Back to the waterfront…

On Saturday evening, I drove back downtown to the waterfront area and to Main and Market streets. Late afternoon is my favorite time of day; angular, warm light with long shadows that bring out surface textures and light up buildings in the most intriguing ways. Even better ’cause I get all that without having to get up very early. I’ve convinced myself that, photographically speaking, dusk and dawn are co-equal and symmetrical, just 180º apart in the sky.  I’ll leave dawn to the morning-people, berserkers that they are.

There was a lot going on–Worldfest at the Belvedere; preparations for the Ironman Triathlon, whose bike course will go past my house (tying up traffic frightfully I suspect!) out in Oldham County; and an extreme skate park full of tatted youthful maniacs hell-bent on fracturing something. With all that, you’d think some inspiration would come upon me.

Well, not much. I did do some shooting on the site of the new downtown arena, which is on Main Street at Second, next to the Clark Memorial Bridge (Ohio River, for you coastal sophisticates.) Nothing like trespassing onto a hard-hat area to get the creative juices flowing. Ecce, this quotidian (or should I say, pedestrian) documentarian offering:

Downtown arena site. ©2008 Michael Sebastian. All Rights Reserved.

I had left the car with a nearly-empty camera (Mamiya 7) mounted with its widest lens, and two rolls of expired Ektachrome in my pocket. Pedestrians on the bridge above and behind me were beginning to gawk, and I did not relish having to explain to The Law what I was doing on the premises.

Aside from the broiled sky (no polarizer or ND grads on hand) and converging verticals (no tilts on this baby) I was pleased with this tripod-less grab shot. T-Max 400 is the best all-purpose film I’ve ever used. Amazing sharpness, pleasing fine grain (but still enough there to look like film is supposed to look, at least developed in Xtol), smooth creamy tones. It doesn’t hurt to have 6×7 cm of negative to work with at 4000ppi. If you live long enough to finish the scan.

The Mamiya 7 is an absolute gem of a camera; it is an all-purpose wonder that I have come to rely upon for just about everything. Except for close-up portraiture or formal architecture, it’ll do anything. Well, maybe Olympic Synchronized Diving at 9 FPS….

I’d really like to get back on that site, preferably inside. Maybe someone in charge would like a few prints of the demolition and reconstruction, artfully rendered? I have INSURANCE!


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