The Contact Sheet

This month's #WE35 expedition is ‘The Contact Sheet’. Apparently back in the day[^1], film photographers would make a print of all the images they had shot on a roll of film. The images would be printed, thumbnail size, on a single sheet of photographic paper. The photographer could then review the images and pick the one or more images she wanted to print.

I have never created a contact sheet.

#WE35 is a global visual survey and creative research project conducted by explorers from around the world. The goal of #WE35 is to push your creative boundaries, share in each other’s artistic development, and forge friendships that will last a lifetime. All of this, using nothing more than a single 35mm lens. We will achieve this goal through monthly assignments designed to expand your creativity like never before, foster an encouraging community where we can discuss one another’s work and provide opportunities for critiques and constructive feedback.The Photo Frontier

I took these images during a still life and tabletop photography workshop hosted by Princeton Photography Workshop. Photographer Frank Veronsky instructed our small group on lighting and staging before we set to work photographing anything we could find in his studio. I decided to shoot some squash and a vintage film camera brought by one of the students. I considered the exposure, the composition, and what message I wanted to convey.

I used Frank's homemade reflectors to bounce light coming in from his studio windows. It was a fairly cloudless day so we had a great deal of light. I also tried blocking the light using dark coloured and black painted surfaces. One thing that I had to pay special attention to was the focal length of my lens. My Nikon D5100 has an APS-C sensor and I do not own a 24mm (~35mm full-frame equivalent) lens. I used my AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR DX lens and set the focal length to 24 mm. One of the restrictions of the expedition is that photographers must shoot as though they were shooting film. I only had 36 negatives on my roll so I had to slow down and concentrate on what I was doing.

[exif id="24846"]

Making the pick was also a slow process. None of the images was post-processed. I re-considered the exposure, the composition, and what message I wanted to convey. The image I picked from the contact sheet conveys, in my opinion, the idea of fall. The orange-red-yellow of the squash match the orange-red-yellow of the autumn leaves that one sees in New Jersey during that time of year. One thing I would have liked to add is a few sticks of cinnamon to invoke the memory of the spices that one might smell in the house when someone is baking the squash.

Grand Central Terminal

I took these last summer on a photography field trip to Grand Central Station. I never published them until now.

100 years ago, on February 2, 1913, the massive Grand Central Terminal Building opened in New York City during the heyday of rail travel in the United States. Built at the corner of East 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue to replace the Grand Central Station, the structure and rail lines were built over ten years. At that time, Grand Central Terminal was the world's largest terminal covering 49 acres with 33 miles of track.

By 1947, it is estimated that 65 million travellers had passed through the Grand Central Terminal Building a year. However, by the latter part of the 20th Century, air and automobile travel had supplanted rail travel. The Grand Central Terminal was in disrepair and threatened with demolition. Fortunately, due to The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's efforts in the 1990s, Grand Central Terminal was restored and remained 100 years after it first opened.

The Metro-North Railroad operates 700 trains per day, and it is estimated that about 700,000 people pass through Grand Central Terminal daily.

Main concourse, Grand Central Terminal, N.Y. Central Lines, New York
Main concourse, Grand Central Terminal, N.Y. Central Lines, New York. Source Collection
Detroit Publishing Company photograph collection (Library of Congress)
Grand Central Terminal, New York
Grand Central Terminal, New York | Saturday 22 June, 2013 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6

Between 1902 and 1967, the 20th Century Limited operated an express passenger along the railroad's "Water Level Route" between Grand Central Terminal and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago, Illinois.

Grand Central Terminal, New York
Grand Central Terminal, New York | Saturday 22 June, 2013 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6

A view of the west balcony in Grand Central Station in New York in this photo taken between 1913-1930.

Grand Central Terminal, New York
Grand Central Terminal, New York | Saturday 22 June, 2013 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6
Grand Central Terminal, New York
Grand Central Terminal, New York | Saturday 22 June, 2013 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6

The clock above the Grand Central Terminal Information Booth, with faces made of opal.

Grand Central Terminal, New York
Grand Central Terminal, New York | Saturday 22 June, 2013 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6

Fifty-nine stars shine as part of the backwards-painted zodiac set in gold leaf constellations that span the main concourse ceiling. My lens was not wide enough to fit the entire ceiling.

Grand Central Terminal, New York
Grand Central Terminal, New York | Saturday 22 June, 2013 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6
Grand Central Terminal, New York
Grand Central Terminal, New York | Saturday 22 June, 2013 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6
Grand Central Terminal, New York
Grand Central Terminal, New York | Saturday 22 June, 2013 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6

Composition in the Field with Frank Veronsky

Frank Veronsky is an editorial and commercial photographer who lived in New York City for over 20 years. He recently moved to Belle Meade, NJ and is teaching both beginner and advanced workshops. I found out about the workshop through his photo group on Meetup. The meetup group is sponsored by the Digital Photo Academy. I'm fortunate to live a few miles from Frank's studio and decided to take the Workshop, Composition in the Field.

Frank's studio is a converted barn at the back of his property in the historic Harlingen section of Montgomery Township. Frank and his wife moved here with their kids to be closer to the family. The studio is clean and well lit but Frank's backyard provided the subject matter for the day's workshop.

It rained that morning and the air and soil were still damp and a little cold. The lighting changed constantly as the clouds moved across the sun.

Workshop - Composition in the Field - Frank Veronsky—Nikon D40 + 35 mm f/1.8 @ 35 mm, f/1.8
Workshop - Composition in the Field - Frank Veronsky—Nikon D40 + 35 mm f/1.8 @ 35 mm, f/1.8
Workshop - Composition in the Field - Frank Veronsky—Nikon D40 + 35 mm f/1.8 @ 35 mm, f/1.8
Workshop - Composition in the Field - Frank Veronsky—Nikon D40 + 35 mm f/1.8 @ 35 mm, f/1.8
Workshop - Composition in the Field - Frank Veronsky—Nikon D40 + 35 mm f/1.8 @ 35 mm, f/1.8
Workshop - Composition in the Field - Frank Veronsky—Nikon D40 + 35 mm f/1.8 @ 35 mm, f/1.8
Workshop - Composition in the Field - Frank Veronsky—Nikon D40 + 35 mm f/1.8 @ 35 mm, f/1.8
Workshop - Composition in the Field - Frank Veronsky—Nikon D40 + 35 mm f/1.8 @ 35 mm, f/5.0
Nikon D40 + 35 mm f/1.8 @ 35 mm, f/1.8