. . . particularly in August -- when the pavement bakes, the air is a haze, and it is not possible to walk more than one block without smelling urine that you hope but don't believe is just from somebody's dog -- that this place is also beautiful.
An old photo I neglected to post at the time of its capture:
My cellphone's special assignment as go-to device for deliberately screwy panoramic pictures of the subway continues:
As noted before, my heart grew three sizes every time I passed Bad Apple Bail Bonds, where the guilt of clients was both presumed and essentialized with a brilliantly unsubtle name and logo.
In my secret soul, I knew nothing this marvelous would last forever. But I never expected it to become such a horror as this:
Shame is dead. So is the best logo ever. R.I.P., worm in retro prison garb. May your memory never fade.
I really need to replace my sadly defunct digital camera. I can't afford it, but on the other hand, I can't afford to have all of my artistic expression** filtered exclusively through my cameraphone.
** This no doubt sounds high-falutin'. I would like to note that calling it artistic expression in no way constitutes a statement as to the quality of what I produce.
I still haven't edited the photos from my trip out to Walla Walla. Or from my nephew's birthday. Or my Mom's birthday. Or . . . well, I've got a lot of editing to do.
To get started, some everyday shots from around town.
First, the best thing ever:
Below are some informal shots I rattled off on my cameraphone. I've been using its panoramic function the anticipated way and also toying around with it to stitch together noncontiguous/in-motion photos, usually as I ride the subway.
My subway chronicles:
Also seen around:
The poles of the gun debate encapsulated:
More fun with sign disrepair:
Late last night as I headed home on the F train, I espied this gentleman:
The best part was that he was reading a book called The Greatness Guide at the time. While I can't claim to have read that volume, I have to believe that it contains no directive to be completely fucking disgusting on mass transit. But it's just possible that it fails to tell its readers not to do so. So please, readers of this undoubtedly fine work, consider this a supplemental chapter:
1. I finally took a picture of my favorite Brooklyn storefront: Bad Apple Bail Bonds.
Why do I love it so?
a. The presumption of guilt in the name. It's such an awesome way of attracting clients. "Yeah, asshole, we know you did it, and we don't care. Just sign here."
b. The worm in the apple is wearing striped prison garb and an olde tyme prison hat!!!
2. I was racing racing racing for the F train this morning--you enter my subway station by a ramp, go through turnstiles, then straight down stairs, so you can hear the train coming a good ways away--and despite my best efforts and speediest MetroCard swipe I heard the telltale chime of defeat as I was still descending the stairs to the platform. BUT! But but but! For no reason other than pure kindness, a fellow passenger stood in the doorway of the train as the doors closed so that I could squeeze past him and make the train. Oh, it was only a few seconds, but it made all the difference.
Because it was an F train, and who knows when the next one is coming.
And because it was an F train, and I had become convinced that its ineffable crappiness had made Machiavellian monsters out of all of us forced to rely upon it.
Oh, Subway Hero, you have restored a small bit of my faith in humanity. I have no choice; I must quote Lyle Lovett: I love everybody, especially you.
Yesterday I had a long, dumb, enraging post office ordeal. I'll spare you the details. But when I was waiting (and waiting . . and waiting) at the counter and I saw the markings of those who had walked the path before me, I felt no longer alone:
If you can't make them all out, the various scrawls are:
"This post office SUCKS!"
"Burn this place down and start over"
"I'M IN HELL"
There was also a sign from 1985 that I'm posting here as a public service. Remember, kids: if you're going to get busted for drugs, at least make enough money to have some half-decent artwork on the walls.
I did a rather spur-of-the-moment walk over the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday, and then just kinda kept going until I was most of the way home.
--There were flood lights on at South Street and at the base on the Brooklyn side, so the whole thing looked different than usual
--It was freezing (literally) so there weren't many people out
--I walked 4.5 miles!
--That 4.5 miles was in improper footwear.
--I left my digital camera in my friend's car on NYE, and I keep forgetting to get it back, so I only had my cell phone's camera to snap away with. All that dramatic lighting went to waste!
Results, such as they are:
Strange shadows on the first tower:
Lights between the two towers:
Being a strange shadow on the second tower. I love my hat:
Quite the revelation, I know.
Anyway, what was meant to be a quick stroll through Prospect Park turned out to be a very long photo session. Because all of the following things are wrong with me:
-- I can't just see a duck. I have to look for its duck and geese friends!
