By Neal Buccino, Media Relations Staff
It’s no secret that the men and women who keep traffic moving at the Port Authority’s bridges, tunnels and terminals are among the most skilled and talented in the region. But it may come as a surprise that some apply their professional skills, keen attention to detail and superb technical know-how, to a passion for photography.
“Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals,” a new exhibit running through November at the Port Authority Bus Terminal’s art display area, makes these hidden talents visible to the public. Inside the bus terminal’s south wing near the Ninth Avenue entrance, the exhibit is one of about 15 in the 2016 Garment District Arts Festival, according to Gerald Scupp, Vice President of the Garment District Alliance.The bus terminal display includes photos by Port Authority staff members or contractors: Cedrick T. Fulton, Director of the Port Authority’s Department of Tunnels, Bridges & Terminals; James Blackmore, Program Director of the Goethals Bridge Replacement Program; Port Authority engineer Manuel Peraza; Port Authority photographer Michael Dombrowski (whose photos are well known to Portfolio readers); Nicole Hunter, Dianne Cilento and Liliana Kelly of HNTB Corporation, a PA contractor, and Rafael Azucar of Parsons Transportation Group, another agency contractor.
Some photos showcase ongoing Port Authority construction projects, including the Goethals Bridge Replacement Program and Bayonne Bridge “Raise the Roadway” project. But the majority are more personal subjects.
Fulton’s photos span a wide variety of subjects: Action shots, such as a black-and-white image of a skateboarder frozen in midair; a golden-glowing landscape of the San Diego skyline, and natural photos that include fierce bald eagles and a butterfly, highlighting the veins in its gold and purple wings.
He described the “magic combination” as capturing a compelling subject with great light. “The challenge is creating that combination when you want it, as opposed to catching it by accident every once in a while. Having said that, patience is huge because sometimes you have to wait for the time of day, time of year, or a special moment.”
With the skateboard shot, he said, “my goal was rather simple – stop the motion of the skateboarder at the apex of his jump, and capture the other photographer in the picture, while he was taking a picture.” At a live butterfly exhibit in Arizona, “I was able to freeze the butterfly by putting the shutter into burst mode and, well, sometimes you get lucky.”
Blackmore specializes in wildlife, including crisply detailed photos of ducks and loons captured while paddling in the creeks of the Adirondacks. The birds are in natural motion, oblivious to the presence of a photographer several yards away.
“I’ve been paddling with the loons, ducks, blue herons, and others for several years and have developed paddling methods to get close without disturbing them. I know that often, when a duck or loon dives, it dries its wings (by stretching or flapping),” Blackmore said.
Blackmore prepares his camera in advance for such shots. When the timing seems right, he drifts toward the subject and presses the shutter. “It is then a matter of luck that the subject actually does what you anticipated and that you press the shutter at the right moment,” he said.
Peraza’s Storm Over Yosemite was opportunistic. “The picture appeared in front of me,” he recalled. “I asked my friend and climbing partner to stop the car. I went in the rain across the road to an abandoned structure and got my shot.”
Hunter’s displays include triptychs – groups of three photos that together tell a story. One tryptic includes three photos of the Schooner Aurora, a famous boat based in Newport, R.I. “My favorite place to watch boats sail by is in Newport at Castle Hill,” she said. “As the Aurora sails by, each photo captures a unique moment: a race going on in the distance, the lawn filling up with people sitting in the Adirondack chairs, and another sailboat starting to tack to avoid the schooner.”
Fulton worked with operations supervisor Myron Johnson, who manages the bus terminal’s art display area, to organize the exhibit. “My hope is that this is just the beginning, that other people who are into taking photos can move them out of the computer and into a space for others to see,” Fulton said.