Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm in a New York state of mind


New York City, seen from above - click for higher-resolution image

I found myself on top of the Empire State Building this week. I wanted to somehow capture what it was like to be in that magical place that was the scene of so many classic movie scenes and so many childhood dreams of mine. I wanted to bring a bit of my experience home to our kids. Through pictures, I wanted to be able to explain what it was like, to get them excited so that they'd want to come back here so we could experience it for real, together.

Technical background: I bought a new gadget for my camera last week. It's a tripod with articulated legs that can wrap around pretty much anything. Up until now, I've been working without one, creatively bracing the camera on flat surfaces whenever I worked in low light and needed to use long exposure times. But that was wearing thin.

I used it for the first time for this series of images. To capture night scenes, the typical shutter speed of around 1/60th of a second simply wouldn't cut it. The images would be black. Longer exposures are necessary, but then you end up with blurred images because no one can hold a camera absolutely still for three seconds. And let's not talk about using flash. That's the domain of the clueless souls sitting in the nosebleed section at the football game.

Enter this little device of mine, which I used to clamp the camera to the outside of the security grating on the observation deck. I did so with great fear, because I had visions of my camera falling to the ground 86 floors below (and of having to explain it to my wife.) I received many odd looks from folks around me, but it was the only way to keep the shutter open for 2, 3 or 4 seconds and hope to bring home something workable. Because I'm a chicken, I kept my hands close by and, where feasible, the security strap around my wrist. In the end, I think it worked.

Your turn: Did this picture capture the sentiment of this place? What do you think (either first-three-words or whatever comes to mind) when you first see it? Was I nuts for shooting it this way?

25 comments:

Brenda said...

The golden apple... this is an amazing shot. And to think that almost five years ago, we would not have been able to imagine ever seeing the city like this again.

netchick said...

Heya Carmi... Twice in one day! Woo! :) Here from Michele's again!

I really like the feel of the photo -- Reminds me of my experience there last year, and makes me want to go back.

Shane said...

great shot!

Killired said...

omg carmi, that's beautiful!!!! worth framing and hanging up for sure!
and hell no you're not crazy for shooting this way... you're the one that told me to keep shooting until you have it right and you had to do what you had to do! it's breath-taking!
on another note, i have an action shot i posted today for photo-friday... have you ever participated in it? i haven't in a long time but this weeks theme is BOY and i couldn't resist!

~A~ said...

Way cool picture.

And Michele sent me.

kontan said...

First words: how cool is that? Really great shot. It really captures the greatness of the city.

Tracie said...

I love the picture!! Absolutely amazing.....it makes me want to visit New York. And I want one of those cool tripods, too!

Michele sent me.

jennypenny said...

First 3 words: Jealousy (i wanna go so bad again), excitement, and scary

Awesome shot you got and no, you are never nuts to take a risk for the sake of art. Just be glad that you didnt leave your digital camera on a bench in central park like i did... thats just dumb.

great to see you carmi. been too long! here from Michele's

DeAnn said...

So pretty. I want to be there!

srp said...

Here from Michele this time.

WOW! BEAUTIFUL! FABULOUS!
Now what is the name of that gadget?
I've decided that I must be a chameleon. I've lived in sprawling cities with a small town feel, small southern towns without much cultural input and medium cities with the city feel. After the two weeks in New York and actually living in the city rather than just visiting in a hotel; I have to tell you, I could definitely enjoy living there.

This picture definitely makes me want to go back.

David said...

that photo blows me away! the colors, the light all the motion, and teh vibrancy of a city, great grab! good gadget

Blond Girl said...

My first thought was WOW! My next thought was "cool, I can see the curve of the earth!" My third thought, "how high up was he, anyway?" and finally "Why was Carmi in NY?"

Great photo and totally worth the octopus tripod!

Catherine said...

It's a fantastic photo - I can understand being nervous about the camera though.
Michele sent me.

utenzi said...

Great picture, Carmi. I love the lights. I lost the head from my tripod a few months ago and need to get a new one. The one I had was a cheapie but I don't need anything very elaborate. Before I buy a full-size one, I might try one like you describe in your post. Something articulated like that might serve my purposes admirably. I have very steady hands and can often get 1/15 second shots to come out but true night exposures just go far too long for me to be touching the camera in any way.

Michele sent me to admire your picture, Carmi.

rashbre said...

Corny to say but I love New York and this is a fine photo. I enjoyed the hirez too. Never heard of the tripod gadget but sounds useful!

rashbre

Annabelle said...

Hi Carmi - night shots are great when they're done well and I think you have definitely captured the NewYorkness of NYC. (At least, how I feel about NYC at night when I go to visit!).
What kind of camera are you using? I still rely on my old analog SLR cameras, but am shopping around for a digital replacement. I just hate those lousy flash systems and automated results. I like to play and love flexibility. (Currentlly I am considering the EOS).

Jennifer said...

No you're not nuts for doing that. I've done it too. Only I was 27 floors up not 86!

The first thing that comes to my mind is "gosh so many lights" what about saving energy??

kenju said...

No, you weren't nuts, but you were brave! That is a great shot and since I haven't been atop the Empire State building for 35 years - it brought back memories. I want to go back too!

keda said...

its beautiful. well worth the risk and odd looks :)

i wanna go back there... sigh.

srp said...

Here from Michele this time.

We didn't go to the Empire State Building this trip but did visit before, ten years ago. Our visit was during the day so not quite so dramatic, although being that high is dramatic enough.

We have been at the top of the Sears Tower as well, and with Chicago's windy nature, that was exciting; especially when the clouds floated by below us.

Rhea said...

Beautiful shot. Cities, to me, mean lights. So the colored lights in the center of the image look great.

Tara said...

Well, it's crowded, bright, full of life. Sounds like NYC to me.

Not a Cookie Cutter said...

I love the photo. I felt both happiness and melancholy thinking about memories of being in NYC. Great photo!
~G

Azgreeneyes said...

I think your picture captured the 'living' value of NYC. When my husband and I were there, all I could think was that everything seemed to be alive. There's an energy that seems to invest even the buildings, and they take on a life that stays awake even when most of us are sound asleep. Your picture was well worth the risk. It came out beautifully!

jsdaughter said...

I didn't need three words.. the first in my mind was breathtaking..