Monday, March 25, 2013

Capturing time

A strong breeze was blowing in Manhattan causing the clouds to move rapidly through the city. I decided to try something I have been wanting to do for some time, namely take a photo of the Empire State Building with the moving clouds blurred behind it. The day was sunny. This meant that even with the lens set to a low aperture the correct exposure would not allow a shutter speed slow enough to blur the clouds. So I had to resort to some other means of lowering the exposure.  For this I used a variable neutral density filter with enough density to allow at least a 6-8 stop decrease in exposure.

With the filter in place, I did some trial-and-error experiments to determine the shutter speed that would give me the look I wanted. I tried everything from 5-30 seconds, and settled in on 10-15 as looking the best. With the aperture set to f/16 I adjusted the variable neutral density filter by dialing it down until it gave me a 15 second exposure. The image below is the result. I also used an infrared post-processing technique to further darken the blue sky and accentuate the contrast between it and the clouds.

Shot with the Nikon D600, Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens at ISO 100, f/16 and 15 second exposure using a black and white infrared technique.

This photo is intended to as part of a limited edition portfolio of ten black & white prints I am doing of the Empire State Building. Some others being considered for inclusion in the portfolio are below.

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