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July 28, 2008

Photographic Rejuvenation

Signpost at 121st/Amsterdam

W 121st St and Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY

Back in the joyous days of '06 (relatively speaking, anyway), I documented my top five most underutilized purchases, or in other words (if you strip the God-awful consulting jargon), the five most worthless purchases of my adult life, at least from a materialistic perspective. (Holistically, the most worthless purchase of my adult life has been health insurance, as purchasing anything that serves to extend my wretched existence is merely throwing good money after bad, but that's quite besides the point.) A couple objects that did not make the list in 2006, but easily could have would be my not one, but two SLR cameras (one digital, one film—obviously!).

The last set of photos I shot with either camera was well over a year ago. The last sets I shot with my film SLR were two or three rolls of black-and-white film in Paris—in 2005. And though I have returned to not only Europe, but also Paris (photos unavailable, since I still have not processed them!) since then (over New Years 2007), the rolls remain undeveloped (who has time to go to the darkroom anymore), somewhere in the mound of trash and computer parts in my apartment in Chicago.

This weekend I decided to change all that. Considering that I have invested several thousand dollars in photography equipment, and already have my eye on a new lens or two (for when I emerge from my current state of dereliction), I thought it might be time to start using this equipment without necessarily having a grand subject. As such, on Saturday, I picked up my digital SLR, slammed on the rather cheap zoom I have for it, and walked around my neighborhood snapping some shots. The results of this endeavor are here.

The light was not particularly good, nor do I find any of the photos really compelling. Nonetheless, it is a start—my return to photography beyond the long-arm shot, if you will. In the last few weeks I'm in New York, I would like to take in some more sights and hopefully snap some more photos. If you are in the area and in the mood to be touristy, let me know. I will bring a yellow polo shirt and an unnecessarily complex camera if you bring the fanny pack.


For some great touristy photos, I'd suggest walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at night, and going to Brooklyn Bridge Park. If I could get amazing shots with my crappy Pentax, I'm guessing you can do wonders with an SLR. It might also be worth carrying a tripod.

Secondly, those pictures of Jersey and Hudson River are taken from Riverside Park, not Morningside Park(I walk through the latter every morning, trust me it is more like People's Park than anything else.).

And finally, Columbia's campus isn't that beautiful to start with, but pictures at dawn cast a beautiful glow on it.

If you want a cheap lens to have fun with look at a 50mm prime f/1.8

They're cheap and let you take some really cool shots.

Cheaper than my 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS at least.

Can you explain why you made the switch to Google but still insist on hosting your own photos? Just curious... is it an image quality thing? I really like Flickr, I just don't have a camera.

Jason, I have a 50mm f/1.8. Indeed, this is the first lens I bought. Problem is that with the DSLR, it turns into approximately a 75mm lens due to the 1.5 form factor shift, which is not as fun. 70–200mm? NICE!

Jon, I need to write on that topic. It's partially image quality, partially scale. I have over 5,000 photos online in my gallery, and I'd have to pay to get Flickr pro for that kind of volume.

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