Small Town, Fading Memories

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by entropic remnants, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    I made a trip to rural southern NJ to drop some truck parts I had left from my offroading days at a buddy's farm down there. On the way home I wandered up the NJ river side coast to see what I could find. I found a couple of cool things in a small town there -- a bank I could get in and an old general store I couldn't. But it was a fun find.

    It's a town where even the street signs are beginning to rust away -- a sad commentary on the decline of small town America...

    I was in my wife's SUV and didn't have tripods so I had to make due handheld in the dim light inside the old bank -- but I got a few shots with my new X-E2 camera. It's an updated X-E1 so the shots look the same but the camera is faster, better, stronger -- it's a cyborg of a camera now, lol. Most shots with the 18mm f/2 -- not th best lens but good for low light wider angle work. Certainly worked for my purposes today.

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    Your Hometown Bank: Latter Days by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

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    Your Hometown Bank: Night Deposit by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

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    Your Hometown Bank: High Tech Security by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

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    Your Hometown Bank: High Style by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

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    Your Hometown Bank: Under Water by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

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    Your Hometown Bank: Back Room Deal by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    11260955975_47314e5365_b.
    Your Hometown Bank: Executive Level by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    11260987466_5d4418f1e8_b.
    W.S.Leap Facade by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    11261040863_9abf13dd59_b.
    Gothic Intersection by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr
     
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  2. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Great eye as always.

    Great color, too. Do you do a lot of color adjustment in post?
     
  3. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Thanks!

    Mostly yes, sometimes no. I know that's vague, but it depends on the image and what I want it to look like. Some of those have been run through DXO Filmpack 3 as some sort of transparency film, mostly Velvia and Kodachrome types. Some JPG and just tweaked, others from RAW converted with Photo Ninja (Lightroom 4.2 doesn't handle the X-E2).

    So, they're all different, just based on what I liked them to look like, lol. But the short answer is that I often adjust color to suit.
     
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  4. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Great work. But Penns Grove... so sad.
     
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  5. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    I'm deliberately not naming places with searchable text, but I can't stop you, lol. Actually, parts of the place are perfectly lovely. But some parts are sadly neglected. I was quite surprised not only to find this, but to find it easily -- if hazardously -- accessible.
     
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  6. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    Wonderful photos. Evocative and I love the colors. I've been thinking about the issue of decline a lot since this summer. Often, the most visually interestig things in a shoot will be peeling paint or a dilapidated house. But it's sort of like the people who don't want to go visit their friends when they're desperately sick because they don't want to remember them like that. At first I was saying to myself, hey, I don't have to go get out in the woods, alone, where the cellphone may not have enough bars to call for help if I fall and need it - I can find beauty right here in town. And then I looked back over them and thought "how depressing!" I want more than beauty - I want hope. It's harder to find.
     
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  7. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Thank you.

    Hope is sometimes a thing which grows in the weeds, unseen, until discovered by someone who needs it most. That poor soul who finds themselves off the path and in the brush. I think we yearn for signs of hope -- but I do think it's all around us -- though it takes some adjustment of our viewpoint -- much as we have to do sometimes in photography -- to really "see" it.

    One of the things I used to have on my website is this little thought: the works of man, for all we strive for immortality and permanence, are of the same nature as a birds nest or a beehive. Ultimately, all our proud creations fall down and become the raw materials of new things.

    I really believe that God is the greatest recycler of all -- and that nothing is wasted, and ultimately, in some way everything is preserved. "Everything passes, everything remains..." is the official motto of Entropic Remnants Photography.

    And this is the reason that I personally can find beauty and hope in ruin. I'm sure it's not true for all, but I'm seldom depressed by it even as I think of the stories that have passed untold. Sadness is not always a negative, it's simply life. Hope that doesn't sound strange, lol.
     
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  8. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Well, not only do I personally recognize the place but the name on the bank is there for all to see. Still, you're right, that wouldn't have been searchable text. I can avoid such references in the future, if you like.
     
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  9. Some neat shots, well done
     
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  10. lcsolla

    lcsolla SC Regular

    109
    Sep 5, 2011
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Luis Castro e Solla
    Dear John,

    (I still remember a very funny american TV series with this name) congratulations for your photos. Although I am very pleased with my Panasonics GX1 and LX7, the quality of the Fuji XE2 photos that I see impress me. Would you be kind enough to answer a few questions? Relative to a compact micro-four thirds camera, such as the GX1,

    1) the XE2 body is bigger - much bigger - about twice the size
    2) the XE2 body + FF lens is bigger - much bigger - about twice the size (against GX1 + 20mm)
    3) in a monitor, the photos of the XE2 are the same - better - much better
    4) in a 8" x 12" print the photos of the XE2 are the same - better - much better

    Thanks in advance for your cooperation

    Luis
     
  11. Vidar

    Vidar SC Veteran

    223
    Oct 25, 2010
    Bergen, Norway
    Vidar
    Very good and intresting photos. Well done.
     
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  12. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    First, thanks to all for your kind comments!

    1) Only a little bigger, but distinctly bigger. The X-M1 is about the same as a GX1/LX7 though. Here's an X-E2 size comparison at camerasize.com http://camerasize.com/compare/#183,493 -- I owned a GX1 and I do remember it as nearly as heavy interestingly enough. Here's an X-M1/GX1 size comparison for reference: http://camerasize.com/compare/#183,466 -- X-M1 will get the same photo quality, but it's a more "conventional" compact body and control structure generally. No EVF is possible with it though -- it's strictly use the screen which fortunately is a very good one.

