Monday, October 31, 2005

But they looks so delicious...

Not to give the impression that all the lomos taken on my rides are bike shots. This past Friday, I rode in a leisurely fashion and even took a diversion down to one of the picnic areas on the Hudson River.

There were some big honkin' birds down there. Geese? What other kinds of birds honk? They kept fucking running away from me every time I tried to get close to shoot them:

I don't know why the damn birds kept running away. I didn't want to hurt them. I just wanted to bash their brains out. Whoops, sorry, that was a lapse.

I finally gave up. Or so I let them think. I noticed they weren't as fazed when I rode by on my bike. So I did a ride-by shooting:

I love how there's that one that looks sort of startled, not knowing whether to run or not. I have more lomos from there. I'll post them when I'm less violent. I think I'm having a "shining" with some horror movie.

current sounds (last 10 songs played on iTunes):
1. The Painted Desert (10,000 Maniacs)
2. Rousseau (Pinback)
3. Soldiers of the Long March (The Guo Brothers & Shung Tian)
4. Watcher of the Skies (Genesis)
5. Gouge Away (The Pixies)
6. Yeah You (Versus)
7. Beauty and the Beast (live) (David Bowie)
8. Close to the Edge (Yes)
9. MFC (live) (Pearl Jam)
10. Tomodachi no mama (Princess Princess)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Riding October

I got a roll of film developed and almost the whole thing is shots taken while on my default 19-mile ride, which I've just extended to 20 miles (optional) by adding a little more at the very end.

How boring is that to have a diary and it only being about riding a bike? I have to find a way to mix things up, but truth to tell, not much else is going on around here these days. What with the days getting shorter and colder and all, impetus to get out needs to be compelling. And this 20-mile default ride is only compelling to keep from getting a gut, sitting around doing nothing all day.

The end of Daylight Savings Time usually signals the end of my "riding season", the way it signalled the end of my "running season" way back when. That began when I was much younger, and physical exertion in cold weather brought on asthma attacks. I continued that out of habit after I moved to San Francisco and after I stopped getting asthma. The season just totally changes after Daylight Savings Time ends.

I'm gonna see how far into the Winter I can keep riding before the cold forces me to wimp out. Too poor to buy Winter clothes, I'm going the ghetto route and layering with microfibre clothes that I have for running. I don't expect this to last very long. Already I see other riders with much heavier protection. And unable to afford Winter gloves, the day my fingers get home numb, the bike goes onto the trainer.

current sounds (last ten songs on iTunes):
1. Deep Red (Versus)
2. Sparky (Kristin Hersh)
3. Apeman (live) (The Kinks)
4. The Crying Tree of Mercury (Smashing Pumpkins)
5. Can't Stand Losing You (The Police)
6. Riding the Scree (Genesis)
7. Check the Address (764-HERO)
8. Ten Feet Tall (XTC)
9. Drive-In Saturday (David Bowie)
10. A Quick One (While He's Away) (live) (The Who)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Lomo of the Day

Sometimes I have shots without anything to say about them:

October 10, 2005 - Fort Lee Borders Bookstore. I just know it was a rainy day. The lomo fisheye doesn't do well in low light and indoor lighting situations, but digital post-tinkering brings out some interesting nuances.

Friday, October 28, 2005


Hometown shot. Route 9W is the big road that takes you through this town north-south. It's the only big road in this town and it's designed to just get you through it as quick as possible.

The leaves started turning a couple weeks ago and we're just getting into peak now. I had forgotten what the leaves smelled like. Nostalgic. Except after a couple weeks they start to rot and smell like crap.

The colors make my default 19 mile ride more pretty.

Hudson River Drive. Mile 9.44 on my 19 mile ride.

The weather has been iffy, so more shots of Autumn color at peak have been sparse. What sucks most is when peak hits and we have a bunch of cloudy days, and by the time the sun comes out, all the leaves have fallen.

It's that time of year, though. Daylight savings ends this weekend.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

My trusty steed:

2003 Cannondale F400

Rilo Kiley
Modest Mouse
"Peace is Every Step"
Deadweight (SF band)

Water bottle by Nalgene. But the plastic isn't the same as their non-bike bottle bottles. The water starts tasting like plastic after a while.

Monday, October 24, 2005

An atypical drive into New York

OK, kids, we can compare a lomo ride into New York with a lomo drive.

First, of course, there needs to be a reason to drive into New York, involving a $6 toll, polluting the environment, gas $$$, and becoming one with angry New York drivers, certainly one of the lower common denominators of society. In this case, aside from the looming rain of a cloudy day, my sister-in-law had several errands to run that required driving in.

