Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pinhole Camera in the Old City

My relationship with the lady who develops film at Walgreen's has slowly improved since I actually started trying to cultivate one. This happened slowly, and was not an entirely smooth process, but now when I take the film in I explain that it will be blurry and not quite lined up and that it's from my homemade camera. Then I calmly explain that I will take anything that she can get, and I appreciate all her hard work, and by the time I'm done she's ready to spend an hour fighting with my blurry, not lined up film and not say a word when I come back to pick it up.

Or she hasn't said a word until today.

Today when I came in to get my pictures and my photo CD she was pretty excited, and I waited to hear that I destroyed the entire roll but they were going to bill me anyway. Instead, I got, "I've been waiting for you to come in! Let me get your prints, because you got some really, really good ones!"

She wasn't kidding.

This picture of Patrick Sullivan's Steakhouse and Saloon is so good it looks fake:

Patrick Sullivan's

The colors are great, I got the building dead center in the shot, and everything is sharp but just blurred enough to give it that dreamlike quality that my friend Megan described as "looking like the vision of someone's future death in a Final Destination movie". Here's another photo of the saloon, which I took a couple years ago, for comparison:

patrick sullivan's saloon

The lady at Walgreen's liked it so much that she tried four different prints of it at different levels of contrast and brightness, to get just the right one. People will go the extra mile for you if you show them that you appreciate it.

What's even better is that there are other good photos in the same batch. (Which is nicely satisfying since it was windy, bitter cold, and snow flurrying the entire time I was walking around the Old City.) This one of random buildings on South Central Street, for example:

The Old City (2)

looks vibrant but also oddly distorted at the same time. I love it.

I also like this one of "The Oarsman", a sculpture downtown that I've photographed before:

pinhole Oarsman

Even the pictures that aren't my favorites are still interesting. Here's State Street:

State Street

South Central Street again:

The Old City (1)

And this one of the train tracks that cross Central Street:

train tracks

I set the camera down on the track rail for it, which seemed like a good idea but left me a little disappointed now that I've seen the photograph. Train track pictures always interest me because of the perspective you get from the rails narrowing and coming together in the distance, but lowering the camera to this level flattened everything out so much that the perspective is gone. Still, it interests me a little because the bridge that you can see in the far distance at the center is the Gay Street viaduct, which I took this photo from:

gay street viaduct

It's kind of intriguiging to compare them, since it's a photograph of the same piece of land from two widely separated perspectives.

I also went to Gay Street:

Gay Street

and Market Square:

market square, from the stage

and there's nothing wrong with those pictures.

There just isn't anything really interesting about them, either.


Jeannie said...

You are getting so good at this! And I am super impressed by the photo lady. Kindness really is contagious, I guess!

strong cookie. said...

love that first one!!!