* P H O T O   N O T E S


I set out for the journey from Finland on 15 May 1997 and after delays and some very bad luck I finally trampled the soil of the New World for the very first time. I had with me my old sturdy Canon EF body, the at least as sturdy Makinon 28-85 mm lens and as a telezoom the Tamron 85-210mm, backed-up by a Tamron x2 teleconverter. Support was provided by a relatively lightweight Slik tripod because I had to move very much around and I didn't want to be burdened by too heavy a load. Exposures were made by either the Gossen Sixtomat I brought from home or the Soligor Spotmaster II which I bought from New York.


And some of the equpment choices lay the seeds for a catastrophe. To start with, the lens choices were due to the ease of use, as I could substitute my well-served 28 mm and 50 mm to a single package, the before trip newly-bought (second-hand) Makinon minizoom. It was, however, perhaps insufficiently tested before I set out, as I merely thought that the vignetting in the corners was due to an extruding lens hood, the end of which I cut off, and that was all... The lens had a good maximum aperture of f3.5 and a good, sturdy metal body, but in the end it almost ruined many of the shots I took with the horrible vignetting which I noticed only after I had taken most of the planned shootings, and which forced me to mask most of the slides with black tape.

The exposures were another issue that caused grey hairs. Again, the testings of the meter I had, the Gossen digital ambient meter, showed nothing suspicious, even as an incident meter. After I got the slides back from development, I noticed that many of the subjects metered for incident light were abhorringly overexposed. The same went, in general, for the spot meter I bought during the first day in NYC, which I thus had no chance to test thoroughly. I used with the spot meter the basic principles of zone metering to come up with the best exposure, but too often the results were unsatisfactory. In tests made after the trip, the incident values (Gossen) and spot metering values (Soligor) seemed to give, in general, overexposed results as compared to the reflection values given by the Gossen meter. To make matters worse, even these comparisons were inconsistent, as in some cases the results with incident and spot meterings were, yes, spot on. Even after extensive tests and comparisons, I haven't so far been able to come up with an exposure modification pattern, other than to simply stop down half to one stops (for slide film) when using incident and spot meterings and pray hard...


During my relentless dashing across the Manhattan island (and to Hoboken, Queens and Brooklyn Heights too) I soon found out that the chosen carrying method for camera gear and tripod was ideal. All items were fast accessible and God knows that it was important as I had to unpack and extend just the tripod dozens and dozens of times -- to the point of numbness... The weight of equipment didn't even strain as much as I had feared, although my feet were full of abrasions, despite he use of plaster tape in the worst places. But it was still an interesting job, although the catastrophic overexposure of much of the footage wasn't a nice surprise indeed.

Despite all the unforeseen troubles, most of the pre-planned subjects (that is, the skyscrapers) came out rather well -- I can't say the same of pictures taken in the Cloisters or aboard a/c carrier Intrepid. Those which were badly overexposed, but still perhaps salvageable were nevertheless sent to be scanned. Despite that the scanning often increased the contrast noticeably, after some image-enhancing with masks and filters they were good enough for display on this site. [9 Jan 1999: no they weren't!] In the hindsight, it is regrettable that I had the first batch of images (75% of all displayed here) scanned in a too low resolution. The second batch, scanned on quadruple resolution, was immensely better in appearance (as one can of course assume) and was subsequently better suited to larger-size representation.


Now I've got my own scanner and at last the images are on the site the way I had hoped them to be, taking into account the above limitations on the quality of some slides. As I always said: "give me a proper scanner and then I'll be able to present the images the way they ought to". The first two scanners used for the job, the first scanning by a semi-professional against payment (but with a scanner that however left much to be desired) and the second one with an even less acceptable quality.

Now I've completed the re-scanning with my scanner and will be adding some of the photos that first seemed to be unsalvageable, and that would have been totally unsuitable for projecting on a screen, but with proper scanning they'll be just fine and a good addition to the present batch online.

M A I N   P A G E

lo-go © e t dankwa
25 August/ 18 November 1997/ 9 January 1999