PAW / 2002 / Quarter 2 Index

Welcome to my PAW. This page is the index for the second quarter of 2002, April through June. (There is a separate index for each quarter to keep the download time reasonable.) This index contains thumbnails and journal entries for each photo, arranged in chronological order.

Click the thumbnail to see a full-size version, or skip all this verbiage and just view the larger versions virtually text-free (the pictures do have titles). Start at the beginning of the year or jump in at the second quarter (April). Clicking "index" will take you to the journal entry for that picture. Thanks for visiting!

Week 15: Leek

Leek (thumbnail)

The subject of this week's picture is a leek from our vegetable garden. As you can see, it is somewhat the worse for wear, having been smashed by a falling tree trunk when we had some dead trees removed.

It's been my ambition to try some "tabletop" still lifes and experiment with lighting. I hadn't been planning to do any this particular week, however, but fate intervened and delivered this fine specimen to me, so I tried to make the best of it. In all, I took eight shots of it, although all of them were from the same perspective: close up and looking almost straight down on the leek lying flat on the table. I just tried different croppings and angles. I'm not sure you can make a great photograph with any one vegetable as the subject. Sure, Edward Weston did it (with a green pepper), but I'm no Edward Weston.

April 8, 2002

Nikon F3HP on tripod with Vivitar 285 HV flash fired through a homemade softbox.

50mm f/1.8 AIS with Nikon PK-11A 8mm extension tube and Nikon Y48 yellow filter.

X (1/80), f/22

Ilford HP5 Plus rated at 200 and developed in Xtol 1:1 for 10:00 at 68 degrees. Scanned the negative.

Week 16: Sidewalk Cafe

Sidewalk Cafe (thumbnail)

This photograph is a very special and important one in my oeuvre, because it is the only example of my "street photography." Maybe it would be more correct to say that this is the first example, although it may be my last. :-) Street photography fascinates me, although I have no aptitude for it (read: intestinal fortitude). (If you are interested in street photography, I highly recommend you read Bystander: A History of Street Photography by Colin Westerbeck and Joel Meyerowitz.) But I enjoy watching people and would like to capture them at their best. That way we both look good, so to speak.

This was taken late in the afternoon from inside a restaurant (through a window; did I mention I'm a coward?) near the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC. As the four of us were dividing up the check at the end of dinner, I noticed how much the patrons of the sidewalk cafe outside seemed to be enjoying their Friday afternoon. The gentleman in the center of the frame was fully engaged in an animated conversation with his companion and was very interesting to watch. I imagine there was an infinite variety of gesture and expression just waiting to be captured in that little sidewalk cafe. Unfortunately, this was the only frame I took.

This photograph was from my first roll of Ilford HP5 Plus. I rated the film at 200 and underdeveloped it by about 20% as was my habit with Delta 400. Most of the shots on this roll were taken in low-contrast light, however, and the negatives are noticeably "flat." It was surprising and gratifying to discover that underdeveloping actually changes the contrast with this film (it's supposed to). It had been my experience with Delta 400 that underdeveloping it didn't make much of a difference. Although most of the other pictures on the roll didn't benefit at all from the lowered contrast, this week's picture, taken in contrasty light, certainly did. The image practically leaped off the contact sheet.

April 19, 2002

Nikon F3HP handheld.

50mm f/1.8 AIS with Nikon Y48 yellow filter.

Shutter speed and aperture not recorded, but was probably 1/60 at f/8.

Ilford HP5 Plus rated at 200 and developed in Xtol 1:1 for 10:00 at 68 degrees. Scanned the negative.

Week 17: Adirondack Chairs

Adirondack Chairs (thumbnail)

As a random, senseless shooter, as I am much of time, you depend on good luck as much as anything to provide you with interesting subjects as you go about your daily life. At least I do. Great photographers can make their own luck by seeing possibilities that the photographically-challenged cannot. As I was saying, I depend upon luck. Luck isn't very reliable, yet once in a while you are fortunate to encounter a great subject. Take for example this host of Adirondack chairs I encountered on an overcast afternoon in Chevy Chase, Maryland. They immediately caught my eye. What arrested my attention was the sheer abundance of them. While Adirondack chairs have been the subject of many paintings and photographs (to the point of being a cliche), usually there are just one or two of them. As the saying goes, even three would be a crowd. One or two chairs strategically placed to take advantage of a picturesque setting symbolizes a peaceful kind of isolation far from the madding crowd where one can indulge an armchair appreciation of the beauty of nature with perhaps a cool, refreshing beverage close at hand. In contrast, the dozens of chairs here bespeak the inherently social nature of this setting (a country club). The chairs were arrayed on a wide lawn, framed by serpentine sidewalks and crisply-edged lawn. I took only six photographs before running out of ideas.

