Lower Manhattan Skyline from near Ellis Island by dleiva

Crimson Sky by BenoSaradzic

This is probably my favourite shot from my last trip in NYC. I had to wait until the very last day of my brief visit to be rewarded with this amazing red sky over Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge. The whole spectacle lasted just a few minutes before returning to murky grey tones.
Isn’t that how all wonderful moments in life come and go?

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My thoughts about NYC:
Of all the cities on this planet, I can’t think of one which fascinates me like New York City. Pictured in a thousand movies, New York sparked my imagination ever since I was a kid. I’ve been thinking about photographing NYC for as long as I can remember. To finally stand in front of its colossal skyline, with my camera, was such an overwhelming feeling. I’ve photographed many wonderful skylines but NYC’s is truly special. Effortlessly, its architecture speaks of its glorious past, present and the promise of the future. NYC’s skyline is as perfect as it gets.
At least to me, New York City was and remains, the promised land.

tech: it was a perfect day for cityscape photography. Partially cloudy day presented constantly changing lighting conditions. Clouds helped to keep the sunlight in check. I was able to wait for the sun to hit just the right part of the city at the right time.
Shooting this 13-frames wide vertorama however wasn’t easy. I was on the boat ride around the lower Manhattan when I snapped this panorama. It was quite windy, boat was moving in a choppy sea and just standing on the boat’s deck was a challenge, let alone trying to balance the camera to remain as vertical and steady as possible.
I set my Canon 5D MK3 to Manual mode and programmed it to snap 3 bracketed shots from -2EV through +2EV in quick succession. It worked well, or so I thought.
When I imported the 3 bracketed shots into Oloneo PhotoEngine for HDR processing, I realized that the boat moved a bit too much between the 3 exposures. Oloneo’s ‘auto-align’ usually works very well but it can’t align photos which have parallax shift between them. It messes up its algorithm which is understandable. I realized that HDR vertorama wasn’t going to be possible so I opted for a conventional vertorama, using only the 13x mid (0EV) exposures. I was afraid at that point that Photoshop won’t be able to align the 13 photos into a panorama because it took approximately 12 seconds between the first and the last shot. Boat moved quite a lot during this period and parallax shift was noticeable. To my big relief however, Photoshop did a perfect job and no errors were reported during the automated panoramic assembly process.
Working on a panorama 21,200 x 5,700 pixels with multiple layers is no easy feat. It takes a lot of resources and my (outdated) computer was begging for mercy.
Anyway, after 6 hours of hard work on this panorama, my vision was fulfilled. I finally got the shot of NYC I always dreamed about and I’m extremely happy with the result.

Hardware: Canon 5D Mk3, Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
Software: Lightroom 4.4, Photoshop 5.1, Silver Efex Pro 2, Nik Output Sharpener

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