New York City Tilt Shift Adventure (Part 1) – Train Stations


Yesterday I decided to take a day off work and visit New York City to test out a Tilt-Shit lens (Nikon PC-E 24 mm f/3.5).  I created a shot list of ten locations (only got to 7) but ended up getting some good results and learning new things!  The first two posts are indoor shots from New York’s famous train stations: Grand Central Terminal and the World Trade Center Transportation hub.  Stay tuned later this week for the other videos!

World Trade Center Transportation Hub

The first one I visited was the WTC Transportation hub which has a sleek and modern design both from the outside and inside.  For this shot I decided to get centered on the mezzanine above the ground floor.  There was actually some construction ongoing on the other end which turned out to pretty cool as they moved the lift around during the shot.  I was directly centered on the mezzanine and the opposite side too but still felt like I was off-centered for some reason (even with the final result too).

I set up my shot and adjusted the tilt shift to attempt the “toy” effect on the people walking below.  The room was pretty well lit with a lot of white obviously so the shutter speed was not a problem.  I ended up using f/19, ISO 400, and 1/8″ shutter speed.  I adjusted the focus to the people below but since this was my first attempt with a tilt-shift I used a pretty higher aperture (f/19).  Retrospectively, the effect works better at more open apertures (< f/8).  The interval that I was using was also 3 seconds.  Two seconds actually might have been better considering people walk pretty fast through a train station.  The people and objects did look small below from the lens but they were already to the naked eye considering the height. There was a lot of movement in the crowd, especially when a train arrived at the other end and you see a mass of people move though.  Pretty cool I think. Overall, I’d give this a B!

Camera Settings: f/19, ISO 400, 1/8″, 3 second interval


Grand Central Terminal

After a lot of walking I eventually made it to the Grand Central Terminal which is the most iconic train station in New York (if not the world).  The main terminal has a few view points where a restaurant and Apple store exist.  Since I didn’t want to go into the restaurant I went on the Apple store side which is just a bit elevated.  I could not be directly centered because the center point is the stairway and this would be in the way of too many people.  I ended up choosing a slightly off-centered location that I could set up my tripod on the ledge.

For this shot I opened up the aperture a little bit more (f/11) and the tilt-shift effect is more apparent here.  The other settings were ISO 400 and 0.8 seconds shutter speed.   I didn’t want to be much longer on the shutter speed and end up blurring the people walking.  I felt like there were a lot of people here and groups walking through.  But the speed was a little bit slower in general.  I had a 3 second interval again for this timelapse which turned out pretty good.  I m more pleased with this results from a tiltshift perspective.  I would have liked a more central location and my 24 mm lens couldn’t capture much of the walls and ceiling which are also beautiful.  I’d give this one a B as well!

Camera Settings: f/11, ISO 400, 0.8 seconds, 3 second interval


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