View Finder: Puerto Rico

It may be a US territory but Puerto Rico has its own separate identity and a tantalising mix of history, from the Spanish colonial houses of its capital San Juan to arts, crafts and music which could only belong to the Caribbean.  Famously providing the setting for Hunter S. Thompson’s alcohol-chronicle “The Rum Diary”, Puerto Rico also offers more than its fair share of nightlife and year-round festivities.  Away from the city, however, this tiny island boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in the tropics, particularly in El Yunque rainforest which is a haven for countless species of flora and fauna.

Gallery

View Finder: New York City

Not much can be said about New York that hasn’t been said a thousand times before, so just enjoy the pictures!

View from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building at twilight
View from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building at twilight

 

Those iconic fire escapes
Those iconic fire escapes

 

Times Square
Times Square

 

Yellow cabs and bright lights
Yellow cabs and bright lights

 

Flatiron building

 

The ornate ceiling of the main reading room in the New York Public Library
The ornate ceiling of the main reading room in the New York Public Library

 

The 9/11 memorial fountain at Ground Zero
The 9/11 memorial fountain at Ground Zero

 

Girl Power - the Statue of Liberty
Girl Power – the Statue of Liberty

 

One of the mosaics which adorn the infamous NYC subway
One of the mosaics which adorn the infamous NYC subway

 

Graffiti on the Lower East Side
Graffiti on the Lower East Side

 

View image gallery (click on image to enlarge and scroll)

©copyright Square Lamb 2015. All rights reserved

Vintage Photography (and the Wild West)

Maybe you can cast your mind back to a time when the year started with a ‘1’…:  you returned from a holiday, a birthday party, a sports day or whatever and raced to the local chemist with your precious rolls of camera film in hand.  You spent an impatient 48 hours waiting for the photos to be developed and returned to you in that little paper envelope, you flicked through excitedly – how did that great landscape/building/character turn out in the picture? – and immediately threw half of them in the bin because they were blurred, people were missing their heads and Aunty Phyllis was staring out at you with glowing red Satan eyes.

Ah yes – the halcyon days of analogue photography, where we had to start by loading the film into the back of the camera and winding on (a concept so archaic it surprised me to even think the word).

I have a bit of a thing for vintage cameras and the days of film.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the ease of use that my digital camera gives me and I also love the “delete” button, but in these user-friendly days of camera phones, Photoshop and (shudder) the selfie stick, the whole analogue thing and having to set everything up manually without the luxury of an “auto” option seems more of a labour of love, more artistic somehow.  There was a certain skill in trying to make every single one of those 24 exposures count, knowing that you couldn’t delete it or sort it out later on the laptop. And the finished article felt valuable, something solid into which to pour your memories.

I recently came across this article about why some photographers prefer film.  I’m not going to re-hash it because it already lists all the reasons to love film, but it started me thinking about my very first “proper” camera, a second-hand Pentax, and my very first solo travel experience at the age of 17 when I learnt to use it.  I remember sitting in the bathroom of Debenhams when I collected them, agonising over the ones that hadn’t come out and feeling a sense of triumph when I found one I was pleased with.  I’d kept them preserved in a photo album (we did that in those days)  then later scanned them into my computer. Apart from a certain amount of work in post-processing to remove scratches and clean up the image the pictures are exactly the same as the day when the chemist handed them back to me.

*I’d be doing Kodak a disservice if I didn’t mention that it was their ISO 200 colour film I used (and no, contrary to popular belief, it didn’t get damaged by the x-ray machine at the airport). 😉

Read more about film and vintage cameras here: Comprehensive Guide to Vintage Film and Cameras

©Copyright Square Lamb 2015.  All rights reserved.