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!