Ghost signs at night… Chuck’s photo delight.

You know how I found out about that old Uneeda Biscuits ghost sign in Schenectady that appeared when the former Olender Furniture store was demolished?

True story – I found out about it from five of my Facebook friends, who posted the article that the Schenectady Gazette wrote about the discovery.

Nice.  Uneeda Biscuit ghost signs are disappearing at a rapid pace.  The buildings on which they were painted have been demolished, or the sign itself was painted over by the building’s new owners.  In Schenectady, the only other Uneeda Biscuit sign I know of that is still viewable is on the side of the Mexican Radio restaurant on State Street.

But I digress…

If I’m going to capture that sign with my camera gear, I have to do it in a way that nobody else bothered to try.  And for me… with ghost signs… in Schenectady…

I gotta catch them at night.  Maybe photograph them as a car drives along the street so that I can capture the car’s brake lights or headlights in a long exposure.

No such luck.  State Street is kinda deserted at 9:30 p.m. on a Sunday evening.

Oh wait… here’s the sign.  Well, if there’s no traffic, that means there’s nobody to bother me while I’m taking pictures.  Yep, just me, my camera, and a chain-link fence with big banners all over it.

What?  A chain link fence?  Are you freakin’ kidding me?  Do you people not understand that I’m trying to take a picture of a ghost sign that will probably go back to ghostiness a year from now, as soon as someone builds some office complex or apartment complex or some other complex on State Street…

Dang it.  Dang chain link fence.

Oh well… it’s not like I can finagle the camera through one of those camera-sized holes in the chain link fence…

And it’s not like I can use the chain-link fence to stabilize my camera shot…

A quick look around.  No cops.  No construction workers.  No traffic.

Do this quick, Chuck, and get back to the Town and Village before someone catches you.

Quick check of my gear.  Nikon Df digital camera.  Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens, open all the way to f/3.8.  6400 ISO.  Shutter speed almost down to 1/8 of a second.


Une Bis (Uneeda Biscuit) sign, Schenectady, N.Y.

There it is. Uneeda Biscuit sign – okay, “Une Bis” sign.  Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens.  I wedged the camera through one of the holes in the chain link fence, and then stabilized my shot by pressing the camera up against the fence.

Let’s relocate.  That moon’s just a bit too high in the sky.

Okay.  Try number two.

Une Bis (Uneeda Biscuit) sign 2, Schenectady, N.Y.

Holy Kraft / Nabisco, Batman… this looks even better.  Although I could do without that teal neon overhang at the lower left corner of the picture.

Only one way to get rid of that.

Let’s flip this picture to black and white, shall we?

Une Bis (Uneeda Biscuit) sign, B&W, Schenectady, N.Y.

Hokey smokes.  The moon.  The ghost sign.  The pile of rubble.  In black and white, this thing looks amazing.  One more try.  Let’s take this picture… and align it so that the corner of the building is perpendicular… and it points to the moon in the cloudy sky…


Une Bis. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens, ISO 6400, 1/8" shutter speed, flipped to black and white. Photo by Chuck Miller.
Une Bis. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens, ISO 6400, 1/8″ shutter speed, flipped to black and white. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Two words for this picture.  Short pile.  If I can enter this in competition without worrying about Kraft / Nabisco coming after me because of that copyrighted “Inner Seal” logo…

Yeah, I’ll keep this one in the pile.

Might be worth showing off a ghost sign in an upcoming competition or three…