Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday's Daily Post Card: Buffalo City Hall

For so many other things, Buffalo, New York is renowned for its architecture. One of the crown jewels of the Queen City is our art-deco City Hall. 

I took this photo just prior to sunrise on January 5th, 2013. As I read my notes from that morning, Im surprised I got a 3 second exposure (ISO-400) from the top of a nearby parking ramp, with the wind gusting around 25mph.

Once again, the old glass proved very reliable: Though I own more than one example of the Nikkor, and Nippon Kogaku 50mm lenses, I shot this one manually with a mid-70's, Nikkor 50mm (f/2) -though the glass is flawless (as is its performance), its has a slightly dented filter ring where a previous owner wounded it. Having gotten this copy for next to nothing, it tends to be my "go-to" 50mm when the weather is, at best, "iffy". 

 On the subject of this photo:  Ive listed a few notable facts below culled from the great website that the City of Buffalo has seen fit to record the history of this truly unique structure. 

From the City's Website: Built by John W. Cowper Company at a cost of $6,851,546.85, it was then, and is now, one of the costliest City Halls in the nation. Work began on September 16, 1929, and the building was dedicated in July of 1932.
 Some notable facts about this amazing structure: 

-The building has 32 stories, 26 of which are usable office space, and is 398 feet high from the street to the tip of the tower. 

- There are 1,520 windows from the first to the twenty-fifth floor. An interesting design feature is that all of them open inward, making window washers obsolete in the new City Hall. It takes approximately ten days to clean them all. 

-There are 5,000 electrical outlets, 5,400 electrical switches, and 21 motor driven ventilation fans. One hundred and ten miles of copper wire weighing 43 tons, 47 miles or 180 tons of conduit pipe can be found throughout the building, as well as 26 miles or 5 car loads of underfoot conduit. There are either 138 0r 143 clocks (there is some dispute on here) regulated by a master clock in the basement and 37 fire alarm stations distributed throughout the building.

-There are eight elevators to the 13th floor and four to the 25th floor. Curtis Elevator Co., the oldest active Elevator Company in the country, furnished the elevators. Otis Elevator Co. now the largest Elevator Company in the world supplied additional elevators added later.

The fact that it was built, and at such a tremendous cost just as the nation was entering the Great Depression, speaks volumes about the economic condition of the second largest City in New York State during those years. A community treasure, this is one that still keeps us #TalkingProud more than 85 years later.


Monday, February 10, 2014

"Wintered Over"

A scene that I've shot more than any other:
One of Buffalo's best kept secrets: Mutual Riverfront Park, on the outside edge of "Elevator Alley" where South Street meets Hamburg Street on the edge of the Old First Ward.

The two little twin G-Tugs, "Washington" and "New Jersey", wintered over on the south end of the Union Ship Canal.

No matter what time of year, there is always color and light at the foot of South and Hamburg which makes this a favorite place to try a new lens, experiment with an untried film, or just to get warmed up and back in the flow of taking pictures.

After shooting the deer nearby, I spotted the drifting snow near the two familiar tug boats and, despite the three degrees separating me from zero, was rewarded with this shot. A nice contrast to the Summer of 2012 photos (Here), I know that I'll be visiting this bend in the road (and river) again when the skies are clear, and as always, Im certain that the payoff will be more beautiful images of this local maritime treasure.
(Shot info: Nikkor-H 28mm (f/3.5) shot @ f/8 for 12 seconds)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Little Luck, A Little Gear, First Buck Shot in the New Year

Probably one of the luckiest photos I've taken-and certainly a very patient and trusting young buck.
Driving downtown this morning and spotted a magnificent young eight-point buck in a group of about eight deer, mostly doe, and a couple yearlings.
By patient and trusting, I mean that he was kind enough to be still while I fumbled around and found my tripod in the back and, although I knew my camera was in the back of the car (with a not very helpful 28mm wide angle lens), my camera bag was at my office, and with it was my amazing, top-of-the-line-in-1972, 300mm manual focus Nikkor-H, full frame lens. But I did have, by chance alone, a very old, Vivitar Zoom (a 28-200mm (f/3.5), and unfortunately, not the Series 1). I figured, what the heck-I haven't had a chance to shoot in awhile, I'd see if I could get a shot of this deer.
Working in my favor was the fact that I shoot a lot of manual focus glass, so I found most of the settings by feel, and held my breath because I was shooting wide open on a very slow lens that I was only vaguely familiar with in poor light. Truth be told, I think I had the lens in the car because I was going to give it away at some point..but thats another story.
Not having my camera remote with me (again-in the bag at the office) I realized after making the first photo, that the buck was staring at me because of the camera's blinking focus assist light. The focus assist light on my camera blinks when using the timed shutter release setting-the buck was watching the blinking light!
This was my second picture after an ISO change. Knowing he probably wouldn't stand still very long, I was aware that I was probably pushing what little luck I had, so I pushed the ISO up to 800-hoping that was enough.
At roughly 35 yards, this deer was motionless for a little over 6 seconds-thanks mostly to a blinking focus-assist light and the fact that I forgot to bring my camera bag! 
(Shot info: Nikon D3100, 300mm @ 3 Seconds (f/4.5) (using a Vivitar 28-200 (f/3.5) MF MC Lens!).
Sometimes, a little (okay, a lot) of luck can be enough.