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Bill Cotter

A call for our math whizzes

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Some folks profess to be able to tell a date from the angles of the shadows in a picture if they know the time it was taken. Okay, have at it! Looks like 12:11 PM on what I believe was the last week of the Fair in October 1965.

continental-insurance-65.jpg

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Update - looks like the clock was broken based on those shadows! I checked an earlier shot on the roll and that one was 3:47 PM. It's one with women looking at flowers from a few days ago. Have at it!

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Is it possible you made a mistake on the out-of sequence times on these two slides? 

This one has a complete shadow of the man left center in the dark gray suit, so I will give it a try tomorrow or Sunday when I get to the other computer that has the sun position spreadsheet. There will be some error due to the shadow being angled a bit away from the camera, but we'll see what happens.

Bill, it would help if you could post a full res crop of the man and his shadow.

 

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No, the sequence seems correct based on the numbers on the slides and the route they follow, as that makes sense watching them go from point to point.

Did you mean the guy with his foot off the ground?

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7 hours ago, Bill Cotter said:

No, the sequence seems correct based on the numbers on the slides and the route they follow, as that makes sense watching them go from point to point.

Did you mean the guy with his foot off the ground?

Yes. Make sure you include his full height, the shadows at his feet,  and his full shadow.

I still don't see where you're reading 3:47 on the other slide - the place I'm looking, it looks like the left side of the clock face is blocked?

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Here's the picture. You may need to click on it to enlarge. The 3:47 came from the other picture with the women next to the flower bed, a few minutes earlier in the roll. I would guess this would be sometime later, then, but not sure when. Let me know if you want any details from the other picture.

man-with-shadow.jpg

Here's some more to work with.

flowers-shadow.jpg

flowers-clock.jpg

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The shadows in the women's picture are much longer than those in the man's picture. So, I think the man's picture picture could not be later the same afternoon.

The longer shadows make sense for late afternoon, although I can't measure them precisely; and the shorter shadows make sense for noonish.

I'm double checking - I could have made some big mistake, but I don't see it. What I'm seeing is that the shadows in the man's picture are too short to occur on any date or time in October. If the clock is not broken (12:11) it looks like the date is about September 9. (The spring date would be March 30 or April 1, before the fair opened.) Also, I am taking into account EST and EDT.

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On the flowers-shadow image, I tried guessing that the shadow of the woman in the yellow coat ends behind the woman in the white coat. Using this wild guess, the date comes out to be October 1. Of course, the shadow may actually extend much further, indicating a later date in October, so closing day is still a possibility.

Edit: because this shadow goes into the flowers, it's impossible to see how far it would extend on flat ground.

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The close up of the photo of the two women reveals, in remarkable detail, what an astounding mess the fairgrounds has become.  It also reveals that the mums are pristine.  Two thoughts:  I was there in September of that same year and that place was spotless.  An overflowing trash can was unthinkable.

I cannot believe the Fair became a dump site weeks before it closed.  It's not possible considering the pope's October visit and the fact that Moses would never have tolerated such a mess nor would the crowds have finally flooded the place in its final weeks if it looked like the horror show we see in this photo.

The bottom fell out, according to news stories from 1965, on the closing day, October 17.

 Secondly, mums cannot handle heat.  They thrive in cooler weather.  September in Downstate New York would be, generally, too warm for them to be planted in such open spaces.  The blooms would turn brown in short order.  These look very recently planted and news stories indicate this was done just prior to the closing day--the day so many were uprooted.  Time magazine reported this the week after the Fair ended.

We'll never know the date for certain, of course, but the empirical photographic evidence suggests this is a sad scene from the final hours.

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Bill, is it possible the two slides in question are intermingled from two rolls taken on different days?

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Are these full frame 35mm, or half-frame, or something else? At some time, there were automatic advance cameras that prewound the film onto the takeup spool, and then rewound a frame at a time until the film was all used. I have not been able to determine if such cameras were available at the time of the Fair. (The Kodak Motormatic spring-wound 35mm, introduced in 1960 or so, apparently did NOT do this, as it reportedly would advance only 10 frames on a wind. Googling, so far, has not turned up a sure candidate.) 

You said that you could follow the path of the photographer from shot to shot. Can you tell if ALL the shots from this roll might be in reverse time order?

 

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Here's the Excel chart, which is generally accurate to within one minute for sunrise and sunset, with the series for  2nd half (July through December), 12:11 pm EDT (GMT -4), 9th day of month marked. The azimuth is less than 180 degrees due to daylight saving time. If you look at the first half chart, you will see that the only spring date that is close is April 9 or earlier, before the Fair opened.

In order to measure the sun angle, I first did a perspective transform of the image in Lightroom to get the shadow horizontal. While I don't know exactly how accurate the measurement is, if I did not do the transform, the angle would be even higher, meaning it would have to be a date even earlier than September 9. 

 

 

NYWF solar pos 1965 9th day of month 12_11 pm EDT.jpg

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I have enjoyed reading through different topics and especially enjoying the photos of that wonderful time.  It was all so clean and neat.  Then I saw Bill posted this photo:

 

On ‎1‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 1:05 PM, Bill Cotter said:

 

flowers-shadow.jpg

 

 

The trash.  All over the place.

The horror.  The horror.

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