Although the subject is ostensibly Adirondack chairs, the composition and perspective hardly feature them. There is an explanation. I am an ardent admire of André Kertész, whose work has taught me to look at everyday scenes as compositions of geometric shapes and patterns of tone. Although I try, I don't "see" his way very often, and never with the genius of his eye. But of all the photos I've taken, this one feels the most "Kertészian" to me. The chairs cease to be the primary subject and become merely a busy texture in one corner of what is really a composition dominated by curving lines.

I think the composition works well as is, but I wish I could have included a focal point--perhaps someone strolling on the sidewalk would have provided one and mirrored in miniature the shape of the tree as well. Kertész usually included people in the scene, although there are many examples where the individuals are so small that they are little more than punctuation marks rather than focal points. Still, a human focal point would have been welcome. Alas, the place was deserted. I will have to be satisfied with it the way it is.

This was my first roll of Ilford Delta 3200, which, when I took this photograph, I was "just testing." I rated it at 1200, which is approximately its true speed, and used it mostly in daylight. It wasn't much of a test of its performance in low light or its "pushability," but I wanted to get an idea of its baseline characteristics under good conditions. I am very pleased with it. Although I could clearly see grain through a 5.5X loupe on the negatives, there isn't much grain visible on a 6 x 9 print. In this case, at least, the textures of the subject hide it well.

April 27, 2002

Nikon F3HP handheld.

50mm f/1.8 AIS with Nikon Y48 yellow filter.

Shutter speed and aperture not recorded, but was probably 1/250 at f/11.

Ilford Delta 3200 rated at 1200 and developed in Xtol 1:1 for 12:00 at 75 degrees. Printed on Ilford Multigrade IV Deluxe RC Pearl, with a 2-1/2 filter. Scanned from the print.

Week 18: False Hellebore

False Hellebore (thumbnail)

This week I visited Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve to participate in a guided Wildflower Walk. Along the way, I shot a roll of slides. It was a wet, overcast day perfect for color photography. Besides the plants and flowers, I took what I thought would be some interesting black-and-white pictures of a waterfall, but I wasn't very happy with them. I think the overcast day worked against this subject, and the cascading water cried out for highlights.

Anyway, false hellebore has special significance for me not just because I like its pleated leaves and bright green color, but because I first read about the plant in John Shaw's Nature Photography (everything I know about horticulture I learned from reading John Shaw's books :-) ). He used it to "calibrate" his camera's meters because it was a medium-toned subject. Sure enough, a reflected reading off the plant was identical to the incident reading.

April 28, 2002

Nikon F3HP on tripod.

Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AIS

1/8, f/16.

Fuji Astia.

Week 19: Light Poles

Light Poles (thumbnail)

John F. Kennedy Plaza in downtown Philadelphia closed in April for renovations. I had not been following the controversy surrounding the closure and was surprised to find the park suddenly surrounded by chain-link fencing. I pass near there often and took a number of pictures in the first days after the closing, including some that featured the centerpiece of the park--the "LOVE" sculpture by Robert Indiana. None of those shots were very interesting, but on another day, I spotted a collection of dismantled light poles that I found to be much more compelling subjects. De gustibus non disputandum est. (I knew my high-school Latin would come in handy someday!) This photograph was taken through the chain-link fence, which was woven just wide enough to accommodate the lens.

April 30, 2002

Nikon F3HP handheld.

50mm f/1.8 AIS with Nikon Y48 yellow filter.

1/60, f/16.

Ilford Delta 3200 rated at 1200 and developed in Xtol 1:1 for 12:00 at 75 degrees. Scanned the negative.

