Several weeks ago, before moving to Malta, work took me to New York City. I had not been there since before the towers fell. I was still shooting film at the time; in fact I had only recently bought the EOS Elan II (that I still have). Also, that time I was only there for a couple of days, so no time to do much.
This visit was also rather short, but I took the chance to go to a few places that I’ve wanted to see for some time. One of these was Grand Central Terminal on Park Avenue and East 42nd Street. This is such a beautiful and well-kept building, and to see it still being used as a regular train station is just fantastic. Pity that the train I needed to take didn’t leave from there but from the more modern Penn Station.
With all the people there I knew I wanted to take a long exposure shot. There was only one snag: I was leaving my tripod at the hotel. Small as it was, I still found I’d rather not carry it around the city with me all the time. Less weight, less bother. So I found a suitable ledge, composed with live view (to avoid putting myself in awkward positions), and used the self-timer to activate the required exposure, avoiding camera shake. I took a few exposures at different durations to see what would work: I wanted some blurring of movement, but I still wanted the people to look like people. I don’t think I needed any filters, since this was indoors.
In post I used selective curves layers to adjust contrast a little, and eventually decided to go with a black and white presentation. That was rather unplanned, and I think helped bring out the detail in the roof so much better. It also avoids the inevitable clash of colours on people’s clothes.
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