View Full Version : Olympus XA Takes Manhattan!

12-20-2003, 18:31
Hello all:

Sorry for my prolonged absence. Since I travel for a living, I am reduced to posting when I can - I am generally only home one day a week.

A few weeks ago, I was caught in the big snowstorm in NYC - three days trying to get out of LaGuardia airport! However, the preceeding week was very nice, if cold. I had a customer assignment in midtown Manhattan, and not feeling up to schlepping around a million pounds of camera gear as I normally do, I just dropped an Olympus XA and two rolls of Kodak Gold 800 in my pocket. Here are some grab shots I took while I was there:

Manhattan with an XA (http://www.growlery.com/manhattan/)

I have been and continue to be impressed by the abilities of the mighty XA. What a champ! Considering the film (800 ISO is known to be a tad grainy), the cold outside, and my overall lack of motivation, the shots I took came out pretty well. There is one I was particularly impressed by - I was sitting in a cafe, and I noticed a truck driver outside arguing with a pair of cops over a parking ticket. I took the shot at an oblique angle, through the restaurant window, and you can see the reflection of the cafe lights in the scan. However, I took an extreme crop and you can see exactly what I saw - grainy, but impressive!

I will be posting again tomorrow - I just picked up a Voigtlander Bessa R, a Yashica Lynx, and my Yashica Electro 35 CC showed up from Australia. Took some shots today, will post tomorrow.

As always, you can click on any of my posted photos to see the larger image by itself.

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks
The Growlery (http://www.growlery.com)

12-20-2003, 19:23
That's a hectic lifestyle, Bill! But it affords you a lot of different scenery. I think I like #4 of the Manhattan group best, as you got in nice and close to your subjects. :-)

back alley
12-20-2003, 20:26
oh, nice stuff bill.
manhattan is my old stomping grounds, having been born in brookyn and raised in queens.
i used to work on 51st. & broadway in a restaurant, while going to university.
i've lived here longer now than i lived in n.y. but it will always be home - even if i've forgotten most of the scenery.
btw, welcome back!

oh yeah, i had an xa for awhile but sold it - never took full advantage of it while i had it. i think it was too small for me and i really didn't get comfortable with it.


12-20-2003, 21:28
Originally posted by backalley photo
i used to work on 51st. & broadway in a restaurant, while going to university.

Some of these photos were taken at 56th and 8th, in fact you can see Carnegie Hall in some of them. I was staying at a hotel on 46th between 7th and 8th, just off Times Square (the night shot is out my 28th floor window down the alley towards T.S.). I walked back and forth everyday for a week, sometimes up Broadway, since it was easy. Hmmm. You know McHales? I tipped a few back in that place.

My wife is from Stony Brook, but she lived in Queens for many years and worked in Manhattan. She went to Fordham - her uncle was the President there until recently - he just retired.

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks

12-20-2003, 21:31
Originally posted by Doug
That's a hectic lifestyle, Bill! But it affords you a lot of different scenery. I think I like #4 of the Manhattan group best, as you got in nice and close to your subjects. :-)

Thank you for the kind words! I like that shot as well. I wanted a better shot of that lady - she was there every day when I ate lunch, always sitting at the counter, always wearing the same clothes. I'm guessing she lives in a rent-controlled apartment, fixed income, etc. She seemed very nice and friendly, and everyone there seemed to know her. I thought I had a face shot, but she turned away at the last second.

And yes, one of the few benefits to life on the road is that I get to see lots of places and sometimes take pictures of them. This time of year is bad, though. In the winter, the sun is down before I get off work. Last week, I was in Pittsfield, MA and Portsmith, NH - no photos of either one.

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks

back alley
12-20-2003, 21:31
small world!
i lived in richmond hill and went to st. john's.
don't know mchales tho.
i worked just down the street from a place that was in the godfather movie - jack dempsey's -
i used to walk around there for hours when i was a kid, just loved it.


Rich Silfver
12-20-2003, 22:13
Bill, great photos.
I agree that #4 is excellent and maybe my favorite.

I know the travelling lifestyle way too well...I've lived in four countries and 5 states. For 6 years I never lived in the state I worked in and spent every weekend on a plane. Gave that up two years ago. Less money but more sanity :-)

Oh and I definetively want to see some 35CC photos - I'm still jealous about you getting that :-)

12-21-2003, 03:30
Excellent pictures Bill !

And my personal favorite is... (drums)... yep, #4 too !

I like a lot the "game" with the mirrors in that picture. Particulary like a lot #6 too. Have you ever thought of composing brief travel articles of the cities you visit, like a travel diary, using the pictures you take in your trips ?

Ideas for the new year :)

12-21-2003, 18:12
Joe, I was born in Brooklyn too, as my dad attended Brooklyn Polytechnic and worked at the Navy Yard. We moved to the West Coast before it could have much effect on me though!

We were back there on a theatre tour a few years ago, stayed at the Millenium Broadway on W44th. That was fun, and I have some unscanned pics around here somewhere...

back alley
12-21-2003, 20:27
hey doug,

i guess we were 2 misplaced yoots!


12-22-2003, 00:12
Seems like it, Joe! And, thinking of Queens, my dad's best buddy settled there and raised his family in Bayside. I went to college (Cornell) with his son. Now that was a while back!

01-26-2004, 09:05
Bill, you got some really excellent shots. That XA was a good carry-around for you on the trip!


01-26-2004, 20:11
Bill, lucky man carrying a small wonder like that with him! I must add here that, to me, #4 and #5 are some very memorable shots. They're people in action, within their environment, very eloquent photos. Thanks for sharing! :D

10-26-2006, 22:58
Heck, it's 2 yrs late, but in 2004 I haven't got the Rangefinder itch yet :)
I'm gonna go against the "grain" (pun enforced, heheh) and vote #16 as my fave. The reflected lights from windows on the other side of the street adds to the existing light.

And for a grainy film, it's amazing that I can make out the tiny brick lines...

I love my XA, just got it 2 wks ago and already run 3 rolls through it.

Some pics in my flickr account:

10-26-2006, 23:40
Yah, 16's my favorite as well. Picked up a cheap xa over on e(vil)bay this week, should be arriving any day now. I wanted a small carry everywhere rf that I would not worry about carrying around late at night etc. With my two Leica IIIf's, I would worry about them all the time.

Also, since I ride a bike about town, the xa seemed the obvious choice, you don't even have to worry about a lens cap!

10-27-2006, 00:37
I'm a sucker for the night time shots - they look good on 800asa film.