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Black and White: My First Love. Images 70-76

Downward Spiral     Downward Spiral, Genesee Lighthouse, Rochester, NY

Genesee Lighthouse, BW     Genesee Lighthouse, BW

Sodus Point Lighthouse, BW     Sodus Point Lighthouse. BW

Watkins Glen, BW     Watkins Glen, BW

Buttermilk Falls, BW     Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca, NY, BW

High Falls, BW     High Falls, Rochester, NY, BW

Close Up Flower, BW      Flower in Close Up, BW

When I began taking my own pictures, it was in High School at West Irondequoit High School, during my Junior Year.  My father was an amateur photographer and I had always wanted to give it a try.  When I saw that my high school offered Photography A, B, C and D as art electives, I jumped at the chance (mostly because I cannot draw for beans).  Of course, back in the old days (1988 to 1990), when I was taking HS Photo classes, it was all on black and white film.  I borrowed my mother’s 35 mm Camera, a Fujica, as I did not have a camera of my own yet (I would get my Canon AE-1 until graduation from HS; a gift from my Dad).

We started the class with learning how the camera worked; F-stops, shutter speed, film speed, focus, different lenses, etc…  (BORING!!!!!).  We learned all the basics as well as how to take the exposed film off the roll in a darkroom or in “the bag” and doing all the processing of the film in the can with all the chemicals.  Then we learned how to make the prints in the darkroom and process all the prints; developer, stop bath, fixer, stop bath.  I found myself spending hours in the darkroom, playing around with different ways to expose the image on the paper.  I would spend extra time after school and during study halls in the darkroom, or walking around the school with my camera, finding subject matter relating to the present project we were working on.  I loved it!

The Black and White Image was beautiful to me.  Stripped down; Basic.  More like an Impression; more artistic than it’s color counterpart.  Sometimes surreal; sometimes dramatic.  I loved playing with contrast to make it more interesting; to get the image to “pop” off the paper.  I was actually disappointed when we switched to color somewhere during Photo D.  I felt like I was losing the art of it all and my photos seemed more pedestrian; just like everyone else’s.  I felt like the color robbed all the creativity.

I have since learned to love the color image just as much as the monochrome image.  For quite a while, just because of ease, i took exclusively color images.  Black and White film was hard to find, and getting the film processed was more expensive.

Then, AHHHHHHHHH; Digital came around!!!   Now every shot I take is both color and black and white.

Take a look at more of my Black and White Images at the below websites.  I have an entire album devoted to Black and White on the Instaprints.com site.

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

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Downtown Rochester: New High Falls Pictures taken recently and Shots of the Bridge from Corn Hill Landing. Images 36-42.

High Falls and RainbowHigh Falls, Rochester, October 2014

Downtown RochesterDowntown Rochester from Corn Hill Landing

Rochester High FallsHigh Falls, Rochester, October 2014

Rochester, MonochromeDowntown Rochester, in Black and White

Rochester High Falls in AutumnHigh Falls, October 2014

Corn Hill View Corn Hill View

Genesee BreweryGenesee Brewery

I recently went into the city for a “Photowalk” with a bunch of other photographers (from which I will soon blog about and put up some interesting shots) and on the way home, had the chance to get a few shots of Downtown Rochester.  I have posted a recent blog about Rochester, NY with some shots from High Falls taken about 3 years ago.  I wanted to get some updated shots of the falls using some new “Neutral Density” filters that I just purchased.  Neutral Density filters allow you to take long exposure shots in bright light without getting any overexposure.  I also stopped at Corn Hill Landing and took some shots of Downtown Rochester from the opposite side.  And, of course, had to get some shots of the Genesee Brewery!!  Enjoy!!!

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor

High Falls in Rochester, NY; My Hometown. Images 17 and 18

Rochester, High Falls, 2High Falls, Rochester, NY

Rochester, High Falls, 1High Falls, Rochester, NY

Rochester, NY is my home town.   I was born and raised here; as was my wife.   It ain’t glamorous, but it is a great place to live and to raise a family.  Rochester has had it’s share of ups and downs.  It has been the murder capital of NY state in the past.  It has a lot of poverty and homelessness.  It is (or at least was) considered the Imaging Capital of the World for a time with huge companies such as Kodak and Xerox and Bausch + Lomb calling it home.   Bausch + Lomb is still around, although it has been bought by a larger corporation now.  Xerox is still around, but has seen better days and struggles constantly with lots of lay offs.  Kodak is essentially dead now; just a name now with a rich history and no future.  It is really sad to see all those building downtown gradually emptying out.

Rochester has thrived in the past as the Flour City with huge Flour Mills harnessing the power of the Mighty Genesee River and the Falls pictured in the above images.  George Eastman and his company, Kodak, really put it on the map.  Kodak once employed 145,000 people; today it employs only about 8,500.  An Epic Collapse; mostly due to bad decisions and underestimating the digital revolution as a passing fad.

I was, like Kodak, a film holdout.  I resisted the urge to go digital for a long time.  I considered myself a purist and tried to convince myself that the quality was better with film.  It was true, for a short time.  When digital photography started, the resolution was low and blown up images looked pixelated.  but with todays digital cameras, even cell phone cameras, the quality and resolution is incredible.

I am glad I changed for many reasons.  Nowadays, I wouldn’t even know where to buy film.  Digital allows you to take tons of images, immediately review them, discard the bad ones and keep the good ones, then immediately retake the shot over and over until you get it right!  With film, you had to take several shots of the same subject with different shutter speeds and F-stops, and hope that one of them turned out good.  For every roll of film, you might come out with 2-3 quality images.

But I digress.  Back to Rochester.  I choose to see Rochester in a different light.  it has it’s downside, for sure, but there is so much that Rochester does right.  Rochester and Monroe County are a great place to raise a family.  The school districts, at least the ones in the suburbs, are phenomenal.  There are amazing museums throughout the area.  There are great Minor League Sports teams with rich histories.  It is on Lake Ontario for those who love boating.  It is close to the Finger Lakes which has great wineries and beautiful scenery and all the boating and swimming that is available on those lakes.  It is close to Canada.  There are great restaurants and bars here in Rochester and Monroe County.  There are great festivals and events every year such as the Lilac Festival, the Jazz Festival, and the Park Ave and Corn Hill Festivals.

And, Rochester is the home of Wegman’s!!!   If you have never been to Wegman’s, you are missing out.  It is a grocery store chain, family owned, THAT HAS EVERYTHING!!!  When I lived in Sonoma, CA, we used to have to go to three different grocery stores to get everything we needed.  Wegman’s has it all, under one roof, at the best price, with amazing service.  Rochester has so many awesome things; Abbott’s Frozen Custard, Nick Tahoe’s Garbage Plates, Zweigle’s Hot Dogs, Genesee Beer…the list goes on and on and on.  I love living in Rochester and I am proud to call myself a Rochesterian!

The pictures above were taken of High Falls on the Genesee River and the Skyline of Rochester, from a pedestrian bridge in the Brown’s Race/High Falls area of downtown Rochester, NY during the late spring.  The first image has been tweaked and enhanced, the second image is the raw image.

Thanks for reading.  Come and visit Rochester!!  Grab a garbage plate, and abbott’s cone, walk the pier at the lake, then check out Wegman’s!!

Visit my sites below.  Many of the images were taken in and around Rochester and Monroe County.

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor