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Picture Info: ISO 100, 35mm, f/2.2, 1/5 sec, -.6 ND filter

Picture Info: ISO 100, 35mm, f/2.2, 1/5 sec, -.6 ND filter

Week 32 (3/10/2014 -3/16/2014): World Trade Center PATH station

Picture taken on 3/13/2014 at 12:33 PM

Picture Description:

Architecture has been an interest of mine for almost as far back as I can remember.  As a kid I dreamt of becoming an architect, but life had other plans.  Why and how I didn’t fulfill my childhood dream is a story for another time.  I don’t regret not becoming an architect, I’m very happy with where I’m at professionally, but there are days I find myself daydreaming about a good blueprint or 3D model.  Since I don’t practice architecture professionally I can only seek out nice locations to appreciate the work of others.

This past Thursday was one of those days where I decided to set out to see some local modern architecture.  My destination was the new World Trade Center (WTC) PATH station. I’ve been admiring the WTC PATH station via online posts (mainly instagram) for a while, so it was nice to finally see it in person.  Of course beyond just admiring the architecture, I wanted to photograph the location.  As I said, I’ve seen lots of posts online of the station and sadly all of them seemed almost identical.  Prior to arriving I planned out some shots in my head that might provide a more unique view.

Usual eye level shot (taken at 18mm)

Usual eye level shot (taken at 18mm)

As the train pulled into the station I was nearly blinded by all the bright white marble that made up the platform.  Getting off the train felt like walking into a dream or train station from the future.  I spent the next 20-30 minutes touring the area and eventually met up with my younger brother.  After linking up, my brother and I went to the main hallway that everyone has been photographing.  Most of the pictures that I’ve seen were taken at eye level, so naturally one way to get a more unique view was to shoot from low to the ground.  My plan was to set my camera up few inches off the ground using my mini tripod.  One advantage about using my mini tripod in a public location is most people don’t realize I’m taking a picture.  From a distance it could almost look like I’m tying my shoe.  While at WTC this ‘stealthy’ feature proved to be a big advantage because once one of the staff members realized I wasn’t playing with my shoe strings he told me “no tripods are allowed.”  The staff member then said my alternative was to put my camera on the ground.  This really made no sense considering shooting with my camera on the ground or with the little tripod takes up the same amount of space.  Although I didn’t agree with the rule, I had already gotten my shot so I saw no reason in arguing and took that as my cue to leave.

Photography Concepts:

There were two main lessons that I took away from shooting this week’s picture.  The first lesson was that with so much white my camera tried to underexpose the image.  In order to get the image the way I wanted, I had to override my camera’s judgement and overexpose the image via exposure compensation.  I could have shot in manual which would have given me more control over exposure, but I was trying to shoot quick before I got told to move (which did eventually happen).  Lately I’ve been finding that I am hardly ever using the even exposure my camera calculates.  Thus far I’ve mainly used exposure compensation (+/- 3 stops) to adjust my image, but I think it’s time for me to just start shooting in manual.  It’s a big step shooting all manual but when it comes to shooting an image such as this week’s, it’s the better way to go.

The second lesson learned was the ideal shutter speed to shoot to give a slight blur to people walking.  My original idea was to shoot with a long shutter (10+ seconds) to get ghost like blurs of people walking.  Unfortunately since there weren’t many people in the hall, when I shot a 15 second exposure there was hardly a hint of people, except one guy that was standing still.  From that point I began winding my camera’s dial to increase my shutter speed, eventually settling at 1/5 of a second.  I didn’t know at the time, but I had luckily stumbled upon the ideal shutter speed for blurring people walking.  Below is a link to a guide I found after Thursday which provides the ideal shutter speeds for capturing certain effects.  

15 second exposure

15 second exposure

The last thing I want to mention is something I learned from watching Lightroom Tutorial video.  There is a feature in lightroom that allows you to correct perspective.  Let me tell you, this is absolutely awesome.  For me it’s always difficult to get my camera’s lens oriented correctly to capture perfectly straight vertical or horizontal lines.  Lightroom’s perspective correction is something I always knew I needed but never knew existed.  Watch the video (link below) and you will understand the features capabilities better.

