Ruby Foo’s
Computer Battery

Image by Ed Yourdon
This was taken in front of Ruby Foo‘s, which is located on the east side of Broadway, between 77th and 78th Street.

I’ve walked past this restaurant several times, but have never considered it photo-worthy until today — simply because they opened the floor-to-ceiling window/doors, so that (a) people inside could enjoy the cool mid-September afternoon air, and (b) pedestrians walking by (like me) could gawk at the diners, while they gawk at the pedestrians — reminding one of the lyrics in Mark Knopfler‘s song, "Devil Baby" which says, "The freaks will stay together, they’re a tight old crew; you look at them, and they look at you …"

Anyway, some of these diners did seem to be gawking … or maybe just peeking curiously, as I focused my camera with a wide-angle lens setting, so that I could get the entire front facade of the restaurant into the picture.

A couple months later, the ambiance was entirely different, when I walked past this same spot at approximately the same time of day; take a look at this picture (in this same Flickr album) to see the difference…

Note: Ruby Foo’s closed in January 2009; see the "Off the Menu" article in the Jan 20, 2009 issue of the New York Times.

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This is part of an evolving photo-project, which will probably continue throughout the summer of 2008, and perhaps beyond: a random collection of "interesting" people in a broad stretch of the Upper West Side of Manhattan — between 72nd Street and 104th Street, especially along Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

I don’t like to intrude on people’s privacy, so I normally use a telephoto lens in order to photograph them while they’re still 50-100 feet away from me; but that means I have to continue focusing my attention on the people and activities half a block away, rather than on what’s right in front of me.

I’ve also learned that, in many cases, the opportunities for an interesting picture are very fleeting — literally a matter of a couple of seconds, before the person(s) in question move on, turn away, or stop doing whatever was interesting. So I’ve learned to keep the camera switched on (which contradicts my traditional urge to conserve battery power), and not worry so much about zooming in for a perfectly-framed picture … after all, once the digital image is uploaded to my computer, it’s pretty trivial to crop out the parts unrelated to the main subject.

For the most part, I’ve deliberately avoided photographing bums, drunks, and crazy people. There are a few of them around, and they would certainly create some dramatic pictures; but they generally don’t want to be photographed, and I don’t want to feel like I’m taking advantage of them. I’m still looking for opportunities to take some "sympathetic" pictures of such people, which might inspire others to reach out and help them. We’ll see how it goes …

The only other thing I’ve noticed, thus far, is that while there are lots of interesting people to photograph, there are far, far, far more people who are not so interesting. They’re probably fine people, and they might even be more interesting than the ones I’ve photographed … but there was just nothing memorable about them.

Metro bicycles store
Computer Battery

Image by Ed Yourdon
I know there are no people in this picture, but it’s one of the brightest, cheeriest store-signs I’ve ever seen. On one or two occasions during the 30+ years I’ve lived on the Upper West Side, I’ve actually bought a bicycle from this establishment … but it’s been quite a while.

Oh, yeah, location: it’s on 96th Street, near the northwest corner of Broadway.

Note: this picture was published in a Jul 27, 2008 blog article entitled "Buying the Right Commuting Bike." It was also published in a Nov 30, 2010 blog titled "The huge opportunities open to ebike retailers."

Moving into 2011, the photo was published in an undated (late Mar 2011) blog titled "5 Erros a evitar quando comprar uma bicicleta." It was also published in a Jul 1, 2011 blog titled "First Steps When Shopping For a Bike." And it was published in an undated (late Jul 2011) blog titled "5 Erros a evitar quando comprar uma bicicleta." It was also published in an undated (early Nov 2011) blog titled "?????????."

********************

This is part of an evolving photo-project, which will probably continue throughout the summer of 2008, and perhaps beyond: a random collection of "interesting" people in a broad stretch of the Upper West Side of Manhattan — between 72nd Street and 104th Street, especially along Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

I don’t like to intrude on people’s privacy, so I normally use a telephoto lens in order to photograph them while they’re still 50-100 feet away from me; but that means I have to continue focusing my attention on the people and activities half a block away, rather than on what’s right in front of me.

I’ve also learned that, in many cases, the opportunities for an interesting picture are very fleeting — literally a matter of a couple of seconds, before the person(s) in question move on, turn away, or stop doing whatever was interesting. So I’ve learned to keep the camera switched on (which contradicts my traditional urge to conserve battery power), and not worry so much about zooming in for a perfectly-framed picture … after all, once the digital image is uploaded to my computer, it’s pretty trivial to crop out the parts unrelated to the main subject.

For the most part, I’ve deliberately avoided photographing bums, drunks, homeless people, and crazy people. There are a few of them around, and they would certainly create some dramatic pictures; but they generally don’t want to be photographed, and I don’t want to feel like I’m taking advantage of them. I’m still looking for opportunities to take some "sympathetic" pictures of such people, which might inspire others to reach out and help them. We’ll see how it goes …

The only other thing I’ve noticed, thus far, is that while there are lots of interesting people to photograph, there are far, far, *far* more people who are *not* so interesting. They’re probably fine people, and they might even be more interesting than the ones I’ve photographed … but there was just nothing memorable about them.


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