Monday, September 17, 2012

New York City - An Evening on the High Line

During my last trip to New York City, I was honored to present my Olympic images to the amazing group at NYC SALT. If you are not aware of NYC SALT, it is a nonprofit program which gets kids from underprivileged families and teaches them photography. I have been involved in the organization for a couple of years now, but never presented to them. It was fun to share my Olympic photos and stories with them, and to tell them how I pursued my dreams.

After the NYC SALT meeting, I had dinner plans with the founders of the organization, but had to wait a couple of hours for everyone to meet up. This worked out perfectly, since this allowed me time to go out and do some night photos with a couple of friends from the group. Since we were very close to the High Line, we walked over to this cool area and shot images on our way to the restaurant.

The High  Line is a public park that is built on a historic freight rail line which is elevated above the Meat Packing District of the city. This area was once ignored, and is now a high-rent district. The photo above shows the walking path on what used to be train tracks.

As I was walking along the path, I turned around and saw the New Yorker Hotel peeking out between two office buildings. I really liked the framing of the hotel in between the straight building and the angled building.

A little further down the path, I had a nice view of the Empire State Building through the plants on the High Line. I shot this image and then realized that it would be a better shot if the leaves were lit a little bit.

Using the flash on the back of my iPhone, I lit the leaves during the 1.6 second exposure. At this point, my friend Adam Chinitz said, "Hey - we are using Phone Fill" for our lighting. I really like this. It wasn't fill flash, since we did not have a flash with us, it was phone fill, since we used our phones as a light source. Remember that everyone, "Phone Fill" was started here (by Adam).

We even used the phone fill to light ourselves for these images.

I saw this cool graffiti covered wall below me and set up for some shots. This shot is so typical NYC to me.

This is a shot showing the High Line and the street reflections off of a very cool metallic building.

Just before exiting the High Line, I saw these steps which were lit very dramatically, and thought that we could do some cool portraits here. Once again, we did not have any flash units to light ourselves, so we broke out our iPhones again, turned them upside down, with the flash light facing us, and shot these.

If you look closely at this "Phone Fill" shot, you will see my thumb glowing red. This shows how I was covering part of the light so that it would not be too bright on my face. I guess you could call that a "thumb gobo". :)

More phone fill fun...

Not only was this cool architecture, but I really love the colors coming through the windows at night.

Another shot of the Empire State Building through the buildings of the Meat Packing District.

This last image, taken just before we had dinner, was a 30 second exposure, showing the pillars from an old pier on the Hudson River. I set the camera to a very low aperture to give me a long exposure. My goal was to smooth out the water as much as possible, to help accent the pillars.

This is the same image converted to black and white using NIK Silver Efex Pro.

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