Suspect Photography

words and images from david george brommer

Month: November, 2013

Keep Calm and Carry Cameras II

What the Garbage Truck Sees

This is a short and sweet post, it’s about something I have said in this recent post, “always carry a camera”. You just never know when the photography gods will throw you a good image to capture. On the street, or just coming out of your bathroom. Carry that camera.

So here’s the story, on Sunday mornings I head out to La Bergamote bakery to pick up some croissants to bring back for breakfast. This trip takes me down 9th ave, and sometimes, I head east to 8th ave if I’m in the mood for bagels and lox from Brooklyn Bagel Company. Mostly though, it’s all about the croissant. I always grab my camera, because La Bergamote is in the heart of Chelsea and the architecture and tree lined streets is just perfect in so many ways. It was early on this particular Sunday morning, and cloudless. On the Corner of 22nd and 9th Avenue a Garbage truck had pulled in the corner diagonally so that its front pointed across the street instead of down the street. While a normal site on the streets of NYC, as I crossed it I noticed the windows reflected the buildings across in an interesting composition. Standing almost in the middle of the street I took some time to compose the image, falling into that tantric composition photo seeing trance through the viewfinder that only ones who love photography can understand. Time stands still, traffic matters not and in a 250th of a second it’s done. Exposure made, for better or worse or most likely, for nothing really because only a small percentage of images actually has any guts to it- destined to fall deeply into a folder on the hard drive.

Later during breakfast I did a chimping session and thought, “you know what David, you got something here…” so I downloaded the image onto my iPad and started to do my new workflow with snapseed and was quite surprised at the final edited image. I posted it on my Facebook and got loads of Likes. I’m so happy I brought the Fujifilm Xpro1 with 18mm f2.0 on that croissant mission.

before and after

 

Fast forward a week later, and I visited the bathroom early this morning. Of course I had the requisite iPad with me, and I was sitting there, through the door I spied the rising sun pouring through the windows and shedding light on my wife Barbara’s cabinet. Click.

 Heads greeting the morning sun.

Photography is about so much, and sometimes I just blush with happiness, when all that matters is making the image. I friend of mine recently posted a shot of her under the darkcloth of a Deardorff on Facebook, as I was writing this post I had spotted it on my feed, We had a short exchange and Kendra gets it, she said, “love it”.

photodialog

Check out Kendra’s work, she shoots Tin Types and brings a wonderful aesthetic to her work. When I first met her she was shooting with a 4×5 Speed Graphic, now she’s rolling big time with a 8×10 Deardorff!  Look at those TinTypes, thats LOVE! www.kendraesadams.com

That’s all there is to this I guess. Carry a camera, keep calm, and love it.

 

~David

 

Advertisements

30 Minutes With The New Fujifilm 23mm f1.4

Best of the West Deli Man

Best of the West Deli Man

Since this lens was announced I have begged and cajoled my Fujifilm contact for a test ride to no avail.  Man, I have known better crack dealers that take better care of their clients! Evidently there was a glass gag order to keep the lens under wraps until they could provide the blogosphere at large with samples. Bah I say! I have had to be content with my 12mm 2.8, 18 f2.0, and the awesome 35mm 1.4.

 

A insiders view of Espositos on 9th ave.

A insiders view of Espositos on 9th ave.

Now if you do the focal conversion this makes my collection of lenses the trifecta of an 18mm, 28mm and 50mm. What’s missing? Well my favorite focal length is 35mm. I little bit wider than the eye perceives, yet extremely natural. While I got used to the 18mm it was always just a tad too wide for tastes. I yearned for the 23 mm focal length.

Taken through a glass window but man, look at those out of focus blurring in the background!

Taken through a glass window but man, look at those out of focus blurring details in the background!

So today I had the opportunity to grab the 23 1.4 which translates to 35mm for a fast half hour. Yup, you heard that right, it was mine! For a half hour at least.  I threw my coat on and walked up 9th Ave around the corner from B&H. You can’t keep a good man from his 23mm, no matter the time constraints. Here are my findings. Oh and one more note, I pretty much shot everything wide open at f 1.4 because that’s how I roll. I love bokeh, and this lens as you can see delivers spectacular bokeh.

1/40 second at 1.4 ISO 320. Now thats low light love.

1/40 second at 1.4 ISO 320. Now thats low light love.

It’s a bit of large lens, but then again, it’s a 1.4 so who can complain. It has a depth of field scale. Lots of you young’ probably don’t know what that is in the age of digital zoomy slacker glass. It’s a scale that tells you what will be in focus based upon the f-stop. A analog scale. Sweet.

Snap! Sharp and zippy this lens simply rocks!

Snap! Sharp and zippy this lens simply rocks!

Very nice to shoot manual focus, you pull the lens back to you and then you access to that DOF scale and it has a good feel, a little loosey goosey, but still better than other AF lenses. I confess, I shot in AF during my short test. I don’t have any problems with the XPro1’s focus.

The legendary Hershel of B&H. Ever wonder who edits the comments on our You Tube videos, well wonder no more. A gentleman among gentleman. Notice the lights in the background, yum.

The legendary Hershel of B&H. Ever wonder who edits the comments on our You Tube videos, well wonder no more. A gentleman among gentleman. Notice the lights in the background, yum.

I’m like Goldilocks, 18 mm to wide, 50 mm to tight, but 35 mm… just right.

Very narrow depth of field, notice his arm out of focus? This lens might just need to be shot at f4.0 or 5.6 if you need a little front and back details to be in the shot.

