Category Archives: New York

Lush and Faux

In New York’s Central Park the lush—but artificial—landscapes make the cityscape look almost pastoral in its beauty. Central Park is the landscape architecture masterpiece of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, created in the mid 1800s.

Central Park by Harold Davis

Central Park © Harold Davis

Almost everything about the landscape of Central Park—lakes, meadows, hills, and rocks—was artfully and artificially created and placed. The result is an apparent pastoral paradise in which glimpses of the city only seem to enhance the lush natural landscape. The building shown reflected in the man-made lake in this image is the tower of the luxury Sherry Netherland Hotel, located along Fifth Avenue at the southern end of the park.

When designing Central Park, Olmsted and Vaux turned to the Yosemite Valley floor as a source of inspiration (Olmsted had visited Yosemite a few years before beginning the Central Park design). Compared to the wilderness landscape, Central Park seems faux (if you’ll pardon the rhyme with “Vaux”)—but certainly a wonderful enhancement to life in New York.

How the image was made: This is five exposures taken with my camera on a tripod. Each exposure was shot at 18mm, f/13, and ISO 200. Shutter speeds ranged from 1/2 a second to 1/320 of a second. I used Photoshop and Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 to create a single composite High Dynamic Range (HDR) image.

Also posted in HDR, Photography

New York Night in HDR

On a rooftop high above New York the lights of the city sparkled in the night. From so far above even the noise of the city was muted—all I could hear was an occasional siren far below, echoing in the strong wind.

New York at Night by Harold Davis

New York at Night © Harold Davis

To make this image, with my camera on a tripod, I used manual exposure control to snap five exposures. I used my 10.5mm fisheye lens. Each exposure was at ISO 200 and f/3.5. The shutter speeds ranged from 2/5 of a second to 15 seconds.

I was on the road and didn’t have much time for elaborate HDR post-processing, so I simply fed the images through Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 at the default settings, with the results you see above.

In fact, as the author of Creating HDR Photos: The Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Photography, one kind of HDR or another informs most of my photography.

Want to learn my HDR thoughts and techniques?

I am giving my much requested all-day HDR Bootcamp workshop on Saturday, Jan 12, 2013, in downtown Berkeley, CA. The workshop tuition is $195.00. Click here for information and registration.

Here are some comments of participants from my previous HDR Bootcamp workshop:

  • “Great day to learn how to better take and process single and bracketed images for maximizing dynamic range.”
  • “Excellent. Great new material and clear explanations of techniques and new software.”
  • “Harold offered an excellent overview of HDR technique. He took the time to ensure that each of us was able to follow along in making HDR images manually and then in processing them in several different software programs.”
  • “Incredibly helpful workshop. I feel like I now have the knowledge to do HDR the right way.”
  • “This ‘Bootcamp’ was well organized , well paced, good value-added content. I enjoyed it and got a lot out of it.”

Click for the Jan 12 2013 HDR Bootcamp All-Day Workshop information and registration.

Also posted in HDR, Workshops