I confess I was lazy this week, shooting mostly in full automatic mode with a bit of aperture priority when I was working with depth of field.
The 600si is a tank of a camera. I haven’t weighed it, but it just feels heavy in spite of its mostly plastic construction. Occasionally it would refuse to focus, but I chalked that up to the dodgy lens. Repeating the attempt always fixed the problem.
I shot a roll of Portra pushed two stops. I did this in order to shoot at the New York State Museum without a flash. It’s an incredible place. My primary attraction was the Fire Engine Hall, which contains the only known surviving Ahrens-Fox from New York City. It also showcases many of the major historic manufacturers who were headquartered in New York State.
The Fire Engine Hall is located next to Metropolis Hall. What would you expect where fire engines intersect with Metropolis?
It’s a shocking sight to the unsuspecting. This is not a model or a replica. Engine 6 was one of the first engines at the World Trade Center on 9/11/01. Seven members responded that morning; only three returned. I can stand in reverent silence here all day.
Around the corner on the edge of the Fire Engine Hall stands this memorial. Though lesser known and a late addition to the 9/11 exhibit, Ambulance 485 also suffered tragedy that day. Two paramedics responded, one returned. The ambulance survived in service although it still bears the scuffs and scars of that day.
In the Hall itself, this American LaFrance is a lost ancestor of the modern fire engine. The JO/JOX series were built immediately prior to WWII and showed the first steps between the classic styles of the 1930s and the more ergonomic designs of the 1950s. Production was interrupted by the war, and the more advanced 700 Series replaced them when production resumed in the late 1940s.
The Hall is difficult to shoot without a tripod. The walls and backgrounds are flat black. Even at 1600 ASA, shutter speeds were slow and depth of field short.
The museum is more than just fire engines. Make sure you see and ride the antique carousel upstairs.
For the end of the roll, we left the museum. This is Saffron, one of our current foster kitties. She and her two sisters are looking for the right Forever Home.
Lower Zone, a closeup from a demonstrator that visited the firehouse last week.
If you have the chance to pick up a Minolta 600si, I highly recommend it. If you are anywhere near Albany, take an hour or two at the museum. It’s free. You won’t regret it.