/strangers who would like to talk about cameras, photography, haircuts or birds.

Near Java’s and Eastman School of Music

Near Java’s and Eastman School of Music

Who can resist morning light on some interesting architecture?

Who can resist morning light on some interesting architecture?

I asked if he needed help and got a few photos.

I asked if he needed help and got a few photos.

After finishing my coffee and middling around the East End, I made my way back to downtown to find business people and lawyers. The light was like Golden Hour all day.

After finishing my coffee and middling around the East End, I made my way back to downtown to find business people and lawyers. The light was like Golden Hour all day.

TARO is everywhere. I always get their tag when I see a new to me one.

TARO is everywhere. I always get their tag when I see a new to me one.

Rochester logo and sparks.

Rochester logo and sparks.

The Four Corners Building is ugly.

The Four Corners Building is ugly.

This guy watched me make photos for an hour. I’d loop a three block radius to make good use of the light. Once he was alone and without a client (think he’s a defense attorney), I got him watching me.

This guy watched me make photos for an hour. I’d loop a three block radius to make good use of the light. Once he was alone and without a client (think he’s a defense attorney), I got him watching me.

Rochester buses never wait a couple extra seconds for someone trying to get their bus. She missed her bus.

Rochester buses never wait a couple extra seconds for someone trying to get their bus. She missed her bus.

Having an apartment downtown is convenient to getting to work, which is also downtown. I also love how I can literally walk out the door and start making photos. As luck would have it, I was able to catch these two guys after lunch.

Having an apartment downtown is convenient to getting to work, which is also downtown. I also love how I can literally walk out the door and start making photos. As luck would have it, I was able to catch these two guys after lunch.

The next few shots are around Dinosaur BBQ and the old subway. The city decided best use of the space was to destroy the old subway and put up cookie cutter expensive condos while destroying decades of art and a free open air gallery and studio. I have a feeling the new walkway and condos will be heavily instagramed once finished.

The next few shots are around Dinosaur BBQ and the old subway. The city decided best use of the space was to destroy the old subway and put up cookie cutter expensive condos while destroying decades of art and a free open air gallery and studio. I have a feeling the new walkway and condos will be heavily instagramed once finished.

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Bob Lonsberry, local talkshow guy, in the wild.

Bob Lonsberry, local talkshow guy, in the wild.

The store in the middle is now gone. Would make a nice gallery.

The store in the middle is now gone. Would make a nice gallery.

Color on Monroe Ave.

Color on Monroe Ave.

I walked approximately 8 miles overall. I came out the end of it feeling a little sore but with a clear head and some photos for portfolio and archive.

I walked approximately 8 miles overall. I came out the end of it feeling a little sore but with a clear head and some photos for portfolio and archive.

As long as you’re alive, you’re in play.

One of my favorite websites is Cardboard Gods. I used to be a card collector, now I collect moments through working a camera in various social, lighting, sporting, political and familial settings. A recent quote on a Cardboard Gods post was a good reminder: “As long as you’re alive, you’re in play.“

I recently found out (on my 43rd birthday) that I’m going to be laid off. The details, even now, are still sketchy. I’ll find out in a few weeks when my last day will be. I’ve been at my job/career for almost 18 years. I ask myself who will want to hire someone like me? The idea of interviewing with strangers sounds fun. It’s no different than walking and making candid photos of people in public. In a good interview, everyone exposes themselves (some more than others) to get a desired result. The same goes for truly candid street photography.

I’m not going to lie, I’d much rather find a new job with the comfort of not having to worry about keeping my current one. The pressure I will inevitably put on myself will be pretty high. The pressure has been getting the best of me the past few weeks. It’s been hard to get a full night’s sleep. To counter it, exercise, eating organic food as much as possible, and trying new things have kept my worry from getting worse.

When stressed, I often stare out the windows of my apartment watching strangers go about their days. I have a cheap camera with a cheap zoom lens and decided to try something new. Using some Kodak P3200 film, I photographed strangers from inside whenever the sense of dread and worry set in. I’m not going to lie to myself, the photos need some work and the results might look better with a better lens. Yet, not succumbing to the stress, making these photos and developing them in a local darkroom makes me at at least feel alive … and in play.


