Hackensack Noir

December 3, 2017


It was a dark super moon evening, and I decided to take some shots of Hackensack, in color, with lenses!  The county courthouse looks classic(al), a bit pompous, and cold.  Certainly, there is a lot of doubt regarding the quality of justice dispensed therein.IMG_3873

The Bergen County Jail, where I visit immigrant detainees, looks pretty creepy.  This is a view of the “residential” area where my inmate friends live.  They describe to me what they see out of the window slits, and ask me questions about it.  I was shooed away by a policeman after a few minutes.


And COSTCO, alas, that temple of consumption, looks rather forlorn.  This one is no longer a regular store, but many were the days when I visited it and the lot was filled with happy shoppers pushing carts laden with tons of materiel…


North Jersey Pinhole

November 28, 2017

Ling Torpedo POS crop

I have always wanted to document the things about northern New Jersey that I like – you know, like the Turnpike, the refineries, the gritty industrial sections…All the stuff Woody Allen joked about and that people claim makes the state a dump.  Well, chacun son goût.

On the Hackensack River, between the town of Hackensack and Teaneck, where I live, is the defunct historical park dedicated to the WWII submarine, the U.S.S. Ling.  Pretty forlorn.  The yard around it is filled with rusting deck guns and torpedoes.  The shot of la torpille was taken with a coffee can camera,  35 second exposure.  I think the bright, low sunlight fools me into using too long an exposure:  it’s more light than it seems.

I had to climb over the gangplank barrier to get this picture of the submarine itself, taken with a 20 second exposure on my wide angle box pinhole, with the vignetting cropped out.

Ling at Dock POS 2 crop

To get from Teaneck to Hackensack, you can drive over the Cedar Lane bridge, which seems to be perpetually under reconstruction.  This is a view of the river looking north:  15 seconds at f165.  The photo is cropped.

Hackensack River Bridge @ Cedar Ln POS crop

Another coffee can shot, this time a church in Hackensack.  It was so windy that I had to put my hand on the camera to steady the tripod, and the sun, blocked by a building on the left, was still wreaking havoc with my exposure of 45 seconds.


A final Hackensack shot, where the home in the town meets the damp dirty prison:  the Bergen County Jail.  I visit immigrant detainees placed there, previously by Obama: Deporter in Chief, and lately by Trumpy: Dummkopf in Chief.  Again, the low sun fooled me.


And further south, in Kearny, near Newark, NJ, is the fabulous Pulaski Skyway!  Built in the early 1930s, designed by a railway engineer, but intended to carry automobile traffic to the new Holland Tunnel.  Considered to be one of the worst highway segments ever created for cars, it is now under a massive reconstruction, but as a bridge structure, it is sublime!

20 second exposure with f169 on my wide angle box pinhole.  The image is cropped.

Pulaski 1 POS cropped

20 seconds at f165 with a much longer focal length, so not so wide angle.


USS Ling…

October 9, 2017

USS LingA rather grey, humid, drizzly day today, but I decided to try and get another wide-angle outdoor shot with my homemade pinhole.  I found a great vantage point at the open lot at the intersection of Bridge and Court Streets, visible in the satellite image-map below.  The view encompasses the Hackensack River, the decaying USS Ling, a WWII sub moored to the shore and slowly getting silted in place, an old truss bridge that was one of the “shovel-ready” infrastructure rehab jobs in Obama’s economic stimulus package (much to the scorn of some people who followed the project) , and some old warehouses and factories.  Real not-quite-rustbelt retro scenery.

The results are both encouraging and discouraging.

Pro:  The scene is very cool, and if done right, could yield a good picture.  The fragment of the photo that came off looks very dreamily 19th century.  If the Ling had shown up, it would be a great contrast.  The shrubs and rocks in the foreground look good, and the distortion of the wide angle view seems to have been minimized by curving the target photo paper.

Con:  The image is spoiled by over-exposure, which I suspect to be light leaks in my camera.  I noticed that the corners of the top lid didn’t look secure, and I had loaded the camera the night before.  I also had been carrying it around for a while.  I have to take much more care, and not rush.

The image posted here was created by taking a snapshot of the still wet developed paper, then reversing the tones.  When it is fully dry, and then scanned, the successful portion of the image will be sharper.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I will revisit this site for another try, and it does appear that the light meter and indicated exposure time (50 seconds) was on the mark.


{Cropped image from the scanned dry photopaper, with some image abrasion that I caused during the clean up.  😦 }

USS Ling 03mm 2in 55sec_Light_Leaks