Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Photographing a New York sunset with the Fuji X-T1 and 3 Fuji X-zooms

One of the most beautiful vistas of New York City is the view from the top of Rockefeller Center. I usually find it best to shoot this scene when the daylight savings time changes in the fall. At that time the sun is already setting towards the south of the city to add color to the sky and the lights of the city buildings are still lit because it is still early and businesses have not let out.

I am in the process of re-photographing all the landscapes of the city now that the new World Trade Center is complete so, against my better judgement, I went to photograph the view last night. When I arrived, the clouds to the south were forming dramatic patterns and already picking up the glow from the setting sun on the right. Because it is still early in the summer the sun was about 90 degrees to the view I was photographing. Also because it was summer the observation deck was crawling with tourists -- something that doesn't happen in the colder, autumn nights -- and I had to elbow my way to a spot where I could set up my small table tripod.

I decided to go with the Fuji X-T1 and three zooms, the 10-24mm, 18-55mm, and 55-200mm, covering an equivalent focal range of 15-300mm -- more than sufficient to do the job.  One reason I chose the Fuji over a larger camera is that tripods are not allowed at the location. I was able to use a small table-top tripod that was sufficient to hold the light-wight X-T1 but would not have worked to steady a large Nikon DSLR.

The gear I used to photograph the city consisted of the Fuji X-T1, 10-24mm, 18-55mm, and 55-200mm zooms, along with a very compact table tripod by Giottos, and a cable release I managed to lose somewhere along the way. The entire kit fit comfortably in my photography vest. When it comes down to it, the Fuji zooms are really excellent and this is all that is needed for a complete and comfortable travel kit.  

The dramatic clouds dissipated shortly after I arrived. Fortunately, I did have time to grab a few shots with the setting sun adding some reflected color to them. For this view I needed the Fuji 10-24mm zoom set to 10mm to reach high enough into the sky to include the tops of the clouds.

The clouds dissipated very soon after I arrived and a soft summer haze enveloped the city. Normally these conditions are not very good for photography because of the low contrast and lack of detail, but I do like it for my monochrome platinum prints.

This was a glass partition I found interesting on the observation deck as it reflected the setting sun.

The lights of the Empire State Building come on right after sunset, which is when this photo was taken. 

This image is what I had set out to capture because it clearly shows the distant World Trade Center juxtaposed with a partial crop of the Empire State Building. I wanted a telephoto compression effect to bring the two buildings together so I used the Fuji 55-200mm lens. 

This is a composite panorama of two images so the resulting photo is quite large and full of detail. 

This is the small table-top tripod I used for the photos above. I found a solid wall on the observation deck where I was able to place it. The base with legs is low to the ground so you can also place your hand over it and apply some downward pressure to steady it further in a wind -- something I had to do last night. 
The tripod I use for situations like this, where a floor-length tripods are not allowed, was the Giottos QU 305B U-Pod Mini Tripod. I have tested quite a few of these small table-top models and found this one to be the most stable and capable of holding a heavier load than most. It has two columns do it can extend up to 13.8" (35.0 cm) and down as low as 2.2" (5.6 cm) when the columns are separated. Giottos makes two models, one with a head and one without. It folds up to a compact 9.3" (23.6 cm) and comes with a soft carry sack. I found the Giottos head for this tripod to be too weak, and prefer the model without a head so I can add my own.  I have several small heads I can use depending upon which camera I intend to support. The tripod itself without head sells for $39.35 at the vendors listed below.

If you are planning on buying this tripod, you can help support this site at no extra cost to you by purchasing from one of our affiliate sellers listed below -- and thanks for your support.

The Giottos QU 305B U-Pod Mini Tripod can be ordered from:  BH-Photo  Amazon  

1 comment :

  1. Great tripod- I have this one and the smaller one for closer macro shots