The $6 toll gets you across the George Washington Bridge and shots like this:

Typically the choice off the bridge is whether to go down the East Side or the West Side. Sister-in-law needed to go to a place coincidentally right near B&H on 29th and 8th, so we took the West Side Highway down, with views of the Hudson River and say hello to the Jersey skyline:

After loading a new roll of film into Bebe, which is what I've named the lomo fisheye, pronounced "bay-bay" like on South Park, the West Side Highway goes by the Intrepid Air and Space Museum, which the bike path also goes past, but the area is all so cramped that there aren't many great vantage points to shoot it.

Apparently, when you use a camera in a car, you get light leaks on your film:

Getting off the West Side Highway seems to make the camera-use-in-a-car light leak phenomena even worse:

Sister-in-law's first errand had me standing in the car by some parked school buses. That was cool. If you're nestled in with a bunch of school buses, you aren't blocking traffic, so who's gonna tell you to move along:

The next thing sister-in-law had to do was pick up tickets to a Broadway show for some friends. Unfortunately, around Times Square it's near impossible to stop the car for any length of time, parking, waiting, standing, it matters not. You can't do it. So while she ran in to get the tickets, I had to drive around the block.

Times Square drive-by, #1:

Times Square drive-by, #2:

Oh, whoops, and that's it. I guess I could have documented that drive into the city better, but it's not like I was trying to document anything. This is all just a ruse to dump my lomos somewhere, so deal enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A typical ride into New York

I make no claims of being a New Yorker. I'm sure when I go into New York, I have New Jersey written all over me. I really should get a New Jersey sweatshirt or something. Or a mullet. A Bon Jovi shirt would just as quickly make the point. But, oh, Bon Jovi *shudder*.

When I go into New York, I usually end up going to same old places, using same old routes. There aren't places I go to hang out, and when I'm done with why I went in, I usually start making my way back to New Jersey for lack of anything else to do.

So for example, last Monday I rode into New York to go to B&H on 34th and 9th. I decided to ride all the way down on the pedestrian pathways that go along the Hudson River on the West Side. It's not seamless, and there is even one section around 133rd St. where you have to go into car traffic.

The only way to get directly onto the paths without having to carry my bike down steps, is to turn left off the George Washington Bridge, and go up three blocks to 181st St., and down to the paths to swing back under the GW Bridge.

On a nice day, it's tempting to stop a lot to take in the view.

It's a long way down from 181st St. to 34th St. Midtown is marked by a bike path that goes underneath the West Side Highway:

In fact, at one end there are fenced in basketball courts that are reminiscent of the "rumble" scene in West Side Story. I can almost hear Bernardo hiss, "Under thee highway" every time I ride by them.

At B&H, I got UV ($12) and red ($12) filters for the 28-80 lens ($18, including shipping) that I got off eBay. I can't believe I spent more on filters than the lens cost! That just seems so very wrong. I also got a protective UV filter ($25) for my original 28-200 lens, and 3 rolls of XP2 Super black and white film.

And afterwards, predictably, I had no idea where to go. I didn't want to just ride back up, so I walked around a bit hoping to be inspired to go somewhere else. At a loss, I hung out at the corner of 34th St. and Broadway for a few minutes.

Alas, no inspiration struck, so I headed back up, going the same way I came down. Usually I go back a different route, but I didn't feel like riding in traffic, which all the other routes do.

There's a pedestrian pier at around 70th St. that I stopped at to rest. It juts way out into the Hudson River:

And looks back at a magnificent view of the Trump buildings:

Really, I've never taken the same route back as I went, but that day I really took the exact same route all the way:

I'm sure I could have done a better job documenting the ride in, but it really was pretty uneventful. At least it was nice and sunny and colorful. I'll probably go in again soon and shoot more extensively. I'd like to go to Central Park when the leaves turn.

Friday, October 21, 2005


I'm starting to get it, the whole "lomo" thing. The aesthetic. It's brilliantly cool. And fun.

I started thinking that my lomo shots don't look like other peoples' lomo shots. I've been scanning and doing some color correction to make them "look good", the way I would with a "non-lomo" shot.

Lomography is often described in alternatively punk or Zen terms. Shooting without thinking. Throwing out all rules, no shutter speed, no depth of field, and anyone can do it. No more technical mumbo jumbo, no more expensive gear.

But scanning negatives shot with a lomo doesn't automatically give you lomography. When the lomo movement began in the 80s, aside from the shooting there was still the processing and printing, and that's where the tripped out essence of lomography came out. The limitations of lomo-type cameras were its strength, and so whacked out colors, saturation, and contrast - things that were adjustable in processing and printing - became the hallmark of lomo. I'm making this up, folks.

