Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Forrester Avenue

The old houses in downtown residential areas of Albuquerque are a large part of what makes walking through the neighborhoods interesting. Each is different, either through design, or from the accretion over the years of additions.
    Another attraction for me are the old cars. Some of those are restored or heavily customized in the low-rider style, but most like the one in the picture don't seem to be going anywhere. They serve as more of a decorative accessory to an even older house, like a weathering lawn flamingo.
    To make this photograph, I put a Kodak yellow cloud filter over the lens of the Brownie Hawkeye box camera. When people shot a lot of black and white film that was a common practice, usually for the purpose of darkening skies. Quite a few simple cameras from that era had the yellow filters built into the lens mount in such a way that they could be swung into place when needed.
    I learned not long ago from a book by the Kodak lens designer, Kingslake, that there was also another purpose to the use of the yellow filter. While careful craftsmanship could get good image quality from a spherical lens design, the single-element lenses always suffered from a remaining aberration known as lateral color. That caused some loss of sharpness, and became an even bigger problem with the post-war use of color film because it introduced a blue fringe along contrasting edges in the images. At least for black and white images, the yellow filter eliminated the aberration.

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