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Five photos: Rochester dogs

While out walking I cannot help but take as many candid dog photos as possible.  Here's five photos shot while walking around with my Canon QL17 and some Kodak film.

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Five photos: Rochester Red Wings Baseball

I've been documenting Rochester Red Wings baseball games I've been attending in 2017 and 2018.   It's a long term personal project so maybe in a few years I will make it into a book or exhibition of some sort.

Although I have made a few portraits, I've mostly made candid photos from my seats as I have yet to obtain a press pass to freely walk around the stadium and approach people.  Not having a press pass also limits the amount of games I can attend.  So, if anyone from the Red Wings reads this and is inspired to give me a press pass, contact me.   Or, if you would like your game documented (on Kodak film), buy me a ticket and I will photograph your day/night at the park. 

Certain themes have come about after about 300-400 frames.  One is the interactions of kids attending the games with the weather, players, stadium, food, other fans, and their parents.  Here's five quick low resolution scans.

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Walking Rochester with Impossible Film

Packed away in storage I had a Polaroid Close-up that I bought in the late 90s.  After cleaning the rollers, I tried out a pack of Impossible Project black and white film from 2016.  I also decided to use the Tascam field recorder I have to experiment with sound recordings.  I have an exhibit coming up where I will have to give an artist talk.  The curator wants me to make some of these Walking Rochester videos for the event.  So .. practice, practice, practice!

The results are meh all around.  The sound is very choppy in some instances.  As for the film, it was definitely from the era when the Impossible Project was working out the kinks.  Apparently they have rebranded with Polaroid and have fresh and better stock.  Also, I am worried that the focusing on the camera is off.  It zone focuses but not too well.

After I get the Tascam working right, I will try with a fresh and not expired color pack and see what happens.

Rochester Businessmen

Recently, the Flower City Arts photo department had their annual garage sale.  I picked up a couple ridiculously cheap Canon QL17's, loaded them up with Kodak film and set off into the streets of downtown Rochester to photograph businessmen (mostly bankers and lawyers).  Here's five frames from my first roll of Tri-X.  Still getting used to rangefinder focusing as well as zone focusing on the fly.  I do not use the meter during the day as I always shoot at f11 or f16.  It's fairly easy to guess the shutter speed I need to use.

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Compact camera at a Buffalo Bills game

Endzone shenanigans in Orchard Park during a Buffalo Bills game.  Shot with an Olympus Mju-II (2.50 thrift store find) and AgfaPhoto Vista 400 (2.50/roll).

 

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Walking Rochester

Every so often I bring a recorder to record what I photograph.  It's a fun challenging project to do in between all the photograph projects I obsess over.  

I have a couple on vimeo now.

 

Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, 2017, Rochester, NY experienced a partial solar eclipse.   Although I really wanted to experience the eclipse, I wanted even more to document all the people downtown looking up into the sky.  Shot with two Nikon N80's, 24mm and 50mm lenses and Kodak Portra film.

March For Our Lives

At least 5,000 people attended the March For Our Lives march in Rochester, NY.  I'm impressed with the kids who organized and participated in this march.  As much as it was a rally call and a chance to be loud and to be heard, I noticed some somberness among those still in grade school.  Here's my edit. 

Five photos: Spring

The weather doesn't say spring but my eagerness for making photos is trumping the cold weather so I went outside walking to find hints of spring.  I found some nice light in downtown Rochester but there were no hints of spring.  There were leftovers of the St. Patrick's Day celebration from last Saturday.  Later on, I went to a large format photography class at Flower City Arts.   Once I figured out all the movements, focusing was a breeze.  A nice spring breeze.

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Five photos: Cars

Going through archives.  Apparently, while on foot, I took a lot of car photos last year.

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Five photos from St. Patrick's Day

Any day where there's people gathering in a general area is a photo holiday for me.  Here's five photos that generally do not represent the day, but are part of my gorwing archive.

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