Light on Lower Manhattan

December 05, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

New York City is the kind of place that stays with you long after you’ve left.  The city is just such a captivating place to be.  I have many fond memories of New York, and this photograph is no exception. This image will forever stick in my mind when I think of New York now, as it was one of those rare moments in photography where I was totally immersed in the moment when I was shooting it, not really thinking but just feeling.  I knew that I had just captured something special.

I love every visit I’ve had to this incredible place, and I’m fortunate enough to have family to stay with when we travel there.  My sister-in-law lives in Staten Island, and she has arguably one of the best views of the city from her bedroom window.  I had heard that the view was incredible, but I was blown away when I pulled back the curtains and Manhattan was right outside her window.  I took some shots right away, but they weren’t really anything special.  I knew that with this vantage point something better would eventually come along, and I was right.  One rainy morning when we were getting ready to venture into the city, I looked out the window and knew something special was in the making.  The fast-moving heavy clouds parted enough to allow the sun to bathe lower Manhattan in a golden glow, while the rest of the city was draped in drab grey. The light was changing quickly, and I knew I had to act fast, so I was stuck with the 18-55mm that I had mounted on my camera at the time.  I hurriedly grabbed my camera out of my bag and got back to the window as fast as I could!  No time to set up a tripod or to try to open the window! I framed the scene in front of me, flicked on the VR to ensure that my handheld shots would be sharp and fired off 9 exposures just before the light was gone.  I was nearly breathless afterward as I thought about what had just happened, and the fleeting scene that I had just captured.  All of this had happened in a matter of about a minute!  I had no time to really think and compose, only time to feel.

It was photographic instinct that gave birth to this scene, and in hindsight I keep thinking, “If I only had time to put on a longer lens…” or “If I had been able to move to a different spot…”  I don’t think the image would be as special to me as it is if I had the time to think about it.  It’s the excitement of capturing the moment that I really think about when I look at this image, and that’s a satisfying feeling that I will always cherish.

This is a 9 exposure handheld HDR shot with a Nikon D200 and Nikon 18-55mm VR, f/5.3 @ISO 100.  I processed this like I normally do, editing in Lightroom 3 first and then Photoshop, with OnOne Phototools adding the final touch.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: 18-55 VR, hdr, lightroom, Lower Manhattan, New York, nikon d200, NYC, onone phototools, photomatix, photoshop, Staten Island


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