single frame: The Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse


The Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse
Pentax ME, 35mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-A
Film Washi S

I’m at best a beginning student in photography appreciation, with limited ability to describe the qualities of a good photograph. For that matter, I’m not even sure I can judge a photograph to be good, not on some universal scale. I just like what I like.

I like this photograph. The 35mm lens brings in tons of interesting context surrounding this neoclassical federal courthouse. The glowing sunlight cast against the building’s facade contrasts pleasingly against its shadowy flank.

It’s said that Film Washi S performs best in diffuse light. For a day of black-and-white photography in full sun, I should have been better served shooting something like T-Max 100 or FP4 Plus. But I would have missed out on the chiaroscuro effect, though unintended, obtained in shooting this film in non-ideal light.

Analogue Wonderland provided me this roll of Film Washi S in exchange for this mention. Buy yours from them here.

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8 responses to “single frame: The Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse”

  1. seatacphoto1951 Avatar

    I want to see the whole city shot under these conditions with the same film.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      There are more shots from this session in my Flickr space. Click this photo to go there and you can flip through them!

  2. Marc Beebe Avatar

    Liking what you like -is- the universal scale.
    The other stuff is technobabble analysis for art class, okay? :D

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks for easing my mind. Now I would like to learn to better describe the qualities I like in a photo I see.

      1. Marc Beebe Avatar

        That’s a matter of asking yourself the question. Some people would look at that photo above and say “so what? It’s a building” because they aren’t interested in buildings. If it were an eagle, some would love it for being an eagle and some would dismiss it as a “just a bird”. Others will look at that photo and wax enthusiastically about shadow and light and how it’s a visual poem of shape and form. Or something.
        Or you can be sensible and say you like the way the lighting accents the architecture or how you appreciate the contrast of the two architectural forms and how they’re emphasized by the contrast in light.
        You just have to stop and think about what you’re looking at to go beyond the initial visual impact (which is key to a good photo: the “wow” factor).
        Or you can be satisfied that you like it and not have to worry about why.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I want to keep asking myself the question, then, of my own work and of others’. I suspect that through this questioning I’ll learn something. Even if all I learn is that I like what I like

  3. Kurt Ingham Avatar

    Very dramatic

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That it is!

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