To Floydian: Running for my life... without tripod

  • Hi Floyd fan!

    I know Cambodia is on the top of your list as your future destination, and it surely deserves the interest and the trip, you won’t regret it.

    But NY, at the other end of the spectrum, is a photographer’s paradise for cityscape and architecture, no questions about that (and for street shooters as well, if you happen to like this kind of photography...). I know you would have the time of your life there, trying to reinvent every pictures that have been shot in this city.

    I just wanted to let you know, concerning your comment on this photo, that the sign in the middle is not "a bit over-exposed" but actually. it’s totally blown up! But I just want to share something with you, so maybe you’ll be able to understand "the circumstances" of this photo...

    First, the Reuters sign, on which the word FAST is written was a TV screen, so even if this FAST ads came back every 5 or 10 minutes, it’s a pure luck that I was able to get it at the same time a taxi cab was passing by at this precise moment. The word FAST was animated and was growing bigger on the screen, so if I had shot it 1/4 of a second earlier, the word would have been much more smaller and if I would have press the shutter 1/4 of a second later, it would have been bigger (therefore better). But 5 seconds later, it was Saddam Hussein face, during his trial... So the message would have been much more different than with the word FAST...

    So I was actually IN the street, I mean lying down IN the street, my body totally flat IN the street, shooting between cars, when they were starting from the green light. I could have shot them while they were stop, but I wouldn’t have get the blurred effect. There was some people who watch me shooting for 5 or 10 minutes!, thinking I was a crazy guy or a pro... ( I was actually the first option...). So I was getting in and out of the street every time the light changed and I was lying between cars - NO PLACE TO SET-UP A TRIPOD!!!... :-D) Eventually, police came and ask me if I had a permit, than I told them I was just having fun, so they ask me to stay on the sidewalk. This same night, another police ask me what I was doing and ask my I.D., because I shot this kind of photo 4 or 5 times, whenever a police car would happen to pass-by... I’ve been stop by police so many times in the US ( On bridges, at train stations, in front of the Capitol, near a lighthouse at 5h00 in the morning), but never in Europe. They are really paranoiac... They stop photgraphers but they let people with guns running on the streets... A totally different kind of shooting...

    So like you already know, this shot could look very simple, but to get the FAST sign, the taxi cab at the right position in the frame, the YOUNG sign, the green light and the tilt, it wasn’t easy, or at least it wasn’t just a quick snap... You have to be a little crazy to get that, but I was in the right city to do so, where everybody else is a little bit crazy as well...

    So the only thing I could have done for the over-exposed sign, would be to fit any kind of image on top of it, in Photoshop... Very easy to do and impossible to detect... But I didn’t do it. So now that you’re mentionning this flaw, maybe I should make the retouching on the original... Never too late!


  • Re: To Floydian: Running for my life... without tripod
    Hello Dr Jones,

    A great story and very interesting to read how this final picture was created at the right moment wirh the cab and the letters FAST on the sign. That you can't have it all shows cleary in the so called blown away sign, it doesn't bother me. Accent lies on the cab and the purple billborad.

    I had a great laugh reading your adventure with the local police, you must look silly in your act and even New Yorkers must wondering what that strange guy was doing ;-) But you are right, here in Europe is a bit more loose, since 9-11 even here some things have chanced.

    When making such shots it has nothing to do with crazyness, but all with dedication, that's only good to see how much time you put in to it to create that special photo...only appaluse for that.

    Have a nice day my friend, i enjoyed your story ;-)