Shooting New York City at night in 30 minutes

I shot all images in that album while walking back from a +Rick Sammon workshop at the Explorer's Club to Grand Central Terminal within 30 minutes. All pictures were shot handhold and using fairly slow lenses - the Canon 24-105 f/4 and the Canon 16-35 f/2.8 - I probably shouldn't call an f/2.8 a slow lens, I know...

The weather was absolutely fantastic as it stopped raining just a few minutes after I left the Explorer's club giving me awesome, wet reflective roads.

I was using poles and dumpsters as tripods and all are single exposures = no HDR.

Check the original post over at Google+ for more pictures.

If you don't have a Google+ invite yet, drop me a comment and I'll get you one.

30 minutes of NYC at night

How to motion-blur

Shooting at night with a fast lens is so much fun. I took this photograph with the same lens I talked about yesterday - the Canon 24mm f/1.4.

I didn't have the tripod with me that night but I wanted to get a slight motion blur of the passing train. The rule of thumb I apply for motion blur is to shoot with the same shutter-speed than the moving subject is passing by in mph...hmmm - I hope you are very confused now because I would be. Here is what I mean:

I your subject moves with a speed of 20mph, you shoot it with a shutter-speed of 1/20th. You obviously need to guess the speed if you do not have a radar gun with you but that shouldn't be too hard. The train in the photograph was not driving by in full-speed but was rather breaking to stop at the station.

Exif Info:

  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

  • Exposure Time: 0.05s (1/20)

  • Aperture: f/2

  • ISO: 3200

  • Focal Length: 24mm

The Wet Rock at Night

New York City is one of my all-time favorite photography locations. I've lived in the area for around a year and spent many weekends in the city walking around with my camera. One of the most photographed buildings - besides Time Square and the Empire State Building - is Rockefeller Center. When you google for "Rockefeller Center" and choose the 'image' tab on the left, you get over 2,000,000 hits. The majority of the images show the Christmas tree or the Ice skating rink.

While there might be lots of pictures shot from the location I chose, I haven't seen many good pictures which were shot at night while it was raining. I anyway think that you get the best possible light when shooting New York at twilight during rainy weather.

Here is my take at Rockefeller Center with the Atlas Statue at night in the rain.

Exif Info:
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

  • Exposure Time: 0.4s (handhold)

  • Aperture: f/4

  • ISO: 100

  • Focal Length: 24mm (24mm in 35mm)

  • The reason for choosing a very low ISO of 100 was that I wanted to get light-trails of the passing cars in the frame. I was leaning against a lamp post to stabilize myself and the camera. Using that method you can shoot rather long exposures without a tripod and still get a sharp image.