It’s always fun to play with a new piece of equipment. I’d just bought a 16mm flat field Hologon super wide angle lens for my Contax G2 and I used this to make some dramatic photos inside Washington Union.
This lens is specially corrected to eliminate barrel distortion (commonly associated with super wide lens design) but it must be kept completely level to avoid perspective convergence to vertical lines in the image. A bubble-level is provided in the clip-on viewfinder to aid with the leveling process.
For this image, rather than make any effort to keep the camera level, I happily embraced the effect of perspective convergence to make for a dramatic image of Washington Union’s magnificent barrel-vault ceiling.
During a visit with John Gruber at the old Omaha Union Station, where we met with the late-Bill Kratville, I made a series of photographs with my Contax G2 on Fuji 100 Acros black & white film.
The station is an art deco gem and well suited to the tonality of black & white photography.
I worked with my 16mm Hologon and 45mm Zeiss Planar and processed the film in Dublin using my customized formula for Agfa Rodinal Special developer (not to be confused for the more common Agfa Rodinal).
Recently, I scanned these negatives using my Epson V600 flatbed scanner, then scaled the image-files for presentation here.
Dublin is a quiet place on Christmas morning. Almost everything is shut. The roads are relatively empty. The buses aren’t running. There are scant few people on the normally busy streets. And the railways are asleep.
Irish trains don’t run Christmas Day. And Dublin’s terminals are locked up tight. It’s a strange sight to see Heuston Station by daylight with nothing moving around it. This normally busy place is unnaturally quiet.
Yet, what better time to make architectural views of the 1840s-built terminal?
There are no buses or LUAS trams to interfere with the station’s classic design. Cars are relatively few. You can stand in the middle the street to compose photos with little chance of being run over.
I made this unusual view of Metro-North’s former New Haven Railroad Westport Drawbridge using my Contax G2 rangefinder with a 16mm Hologon lens. When kept perfectly level this lens allows for non-converging perspective of vertical lines, however off-level it produces extreme vertical convergence.
The antique electrification on this movable span was an ideal subject to explore this lens’s peculiar perspective. My vantage point was from a public walkway easily accessed from the westbound platform MN’s Westport Station. I’d first photographed this drawbridge in November 1985 using my dad’s old Rollei Model T with black & white film. Bright sunlight and low fair-weather clouds add depth and contrast.
Working with Westinghouse, New Haven Railroad had pioneered high-voltage alternating current overhead electrification for mainline use in the early years of the 20th century.