Monochrome Mondays

Well I’m  not surprised at all that March is doing its typical dance of the lion and the lamb. Teasing with mild weather that prompts switching the winter jacket out to something lighter and less bulky. Tempting you with leaving the hat, gloves and scarf at home. Days growing ever longer allowing more sunlight into your day when…BAM! It all comes crashing back to reality. Well in truth it has not been so bad so far, but after a nor’easter the last few days, yesterday was the first day I ventured out for a walk in the afternoon once the sun did actually come out. There was even a beautiful sunset last night too. You can see a few I took of it on my Instagram account which I invite you to give me a follow.

In any event, it was nice after essentially being cooped up for a few days to get out for a bit and feel the late afternoon sun beaming down on me. I went for a few minutes to a nearby park. Despite March being such a tease, the signs of nicer weather are there. Buds are forming on trees, the grass seems slightly greener than it did 2 weeks ago, and in certain places, the occasional crocus might be coming out of its winter hibernation. For me though, one thing I seem to notice is that the sky seems different. Hard to put my finger on exactly why that is and maybe its just me…but a March sky seems to be different than a February one. Which for me means that spring is closer to being here.

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Monochrome Mondays

 

I’m going to get a confession out of the way right at the start today. The photo for this week’s Monochrome Mondays is a recycle job. I really have not had much time or ability to get out and take some new photographs in the last few weeks. I have taken a few, but I am in need of a full on day of walking and discovering new photo opportunities. And winter is not the greatest time to accomplish that. So I decided to go way back to my archives for this one. It is among the first photos I ever took with my Nikon N80 Film camera. Probably in 2002 or 2003 if I had to venture a guess. The recycling part of this comes from the fact that I used it in just the fourth post I wrote here. It was one of my music related posts about the music of Chris Trapper together with various photos of trees. But it was so long ago now, and because of the handy WordPress statistics I know that particular post has not been viewed in ages. So I figure now that I have followers (I didn’t really then) and since there are no rules here, I would use the same photo once again so more of you can see it.

In truth, outside Central Park on any given day, you will see street vendors selling similar photos of the exact same subject- the Literary Walk. There are color shots and monochrome, there are ones in fall, winter and spring. With people walking through or without. It has become one of those iconic New York City photos. Regardless, I am proud of it personally because it is among the first few photos I ever took with that camera where I could see not only the improvement over the cheap point and shoot cameras I had used up to that point, but also a realization that maybe I did have a good eye for photography that had been lurking under the surface for years. Let  me know what you think!

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle

Monochrome Mondays

Along with mentioning how much I love transportation (trains, ships, trucks, planes)  and being by the water (ocean, rivers, lakes) have I ever mentioned how much I like a good pier? And by pier I mean a working one. Sure there might be some pleasure or excursion boats berthed there, but I can see those anywhere. I want to see rust buckets of fishing trawlers like in this photo. Paint fading from the bow, lines of rope and fishing nets in various states of disrepair. A tiny wheelhouse with a questionable looking life preserver mounted to the side and a radar beacon, antenna and lights on the roof. A surly looking guy in a cap and sweater smoking a cigarette glaring at you for taking a photo of his work.

On the pier itself you are likely to find gas tanks and hoses while the air smells of diesel. Remnants of thick ropes fraying at their ends. Seagulls are constantly swooping about, resting occasionally on the pylons as they wait for their next meal. Sometimes I’ll be lucky enough to catch them offloading a trawler, and the catch will be hauled on to the refrigerated trucks, or to a nearby facility. I guess some of this is just a fascination of watching how things are done, be it construction workers on a building site, or a short order cook making an omelette. There is something fascinating in it. But I think hanging out at a pier and just breathing it all in, (and yes that includes the funky fish smells likely to pervade) is different. The fishing industry has changed of course, and not necessarily for the better. But these older trawlers that still ply their trade and go out most every day feel connected to the past. The mega-trawlers have taken much of this away, so like many things these days, when you get a chance to soak in a scene that seems out of the past, I think I instinctively gravitate towards shooting a photo of it.