-- If I have a camera, I have to photograph all of them
-- When near a lake, i have to take photos every three feet as the vista changes
-- Similarly, during a sunset, I have to take photos every 45 seconds as the light changes
-- If the moon is out, I have to shoot it in every damn segment of the frame
-- If the moon is out amongst trees . . . oh, forget it, I go on forever
-- Like most photo nerds, I bracket my exposures
-- Unlike many photo nerds, I also go beyond bracketing and just screw around with exposures to see what I can make appear from seemingly drab subjects
Well, this walk through the park was basically the perfect storm of my photo spasticity. Ducks! A lake! Sunset! A moon visible before and after! I'm lucky to have emerged without smoke coming out of the lens.
The very much culled results can be found by clicking on one of the ducks below:
But I should still remember to take my digicam or SLR around with me. This is getting ridiculous.
Pics from yesterday's walk through Prospect Park.
One of the bigass trees by the Long Meadow.
My cameraphone, while possessed of some reasonable limitations, is startlingly good for, you know, a bonus feature on a cellphone.
For fun times with the W600's panoramic mode, see below. Some images I intensified in Photoshop, but all images were stitched together by the camera, not on the computer (hence some imperfections). I also didn't do more than one effect on any image. And all of these are half-size.
Pretty damn cool.
The full spectacularrrr:
I've gone over the bridge a number of times in the last year, but haven't done the dedicated photowalking/blogging. As part of a larger "yes, everything went to hell last year, but so goddamn what" campaign, the copious photographing resumes.
Yesterday's tack: underexposing to bring color to a blah, washed out sky.
My personal assignment to see the same thing in different ways continues. (So I am ignoring the suggestion that Monkey Pants, aka my sister, made in comment to my previous entry. But not out of spite.) Bless Daylight Savings for making it easier.
Also, Veronica Mars was awesome last night.
. . . of ways to take photos of the same place without taking the same photo. Good thing I hit this week's walk around sunset instead of when it was already dark.
This had the added benefit of getting me home in time to see the contestants on America's Next Top Model lose their shit after erroneously assuming that one woman's rash was--what else?--flesh-eating, pneumonia-causing bacteria. That was some great TV. Thank you, Tyra Banks. May you go from strength to strength.
Anyway, before I settled down to bask in ANTM's awesomeness, I did my weekly walk home over the bridge. Stay tuned for next week, when my increasingly desperate bids for photo variation will probably have me taking photos of angry, oncoming cyclists in the bike lane.
Ah, the moon over Brooklyn. It is like the moon over any other place--beautiful--only you can't get a photo of it without cars wrecking the shot. It continues to surprise me how much I edit out of my perception when I'm looking without a camera; I know the cars are there, of course, but I see the brownstones, trees, and moon. Put a lens on it and BAM! It's crapass Corollas for miles.
Anyway, following DeGraw from Fourth to Fifth Aves. on my way home Friday, I made a valiant, traffic-defying attempt to capture the lovely evening.
Pardon the ripped-off Adrienne Kennedy quotation. Especially since its only applicability is that all of the photos I took on today's Brooklyn Bridge walk were black and white compositions.
We've got yer basic moon through the cables shot:
And yer folks walking over the bridge with Brooklyn behind them and the Manhattan Bridge to the north:
Aaaaand we've got the first album cover for The Adairdevils. (Album forthcoming once musical talent attained.)
Though my previous entry is dated the 13th, the photos were taken walking home on the 11th. Thus my walking over the bridge today constitutes adherence to my recently announced policy; I'm good until at least next Friday. Considering the sad fate of other resolutions I have made--I will only read books that challenge me! I will be a better correspondent! I will not plot coups!--this is remarkable progress indeed.
Fewer photos, though, and only one worth posting. It was cold, dammit.
At least once a week, I will walk home over the Brooklyn Bridge from at least the City Hall stop (I don't think I can make myself go past Canal Street and remain sane). Sure, the photos I take will be shaky, since I haven't mastered setting the shutter speed on my (recently acquired) digital camera, there are cars rumbling beneath, and, for now at least, it's fucking freezing without gloves. But it's one of the few places to be thoroughly in the city without a full-blown crowd around, and with proper timing, I'm there as the sky changes colors. Even on rather crappy weather days, as below, it's beautiful and keeps the psychosis at bay.