New York Sunrise – The Story

December 20, 2015_untitled_18170-Edit-2

The Story Behind the Picture

This is the last in my little trilogy of pieces about my images which recently placed well in the Digital Photographer “Cityscapes” competition.

This image is of New York, more specifically Manhattan viewed from a waterfront park in Brooklyn. Shots from here were very popular in the completion and it is becoming one of the “must visit” spots for photographers visiting New York.

I first went to the spot the evening before and took some good shots of the sunset lighting up the sky. In fact I have one of these shots as a “Whitewall” (very expensive) print in my sitting room, so I was pleased with the results. But I thought there was better to be had. From research I had done I knew the sunrise would light up the front of the buildings and add colour and clarity to the whole scene. So after an early rise and interesting subway journey I was back at the spot about half an hour before sunrise. Despite the popularity of this spot for photographers I had it all to myself that morning.

There was a slight swell on the water and I decided to go for a long exposure shot to calm everything down and stretch the clouds. I was lucky that a few of the seagulls sat still for me during the exposure, but if you look very closely you can see a sailing ship moored at Manhattan had been moving about.

This was shot in RAW with my Nikon D810 and my Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 lens at 29mm. It was shot at f18 at ISO 100, which this lens handles superbly giving incredible depth of field across the shot. On the lens I had three Lee filters, a landscape polariser as I wanted the warm colours of the sun on the buildings to come through without any glare; a 0.9 stop ND Grad filter (the sky was a lot brighter than the foreground and the ND Grad filter balances this up by acting like a part of sunglasses on the top half of the image) and a Big Stopper which extends exposure time, in this case with all the filters the exposure time was 239 seconds.

In post production I increased the contrast and vibrancy over the whole picture. I also dropped the highlights in the top half to the image and opened the shadows in the bottom half which was still a bit dark despite my efforts to address this “in camera”.

I hope you have enjoyed these background pieces and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and ask.

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