Very narrow depth of field, notice his arm out of focus? This lens might just need to be shot at f4.0 or 5.6 if you need a little front and back details to be in the shot.

I’m sorry if I didn’t have the time to really put the lens through a more thorough test in different light with more varrying apertures. Truth is, I was just happy to get the short time I had with it. Am I getting one? Yea. Not tomorrow though. I will have to get used to the size, I like to keep it on the smaller tighter side, but dang, I do love me the 35mm effective focal length. I think that this lens will be the lens that sits on the camera 96% of the time once I own it.

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did shooting it.

~David

 

Veteran’s Day Post – A Photographic Salute

BeachesTryptich

The three landing sites of the American forces, Omaha Beach, Point Du Hoc, Utah Beach. Platinum Palladium print presented in triptych.

The heroic deeds of the landings at Normandy and the Allied triumphs of WW2 are the defining moment of a dying generation. I have a keen interest in what remains of these sacred locations, both in images & words. In April of 2011 I began the project “Battlefield Cant” and visited the Normandy D-Day landing beaches and battlefields photographing with my trusty wooden 8×10 Deardorff camera. Being deeply affected by reading the accounts of our soldiers, I was motivated to start a collection of quotations from American veterans who fought in these locations.

Bunkers

German Bunker overlooking Point Du Hoc

The project is called, “Battlefield Cant”. The project title was made from the following:

Battlefield n. the field or ground on which a battle is fought.

Cant n. the phraseology peculiar to a particular class, party, profession

“Battlefield Cant” is a series of photographs from the European battlefields of WW2 and prose from the soldiers who fought there.

 

Omaha Beach, Dog Green Sector

Omaha Beach, Dog Green Sector

Omaha Beach – Dog Green Sector

“I started out to cross the beach with 35 men,

and only 6 got to the top, that’s all”.

  ~Lt. Bob Edlin

 

This is the beach made famous in Saving Private Ryan. It is estimated that on D- Day, 3,000 American Forces were killed in action at or near this location. The honor of photographing on this hollowed ground is one of the finest moments I have ever spent behind a camera.

 

Point Du Hoc. Site of the Rangers assault on the cliffs.

Point Du Hoc. Site of the Rangers assault on the cliffs.

Pointe Du Hoc

“The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers, at the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, 90 could still bear arms.”

~President Ronald Reagan at the memorial dedication.

 

A brutal assault that was needed to silence the big guns that could range both Omaha and Utah beach, this was an essential target to nullify at the start of the battle. The Rangers were elite and were up to the job, but at a terrible loss.

 

Utah Beach was taken with minimal losses. Thankfully.

Utah Beach was taken with minimal losses. Thankfully.

Utah Beach

 “We’ll start the war from here”

~Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt

 

When I went to photograph at Utah, I was greeted by a festive scene, horses on the beach, children playing. This site was now a recreation area and I could have been on Long Island for all it appeared. However, on D-Day this was an essential landing beach that saw artillery bombardment and the blood of Americans being spilled to secure it. I had to work to find these dunes to photograph, Utah was challenging to find the spirit of the place.

 

Bullet Hole from Paratroopers battle in a church in Sainte-Mère-Église

Bullet Hole from Paratroopers battle in a church in Sainte-Mère-Église

Excerpt from “A Paratroopers Prayer”

All mighty God, Our heavenly Father, who art above us, and beneath us, drive from the minds of our paratroopers any fear of space in which thou art ever present. Give them confidence in the strength of thine everlasting arms to uphold them. Endure them with clean minds and hearts that they may participate worthily in the victory which this nation must achieve. George B’Wood, Major Chaplain 82nd Airborne.

 

While I was scouting for locations in the middle of the day I entered the main church in the center of Sainte-Mere-Englise to find some respite from the hot June heat. At the entrance there was a info point telling the story of how a few Germans asked the priest of the church to hide them from the American Paratroopers that were scouring the area. The priest told them, “hide in the vestry, but don’t drink the wine”. The germans hid, and the priest went out side, found some Paratroopers and told them there were Germans hiding in the church. After a fast battle, the Americans cleared the church and killed the hiding germans. When I scouted the location I found evidence of the battle in the form of a hole in the glass that contained a Mary. This was left over from the fight, and the locals were putting their prayers on paper and inserting them in the bullet hole.

I was alone in the church, and proceeded to set up the Deardorff and make an exposure. It was very dark, and the exposure long. About 7 minutes factoring in reciprocity and bellows extension. I was proud I nailed the exposure, and during the long time, next to the statue was a prayer book where I found the Cant for this image.

Here are a few more images from the Project Battle Field Cant.

German Batteries.

German Batteries.

 

Memorial at Point Du Hoc

Memorial at Point Du Hoc

 

Sherman Treads

Sherman Treads

 

I launched a Kickstarter Campaign to fund this project and help send me to the next two locations to complete the project. I need to travel to Belgium and shoot in the snow for the Battle of the Bulge and then to go to Holland to photograph the battlefields of Operation Market Garden.

My choice of gear to shoot this project is very specific. I don’t feel comfortable shooting with a digital camera, these locations and the deeds that were done by the finest men of the United States of American deserves more than zero’s and ones, they deserve large format photography! All the images were shot on Ilford FP4 that was donated by Ilford for the project. The primary lens was a Dagor 8 1/4″.

I look forward to completing this project and printing the work all on Platinum Palladium.

My deepest gratitude goes out to the Veterans who fought in WW2. For them we owe all our thanks.

 

Brecourt Manor

Brecourt Manor, the baptism for Easy Company 516 PIR 101st Infantry.

 

~David

 

%d bloggers like this: