Monday, April 19, 2010


There's a construction site near where I work that has been fenced off for more than a year. I really don't know what they are building.  (I could probably figure it out if I cared... but I don't... there is so much construction going on). 

Last month, they put up a billboard with figures of people walking with city names above the characters.  I thought this was fascinating, and would be fun to try to take pictures of real people walking next to the icon people. 

So, I waited and took some shots.  Most were misses, some were slightly amusing.  It's a tiny bit of timing and mostly luck.  I finally go this picture, which I thought was as good as it could get.  Perfectly centered and her foot position paralleled the figures. 

I posted the picture up on my Flickr account and someone said "Great Ampelmann moment".   I didn't quite know what that meant.  It seemed likely to me that Ampelmann was a famous photographer and the picture might have been in his/her style.  So, I looked him/her up on Wikipedia.  I learned that Ampelmann is not a photographer, but the name of the character figures which are shown in pedestrian crossing lights.  So, each of these figures wwas representing the crossing walk figures that are depicted in each of those cities. 

With this bit of information, I went back to the wall and look at it from different angles and took more shots.  Here are some other photos of the wall and the people. 

Ample shots of Ampelmann(s).  But, I still think there are more shots to be taken. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yellow Standout

I was listening to a photography podcast today.  They were answering questions about various camera techniques.  Someone asked how to isolate a single person in a crowd.

Their first obvious answer was to make use depth of field to make that person in focus and the others out of focus (you can control this with the aperture, bigger is better).  Or, use a longer lens and narrow your field of view.  Or, try a different perspective.  Or, if you have control over the scene, put a red shirt on the guy

Well, I had no control over the crowd here, waiting to cross Broadway.  But yellow works well also, ay? (Especially when a matching cab passes by). 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Organized Chaos

This photo is simply a view from the steps of the new TKTS booth in Times Square looking south with a longish lens.  As chaotic as this photo looks (I was thinking of inserting a game of Where's Waldo in here), there is a certain order to the way things are laid out.

Certainly on the street level, it is not nearly as crowded as this looks.  But, it was evening rush hour and a bit busy.  I do notice that it is primarily cabs heading through Times Square at this hour.  In another shot, there were a few trucks, and buses.  But, here I informally counted 17 cabs in this shot.  The yellow path of cabs kind of adds a nice separation between the groups of people. 

I spent a good amount of time watching the zipper sign move by and would try and freeze certain words that might be symbolic or important.  I got a few shots with the words "information", "heist", "trusted", "general" featured.  But, in this case, we have "News" centering (which seems rather appropriate).

There is one person who I would consider a focal point within the shot, the guy in the blue sweater in the front is probably best posed. His name is Waldo perhaps.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Recycler - Some people work hard for a living, I think this guy is one of them.  He passed by without attracting much attention.  It took me a second to realize what an accomplishment it is to collect this many cans.  I'm not sure how many cans he assembled, but it's probably at least 1000... 2000?  5000? 

So, to gather 2000 cans, you've got to have some expertise.  You gotta know where the cans are.  I'm sure they are in garbage cans on the street.  That would mean reaching in and pull out what you find.  From the trash.  Maybe a bit smelly.  Unsanitary for sure.  I'm sure there are other, less obvious places, that only an expert can collector would know.  On the floor where I work, there is a recycling bin for cans.  I wonder what happens to those cans after they are emptied out?  I'll bet this guy knows and is there to get them. 

Also, there are probably certain times of day that are best to locate the cans.  I would guess right after lunch time is perfect.  At a plaza or park, on a nice day.  Like today.  It was probably the perfect day for can collection today.  Beautiful and great for drinking fluids out of cans. 

I think it was maybe an extra easy day to get cans today, but its still hard work.