    2) You say full frame lens? I've never had a full frame lens on it but yes it would be MUCH bigger because you'd also need an adapter to that full frame lens. It wouldn't feel much bigger than a GX1 with a FF lens though as you can see from the size comparison. The Fujinon native lenses are generally larger than the micro four thirds equivalents across the boards which is what the physics implies. The smallest one is the 27mm f/2.8 which is a tiny pancake like the 20mm. It's not much larger than the 20mm Panny, but remember it's a slightly over a stop slower. On the other hand the high ISO performance of the X series is MUCH better than the GX1 so that's not really a problem. Also the bokeh is about the same between the two lenses. An X-M1 and the 27mm would be as small or smaller overall than the GX1.

    3) Resolultion? No, the GX1 is 16mp and the LX7 is 10 and that exceeds any monitor. Dynamic range and JPG quality? IMO, no question you could see the X series is better than the old GX1 and certainly better than the LX7. The main thing would be dynamic range and high ISO capability -- but I think the Fuji's have better auto white balance, better color rendition, etc. Both of those cameras you mention I've owned and they are very, very good actually -- but the Fuji's are better. However, it's better at the margins primarily and by that I mean difficult light. In good light, on a monitor, you might be hard pressed to tell which was which from a good photographer. But I still think the Fuji JPG's are better regardless.

    4) That's not a very large print. Subject to the limitations of the smaller sensor cameras I mentioned in item 3 above, this is not a very large print. I think you might be able to get an image in one shot with a Fuji that you'd find it hard to get with the others but again it's at the margins. Any of the cameras is capable of making a striking 8x10" print. I print larger when I do print, so the finer points of IQ matter more to me,

    All that being said: all the cameras are excellent cameras. We can pick apart details and technically the Fuji's will win. I think the Fuji's win ergonomically for many people but not all. The way the Fuji's work with aperture rings, shutter speed dials, and the overall performance of the cameras can require a bit more finesse to get your shot. In fact I described that to a fellow DSLR photographer who's done concert work. I was shooting his band "Blue Bizness" and complaining about the Fuji's difficult AF in low light and he looked at my shots and said they were great and he can't get that good a shot with his DSLR. Now some of that may be the individuals -- but if you're willing to learn the Fuji's and work with them I find them very rewarding. The X-E2 is certainly requiring less "finesse-ing" to make it work in my limited experience with it.

    In fact I'll go one step further: every camera has some situations where the way it works makes it a challenge to get what you want. For each camera it may be a different thing -- but none are perfect for everything. I find the Fuji's, especially with the advent of the X100S and X-E2, to be some very high-functioning pieces of hardware whose IQ and handling suit me very well. Fuji's lenses are pretty much excellent with the worst I've tried being the 18mm f/2 -- but even that is far from a clunker and it's actually very good... just not as excellent as the 14mm f/2.8 and 35mm f/1.4 I have.
     
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  13. lcsolla

    lcsolla SC Regular

    109
    Sep 5, 2011
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Luis Castro e Solla
    John,

    thanks for your kind and prompt answer, whish I am still reading. Just a remark: by "XE2 body + FF lens" I meant "XE2 body + fixed focal lens" (i.e., not a zoom one). My fault, I should have explained it better ;-)
    As to the XM and XA cameras, it is the lack of a viewfinder - and the impossibility of using an optional one - that stops me from buying them.

    Luis
     
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  14. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Here's some more -- not necessarily the best shots but they round out the picture a bit.

    First off, this is the little freight lift you have to crawl over to get in there... it's held up by a piece of chain like the one you see dangling and it's not fun and I am not recommending it. I'm just a fool for this sort of thing.

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    Your Hometown Bank: The Way In by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Here's the larger safe which is almost exactly the same design as the safe at American Viscose in Marcus Hook PA, circa 1910 or so.

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    Your Hometown Bank: The Big Safe by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    A shot of the atrium from the executive level. The iron stairs to the watery horror which is the basement is on the right side in the middle of the frame.

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    Your Hometown Bank: The Atrium by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Finally, here's a shot out the back overlooking the marshes and the Delaware River. No wonder the basement is almost completely filled with water.... Had to do this one from RAW because of the extremes of light and shadow. It's a single shot though.

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    Your Hometown Bank: Down by the River by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr
     
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  15. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Found out some information and I'll out the location.

    Did a little research and the bank began as Little Graystone Bank, became Penns Grove National Bank, then Penns Grove National Bank and Trust in 1929 when this building was built.

    Found out that W.S. Leap was born in 1873, the same year his father Charles built this large Victorian place. It was distinguished by it's construction which was by some of the best craftman of the day and the fact that the business and residence were both in the same structure. It had a cupola and a "widows walk" on the roof.

    Charles Leap operated a General Store across the street from this structure originally and this structure was built to be a menswear store. It was advertised as being "one square from the pier" as it is very close to the river and a large pier that once existed.
     
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  16. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
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  17. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    Great photos, all. The last one - when I see these things that get left behind, it always makes me think of the very last day, how people have moved things out and moved things out and moved things out, and reach a point that there's just nowhere else to move them to, or they just don't care any more.
     
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  18. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    Fabulous set!
     
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