Week 15 (11/11/2013 – 11/17/2013): Palisades interstate park
Picture taken on 11/16/2013 at 5:20 PM
This week’s photo was captured at the Palisades Interstate Park, a place that I haven’t been to since I was a kid. If you’ve never gone I highly recommend spending the day exploring all that the park has to offer. The park is nestled on the palisades cliffs which are both beautiful and dangerous so mind the paths. Jutting out from the cliffs is none other than the iconic George Washington Bridge which is always a sight for sore eyes, granted you’re not stuck in traffic on it. To add to the parks beauty when you’re north of the bridge you have a sprawling view of the Manhattan island coastline aka New York City.
While walking around the park there were two things buzzing around the sky that kept grabbing my attention. One was a pair of helicopters which were doing fly bys of the bridge, my guess is they were filming for either a TV show or movie. The second airborne thing that I couldn’t help but notice was all of the seagulls flying around. At one point I was able to creep up within inches of one seagull that seemed to like the lime light of my camera. Unfortunately my Dr. Doolittle moment was spoiled when a couple of rude people crashed my photoshoot, naturally scaring away the Zoolander of seagulls. Luckily this forced me to move locations which is where I stumbled upon a big flock of birds that kept doing take off runs towards the bridge. While one bird launch from the cliffs he seemingly locked into an aerial joust with one of the helicopters. It might be a little hard to see at your first glance but if you look at this week’s picture close enough you’ll see the helicopter’s silhouette in the top left. At the time of the picture I wasn’t sure if I actually caught this freeze frame but I was pleasantly surprised when I found it during editing. Capturing this moment was a good cap off to an amazing day!
If I had to sum up the key element to this week’s photo in one word it would be speed! As you can imagine when trying to capture not just one but two moving targets you have to shoot fast. There were two setting which enabled me to get this picture, a quick shutter and autofocus. I shot this picture at the fastest my camera can take a picture which is 1/4000 of a second. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts my Nikon has 39 auto-focus points which was great for getting the bird, bridge and helicopter all at once. I got a little lucky at the time of this picture though because I kept switching between auto-focus and selective focusing but was thankfully on auto-focus when the “jousting” moment occurred.
When it came to editing this picture I thought that turning my subjects (Bird, Helicopter, Bridge) into silhouettes would give an interesting affect. Lightroom really is an amazing tool and is what gave me the freedom to easily transform this picture. As a result of dropping the exposure and other settings such as highlights, shadows, whites, blacks (which I needed to do to get silhouettes) lots of the detail that was in the clouds were revealed. The last step was to adjust my vibrance and I was left with a picture that looks like it was painted to perfection.