Last weekend was pretty tumultuous for me. What started off as a normal Saturday morning, with a trip to the post office and the gym was anything but the expected. Rather than hit the gym, my brother and I ended up in the hospital after a pretty serious car accident. 4 airbags deployed, a totalled car, back pains and a fractured wrist later here I am lucky to be alive and grateful for the fact I walked away from the ordeal with just a fractured wrist and not seriously banged up.
I could spend the rest of this blog post rattling off all the reasons why having your right arm (I’m right handed) in a full cast is the absolute worst. I’ve been retraining myself to eat, to open containers, getting dressed is a pain, I’ve got to wear “protection” on my arm to shower and I wont even get into using the bathroom, but worst of all, I cant hand hold a camera. Initially I thought I’d have to put my photography on hold and some aspects like event photos and weddings will have to wait, but this injury has allowed me to revisit my tripod.
It’s been a few months since I’ve gone out and taken my tripod with me on a photo walk. This weekend I took a trip to the Hoboken waterfront in New Jersey and set up overlooking the Manhattan Skyline. I used a 30mm M42 mount hoya lens circa 1985 (maybe I’ll write a post about these next, they’re incredible), a dandelion chip adapter, a B&W 6 stop neutral density filter (also awesome), a 2 stop Hoya neutral density filter, and a shutter release cable.
To get the picture above I framed the shot in classic thirds with my horizon on the bottom third and the Empire State Building in a strong poing of interest. Next I made sure to tighten up my ball head as much as I could. It’s key during long exposures that your camera does not move in the least if you want a nice sharp photo. Over the course of 10 seconds a minute slide of the camera can ruin the sharpness fo the photo. Next I took a reading with my light meter and got a basic exposure. In order to have the water smooth and softened I added neutral density filters. First a 6 stop filter and then another 2 stop filter for a total of 8 stops of light reduction. I then recalculated my exposure and took a couple of test shots.
Once I had the photo the way I imagined it I took it home put it through Nik Viveza and Color Effex Pro for some post processing and then through Photoshop for a bit of noise reduction. Long exposures will not only result in long processing times on your camera (depending on the speed of your memory card) but will also intrinsically increase noise. It’s always a good idea to do a bit of noise reduction via photoshop or Nik Define 2.0.
Besides the successful photo it was nice to sit on the waterfront and relax. Especially during the 2 min exposures I was doing later that same night. I just sat on a bench and let the camera do its thing. I’ll have this cast on for another 9 weeks so let’s see what else I can pull off with just one arm.