New York City from the Street

Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Articles | One Comment


I know. This is not something I would normally be doing but, as the saying goes, when in Rome photograph from the street (this is not a well known saying).

I was down in Manhattan recently investigating the possibility of a new project and I found myself in a horse drawn carriage through the city. This is not the normal horse drawn carriage ride that tourists do, this was a get to the park tag-along ride. One of the stables where the horses are cared for and spend the night is  on 38th Street so I got to ride up to 59th Street where the carriages take tourists for rides in Central Park.

With not much to photograph I decided to have some fun and try some hand-held, slow shutter speed photography down at street level. Hand holding a camera at slow shutter speeds is generally a pretty good formula for pretty bad pictures but what the heck, might as well try! I was trying to capture the sense of the traffic zooming by the carriage. I’ll let you judge if I was successful.

To get a very slow shutter speed I cranked down my ISO on my Nikon D4 to Lo 1 (the equivalent of ISO 100), cranked the f-stop to 22 to get the smallest aperture, put the exposure mode to Aperture Priority, put the focus to Auto, went to Matrix (Evaluative in Canon cameras), sat on the floor of the carriage, grabbed the side railing and leaned out as far as I could while holding the camera as close to the street as I could and waited for a yellow cab to come by. I then just let her rip on high speed motor drive (10 frames a second). Four seconds later I had 40 shots to look at. Four or five blocks later I had a couple hundred.

I saved 6. I liked one. The remainder were sent blasting off to the trash can. As you might expect there were lots of really out of focus shots and even more really askew compositions. This image is my favorite because the horse is moderately in focus and the yellow cab is in the perfect location compositionally. It was a crazy idea with a very low chance of success- about 1 in 200 actually. But I’m glad I tried. Nothing to lose other than an arm and a camera!

1 Comment

  1. Theresa Vinson
    May 29, 2014

    Hi Dave,

    I don’t know exactly how old the article/blog post is I just read is (I
    believe it was published in 2013) but you have in one article
    answered all of my questions regarding photo publishing and I wanted to
    say thanks to you. I have been searching the internet for answers to my
    questions mostly around when to submit what and I found your article.

    I am a wedding and event coordinator in Sacramento CA working with a
    wonderful photographer putting together a styled photo shoot. Both our
    businesses are fairly young and neither of us have had any of our work
    published. We have our theme and our first styled photo shoot is set
    for June. I was stuck trying to figure out if the photos should have
    text to tell a story – you have helped us with that too!

    I could go on and on but I wont. We plan to submit to wedding blogs,
    magazines and newspapers. Sacramento does not have as much going on in
    the way of social events or weddings as say San Francisco but for that which we do have there
    are some longtime local photographers and wedding planners that seem to
    have this town wrapped up so you probably know what we are up against.
    Still, we are soldiering on –
    please wish us luck and thanks again. You have truly helped. Here’s
    the article. Sent this to the email on the contact page of the article but it came back.