Featured Photo: 12th October – Beno Saradzic

Todays Photo Of Day was captured by +Beno Saradzic.

The photo was shared on our Google+ Photographers Community.

A Night To Forget by Beno Saradzic

LOWER MANHATTAN FROM EMPIRE STATE social

Quite surprisingly, and to my big disappointment, the least enjoyable experience from my recent trip to New York was the one I was most excited about; observation deck at the Empire State Building.

Forget about romantic Hollywood depictions of the Empire State Building. Forget about Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr from ‘An Affair to Remember’ or Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan from ‘Sleepless in Seattle’. Forget about kind attendants who let Tom stay on the deck after they closed already. In fact, forget all King Kong movies too. Whole experience of getting to the top of the building and the observation deck itself was stuff of nightmares. Endless triple-S queues at the ticket box. Unbelievably tight, airport class security inclusive of x-ray machines, metal detectors and pat-downs. Quite unpolitely, my entire camera bag was disassembled and all of its contents spread all over the table. They removed pretty much everything from it which had any metal in it inclusive of my tripod, baby tripod, filter mount plus adapter rings, tiny screwdriver and few other items.

By the time I got to the top, I had nothing but my camera on me with 2 lenses. Nothing to stablize it with for long exposures. I was angry and disappointed. Exposure bracketing was going to be a major challenge to say the least. But that was just the beginning of that afternoon.

Once I got on the platform, it was like being at the train station at the rush hour on Monday. Screaming kids. Selfie-obsessed teens taking 100 shots in a row with that stupid selfie-stick. They would not move from the spot! Swarms of tourists and security guards moving them around like sheep.

There’s a tall metal fence all around the platform which makes it impossible to get a clean shot unless you push your camera through one of its weird openings and placed onto a concrete ledge. Once the camera is through, you can’t really bring your face close to the camera and that makes it awfully difficult to focus or properly operate its dials and buttons. On top of that, I kept getting pushed around by the masses of unruly tourist who were snapping the shots over my head, under my armpits and in between my legs. It was insane.

I started snapping at 5:30 pm and darker it got, more people were coming. It was PACKED! Every spot at the fence was taken and I knew I had to stay where I was. If I moved, I’d lose it and with it, my single chance to capture this panorama. So I waited for the perfect light at the same spot for one full hour while getting kicked in the ribs about 20 times. It was great.

When the blue hour kicked in, I set my camera to shoot only 3, instead of usual 5 bracketed exposures. I didn’t have my Promote Remote Control for the job so I set my camera on a self-timer, programmed to shoot with the built-in bracketing from 3EV to +3EV. No tripod meant I had to improvise by pressing the camera against the concrete ledge with full force, using my entire body weight. That -almost worked. While I was doing my last bracketed frame, I got kicked by a tourist beside me and that caused the camera to move a bit…the shot was ruined, so was the whole panorama. I had to re-shoot it three times before I got the clean, sharp series.

Tech: 3 horizontal frames, each blended with 3 bracketed exposures. I used Canon 5d Mk3 with Canon 24-105mm lens, set at 100mm / f7.1.

Software: Lightroom 4.4, Photoshop 5.1, Photoshop CC, Nik Software plugins, Topaz plugins Processed on Win 7 x64 HP Pavilion DV-8 laptop and Wacom Intuos 3 tablet.

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