Archive for the ‘HDR’ Tag

Greenwich Locksmiths   5 comments

The weather the day of the Fire Museum’s Santa Rescue was quite nice, considering it was mid-December. Rather than heading directly home, I decided to take a walk in search of a place I had read about on Scouting New York’s blog. The museum is located on Spring street and a quick ten block stroll north on Varick found me in front of Greenwich Locksmiths.


Locksmiths in this city are a dime a dozen, typically claustrophobic little places of business situated in storefronts crammed between two larger buildings. This establishment is a bit larger but what’s really remarkable about it is the facade. Greenwich Locksmiths is completely covered by thousands of keys, arrayed in interesting patterns. Photographs on Scout’s and the shop’s own website show that the building’s original facade was rather bland. Not long ago, the owner, Phil Mortillaro, decided to liven the place up and this was his solution.

Greenwich Locksmiths

I love this little bit of graffiti:

What a job he’s done. It’s difficult for me to imagine how managed to glue thousands of keys to on the wall without going absolutely batty. My hat is off to both his patience and creativity.

I also appreciate his distinctly New York City sense of humor. Two large black safes flank the entrance and are named Patience and Fortitude (trust me, those little gold labels say “Patience” and “Fortitude” – I’ve found that WordPress does a real tough job in compressing my images).

The shop was closed when I stopped by during the weekend and the shop was closed. If you have a chance to wander around the West Village, stop by Greenwich Locksmiths, preferably during the week as more of his key artwork is visible behind the security gate. It’s truly a work of urban folk art. Scout’s website is also well worth the visit as he’s got tons of fascinating stories about New York and its environs.

Posted January 30, 2012 by Beth in Uncategorized

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Riverside Church Bell Tower   5 comments

Friday was a gorgeous day, temps nearing 60, it felt like spring was truly on the way. It was not to last, of course, as temps dropped back to the 30s on Saturday, joined by 50 MPH winds. Crazy stuff! Friday evening, while it was still relatively temperate, I hoped for one of those beautiful post-sundown navy blue skies as I had a particular subject in mind that would work perfectly in that setting. Instead an overcast built itself up over the course of the afternoon and I had no shot, or so I thought. By the time I left the office, the clouds had broken apart just enough to allow the setting sunlight to poke through and light them in a beautiful pink glow. I’d been waiting to get a good image of Riverside Church’s bell tower and this was my chance. I hustled up the hill to Broadway, set up and got a couple of good shots, including this one.

A funny thing happened while I worked on this image. I was standing under the elevated subway trestle and the camera was pointing in a south western direction toward the church. A black Crown Victoria pulled next to me, the driver asked me if “I was taking pictures” (he looked like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnston, by the way) and told me people get scared when they see someone with a camera under the tracks. Meanwhile, the car wasn’t marked and I didn’t see a badge so I don’t know who the guy was but he took off after a quick conversation. I don’t know, I would think a terrorist would attempt to be somewhat less conspicuous than to stand in an intersection with a tripod and attract attention.

Posted February 21, 2011 by Beth in Harlem

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Templo Biblico   1 comment

It’s been a rough couple of weeks, weather-wise. I had wanted more snow, severe winter weather we had, but it was mainly a mixture of wet snow and freezing rain plus freezes and thaws. The result of all of this was piles of ugly frozen black slush lining the roadways. Adding in consistent gray skies and extreme cold weather, it was tough to get outside to do any photography. Inspiration has been at a low ebb.

Case in point. I had walked past this building on Amsterdam Avenue during a lunch hour walk in December and appreciated the shadow these tree cast on this blank wall. I didn’t have my camera at the time and made a mental note to return. Weeks passed until I had my camera and tripod in the office and enough enough sunlight to cause acceptable shadows on the building for images of the place. Friday was sunny and relatively warm and I jumped at the chance.

The site itself is somewhat unusual as open footage in Manhattan is at a premium and here we have a couple of trees in a small lot on Amsterdam Ave. and 126th Street. I have walked past this place numerous times on my way to a nearby library and knew it was old but didn’t put two and two together to realize it had been a firehouse. The 1881 building designed by Napoleon LeBrun housed Engine Company Number 37 and is now the Templo Biblico church. I have never seen the church open so I haven’t had a chance to chat with the pastor or other workers. I assume it’s mainly active on Sundays. I often wonder if the people who use these re-purposed buildings have any idea of the history of these places. I wish it were so. Any place, no matter how nondescript may have an interesting story to tell, if only the time were taken to investigate. Then again, it may simply be a boring pile of bricks!

Posted February 15, 2011 by Beth in Harlem

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Last Viaduct Image + Snow!   4 comments

Riverside Drive Viaduct

I must be one of maybe six people in this city hoping for more snow. A selfish sentiment, I know, as the logistics of dealing with upwards of 2 feet of the stuff is a huge physical and financial burden on both the city and residents. Let’s just say I am grateful my car is parked underground.

Apartment dwellers like I have little to care about beyond remaining upright on slippery sidewalks and avoiding drowning risks at every slush-filled street corner. Getting around by car is unnecessary because the subway always runs, no matter the weather (at least in Manhattan anyway). Rather, the numerous snowstorms, seven so far, that coated the city have prompted me to hit the streets with camera and tripod like nothing else. More snow, please!

Thursday’s early morning blizzard prompted me to check out a historic West Harlem (Manhattanville) church that had caught my eye not far from my office. It’s a picturesque place with a garden in front and an actual 1850s clapboard parish house next door. I had a very pleasant encounter with the rector and some of his staff and managed to shoot a few frames. Again, my luck, the lunchtime sun skittered behind the clouds minutes after I set up the camera. I look forward to returning when I have more time, preferably after another snowstorm.

So we’re back to the viaduct one last time. I’d seen good images of the full length of this structure but I hoped I could capture something a little different. Morning sun coupled with HDR did the trick I think. I’m new to this technique and I’m sure the image could use additional some post-processing work but I’m pretty satisfied.

A couple more viaduct facts to share (and repeat):
– Designed by F. Stewart Williamson
– Built in 1900
– Stretches from St. Clair Place (about West 129th Street) to West 135th Street
– 26 bays supported by 130-foot girders, including one double-sized arch over 125th Street
– Girders over 125th Street were the largest built to date
– Reconstructed twice, in 1967 and 1987

If at a later date I can make the top side look as interesting as underneath, I’ll post photos of that, too.

Posted January 30, 2011 by Beth in Harlem

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