September 27, 2007

5th Avenue glow.

I had to go into Manhattan this evening for a little event. Afterwards, I walked down 5th Avenue for a few blocks before hailing a cab back to Brooklyn. The stores were closed, but the windows were so much more dramatic than in the daytime:

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And the cathedral made a very different impression:

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21 comments:

ron st.amant said...

The shot of the cathedral is so incredibly spooky...

and at one of those great Batman angles...

maybe The Joker is hiding in the bell tower?

Maxine Weiss said...

My psychic powers:

"...the capacity to make connecting notes between the outward minutiae of a person and what those apparently trivial things might signify "

That's how I do it!

B said...

The Cathedral Shot does conjure up reminisces of Gotham City. Sigh . . . those were the days. . .

amba said...

How was the event?

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bissage said...

A great artist gives us a whole new way of thinking about things we thought we knew.

You, Althouse, are a great artist because I looked at your photos and now think of 5th Avenue a whole new way.

Not that my old way of thinking was so very sophisticated, or anything.

rcocean said...

Great photos.

The 3rd photo looks like an outtake from a "Batman" movie.

Maxine Weiss said...

Doing some shopping 5th Avenue ???

Did you remember to pick up a few things for Cliff Kresge's birthday on October 3, ???

Nothing too lavish and extravagant, I hope.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I love "the cathedral" likes it's the only cathedral in the world.

Anthony said...

You are making me miss New York with all these photos.

Trooper York said...

St. Pats is very beautiful on the inside as well. The best time is the very early mass when only the serious people show up. No tourists. I sneak in every day during Lent and never fail to wonder at the majesty of it all.

anonymous said...

Until three months I worked right around the corner from your photos -- on 55th Street. After nearly 40 years of living in NYC, we've just relocated to Fairfield, CT, though. Now, thankfully, I no longer have to pay attention to the soap opera that is NYC and NYS politics.

Ralph said...

Since DTL isn't here, I'll comment on the strategically place blur in the second photo. What were they selling, crotchless boxers?

joated said...

I enjoy coming to your site for the commentary.

I LOVE coming to your site for your photos. Great job!

Ann Althouse said...

"The Cathedral" because I've already limited the category to 5th Avenue.

Ralph, I think the window is frosted at the crotch level. Frosted at the crotch level... what a ridiculous phrase.

Re Batman, yeah, I got a Batman vibe from it too.

Bakerman said...

Ann, what camera did you use? Very nice detail in low [and mysterious] light.

Ralph said...

My shower doors are frosted at the crotch level, although I ordered clear glass. I wasn't accusing you of bowdlerizing. Such clever advertising: everyone just has to look.

Ann Althouse said...

Bakerman: If you click on the picture, you can see which camera I used. It's just this little Sony, no bigger than a pack of cards, which I always have even in my smallest handbag.

Inspektor Friedrich said...

Beautiful photos, as ever.

Bakerman, above, asked about the camera, which was a Sony point-and-shoot.  One characteristic of most of these cameras is that the field is not flat. The short (5-20mm) focal length almost automatically ensures this.

This effect is called convergence, and has been associated with "fish eye" lenses in the past. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to eliminate if you want the compact size and zoom capabilities of a small camera. I have a couple of Sony point-and-shoots, and I think Sony generally makes the best cameras in this category:  Good color and tonal range, solid electronics and convenient controls, and good lenses considering the unavoidable limitations.  I almost said "good glass," but that's too much to hope for in this world of plastic lenses.

Anyway, you can see the effect of convergence in the edge of the building in the top photo, in the lines of the shop window/building edge in the next-to-bottom photo, and, most strikingly, in the beautiful and spooky cathedral picture.  The lines of the cathedral and office building curve inward, pointing to some imaginary intersection not far above above the photo.  This gives it a completely different feel than if it had been perfectly flat.  With access to better equipment, I would have chosen a 28mm or similar lens to produce this "Gotham City" effect.  That assumes I would have been so observant as Professor Althouse in finding and visualizing this picture.

As it is, Professor Althouse has made good use of the characteristics of her equipment and given us excellent examples of the artistic use of distortion.  Her other photos taken with her Nikon SLR show similar sensitivity to the effects possible with high-quality lenses, so it isn't that she specializes in these noir or distorted images.  Her photography has a fine range of subjects and styles.

Living as I do in the past, if I want to take undistorted architectural views with a nice, flat field, I use my old Nikon 50mm f1.8.  I realize it isn't the '70's any longer, but it's hard to let go ;-)

Bakerman said...

Thanks, Ann.

Thanks also to Inspektor Friedrich, as I'm now contemplating my first digital camera.

Brad V said...

The background in the upper lefthand corner blurs off just enough to evoke some of O'Keefe's NYC nightscapes from the '20s.

Cool stuff.