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Photo-Du-Jour: New York City Golden Hour!


Another color photograph for your review:

This was shot from the “Top of the Rock”, which is the observation deck on the Rockefeller Center (on the 86th floor I belief). I went up there with my Nikon D3 and 24mm TS lens. This lens does both tilt and shift movements, which is extremely useful for creating images like this. I use this lens most often for architectural work, as the shift allows me to reduce the appearance of converging lines.

Due to the shift capabilities, this lens is also extremely useful for creating panoramas. You don’t actually have to move the camera, just shift the lens to the side and/or up and down.

The image above was shot at twilight at around 5pm. Interesting to know that the sky was heavily overcast and boring grey in appearance, but still the blue color came through in the final photograph. Saturation was increased in post, white balance was set at capture to sunny (which makes the tungsten lights in the office towers glow yellow).

I waited until the lights on the Empire State Building were turned on.

Exposure was 2 minutes, which can be seen by the mostly blurry smoke formation on the right side. I used a 3 stop ND filter and an f-stop of F11 @ISO 200 (which is the optimal ISO on the Nikon D3).

Tripods are strictly prohibited not only on this observation deck but probably on most all around the country. So I brought a Gorilla Pod with me. Incredible trick, as this gets you trough security without a hitch. Sure, it took only minutes until I was questioned while shooting, but after a polite explanation I was allowed to continue. Not that the security officer seemed to understand what I was trying to do – He left shaking his head and thought I was crazy standing out in the cold in the same spot for over an hour per image…

A tripod was not only necessary for the longish exposure time, but also for creating a seamless panorama where the camera does not more between single shots (only the lens shifts). Even if you do not have a shift lens and it still helps to rotate the camera on a tripod rather than handholding it (even when using a fast shutter speed).

The Gorilla pod was a lifesaver in this situation. Sure its not as sturdy as my Gitzo, but it does the job where I cannot bring anything bigger.

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