Week 20: EV Sport

EV Sport Electric Car (thumbnail)

One morning I emerged from underground and spotted a number of tents set up at the corner of 16th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway (in Philadelphia) and an old-fashioned roadster on display. It turns out that the roadster is actually a thoroughly-modern, all-electric car called the EV-Sport. (Later I checked out the web site at and learned the car was built locally. "ZEV" stands for Zero Emission Vehicle.) The car features a retro-looking "boat-tail" roadster body complete with wire wheels. There were only a few clues that this was an electric car. There were electric motors poking discreetly out of the hood, and a panel of solar cells mounted on the "boot," but other than that it looked more like an old MG. This detail of the teardrop headlight features a reflection of the photographer. It's true what they say about the camera adding 30 pounds!

May 16, 2002

Nikon F3HP handheld.

50mm f/1.8 AIS with Nikon Y48 yellow filter.

1/60, f/5.6

Ilford HP5 Plus rated at 200 and developed in Xtol 1:1 for 12:00 at 68 degrees. Scanned the negative.

Week 21: Williamsburg

Williamsburg (thumbnail)

I took almost two rolls of film on this trip to Williamsburg, although in reviewing the slides, I have to admit most are mere record snapshots that are only of interest to me. For one thing, Colonial Williamsburg was crowded, and it was almost impossible to find a scene uncluttered by people. Not that there's anything wrong with that. If I were comfortable shooting people, I could have found many interesting subjects. But I'm not, so I stuck to gardens, houses, and landscapes. In reflecting on the weekend, I think what was disappointing was that I didn't really use my imagination very much. I mostly just "pointed and shooted."

I found this peaceful scene at the bottom of the hill behind the Governor's Palace. It illustrates what for me is one of the most challenging exposure problems I face: calculating a compromise exposure that preserves the widest range of values in a scene that includes both full sun and deep shade. A touch of fill flash can often be used to add light to the shadows, but with a subject this far away, you can forget that technique. I've found with Astia that you can overexpose it (based on ISO 100 and an incident meter reading) up to 1-1/2 stops while still retaining detail in the brightest areas. In fact, with subjects that are medium-toned, you can push it to two stops. This overexposure provides a welcome increase in shadow detail while making the sunlit areas look quite naturally "bright" and well-lit without being too harsh and blown out. In this shot, the treetops look a little harsh to me, but there is plenty of shadow detail to compensate, so I'll stand by this compromise exposure.

May 19, 2002

Nikon F3HP handheld, braced on a railing.

Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AIS

Exposure details not recorded, probably 1/60 at f/8.

Fuji Astia.

Week 22: Non-Verbal Communication

Non-Verbal Communication (thumbnail)

This picture is from a series taken at a friend's birthday party. That night was my best "party" work yet. I managed to avoid most of my usual mistakes (such as including windows or mirrors in the frame reflecting huge blobs of light from the flash) and was able to make a number of good catches, although at great personal cost: I received a lot of good-natured teasing about my picture-taking compulsion. I had the camera in my lap (or nearby) most of the night, so no one felt safe. "OK, everybody! Just ignore me and act natural." Somehow they put up with me.

For PAW purposes, I was torn between choosing one of the closeups and this strange picture. As you can see, I chose strange. I don't know exactly what these two were discussing, although it looks like they were comparing tooth-brushing techniques.

May 22, 2002

Nikon F3HP handheld with Vivitar 285 HV flash bounced off ceiling.

Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AIS

1/60, f/5.6.

Fuji NPH 400 developed and printed by Larmon Photo. Scanned from a 4x6 print.

Week 23: Hosta Leaves

Hosta Leaves (thumbnail)

I tried taking some "florals" this week. The most interesting of these (graphically speaking) were some closeups of allium using my wide angle lenses (24mm and 35mm). Unfortunately, the photos are marred by an excessively busy background, so I chose these hosta leaves instead. I tried some with and without my tiny collection of filters and preferred this one, which was taken with a yellow filter. The highlights on the water droplets are a bit harsh, but since a polarizer removed most of the highlights completely, I decided I preferred harsh highlights to none.

May 25, 2002

Nikon F3HP on tripod.

50mm f/1.8 AIS with Nikon PK-11A 8mm extension tube and Nikon Y48 yellow filter.

