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Shooting NYC skyline at night


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#1 Eugene Lehnert

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 05:26 PM

I want to shoot some shots of the NYC skyline at night in real-time. I was thinking of shooting the skyline before the light in the sky is completely gone. I want to be able to see detail in the buildings and not just the lights from the buildings. Using the Vision 2 stock with a fast prime lens seems to be the way to go but I wanted to post here to get some advice.
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#2 Robert Edge

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 06:36 PM

If you don't mind me asking, do you plan to photograph from Manhattan or New Jersey or Long Island, and from what location?
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#3 timHealy

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 11:14 PM

I would shoot from NJ towards the east early in the morning or from Queens towards the west in the evening. The reason being that I like the look of that sharp gradation from dark blue/night sky to just a bit of light blue on the horizon. With Manhattan you'll have to do that. But you may get more office lights in buildings switched on shooting from Queens in the evening...and the Empire State Building. Their lights go off at midnight.


Best,

Tim
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#4 Eugene Lehnert

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 08:47 AM

The plan is to shoot from a friends rooftop in lower Manhattan. I'm not trying to get a beautifull wide skyline, just some generic looking buildings.
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#5 Robert Edge

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 10:33 AM

Eugene,

Before sunset or after sunset? Will the sky be in the shot or not?

I'm also planning to shoot some evening footage of New York buildings. In my case, the available choices are the Brooklyn Promenade, a balcony on Roosevelt Island, a balcony on Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park, the roof of a building in Queens and an elevated parking lot in Queens. These locations give very different views of the city, and would require different approaches to lens choice and exposure. I also need to take into account time in relation to sunset, amount of cloud cover and whether the sky is in the shot.

The other day, I did some meter readings from the balcony on Fifth Avenue in the direction of the Plaza Hotel at the entrance to Central Park. If it helps any, I can tell you that an hour before sunset with a fairly clear sky there is a big difference between the meter reading you get off the buildings at the South entrance to the Park and the surrounding sky. In those conditions, and at that time, I think that it would be difficult to hold detail in the buildings without overexposing the sky without a graduated neutral density filter. I'll be doing some further readings from the same spot, but just before and just after sunset, tonight or tomorrow night.

I've also done some recent readings just before sunset from the Brooklyn Promenade in the direction of the Fulton Fish Market. Very different situation, especially if it is mostly buildings in the shot. However, the problem is that you need either a long lens or a lot of height if you don't want a lot of the river, and for that matter the tops of the warehouses on the river just below the Promenade, in the shot. I had a 35mm camera with a 50mm lens attached and the lens was way too short. The ideal vantage point would be one of the apartment balconies above the Promenade, but I don't have access.

I realize that you are planning on shooting from a different location. Just thought I'd mention what I'm finding in case it helps with identifying some issues.
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#6 Eugene Lehnert

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 11:09 AM

The buildings will fill the shot mainly with the sky in between the buildings. Check this out:

www.gettyimages.com/film

Type in: "659-17 or 806-30"

I'm trying to avoid the look of the 806-30 shot and get the look of the 659-17 shot. There is a lot more detail in the 659-17 shot. It looks like it was shot at a slower frame rate too. The cars on the ground are hard to see what when you do see them they do seem to zoom by. So I was thinking of trying to get an extra stop by shooting at 12 fps instead of 24.

What are some good lenses that are fast and sharp when they are wide open? Are most primes set up to shoot wide open?

Is there any benefit to shooting with a slower film and pushing the film stock? Probably not right? The 500T Vision 2 is probably most suitable for this situation.
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#7 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 03:33 PM

I would be interested to see what happens - I am considering shooting a skyline at 5fps (with traffic and a grad filter)

thanks

Rolfe
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#8 Stephen Williams

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 03:44 PM

I would be interested to see what happens - I am considering shooting a skyline at 5fps (with traffic and a grad filter)

thanks

Rolfe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hi,

If your testing try some really slow shots from 1fps to 30 seconds per frame.

Cheers,

Stephen
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#9 Jason Maeda

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 10:40 AM

suggestion:
shoot in the a.m. instead of p.m.
jk :ph34r:
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#10 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 03:53 PM

Of course, "magic hour" is the best time to capture details in the buildings, as well as the lights. Certainly an EI500 film has more than enough speed to capture brightly lit areas like Times Square, which have a wonderful mix of lighting.

Lots of guidelines and examples on this site:

http://dmoz.org/Arts...ht_Photography/
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