Location: Broad and Noble Streets
Image Size: 29” x 29” @240 dpi
Printed: 11.5” x 11.5”
Camera: Rolleiflex K4
Lens: Schneider Xenar
Exposure: f19.5 @ 1/10 (Guessed, no light meter.)
Film: Kodak Portra 400 (120 roll film)
Scan: Epson V500
Print: Epson Artisan 1430/ Cone Color Inks/ Moab Lasal
First things first-- with this week’s edition, The Concrete Muse is one year old! The support and encouragement the project has received has been primary to its success. My thanks go out to you all, especially those who email me back with perceptions and ideas.
The plan is to continue into year two and to improve and refine both the vision and the technical along with project expansion: photographing further afield from Center City, finding new sources of funding, mounting new and innovative exhibitions.
Now back to the image…
Noble Street is almost not a street at all. It’s a pass through between Broad and Thirteenth, right next to the Inquirer plant, a shortcut that also leads to where the Reading Viaduct comes down to street level. With the planned development of this area into a park, I can surmise, almost with certainty, it will not continue to look this way. I had previously taken a shot at this locale on 35mm, but it seemed to be calling out for an image that would encompass the feel of things in depth and detail.
The 60 year-old Rollei, though very intelligently designed and a pleasure to use is much slower than a 35mm slr; it doesn't have a zoom lens, a viewfinder that is a mirror image so when you move left the image moves right, and the format is a perfect square. Strangely, I've had the camera for years, but I still feel like it is going to be many more rolls of film before it will feel like a natural extension of my vision. As you can see by the two shots, it causes a definite change in the way things are seen and captured.
The day I shot this (last Tuesday) I used a light tripod on the street, something I had never done before. It was great to be able to shoot at super-small apertures, slow shutter speeds and get amazing depth of focus, but I could see what a nightmare this could be trying to get the camera on and off the tripod and getting things adjusted if this were the dead of winter. Working this way, it would not be much of all that big a jump to going to a view camera where you are carefully looking at every corner of the composition rather than working more from the hip, but it’s probably not advisable to bury oneself under a dark cloth in this kind of environment. I was surprised at how much car and even pedestrian traffic there was.
Right: The original 35mm shot, Nikon FM2n on super-cheap Kodak Gold film. Jpeg straight from the processor's preview CD.