1/4, f/16.

Ilford HP5 Plus rated at 200 and developed in Xtol 1:1 for 12:00 at 68 degrees. Scanned the negative.

Week 24: Foxgloves

Foxgloves (thumbnail)

Another week, another floral. These white foxgloves are from our garden. I confess that I cheated a little: at the moment this picture is from a session on May 27, but the one I want to use (from June 2) hasn't been developed yet. The problem with the May 27 session was wind. The tall foxglove stem caught and swayed with the slightest breeze. When I reshot them the next week, I tied the stem to a stake to stabilize it. I'll probably replace this picture with a different one eventually.

May 27, 2002

Nikon F3HP on tripod.

50mm f/1.8 AIS with Nikon PK-11A 8mm extension tube and Nikon Y48 yellow filter.

1/15, f/16.

Ilford HP5 Plus rated at 200 and developed in Xtol 1:1 for 12:00 at 68 degrees. Scanned from an 8 x 10 work print.

Week 25: Confederate Hall, Middleburg, Virginia

Landscape near Confederate Hall, Middleburg, Virginia (thumbnail)

These rolling hills were taken in the waning light of late afternoon at Confederate Hall, an estate near Middleburg, Virginia. The scan is of a work print that doesn't have the tonality or contrast I hope to achieve in the final print (if there ever is a final print!). I shot almost directly into the setting sun using a lens hood and my hand to shield the lens from glare, but I think there is something a little bit "wrong" with the contrast nevertheless. The picture doesn't capture the glow that the fields had. I did overexpose all the pictures from this session, so that may be the explanation.

June 8, 2002

Nikon F3HP on tripod.

Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AIS with Nikon Y48 yellow filter.

1/4, f/16.

Ilford HP5 Plus rated at 200 and developed in Xtol 1:1 for 10:00 at 68 degrees. Scanned from an 8 x 10 work print.

Week 26: Morgan County Courthouse, Madison, Georgia

Morgan County Courthouse, Madison, Georgia (thumbnail)

This was taken on a trip to Atlanta to attend the Conifer Society's annual conference. I don't think I've ever shot so much film (seven rolls in two days) with so little to show for it. I covered some of the meetings in the evenings and took a lot of slides of the gardens we visited. None of those pictures would be of any interest to anyone outside the Conifer Society, I'm sure!

On one of the days, the buses let us out in Madison, Georgia, which we were told is famous for having been spared by General Sherman during his attack on Atlanta. A number of buildings built before the War have survived to the present day, and indeed the town is blessed with many fine examples of antebellum and Victorian architecture. We had about an hour to meander around the historic district, so I took some (black-and-white) pictures and then split a refreshing beer at a shady sidewalk table with my fiancée.

June 15, 2002

Nikon F3HP handheld.

50mm f/1.8 AIS with Nikon Y48 yellow filter.

1/60, f/16.

Ilford HP5 Plus rated at 200 and developed in Xtol 1:1 for 10:00 at 68 degrees. Scanned from an 8 x 10 work print.

Week 27: Hens-and-Chicks

Hens-and-Chicks (thumbnail)

This week's picture shows part of a large arrangement of hens-and-chicks at Chanticleer, a garden near Phildadelphia. We were participating in a guided tour of the garden's large collection of ferns. None of the fern photos are really fit for public consumption, but these hens-and-chicks really caught my eye. This was the first picture I took that evening while we were waiting for latecomers. Because the sun was already very low at this hour, most of the remaining photos were taken in shade, so I was forced to use f/2.8 and 1/60 a lot. It was challenging to decide just what part of the subject would be in focus. At the end of the tour, I left the roll in the camera. The next day when I went to change film, I opened the back, ruining the last few shots. Actually I only ruined one slide (it's perfectly clear); the rest are kind of cool looking!

Someday I would like to make a special trip to Chanticleer and spend some time taking pictures. It offers such an abundance of interesting subjects. Besides the beautiful gardens, there is a picturesque water wheel, a lily pond, a replica of a ruined house, and any number of wooden and stone sculptures. Chanticleer is more than just a garden. It's a living work of art perpetually in flux.

June 20, 2002

Nikon F3HP handheld.

Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AIS.

1/125, f/4.

Fuji Provia.

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