To get to the point, compare the previous "normal" color correction of the Little Red Lighthouse to this (whoops, actually the previous one is the straight scan):

And at this point, I say stop thinking, stop analyzing, stop concretizing lomo. The only consideration is that I like this one better than the "normal" one. Yo'm sayn'?



Look how nice a cherry red Porsche looks in the rain:

October 14, 2005 - it's dead in the driveway in need of a new water pump. I go out and turn it on every week to keep the battery from dying.

That's a new brick house they're building across the street. It's replacing this.

About as nice as a cherry red lighthouse looks in the sun:

October 17, 2005 - Little Red Lighthouse, New York side of the George Washington Bridge. Lomo not flipped.

My brother still has the the book shown on that website link. It was ours when we were kids in the 70s. He has it on his windowsill in his apartment in Fort Lee, from where you can easily see the lighthouse. In fact, that's his building on the lower left. I'm pretty sure it is.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I ride my bike

I take pictures while I'm riding.

October 5, 2005 - before it started raining. Hackensack, NJ. You know, the city Lex Luthor was going to blow up in the first Superman movie.

I was riding out to Route 17 that day.

New Jersey is car driving town. I'm probably the only person in this area who rides to the stores, at least at these distances. And it can be harrowing, worse than San Francisco or even Manhattan. It's because drivers in New Jersey are just like 'duh' about cyclists. It turns out riding to CompUSA and back is still less than my 19 mile default ride, but takes much more mental energy.

On my way back, I scored my first street sign. I've noticed the downed street sign for several weeks, but it was still attached to the pole, so I didn't think anything of it. This time, however, I noticed the signed separated from the pole. I think it took less than five seconds to decide to take it. If I left it, I knew it probably wouldn't be there for long. A pedestrian was walking towards me so I had to act quickly. And I was less than a half mile from my parents house, so I didn't have to go far with it. Perfect.

Palisade Avenue. I'd say it's a pretty important road around these parts. I'd say just about everyone around here knows it.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Rainy Days Retrospective

Ah, the gloom of 8 days straight of rain are over:

October 8, 2005 - second day of rain, view outside the front door, kinda the reverse of this.

I documented some of what I did this past week with my lomo. Early on, before we knew it would be 8 days without sun, I visited my brother in Fort Lee:

October 9, 2005 - He lives on the 22nd floor and, as you can see, has quite a nice view. This view is reversed, as his building is south of the bridge, not north.

We had brunch with my sister-in-law's sister and parents:

October 9, 2005 - it was a pretty friggin' amazing brunch. my sister-in-law rocks. She's the one in maroon. Her older sister, Peggy, is at the head of the table. She's pretty cool, too, she used to prosecute war criminals at the Hague. There's not much sexier than prosecuting war criminals at the Hague.

Afterwards, I took a walk and found that two roads diverged in a wood, and I have no idea which one I eventually took (especially since I can't tell if this shot is flipped or not), and that hasn't made any difference in anything whatsoever (sorry, Robert):

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The sun'll come out....

The sun is due out tomorrow, I'm hoping to be able to get out and ride my bike. I've been wanting to ride to Brooklyn, which is quite a haul just to get there, but maybe I'll save that ride for Sunday, when I want to ride into Manhattan anyway to go to the B&H Photo store. They're having wonky hours because it's a primarily Jewish establishment, and we are in the high holy days of the Jewish calendar. Really, most of the people who work there are practicing Hasids, with the whole black coat get up and hair locks. They don't talk to you unless they need to, they don't smile, and they don't exchange small talk or even common pleasantries. Maybe they're disgruntled because they'd rather be practicing, maybe it's cultural, but I respect that. Anyone willing to wear their beliefs on not only their sleeves but their whole body, looking totally freakish by our cultural standards gets the benefit of my doubt.

So tomorrow, maybe I'll just do my 18 mile loop ride which is my default ride to make sure I get out and get some exercise. It's an easy, scenic ride going up Rte 9W to Alpine (on which Alanis Morrisette filmed that video in the car where she's all split personality), and coming back on the Hudson River Drive to Fort Lee, and then backtracking up to my parents' town. The route has plenty of rolling flats, one screaming downhill (although not by Bay Area standards), and some short uphills.

Yes, I've stopped to take lomos (yes, I took my lomo along):

September 29, 2005 - Hudson River Drive

October 1, 2005 - Hudson River Boat Basin

The ride goes underneath the George Washington Bridge going to Fort Lee:

October 1, 2005

All of these negatives are flipped, per previous discussion.