In the coming weeks when I’m not forced to shoot under a time restraint I’m going to try to shoot in manual mode.  My guess is this will open a whole new world of opportunities and image quality for me.  Only time will tell…


Shutter Speed Cheat Sheet


Lightroom Perspective Correction:


A Day of Reflection Pt 2

Picture Specs: ISO 200, 35mm, f/4, 1/640 sec

Picture Specs: ISO 200, 35mm, f/4, 1/640 sec

Week 11 (10/13/2013 – 10/19/2013): Chelsea 11 Ave/19th St
Picture taken on 10/14/2013 at 4:57 PM

Picture description:

Since taking the picture for my second blog “A Day of Reflection” I’ve been drawn to taking more and more reflections shots. After a crazy/good weekend and with a very busy week looming ahead of me I thought Monday would my only opportunity to get a picture this week and an ideal time for a second “Day of Reflection”. The title of this week’s blog is just as much a reference to a day of relaxing outdoors as it is to the kind of picture I took. When things get busy it’s even more important for me to set aside one day to clear my mind and of course get a picture for this blog. Walking around the city and enjoying the fall weather is one of my favorite ways to relax. Add a camera to the mix and it’s a hard afternoon to top.

Setting out the target destination for my afternoon was Chelsea, more specifically the area surrounding the Chelsea piers. Knowing there were a couple of parks, some interesting buildings and of course the waterfront/piers in the area Chelsea seemed like the perfect spot. After popping out of the subway on 14th street I began my short journey towards the water. While on my way to my picture’s destination I unknowingly passed the Chelsea Market and a bar called “The Tippler”. Not to get off topic but I circled back to both locations on Wednesday (not for pictures) and if you haven’t been to either I highly recommend checking out both, very cool!

After a walking around for a little I eventually arrived at the Chelsea Piers and immediately saw what would be the subject of this week’s blog. There are two buildings right across from the Chelsea piers which are architecturally awesome. One of the buildings is the main office for IAC which is an internet media company and the other is ‘trendy’ residential building called Nouvel. Both buildings are incredible so it was difficult to decide which building should be the focus of my picture, that’s why I decided a reflection shot was my best option…and so the challenge of getting this week’s shot began

IAC Building

IAC Building

Photography concepts:

As mentioned in the this week’s picture description my goal was to get two buildings in one shot. Capturing multiple buildings would have been a much easier task to accomplish if I was using a wide angel lens, or even a zoom lens from a distance. As you hopefully have come to know by now this blog revolves around me shooting with my 35mm lens, which due to my crop sensor provides around a 50-52mm perspective. Most people don’t know what these ‘mm’ measurements equate to so let me put it into perspective once more, a camera phone is around a 30-35mm perspective. When shooting with a camera phone I’m sure you’ve had limitations when it comes to fitting everything in the picture. Now imagine shrinking that window by about 40%. Yes maybe now you understand why capturing buildings or wide scenes is so challenging, here is where using reflections comes in. Through the use of reflections you can capture larger images in a smaller window.

An alternate reflection shot

An alternate reflection shot

The first challenge in capturing this week’s reflection picture was finding an angle that provided a clear reflection of the Nouvel building. Once I found the right angle the second challenge was determining what lines I should use to level off my picture. I decided to align my picture on the Nouvel building. Once I had my angle and point of reference to level my shot the third and last challenge was messing around with settings to find the best aperture for capturing a crisp image. I took the same picture in an array of apertures to make sure once it came time for editing I had options. While shooting with a DSLR taking the same picture using different settings is the surest way to insure you get a great picture. When you’re reviewing pictures in the LCD screen on the back of your camera it isn’t always easy to identify one that’s going to look good on a big screen. This concept is commonly referred to as “bracketing” and is one of the most important photography lesson’s I’ve learned thus far. The concept of bracketing is applied to almost any camera setting, it’s most often use is probably when it comes to exposure or light settings. Below are a couple articles on bracketing if you’d like to read more about how to apply this concept. In the future I’m going to attempt to use bracketing and merging pictures to capture a picture that contains high and low exposure areas so stay tuned!

Bracketing Articles



Nouvel’s Site