New York – Summer of 2022 (part iii)

Here is the third set of pictures that I’ve been taking over the past week or so in NYC.

This city feels like it is filled with endless opportunities for capturing interesting sights and moments. It’s not dissimilar to how I felt about Tokyo, albeit in a different way. I am simultaneously pretty pleased with the pictures I’ve taken, and also completely dissatisfied with the scenes I haven’t worked up the confidence to secure and express. That is the perpetual conflict that I find with photography when I am most engaged – an insatiable drive to do more. It is both rewarding and also endlessly frustrating. I don’t really get that with music, which can make it much more enjoyable and fulfilling a process. Maybe my standards for photographs are just higher, or I’m better at it, or. Something. Who cares really.

Case in point: On the night that we got this pizza, there was some significant drama unfolding where some disgruntled customer was complaining at arduous lengths about the calculation of sales tax on their slice – with the people in the shop becoming increasingly animated in response. This all unfolded on a lively street filled with neon, and this is the only shot I took of the whole thing. Pitiful.

I’ve continued to make more of a conscious effort to use my Leica M240 instead of the tiny wee Ricoh GR, but in doing so I’ve run into a myriad of issues. My dream lens apparently no longer lines up properly with the rangefinder, making focussing without the use of the live screen very difficult; the aperture ring of my Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 has come loose; and the sensor of the M has a bunch of marks that I simply cannot get clean.

With all of that said, the M240 does let me use lenses like the Voigtlander 15mm, which always provides a unique perspective.

My old friend Caroline lives in New York, and we arranged to catch up down near the Brooklyn Bridge, kicking things off with a selection of sour beers from a place called Evil Twin.

The views around that area are always impressive, but even more so on hot summer nights, as the sun sets in a bouquet of glorious colours.

Our travels took us to a wee cocktail bar nearby with a rhapsodic bartender named Diego. Whenever I go to a cocktail bar I request the same thing – something cherry based, with vermouth, no ice, and tart. Very rarely do people hit the mark – more often than not looking confused (or in the case of Kelvingrove Cafe, downright hostile) – but I had barely gotten the words out when… “Got it”. When he brought over the creation, it was literally perfect, first time. I couldn’t believe it. I’ll need to find an excuse to go back there before the trip is out. I was so impressed that I felt I had to take a portrait of the great man himself. He didn’t even take offence when I said that he looked like the love child of myself and my friend Watkis.

Settings like these are where the M240 really shines, as even though you have to focus manually, and higher ISO performance isn’t technically as good, and all of those other limitations, it destroys the GR when deliberation is key. For contrast, here is the picture I took of my drink with the Ricoh:

It simply couldn’t handle the colour temperature in there for some reason, and the auto-focus kept missing the glass. Maybe the old dog M240 still has some tricks up its sleeve yet. Anyway, here is a selection of other sights from around the city so far.

This gate looks like somebody He-Manned it open with sheer brute strength.

By the time I am posting this, I’ve now spent almost an entire additional week in New York, though the latter half of this trip has been entirely work focussed, and so the time I’ve had to wander about and take pictures has been limited. Looking over these shots, it feels like I took them weeks and weeks ago.

I had big plans to shoot a bunch of black and white film on the trip, and until the past few days I hadn’t really managed it, but I’ve enjoyed shifting focus and approach from the Ricoh, so we’ll see if any of them are any good when I finally get around to developing and scanning them.

I’ve said this already, but I could easily wander about these streets for weeks. Maybe I’ll need to figure out a way to make that happen.

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