Friday, October 14, 2005

When the rain comes, they run and hide their heads

It's been raining for almost a week. Before it started raining, we were in drought conditions. In three days, it rained as much as it rained in the past three months! We are no longer in drought conditions. We're not expected to see sun until Saturday.

October 8, 2005 - my parents' back porch

My parents are away on vacation. Just my luck that they go away on vacation and then it rains for a week. I swear they must have some good karma going their way. Sometimes things just go right for them. It's always been kinda superficial, though. I hope whatever good karma they have stored up doesn't get exhausted by their current lifetime, which is 100% material. And when I say 100%, I mean 100%. They haven't a spiritual or introspective bone in their bodies.

If the sun does come out on Saturday, be sure that I'll be out on my bike.

September 28, 2005 - Main St., Fort Lee. Shot while riding.

Coming from California, I never thought of a season when riding was unpleasant. I only didn't ride when it rained, I don't like getting wet. But even in the Winter, if it wasn't raining, I rode. But here, it's going to get cold. I'll try it, but I'm not looking forward to it. Although riding in the snow, hmmm...

Thursday, October 13, 2005


On a cloudy Monday, after finishing the first roll of black and white film and bringing it in for processing, I rode down River Road to the Target in Edgewater, hoping to find color film cheap. Edgewater needs to get a clue and bike lane River Road. It could and should be a main bike artery for commuters going to the ferry to New York.

I found the cheap film I coveted and loaded it into my lomo fisheye (I need to name that camera), and advanced the film:

September 26, 2005 - outside Target

Continuing to advance:

Riding back up to Fort Lee from Edgewater is a bit of a hill which might be daunting to some would-be cyclists. But what I learned from cycling in the Bay Area is that you develop the muscles with just a little effort. And the rewards of tackling a hill and it getting easier and easier far outweighs the initial strain and effort. Although for that stretch of River Road, a little more fortitude is necessary to deal with the car traffic.

At the top of River Road is the historic Fort Lee Park, site of the historic...Fort Lee. I have no idea what I'm talking about. It has a keen George Washington Bridge overlook, great for bridge watching, if you're into that sort of thing:

I decided for now to continue my practice that I do with black and white film of flipping the negatives. But I might switch and not do it for color negatives. The idea behind doing it with black and white negatives is to remove the image even one more step from reality. First, you remove the depth dimension, then you remove color, then you remove the wider context by framing the shot. I take it one step further and flip the negative to subliminally emphasize the removal from reality. I don't flip the negatives if there are words in the shot that are central to the image or might call too much attention to the fact that the shot is flipped.

With color, I dunno. Adding the color dimension brings it that one step back to reality, and it's a balance or momentum thing. Bringing color back to an image also makes me want to bring back the real perspective of the shot. You decide, here's what the shot looks like unflipped, m'kay?:

See? There is a difference, don't you think? Of course, the fisheye is another removal from reality.

What I find interesting about flipping negatives is that most people won't notice unless they're very familiar with a scene. But with people even mildly familiar with a scene, they might not notice because of the symmetry of perspective. Nothing looks wrong with that flipped shot of the GW Bridge. People familiar with it might just see it taken from the north side, instead of the south. But once you know the negative is flipped or can compare the shots, there's something comforting about the forward shot. You go, "oh yea, that's right, those buildings go there, and that is there".

And people not familiar with a scene, even if they are told the shot is flipped, it's really hard to imagine a shot flipped forward when the reversed shot has already been forced on you. You just have to settle that this is not at all what the scene looked like. I like fudging with reality. Mm, fudge. Like Chef's salty chocolate balls.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

So long, Boston

So long, Boston:

Hello, Tappan Zee Bridge:

That was all more than two weeks ago. The day after the wedding, I killed off some more shots so that I could get the roll developed. There's not much to shoot in suburban New Jersey, although I'm doing what I can to "predict" subject matter - images that are of little interest now, but might be in the future. The only reliable subject matter this side of the George Washington Bridge from New York is . . . the George Washington Bridge. And I have plenty of that on the color roll coming up.

Toll booths on the approach to the GWB:

Stairs down to the bus stop coming off the GWB:

September 26, 2005

Monday, October 10, 2005

Boston lomo dump

Storyless images from my solo lomo stroll in Boston on September 25 when I went up there for the day for my cousin's wedding:

Congress St. bridge, under going construction. It's off this bridge that the future Boston Tea Party tourist trap will be.


South Station, I think. I don't think I was too suspicious in my suit and tie walking around the train station shooting with a toy camera.

South Station bike rack mangle.

Large group of people wearing the same t-shirt walking past a homeless person.