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle

Monochrome Mondays

 

Here we are again, and yet again, I have to admit that I don’t have much time to discuss the photo for today, but there will be in a day or so. For you see, for the first time, I am cross-promoting my posts. Let me explain…

I am currently working on a new music themed post built around a New York landmark. I just have to work in some time to take a few more photos and do a little tidying of the writing. I did go on Friday to take a few photos of this particular landmark. A few of them may work their way into the post, but I wanted to take them in the clear light of a sunny day, and it was almost dark by the time I made my way over there. As soon as I have that sort of day to take the photos, I will publish the post. In the meantime, while there I could not resist taking a few monochrome shots. It seems to lend itself to the history of this particular landmark, like an old black and white newsreel or an image from a coffee table type of book. So what better way to build up some suspense for this forthcoming music post than to give you a teaser of what is to come! Now I posted this photo on Instagram the other day, asking if anyone knew what landmark site this is. One person correctly answered. So I’ll do the same thing here and ask anyone who saw the IG post to keep it to themselves for now.

Thanks and stay tuned for the followup in a few days!

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle

Monochrome Mondays

One aspect of monochrome I have not touched base on too much is the effect of shadow or silhouette. When you think about it in photography you can take a photo with no adornment whatsoever. Just see something and click it. Or maybe there is a cool reflection or a beautiful sunrise or sunset to make it appear a bit more interesting. But sometimes, a simple shadow can be a really satisfying element to capture, and it happened to me in a flurry of activity the other day.

It has actually been a great, but very hectic last month. Once the Holiday season was over we had in succession-our 10th Wedding Anniversary, my mom’s 80th Birthday, and just the other day, my wife’s 40th birthday. My own 50th birthday lurks ahead in the summer. So there has been much celebrating, laughter and fun. But also slightly hectic in the planning of it all or in the going about from here to there on cold winter days. The other day was no different, and I was in a different neighborhood picking up some stuff in celebration of Jennifer’s 40th. It was late afternoon on a brutally cold day. I wasn’t really planning on taking photos, nor did I have a lot of time, but while crossing the street, I saw the shadow of a water tower set against the clean wall of another building. It was that late afternoon ‘golden hour’ time when light is especially pleasing, but the combination of cold and not having time made me decide to just take the photo in black and white. Some of you will recall I did a post last year about my love of water towers, so I always have my eye out for interesting photos of them. I loved the end result of the waning sunlight cast against one of my favorite urban subject matters.

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Monochrome Mondays

These days I typically carry my camera with me almost every day. Does that mean I’m a real photographer? I suppose it might. But even though I have it with me, I don’t always actually take photos every day. Lets face it, most days schlepping to work is a grind and you often fall in the trap of not looking at your surroundings much on your way from home to work and back again. When you only have one route to take between the two places as I typically do this becomes an even easier trap to fall into. Save for a great sunset or interesting cloud patterns, there is not a lot to see in the Brooklyn neighborhood where I work. It is a nice area, but there is little in the way of interest that I have come across.

And the above photo is not even particularly interesting, but I like symmetrical patterns. One day last week as I got off the subway I realized I was at the back end of the train for a change. And that is all it took to see a view I hadn’t quite noticed before. When the doors to the train opened instead of instinctively turning left to go down the stairs, I glanced to the right. I saw some skyscrapers in Manhattan off in the distance, I saw the grayness of the day, but mostly I saw the lamp posts on the platform. I took just a few moments to take a quick photo or two to get the angle right, then made some final adjustments and took this one. I like how the lights appear to  descend down into the middle of the photo, even though I was standing on level ground. Just proof that there really are photo opportunities out there in even something as mundane as your commute to work.

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle

 

Monochrome Mondays

Sadly I do not have much time today to write about today’s photo. But sometimes a photo doesn’t really need much explanation after all. I took this on Friday night after work. I had a long and frustrating work week and headed out for a few ‘beverages’. Of course I brought my camera along and it was while passing Queensbridge Park I thought, hmm it is a nice clear night, maybe I can take a photo or two.

There is a promenade right along the river with stunning Manhattan views as well as the Queensborough 59th Street Bridge. For once I refrained from taking a bridge photo! For once I saw this bare tree set against the skyline I thought it might look interesting. And that is what you are looking at now!

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle