Friday, March 6, 2015

A snowy day in Gotham with the X-T1

We've had a very cold winter this year in New York, but most of the record snowfalls that have been making the news have skirted us to the north. Yesterday was different, the city received one of those fairy tale snowy days where the snow falls lightly all day with accumulations that make everything look like a winter wonderland -- nothing too excessive. Temperatures on the higher side make the snow sticky and the lack of wind allow it to stick to the trees. It snowed all day. In the morning the snow was accompanied with a mist that also covered the city. In short, conditions were perfect for some snowy day photos of Gotham.

I had a shooting in the studio in the morning so I missed the best part of the mistiness, but I headed out in the early afternoon and stayed out all day until around sunset photographing with my Fuji X-T1. I packed only two lenses, the 18-55mm and 10-24mm zooms, but pretty much used the 18-55mm for most of the day. I photographed for about four hours with the camera and lenses exposed to the elements the entire time, adequate proof that their weather resistance works well.

I worked the day for both color and monochrome images keeping the X-T1 set to record both RAW and jpg. With the camera set to monochrome I did not see the colors in the viewfinder and made my judgments of composition based on contrast. It was a good way to work in such a low contrast, almost colorless scene.

I began my excursion at on the Pond in Central Park. The snow was falling consistently enveloping the scene in a white haze allowing only very subtle colors coming through. I wanted to preserve this whiteness without over-punching the colors. I set the camera to over-expose by 2/3 stop to keep the scene bright. 

I hadn't expected to be photographing any wildlife, but the birds were out in profusion, offering a colorful punch to the flat background.

I kept switching back and forth from color to monochrome while photographing the area around the park. Most of the monochrome is to supplement my Platinum fine art portfolio.

I left the park early and headed down to Times Square because I was curious about how the snow would look there around sunset. 

The city steam created huge clouds that permeated the area and absorbed the colors from the light of Times Square. This view is looking south past the snow covered stature of George Gershwin. 

I couldn't resist this little street scene reminding everyone that it might be time to take a vacation to warmer climates. 

Continuing on from Times Square, I walked down Fifth Avenue, grabbing some shots of the city icons in both color and monochrome. 

The New York Public Library

Flatiron Building with snow-covered trees in Madison Park

The Empire State Building juxtaposed against an old apartment building surrounded by snow-covered trees.

Running low on light, but still hand-holding the X-T1 because of the high OIS of the 18-55mm lens, I took this late photo of the Chrysler Building past the silhouette of trees and building.

The New York Public Library past some snowy trees. 

The camera and lens were covered with wet snow the entire time. I have a procedure for when I return from an inclement weather shoot to take care of the equipment before I do anything else. One of the most dangerous times for the gear is when it first comes in from the cold and hits the warm interior air. The snow melts quickly into water that can seep into the camera much more easily, and moisture from condensation can form on the interior elements of lenses.

First thing I do is pull the battery, and dry off any moisture from the surfaces of the camera. Next I disassemble the camera and lenses, taking off any caps, lens hoods, removing the lens from the camera because the point where the lens mounts to the camera is a dangerous place for moisture to seep in. I rack out the zooms so they are fully extended. The equipment needs to breath so it can dry in the warm air so I open everything that moves, such as the tilt screen, trap doors that hide the SD card and other slots, and the battery compartment door, I also remove the accessory grip because it especially acts as a trap for moisture. I lay everything out and allow it to air dry thoroughly before reassembling it.

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